California Audio Labs Icon CD Players

3.29/5 (7 Reviews) MSRP : $750.00


Product Description

CD player circa 1990


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Reviews 1 - 5 (7 Reviews Total) | Next 15

User Reviews

Overall Rating:1
Value Rating:1
Submitted by doctor_ivan a AudioPhile

Date Reviewed: March 28, 2004

Bottom Line:   
The Nightmare That Sounded Terrific!

Sorry, there's absolutely no more accurate way to describe the California Audio Labs Icon and their other CD players in general. When they worked... heaven on earth. Unfortunately these damn machines had the worst quality control of any high end product I've ever sold.

Transports that never worked properly, discs spinning aimlessly and software that refused to read 80% of what was placed in front of it. Even the buttons on front panels would sink behind their aluminum faceplates when firmly pushed. It was truly a shame because those who engineered these products ONLY KNEW SOUND. They were absent the day that CD school taught reliability.



I sold this line of CD players with Myer -Emco (Washington DC area) and have had a great deal of experience with this product.

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Used product for:   More than 1 year

Duration Product Used:   AudioPhile

Product model year:   Pre 1995

Purchased At:   Myer - Emco



Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by bachlogic101 a Audio Enthusiast

Date Reviewed: August 19, 2002

Bottom Line:   
I understand a few of the reviewers concerns. I had one issue with my player around 5 years ago. Lost the optical reader. Sent the unit back to CalAudio and they fixed it for around $200. Other than that this player is a great value. It has great musicality and extension throughout the ranges. Bass extension is low and the mids and highs are sweet yet not overbearing. If you ever have a chance to pick one up used in the market it will be a good choice.

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Used product for:   More than 1 year

Duration Product Used:   Audio Enthusiast

Product model year:   Pre 1995

Price Paid:    $500.00

Purchased At:   audio haven(Now Gone



Overall Rating:1
Value Rating:2
Submitted by AudioBob a AudioPhile

Date Reviewed: March 2, 2002

Bottom Line:   
This product is a sad mix of good and bad.
The build quality of the digital/analog output board is of very high quality, among the best I have seen (I own Krell and Levinson). In its day, the sound was exemplary, no digitits in the treble, warm sounding with good bass. Unfortunatly, the transport is terrible. On many disc, when trying to read the TOC, the transport goes crazy, spinning out of control. Attempting to press stop does nothing. The only way to stop this is to press the open button, which does open, but the rapidly spinning disc does not stop before contacting the drawer mechanism, causing circular scratches in the disc, the worst type for damaging a CD. This would happen with brand new, pristine disc. It was completely unpredictable. All the unplayable disc would play immediately on any other player, from portables to dedicated transports. I received excuses when contacting CAL, was told to clean the laser lens, and not connect the unit to an AC filter/surge protector. None of these fixes made any difference. I am not certain, but I think the transport was sourced from Matsush*ta (A. Review sees the sh*t as sh eye t) (Panasonic, Technics). In my opinion, CALs customer service was terrible. They would not admit to having a flawed product, and did
nothing to repair it. Needless to say, I never have, nor ever will, purchase another CAL product. Avoid this product on the used market at all costs. I keep mine around to demonstrate to other audiophiles. I have a $39 portable on top of the Icon that I play the disc on that was just unplayable on the CAL. A truly pathetic product.

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Used product for:   More than 1 year

Duration Product Used:   AudioPhile

Product model year:   Pre 1995

Price Paid:    $700.00



Overall Rating:4
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Nate a Audio Enthusiast

Date Reviewed: December 31, 2000

Bottom Line:   
I've owned my Icon since 4/90. I've been delighted with this CD player from the first day, originally comparing it to an Adcom CGD-575. I enjoyed the machine so much, and wanted to keep it, so a couple years ago I sent it back to CAL for a significant upgrade, going to the Power Boss HDCD upgrade, which while costly was worth every penny. It significantly opens up and smooths out the Icon without taking away any of the dynamics. A winner, that has been dead reliable!

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Used product for:   More than 1 year

Duration Product Used:   Audio Enthusiast

Product model year:   Pre 1995

Purchased At:   Sounding Board



Overall Rating:2
Value Rating:4
Submitted by J Hughes a Audio Enthusiast

Date Reviewed: July 14, 2000

Bottom Line:   
I think/hope I'm the exception but, if there were a lemon law for electroincs equipment - I would have a case here. When I purchased the CD player around 1991, I paid about $1100(US). Since that time I've had the player in for service 4 times for a total bill of about $800! It still did not work properly. (Yes, I've since replaced it with a Krell). Some of the the problems may be the dealers (Golden Gramaphone, Akron OH) fault, they serviced it twice (@$120 ea.) and sent it back to the manufacturer the other two times. When I demonstrated the unit still had problems even after repeated service, they basically blew me off and said I would be charged for the next service request despite the fact the problem was never fixed in the first place.

Major problem - skips/locks up with the slightest blemish on a CD. (e.g. my walkman CD player can play the CD but the CAL can not.) Over the course of its two trips to California for service, I understand most of the internals of the device were replaced yet that did not seem to make a difference.

I always thought the Icon was a great value with a unique price point - I just hope the ICON II improved the units reliablility.

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Used product for:   More than 1 year

Duration Product Used:   Audio Enthusiast

Product model year:   Pre 1995




Reviews 1 - 5 (7 Reviews Total) | Next 15

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