Since my sabbatical

For family reasons - I have been away from audiophile interests for over 15 years. I now have the ability to again restart.

My last real reference for published reviews / opinions that my hands on experiences matched was The Audio Critic (a long time ago). I have a stack of previously SOTA components that need professional restoration as well.

My current attempts at re-entry into reading Audiophile-ism related pubs has left me flabbergasted and confused.

Am I in the right Forum to start a dialog on connecting my real world experiences with the market pubs / beliefs / etc. now?

Questions abound!

PWK maven

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I hope people hear can aid your reentry. ¬†Ask away!ūü§ď
I am using a retro mod Hafler DH500 from Musical Concepts and a similar moded Apt Holman from Tom Holman and Ed at Audiographic.
Speakers are VMPS IIa/R Limited Editions.

Q#1: Do I refurbish an old California Audio Labs Icon MK II CD player or simply buy a new unit? If restore the Cal Audio - by whom? If the new route, which one and why?

What is the cost to refurbish the CAL Icon?   For those monies, what could you get?   After the refurbish, will it have a new laser and last for a long time?  

I had a CAL DX2 a few years ago that I really liked and also have an Oppo DV970.  It's cheap, sounds very good, and Oppos don't seem to break down.     
Is this posting in the wrong category? Very limited responses so far (1). Maybe my ramblings need some coherence.

Thanks Lou for bring things into a clearer view regarding investment and return. You are correct, sir.

Others out there please give me a hand with what I see today as an assemblage of opinion disconnected from years of previous research / observations. Costs are obscenely high for equipment and what is 'heard' not in alignment with what I have learned to date (albeit w/ a 15 year gap).

Help me get back up to speed or at least understand.


I can't believe it's a sound investment to put any money into the CAL, because the transport will give out sooner rather than later, and then it will be unusable.  Better to invest in something new(er).

So general advice w.r.t. that and other components: start new thread(s) posing specific questions in new terms.  E.g. looking for new or used CD player between $X and $Y. OR: recommendations for someone to refurbish my amplifier manufactured by ABC.

"Q#1: Do I refurbish an old California Audio Labs Icon MK II CD player or simply buy a new unit? If restore the Cal Audio - by whom? If the new route, which one and why?" 

I agree with twoleftears in not putting money into the CAL. If it were me, I would pick up a NEW (or at least one not more than a couple years old) DAC & use the CAL as a transport for however long it lasts.   
The most amazing thing to experience is a streamer plus a Tidal Hi Fi subscription.  Having an almost unlimited music library is mind boggling.  Imagine being able to listen to virtually any artist or piece of music that you want to.  Then decide if you want to change other parts of your system.
Hi rhljazz,

What does something like a streamer and Tidal Subscription cost?  Is that anything like a Squeeze Box?  I'm very old school myself with a vinyl, CD, and Cassette collection - no 8 tracks though - Ha!  

I've noticed that since I got rid of all the cd jewel cases and have put them into case logic notebooks to take up less room, that I don't listen to cds as much.  I also have Spotify Premium on an old Iphone that I use.  How much better is Tidal then Spotify?

I'm using a very inexpensive Oppo DV970 dvd/cd player that sounds really great.  For $99, you can't go wrong and I've heard that the Oppos are indestructible.  

Bluesound Node 2i new is 499.00.  You can likely find the previous model for 300.00 or so.  You need a tablet or phone to run the BluOS app for control.
Tidal Hi Fi is 19.99 per month.  Less than the price of just one new cd.
Okay ... so its agreed. I should look at the new  Marantz SA-10 to replace the Cal ICON.

Now can you help me understand about the resurgence I found when returning to VINYL !?

I have an old TD126 MkII w/ a Stax Unipivot but that is only for TRYING tom transcribe the old records into digital.

Vinyl? Why? What happened?

Could it be the non-existent volume wars on the vinyl era?

Did the OP ever define a budget?  And what exactly are the OPs needs?  Is it CD replay?  Streaming?  Vinyl or other analog formats?  Does the OP need amplification?  Speakers?
  It’s easier to try to help someone if those basic parameters are established?
Back up and on. System as-is posted.
Need a new CD player now to replace the old Cal ICON first.
Searches for other equipment repairs / updates / etc. can be longer. 

I want the best CD player I can get for under $2K. SACD not out of the question.

Looking at the Yamaha  CD-S1000. 

Advice / suggestions please.
I would look for seperates (transport + DAC) instead of the Yamaha. Only because the DAC technology is evolving & improving. You can pick up a Cambridge transport pretty cheap which will give you the funds to buy a new or newer DAC. I've used the cambridge with a new (as of a couple years ago) Audio Alchemy DAC & it was very good. 
Thx Boxer.
Makes sense.
Any ideas on where to look for a transport that is bullet proof too?
... also have a great Questyle QP1R for travel but even pro style headphones don't isolate enough to kill the plane noise. Newest Sony and Bose noise cancelling phones kill the outside noise well except with my QP1R blue tooth is N/A to use a wireless option.

Does the TaoTronics Bluetooth 5.0 Transmitter do what I need for wireless that the Questyle doesn't have or should I stay wired?

My initial guess is stay wired  sticking with physics and the QP1R  Class A current mode amplifier.

If so - THEN which headphones would do the trick and isolate a lot better than my Sennheiser HD 300 PROs on a loud plane for 8 hours?