Compact disc

Cambridge Audio says don’t rule out brilliant compact disc


I’ve got my hands on a lot of great products from UK hi-fi giant Cambridge Audio. In addition to their combination of high value and high performance, they are easy to use. Here are some of their more recent products that respond to current trends in personal and home audio.

First of all, wireless headphones. While it’s no longer cutting edge technology, getting great sound from a pair of $ 150 headphones is. In addition to revolutionary sound for the price, the Melomania Touch buttons offer intuitive functionality. They’re the easiest-to-use wireless devices you’ll ever interact with. Once the Melomania application is installed on your Android or iOS device, it automatically pairs your headphones, giving you access to the “hub”. This includes an equalizer with five different soundscape profiles (including one customized by you), access to left / right balance, volume, transparency mode, and remaining charge. Transparency mode adjusts the amount of noise cancellation provided by the Melomanias, so you can compose your surroundings to your liking. They offer complete privacy, if you and a sleepover buddy are both snuggled in bed, watching your own movies on your own tablets, and more access to the outside world, while listening to the doorbell.

The best part of the app isn’t the multiple sound controls – it’s the Find My Earphones screen. For all of you who have lost a pair of headphones somewhere, this is fantastic. On an Uber-like map, the Hub will show you where you last used your headphones. It takes usability to another level, making them the best buds ever.

Cambridge’s great sound quality is a given, but the Melomania Touch sets the bar higher for the price. Browsing through a long playlist of everything from opera to oasis, these heads create a large, almost trippy sound field inside your head, with an incredibly natural tone. Finally, the quality of the fit is excellent, which helps you a lot to forget that you have things plugged in your ears! Cambridge Audio Melomania headphones are a hit across the board and are available in either white or black.

While everyone’s talking about vinyl these days, the compact disc is also making a quiet comeback. As strong as streaming is, there are always selections that you just can’t get through Tidal, Roon, Spotify, or others. With all the hardware, firmware, and iOS updates, it also happens that everything just doesn’t hold up the way you want it to when you want it to. As soon as the music stops the party is over, so on some level CD is still a great source of last resort.

The turntable setup is still spinning, and as digital playback has improved so much over the past 10 years, a CD player under $ 1,000 may be a legitimate audiophile choice. With the CXC CD Transport ($ 599), the 851C player / DAC / preamplifier ($ 1,500), and the entry-level AXC35CD player ($ 350), Cambridge has something for everyone. If you’re happy with your current DAC but don’t want to give up your shiny record collection, the CXC is a perfect choice. Building an efficient budget system? The AXC35CD player does the trick – and the companion AXA35 integrated amplifier is a perfect complement (and it offers a built-in phono section, so you can spin whatever kind of physical media you like).

Gregg Chopper, director of The Americas at Cambridge Audio, believes that “many of our listeners still have large CD collections and there is a definite demand for equipment that best replicates their collections. He goes on to mention that there is strong demand worldwide, beyond the UK and US markets, and “CXC is a component that many customers buy when they stream, but don’t want to give up. completely physical reading “.

Because so many manufacturers have ditched the affordable transport space, the CXC makes a perfect addition to an existing DAC or even a pair of powered speakers with built-in digital decoding. Using an AudioQuest optical cable to our Totem Kin Play powered speakers made playing a stack of newly acquired CDs fun and easy. If your amplifier or powered speakers don’t have a built-in DAC, the AXC35 CD player does the trick, with everything you need to play your CD collection.

Where some of us of a certain age rediscover our parents (or grandparents) vinyl collection, others find CD collections lurking. There is always something relaxing about just hitting the play button and hearing the tracks sequenced the way the artist intended. For now, Cambridge has chosen to stay out of the SACD category, arguably due to the smaller demographics. Still, Chopper says they “continue to assess the demands for these products.”

Music lovers wanting to stream their libraries can opt for the flagship EDGE NQ network preamplifier / player ($ 5,000) or the AZUR 851N network player ($ 1,500). Both have wired and wireless network access, so connectivity is assured no matter how you stream content. The usual USB and TOSLINK connections are available for those who use a laptop computer as the source component. And their streamers are ROON ready. When asked if this was a tough design choice, Chopper replied, “Easy. Roon is an essential feature if you want to be taken seriously as an expert in streaming hardware.

This dovetails perfectly with the recent version of ROON 1.8. If you haven’t tried ROON yet, now is a great time to join the ROON infrastructure, making it easier than ever to enjoy your favorite music. Whether you’re streaming music from a NAS, connected hard drive, or your favorite streaming service, ROON integrates it effortlessly. Connecting to your network is just a few clicks away.

Finally, the look and feel of Cambridge equipment is decidedly top of the line. Performance purists might not be as concerned with this aspect of Cambridge products, but their willingness to put black and silver on the shelves in favor of a new gray is overwhelming. Chopper gets bigger, saying they call him Lunar Gray. “All of our product design decisions are made by an extremely talented team of industrial designers at our London headquarters. The workmanship, along with other iconic design features like the wedge foot at the front of our CX and AX components, gives our entire line a cohesive brand identity that says understated elegance rather than ‘look at me. “.

A fantastic range, of course, however you want to access your digital music library.