I am familiar with both the CAL (I think you referring to the Icon MKII with HDCD) and the Arcam Diva CD72. I couldn’t classify either player as “bright”. The Diva 72 resolves more information (a little on the analytical side) and uses newer technology than the CAL, although it lacks the HDCD feature. The Icon is a bit “warmer” sounding with a deeper soundstage. Reliability has not been one of California Audio Labs strong points, and repairs are costly. I have seen a few Arcam’s that were DOA, but fewer incidence of repair after being in service than with the CAL’s. Another option may be the Arcam Alfa 7SE. Now discontinued, but still available new and used. Many feel this was a better player than the newer Diva 72. Also the Diva 72 is soon to be discontinued, as the transports are no longer being manufactured.
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