California Audio Labs Tercet Mk.III CD player Associated Equipment

Sidebar 2: Associated Equipment

My listening venue remains, with the exceptions noted below, as described in my review of the Audio Research SP9 Mk.II and Counterpoint SA-3000 preamps (Vol.13 No.11). Both the preamps and the Quicksilver amps that drove the Acoustat Twos have been replaced with the Ensemble B-50 (Tiger) control amplifier plugged into an Ensemble Isotrans isolation transformer.

All system interconnect is Ensemble Supraflux, and speaker cable is Ensemble Hotline. The B-50 sits within arm's reach on an Arcici Superstructure II. All CDs used in listening evaluations were ringed with Sims Reference Bands. The system was left on for a period of at least 24 hours before any critical listening was done in order to let everything stabilize. Playback levels were matched using a Realistic Sound Level Meter.—Guy Lemcoe

COMPANY INFO
California Audio Labs
Huntington Beach, CA 92641 (1991)
company no longer in existence (2020)
ARTICLE CONTENTS

COMMENTS
LinearTracker's picture

I had purchased one of these based on this review back in the day ☹️. Still spinning vinyl.

dial's picture

As a student I had long holidays from june to october so I did a lot of jobs. One of them was salesman -during two years- at a high end shop, where you can buy Piega, Swiss Physics or Threshold if you were wealthy. They have other brands but I remember well these three as they seem very well built. One day someone came with a Goldmund studio 2 with their Gold cartridge, saying he doesn't play vinyl anymore. We have to find him a buyer at huge discount as he was buying a lot of gear (only sources cos for electronics he owned some Jadis separates I fall in love with)from us it was done quickly. He had just bought the 2 chassis version of THE CAL player.

Ortofan's picture

... saved $400 and bought a Sony CDP-X55ES.
http://www.thevintageknob.org/sony-CDP-X55ES.html
http://www.hifi-classic.net/review/sony-cdp-x55es-6.html
http://www.lampizator.eu/lampizator/references/Sony%20X55ES/Sony5ES.html

Or, for the analog disc aficionados, $1,300 would have bought a Pioneer PL-90 turntable, along with your choice of a Stanton 881S Mk II or an Audio-Technica AT-ML170 cartridge.
http://www.thevintageknob.org/pioneer-PL-90.html
http://www.regonaudio.com/Stanton881AudioTechnicaATML70.html

dial's picture

Yes but it's less exotic.
For me direct drive turntables offer the best speed stability and less vibrations because the motor turns at the right speed, very low.
About CD players I liked the looks of the 2-chassis CAL, the sound well I can't remember. Shame there's no market for these old digital gear (even tubey), would like to get one cheapo if the mechanism is easily replaceable and still available. At the shop (long closed), we've got bad surprises concerning build quality and to get some parts especially for Sonographe- by Conrad Johnson.
Today I use a very old (1996 !) Micromega Drive 2 (Philips pro laser section still available but now made in PRC). Is there a big difference between this and a BR player ?!

Ortofan's picture

... vintage CD players have become unobtanium.
Plus, players that are two decades old, or more, may need to have the electrolytic capacitors replaced.

So, is it worth the expense to acquire and refurbish a vintage high-end CD player, or would one simply be better off applying those funds toward a brand new unit, such as a Denon DCD-1600E or a Yamaha CD-S1000 (either of which cost about $1,200)?

https://usa.denon.com/en/shop/cdplayers/dcd1600ne_d

https://usa.yamaha.com/products/audio_visual/hifi_components/cd-s1000/index.html

dial's picture

My budget to play CD to BR is only 150$ max ; my CD (drive only) has his own converter (AES-EBU wired), my preamp (an old vintage Isem Quark) has another built-in especially for HDCD so I keep it for that only (coax link). And at last I have a 3D Lab. Nano for Hirez files (384 K max -enough for me can't tell the difference !-) linked to a cheap Samsung BR via coax Kimber. I only keep the Quark to play vinyls with a Thorens MC pre and a Project phono.
I love old gear, especially exotic brands when the looks are my taste.

dial's picture

Saw one for sale with a Tempest for 120$ but none in working order

X