Need advice: repair CAL CL25--or buy new/used CDP?

My CAL CL25 CD/DVD/96/24 player is "on the fritz". CD's which always played perfectly suddenly stop in the middle of a track.....or I load a CD & the readout says "no disc", or some other indecipherable message. This has been a GREAT CD player, plus played DVD movies, & 96/24 discs by Chesky. However, I don't know where to get it repaired (Boston area), & I heard that CAL was bought out by another company.

So I'm thinking of just getting another CDP, but am getting wary of buying used Digital w/no warranty. I've always liked Meridian, but I'm pretty sure the warranties aren't transferable. Maybe Cary? Or ARC? Don't know if the warranties are transferable on those, but at least the companies would be around to fix their products even if I had to pay.

Lastly, I do use the CAL occasionally to play movies, so if there are any DVD players out there that are also great CDP's, I'd like to know. And, my budget is maybe $1000--$1700, more or less.

Any advice on getting the CAL fixed, or getting a new/used CDP, would be greatly appreciated!

thanks, Steve

Have you tried cleaning the lens? I don't think you should give up on this player if you like it. Call Goodwin's Highend in Waltham, they are a CAL dealer. If you do give up on the CAL, the Sony 9000es is a dvd player with good cd quality and does sacd as well.
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CAL has great customer service, give them a call. My guess is also that the lens is dirty. It could be a cheap fix. Also I think the CAL is a great CD player, it's only slightly more grainy than my much more expensive seperates. If your primary desire is you want a different DVD player (and I don't think it is) then I would fix the 25 and sell it. Otherwise, try a good lens cleaning and hopefully your problem is solved. It's a great CDP fo rthe money, just wish mine played CDRs. Good luck,

I don't believe that California Audio Labs has an extensive network of authorized service centers. I had to send my CL10 to their Arizona service site (it used to be in Blue Lake, CA), via UPS. They are now a subsidiary of Sensory Science which is a subsidiary of Sonic Blue. Originally known as S3 (PC graphics), it now sports a suite of well-known brands, including Diamond Multimedia, Rio, Replay TV, ProGear, Go-Video, Loewe, and California Audio Labs. The way to do it is to call them (877-563-9388) during West Coast business hours and get a return authorization (RA) number. Be sure to let them know if it's still under warranty. They should be able to quote you a turnaround time. For more info, check out Sonic Blue's web site at

My CL10 was built in Thailand to CAL specs. I've had it for five years, and I've sent it to CAL for repairs twice. Recently, it developed a problem very similar to what you described. I don't know what's wrong. I tried spraying it with a canned air spray duster with no effect. I figure it could be a problem with the CD clamping mechanism, either too high or too low, causing the CD to bow or bend. It could also be an obstruction in the laser head transport mechanism that would limit the laser head's travel. I don't have the heart to pack it up and send it in again. I have removed it from my system and stuffed it into my dead hardware closet. I can play single CDs on my Sony SCD-1, but I will miss the carousel, especially at parties. Good luck with yours.
Is cleaning the lens something I could do myself? If so, how? BTW, thanks for all the followups, lots of good advice here!

Steve, a little 99% pure alcohol on a Q-tip will do the trick
Only if the player won't run and you have no other choice. The best way to clean a CDP lens is with a high-quality cleaning disc like the Parasound, available from and others. Run it every month or so and problems won't build up.
I have a CAL CL-15. Three days ago it stopped playing music even though the panel indicated that the player was working. I had just learned how to put black marker on cd's and thought that I had somehow gummed up the laser mechanism. Today I unplugged the power to the unit in addition to just turning it off. I believe this reset the electronics which had probably been zapped by static electricty generated by my shuffling on the rug. It now works just fine.
This is from the SoundStage Review (

"Twice during my time with the CL-20, the music died into silence in mid-song. While there was no loss of power to the unit, and the display kept on ticking, the output sputtered away into silence. Remembering similar problems with the Audio Alchemy gear of yore, turning off the unit and unplugging the power cord for five minutes did the trick. I suspected there was a microprocessor somewhere inside that needed resetting, which the service techs at CAL thought was correct. Engineering however thought that because of the switching of various clocks, that a simple field fix whereby snipping a small resistor that connects a couple of pins across an IC chip would better synchronize the various clocks. I performed the five-minute vasectomy of the resistor, and the problem has not returned. One other operational note: If you push the open/close tray button prior to depressing the power button, the unit will appear to power up and the display will show the disc playing after pushing play, but you may not get sound. Turn the power off with the power switch and then back on, and everything operates as it should. The tray button should not be thought of as the power on switch."