California Audio Labs CL-5 CD Players

4.5/5 (2 Reviews) MSRP : $995.00


Product Description



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Reviews 1 - 2 (2 Reviews Total)

User Reviews

Overall Rating:4
Submitted by Graham Moore a an Audio Enthusiast

Date Reviewed: December 8, 1998

Bottom Line:   
At this point, I've had my CL-5 for about 21/2 weeks.This has to be the best couple of weeks my stereo has ever had!First, the faults I find with the remote. The buttons are crammed together in a not quite logical pattern. The labeling is tiny and not contrasty enough, especially for those of us that are slightly farsighted, trying to use the remote from a comfortable, not especially well lit listening position.
I do like being able to turn off the CL-5 without having to walk across the room.
On to the faults I find with the player itself.The buttons (again) are laid out in a not quite logical order. For example, the stop button is situated between the pause and play buttons. I'll eventually get used to it, but it drives me buggy right now.
When I get frustrated with all these "misplaced" buttons, I revert to using the remote from my old Technics changer. CAL would have been further ahead to source the remote from Matsushita like they did the disc tray, MASH, and command processor.
The display is impossible to read unless your line of sight is perpendicular to or slightly below the LCD readout.If you are above or to the side of the salmon(!) colored panel, it all comes up "8's". Irritating.
The important question is: Would I buy this product again, knowing what I now know about it? You bet!
The CL-5 has a plethora of virtues. It is quiet in operation,very solidly built, a beautiful piece of audio gear, and most importantly, sounds wonderful.
Treble is extended, full and natural, with no harshness despite the superb resolution. Bass is tight and full, with a very realistic presentation.
The soundstage actually now extends outside the arc of my speakers.Front to rear staging requires a tape measure and the detail on music that I know very well on vinyl, CD and live makes me feel like I've had my ears sewn shut until the CL-5 removed the stitches.This has to be one of the smoothest, uncolored, neutral, non-fatiging CD players you will ever have the pleasure of hearing.
This presupposes your local CAL dealer actually stocks it. I had to special order mine because the two dealers I visited had the CL-10 and a variety of other products in the line, but had never brought the "cheap" changer in.
Maybe the CL-10 and CL-15 sound better, but they cost 50-60% more. At these product and price levels, we are getting firmly into the rule of diminishing returns.
Listen to a CL-5 if you can find one and try to remember that you are enjoying a dreaded carousel "changer".
Associated equipment: B&W 805 speakers
McIntosh C712 preamp
Bryston 3B-ST amp






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Duration Product Used:   an Audio Enthusiast



Overall Rating:5
Submitted by Jorge Alayza a an Audiophile

Date Reviewed: November 20, 1998

Bottom Line:   
Very good multidisc CD Player. Impressive finished, same as more expensive CL-15 and CL-10. Very warm sound with tight bass. Bass and dynamics are bettter that you can expect for the price.CAL Lab'sCL-5 CD Player really impressed me with it's overall presentation.
Sure, it's an attractive CD Player that sounds damm good!!!. CAL reputation.

Also, the price dropped to $995.00, making it a bargain.

I enjoyed the rock performance, withFleetwood Mac "Tusk" CD, very solid and extended bass; Stevie Nicks and Christine McVie voices were very natural.

If you want HDCD, you have to pay $500 more for the CL-10.
I don`t know a better carousel for a grand. What more could you really ask for?

Four stars for the sound. Five stars for the price/performance ratio.

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Duration Product Used:   an Audiophile




Reviews 1 - 2 (2 Reviews Total)

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