WOW Rediscovering an old fav.CAL CL2500 pre/pro

Digital reproduction wise, I use a Modded sony scd-777es for a transport and an audiomeca enkianthus X dac for red book. (see my profile for my full system) I am EXTREMELY pleased with my system, but a shocking thing happened today. I was just messing around with my new $200 zenith hdtv upsampling dvd player (Much better picture than my old toshiba sd9200, but nowhere near my dvhs dtheater getup, but a PHENOMINAL value) and I popped in a CD. Now, my zenith feeds into my CAL CL2500 pre/pro and then into my joule pre; basically, the CAL functions as a DAC with digital volume. When the CD started playing, I couldn't believe how nice it sounded! Now, it didn't best my modded scd777es/audiomeca setup, but it still sounded very, very nice, certainly besting the modded sony by itself when playing red book. I then fed my sony into the cal as a transport, and the CAL shone even brighter, still not besting the enkianthus by any means, but very, very nice.

The CAL pre/pro can be found for around 1.5k, and based on my experience with even a cheap dvd player as a transport, it would make a fantastic bargain if it were just a dac. But, factor in the fact that the CAL functions very nicely as a pre-amp (not as nice as my joule by any means, but nice nonetheless) and does a marvelous job with dts/dd decoding, the price of 1.5k is a STEAL. The zenith dvd player is a steal as well, as it provides a very, very nice 1080i upsampled pic in via EITHER component or DVI out and obviously can function as a competant transport.

Has anyone else ever had an experience where they rediscovered an older piece of gear only to find how competitive it still is?

I have the complete Cal 2500 series. The fact that is still is offering great performance 4 years latter, tell me that I made a good purchase. The amp is the star of the show however but in the two channel mode. I think you'd really be surprised at how good it is for the price that they sell for. In 5 channel, it's very good but not stellar like it is when it's in the two channel mode. You should hear the dynamics of that amp, and the dead quiet background. I remember reading a review in which the former owner of Stereophile, J.Gordon Holt, commented that it was like the amp wasn't there while visiting Steve Stone who was doing a review of the amp at the time. It completely smoked my Aragon 8008 in the two channel modes. One hell of an amp. The loss of California Audio Labs, the company, was a great one.