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California Audio Labs Tercet mk III
4 Reviews
rating  4.75 of 5
MSRP  1295.00
Description: 


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Reviews 1 - 4 (4 Reviews Total)

User Reviews

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Auricauricle a AudioPhile

Date Reviewed: April 17, 2009

Bottom Line:   
The Tercet was an expensive CD player in its day, costing a whopping $1400.00 that kept many would be consumers well away. Since then, the cost of second-hand Tercets and other products manufactured by CAL has come down--precipitously. Recently, I bought such a unit, and I must say, at $175.00 this was quite a deal.

Starting from its handsome looks, the CAL Tercet is a formidably built player. The drawer snaps shut with all the heavy assuredness of a pharoe's tomb. The display glows in a beautiful lime green that is a pleasure to look at, and the buttons for the various functions are laid out in an intuitive array that is not gaudy.

The functions of the player allow the player to accomodate cassette recordists to tailor their CD recording to meet the needs of their cassettes. Programming the Tercet is not difficult, but very sophisticated nevertheless. Access to tracks is quick, and very simply accomplished. Following the player's initial warm-up and CD data gathering, the rest is simply accomplished.

The playback quality of the Tercet is astonishingly good. At 18 bits, the player is dated--you can get players that offer more detailed resolution--but the quality of music I have heard so far surpasses anything I have previously heard. Highs are crisp but never sibilant or tinny and the lows are firm and tight. The staging of ensembles and musicians is quite wide, and are played with mature, assured cohesiveness and easy grace. Percussion is reproduced in snaps and cracks that are jarringly realistic; woodwinds are played in reedy finery and brass is not blatty, but kissed. Vocals, you ask? Well, if you have to ask....I think you have the idea. Simply put, the CAL plays music.

For headphone listeners, the CAL really shines. Silences on the Tercet are utterly black presences that allow the music to bloom in eerily realistic form. The sound-stage is immense: to illustrate, imagine the following. Imagine your head is a clock; 12:00 is the space right before you, with 3:00 and 9:00 at your right and left ears. The Tercet extends these sounds not only to these loci but to 5:00 and 7:00.

The Tecet that I bought does not have a digital output, but this is of little consequence to me. What I have heard was quite, quite pleasant. If you, like me, are in the market for a very good, CD player in the second-hand market that won't break your bank and provide you with the joy of music, pure and simple, do not hesitate to give the Tercet an audition. The sonics and quality of manufacture are superb. Period.

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Used product for:   Less than 1 month

Duration Product Used:   AudioPhile

Product model year:   Pre 1995



Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Stephen R Barber a Audio Enthusiast

Date Reviewed: January 16, 2004

Bottom Line:   
This is probably the best $150.00 that I have ever spent. My Tercet is the first incarnation of this model, dating from the late eighties or early nineties. This is, quite possibly, the most detailed player I have ever heard, and definitely the best that has ever been in my system. The highs are smooth and detailed with no harshness. The bass and midrange are also excellent. I am hearing things in my CD's that I have never heard before! The Tercet, even with it's older technology, is one musical CD player. I haven't heard anything today that sounds any better, although I certainly haven't heard everything. Nevertheless, California Audio Labs definitely created a great CD player in the Tercet, and it can be had at a fraction of it's original $1300 price. Mine is almost mint, and couldn't have had much use. Being an earlier version, my Tercet doesn't have a digital out. This is the only fault that I can find, but I have no aspirations of adding a DAC anyway. It sounds great as is! So I will conclude by saying that the CAL Tercet is one of the great used bargins out there. You would not be disappointed.

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Used product for:   Less than 1 month

Duration Product Used:   Audio Enthusiast

Product model year:   Pre 1995

Price Paid:    $150.00

Purchased At:   Ebay



Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Stan Ferrer a Audio Enthusiast

Date Reviewed: December 2, 2001

Bottom Line:   


This player is the most musical player I've heard, to date! Because of it I am selling/sold all of my current/prior own DAC's and transports--it's that achingly beautiful. It's detailed, but never etched, the bass is without flub or bloat and the human voice and instrumental textures are palpable. A few days ago I in home auditioned the Linn CD 12 allowing my girlfriend to swap them in and out ( my own concocted blind evauluation) and everytime I prefered the Tercet MkIII in every musical genre. My unit has been retrofitted with a coax dig out, but no DAC I have tried so far has improved upon the well balanced musicality of stand alone player. The Alpha DAC did add some bass impact, but it ultimately subtracted more than it gave and I am sending it packing! If you can find this unit used in excellent condition buy it immediately sell the remainder of your digital front end and buy new software. You'll never miss any of it!

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Used product for:   3 months to 1 year

Duration Product Used:   Audio Enthusiast

Product model year:   1995

Price Paid:    $200.00

Purchased At:   AudioWeb



Overall Rating:4
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Dave Craig a Audiophile

Date Reviewed: November 6, 2000

Bottom Line:   
Excellent player to buy second hand. Being 8 or 9 years old it still sounds very good. Paid $120.00 for it since it needed a new motor. Sent it back to CAL for repair and tune up. Sounded even better afterward. It does everything pretty well. Has defined deep bass, but not quite the "Krell" bass. A touch on the bright side. Very little upper end harshness considering its age and technology. A keeper for awhile!

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Used product for:   3 months to 1 year

Duration Product Used:   Audiophile

Product model year:   Pre 1995

Price Paid:    $120.00

Purchased At:   Audio Review classifieds




Reviews 1 - 4 (4 Reviews Total)

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