California Audio Labs CL-20 CD Players

4.64/5 (11 Reviews) MSRP : $2495.00


Product Description

CD/DVD player


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Reviews 1 - 5 (11 Reviews Total) | Next 15

User Reviews

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Linny a Audiophile

Date Reviewed: September 9, 2001

Bottom Line:   
This deck replaced a Audio Alchemy DDE 3.0 and 1.1 DAC combo; I expected an improvement in CD playback but WOW, I was no where near ready for the sound out of this rig--this thing slays! It sounds even better on DAD playback--a lot better.

Contrary to Rob Damm's review below, the CAL DOES play 24/96 sources (though its internal DACs operate at only with 20-bit precission) AND it does have a 24/96 output but it had to be turned on internally (no big deal really).

Compared to other pricy DVD rigs, I thought the CAL sounded every bit as good as the much more expensive Proceed (though without the latter's upgradability and with some what poorer video quality); I have not heard the Ayre Acoustics D-1, though many seem to like it quite a bit....

If you want a great CD player (or transport) that had 24/96 capability AND playes DVDs, you owe it to give this deck a listen (if you can find one). If you are primarily interested in it as a HT DVD unit, save yourself a few (thousand) bucks and look at something a little less extreem.

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Used product for:   3 months to 1 year

Duration Product Used:   Audiophile

Product model year:   1999

Price Paid:    $1500.00

Purchased At:   eBay



Overall Rating:3
Value Rating:3
Submitted by Peter a Audio Enthusiast

Date Reviewed: August 14, 2000

Bottom Line:   
I'll go for the TagMclaren, of which I bought the AV32R already; This isreally a product where they first do a lot of research. It's like buying a Alfa Romeo: great cars, as long as they last...

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Used product for:   More than 1 year

Duration Product Used:   Audio Enthusiast

Product model year:   1998

Price Paid:    $4000.00



Overall Rating:4
Value Rating:3
Submitted by Rob Damm a Audiophile

Date Reviewed: March 11, 2000

Bottom Line:   
I like this product quite a bit. As a stand-alone, it presents a warm, rich sound with a deep soundstage. As a transport, it simply is not very good. I don't think it puts out a reference quality bit-stream. In fact, I think the cheaper sony is better as a transport, but weaker as a player. Has anyone compared this to the Denon DVD 5000? I've been thinking of buying the 5000 and I'd like some feedback. Please email me.


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Used product for:   1 to 3 months

Duration Product Used:   Audiophile

Product model year:   1999



Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Bose Sucks a Audiophile

Date Reviewed: November 20, 1999

Bottom Line:   
To clarify what is meant by "Borderline class B" I actually asked a Stereophile reveiwer (DO). It is often misunderstood. If a class A product is "Borderline class B" then that means it is barely in class A, in other words some reviewers gave it an A- and maybe one gave it a B+. So the reviwers meant (according to DO) the CAL CL-20 is A+ in DAD and A- with 16/44 CD's. Similarly if a class C product is "Borderline class B" It may have gotten some B- ratings but the C+ ratings kept it in class C. Hope that helps.

At $2500 new or $1700-1800 Used this is still an awesome bargain!

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Used product for:   Less than 1 month

Duration Product Used:   Audiophile

Product model year:   1999



Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:4
Submitted by Frank Steele a Audiophile

Date Reviewed: October 16, 1999

Bottom Line:   
I just recently replaced my Rotel 971 (actually its in the second system now) with the CAL-20. The Rotel was a great unit for the price, but the CAL sounds better with CD's and HDCD CD's. But the real bonus is with DAD's. These discs sound awesome, like Dave's True Story. The CD version is great, but the DAD is a good step above on the CAL. I promised myself to get a DVD player when "The Matrix" came out and had planned on buying a sony or Denon unit. But after hearing the CAL, and it sounded better then the Rotel or the Ultech UCD-100 for that matter. I knew I could kill two birds with one stone. I paid $1690 for a used unit, but I hear they may have a new "2500" unit that has the component video that the current 25 has and it will only be $1,500-$1,800. For now I am happy with this player, I hope the new one is just as good or better.

Current set up is:

CAL-20 DVD/CD
Sonic Frontiers Assemblage L-1 (A better Sonic Frontiers SFL-1 in a kit)
Bryston B-60 Integrated (AMP used only)
Silver Audio silver bullet 6.0's Interconnects
Pure Silver Sound Sextet pure silver speaker cables
PSB Stratus Silver speakers

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Used product for:   1 to 3 months

Duration Product Used:   Audiophile

Product model year:   1999




Reviews 1 - 5 (11 Reviews Total) | Next 15

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