Audio Asylum Thread Printer
Get a view of an entire thread on one page
|For Sale Ads|
In Reply to: RE: I can't hear any difference. posted by Mike K on December 12, 2020 at 12:31:26
I am still using an old Cal Audio Delta/Alpha combo for redbook CD's.
With other players on the same CD's, I also am not sure what I hear is 'better' or just a bit different. I like what I hear with that CAL combo and I guess I'm 'used' to it, and so will be using it until it goes kaput.
On a wide variety of music, the CAL Delta and Alpha made it fun. Their sonic shortcomings didn't really bother a swath of audiophiles.
We no longer have the Alpha, which could, of course, be changed up by tube rolling.
We still have the Delta. You can tweak it, by experimenting with after-market fuses. Our unit uses a 0.3A slow-blow Hi-Fi Tuning Silverstar. Just don't lose the Delta's remote!
I always liked the looks of the Cal Delta & Alpha pair. I owned the Cal Icon MkII CDP for a while. It was my very first audiophile CDP.
...the CAL Icon Mk. II was popular. In July 1992 (my friends' Summer Of Love!), Stereophile reviewed it. For most people, it served as a nice one-box CD player. When I started to meet audiophiles, many in the East Bay had the Icon. In this price range, other popular models included the Rega Planar 3 turntable; Conrad-Johnson PV-10A preamp; and Adcom power amps.
But the Icon also sold well, because it had a coaxial digital output. Thus, users could later buy/add a DAC.
The Icon loaded smoothly, and relatively faster than other players. Its remote worked from a variety of angles, and pretty quickly. The Icon had all 4 time modes.
BTW, the CAL Sigma II DAC did NOT share the same faceplate dimensions as the Delta and Alpha.
In summer 1992, we were all in college. The Icon's $850 list price was about twice of what a mass market receiver, CD player, TV, or VCR cost. One of my girlfriends suggested that, if one budgeted properly, she could gather her birthday/Christmas monies, and then tack on the earnings from her summer job, in order to buy a CAL Icon Mk. II.
Glad to hear another owner's ancient CAL products are still plugging away like mine. The laser unit is still available (Panasonic RAE0113Z) on places like fleabay, but am not sure how involved it would be to swap it out.
Never tried fuse swaps, but the pair of tubes that I have in the Alpha is probably worth more than the DAC itself (had been using a pair of Mullard M8137 for many years).
But I am so used to that combo's sound.
Of course, users have always tried a wide variety of powercords, digital cables, and interconnects on the Delta & Alpha. But these cables do not have to be expensive, in order to work well with the CAL duo.
The CAL Alpha can also use/accept the 5751 tube. AFAIK, none of the people I know who have had the Alpha ever had a tube failure.
CAL supplied two different remotes, for the Delta. As a right-handed person, I prefer the fatter model. The search and skip buttons are conveniently located on the remote's lower right, which is where my thumb lies. Also, I've memorized the top 4 buttons, so I use the fat remote in the dark.
I have the one on the left in your picture - the tall/skinny version. But yes the buttons are tiny. Not having used the other, I don't know any better :).
I have a bunch of AX7's and 5751's - too much hassle to keep swapping around and so just stuck the 'best' tubes that I have for the unit in the Alpha and called it a day (that was probably a decade or more ago).
Post a Message!
This post is made possible by the generous support of people like you and our sponsors: