California Audio Labs Tempest II CD Players

4.5/5 (4 Reviews) MSRP : $2995.00


Product Description

Tube CD player with separate power supply


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Reviews 1 - 4 (4 Reviews Total)

User Reviews

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Johnny Papoutsis a AudioPhile

Date Reviewed: November 26, 2012

Bottom Line:   
Recently manage to acquire one of the lovely units. The previous review done by Mr. Slater is right on. This player has a wonderful soundstage. Its precision in locating instruments in the background is uncanny. Vocals are precise and warm. The depth and height, let alone the imaging of left to right is spectacular. Jennifer Warnes, Famous Blue Raincoat cd comes alive in your living space. You could swear she is right there. The multiple vocals on the track Bird on a Wire, were not muddled or bunched up. Every singer stood there place allowing the listener to be able to pinpoint exact location. On Jesse Cook Blue Guitar sessions, every chord plucked on the guitar could be heard with uncanny precision, here also, the separation and location of all the background instruments was wonderful. Bass goes deep and theres lots of it, although the attack on precussion is more laid back, there was more air around the instruments. Some tube rolling will soon fix that. I would go as far as saying that this is as close to analogue as you can get. This cd player requires good matching with interconnects and speaker wires, so you will have to experiment. Now, the downsides. Big, bulky, but not to heavy. Umbellical cord between the cd player and its seperate power supply will test your patience upon installation. Cd drawer a bit noisy, but very smooth in its operation. Remote has no eject button! What were they thinking! Still, it was good enough for me to pack away my Audio Cambridge 840C. Nothing negative to say about the Cambridge. It is an above average player, but it just didn t give me that tone and texture I wanted, like that of a good turntable. To each his own. If you ever get the chance to audition one of these players, I know you will walk away floored with its performance. Dont forget, this is a player from the late 80 s, but it stills hold ground to the best, even today!

Equipment

Amplifier : Classe Audio D2R
Pre Amp: Acurus RL11
CD Player: California Audio Labs Tempest II Special Edition
Speakers: Custom Made Dynaudio Othello II
Interconnects: JPS Labs Superconductor 2 (Peamp to amp)
Ecosse Le Baton II (Cd player to preamp)
Speaker Cables: MIT Terminator MH CVT 750
Power Cables: Verastar Silver Signature HC
CryoClear Silver 1
Spare tubes: Siemmens ECC88 Gold Pin (German Made)

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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 Al Slater a AudioPhile

Date Reviewed: June 16, 2009

Bottom Line:   
Tempest II has incredible soundstage. Best I have experienced from ANY CD player - and i have had many players more expensive. Tempest also sounds like analog but is very dynamic. Mine had all Golden Dragon Tempest factory tube set. Disadvantages include 2 boxes, rather large. Drawer made some noise but I had zero reliability issues. Since CAL is out of business and product is expensive, I became nervous and sold it before anything happened. But I do miss it, more than I can say about most high end pieces I have owned.
Also no volume contro;l and I like a player that will drive a power amp directly if needed.
Enjoy it if you can find it!

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Used product for:   3 Months to 1 year

Duration Product Used:   AudioPhile

Product model year:   Pre 1995



Overall Rating:3
Value Rating:3
Submitted by O'Shag a AudioPhile

Date Reviewed: July 15, 2007

Bottom Line:   
I would agree with most of what Andre said in his review. There is one problem though, and this problem is a killer. The Tempest and Tempest II are notoriously unreliable and prone to failure. I knew this before I bought the unit, but the outlay wasn;t that high so I went for it. It wasn't too long before it went down. Tried to get it repaired at a reputable service but I sort of knew this was going to be nigh on impossible to get fixed. The parts simply are no longer available.

As for the sound, the most outstanding attribute of this player is the huge soundstage, which is unusually high also. Most good players will give you width and depth, but very few can present realistic heigth the way the tempest II can. It is also warm and rich in tone. Compared to the latest technology of 2007 though it does show its age. It simply can't deliver the detail necessary to recreate 'live' sounding performances. It does possess good macrodynamics but the microdynamic shadings and detail - while good for 1988, are very obscure compared to the players of today. If you have a chance to buy a player on the cheap for say $200.00 or max $300.00 then you really won;t lose much. But if you pay much more, you can do a lot better with today's technology.

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Used product for:   More than 1 year

Duration Product Used:   AudioPhile

Product model year:   Pre 1995

Price Paid:    $350.00

Purchased At:   from a friend



Overall Rating:5
Submitted by André Fredette a an Audiophile

Date Reviewed: March 20, 1999

Bottom Line:   
Recently heard a used Tempest II at my local dealer and had the chance to compare it to a current model by Exposure. The exposure sounded very nice , alot like my Sony es-777. However, the Tempest had that magic that I first heard from it's smaller sister the Aria. The tubes seem to make CD's sound more analog, a lot like my records that I play on my Linn LP12. It adds a certain warmth and body to CD's and seems to remove the glare . It is easier to concentrate on the music. I am not saying the Tempest is perfect. The Exposure cd player had more snap and more details overall. However, the slight loss of details do not take anything away from the enjoyment. I am not sure if the state of cd players has advanced that much. This machine is at least six years olds .and sounds more musical than most of the current crop of players. I would give it five stars.

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Duration Product Used:   an Audiophile




Reviews 1 - 4 (4 Reviews Total)

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Tempest II

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