Cambridge CXA80: Elevating Audio Excellence

Introduction

In the world of audio enthusiasts, the quest for high-quality sound amplification is a never-ending pursuit. A good amplifier can make all the difference in delivering an immersive and captivating audio experience. Today, we delve into the realm of the Cambridge CXA80 amplifier, a powerful and sophisticated piece of audio equipment that promises to elevate your listening pleasure to new heights.

The Cambridge CXA80 amplifier is designed to provide exceptional sound reproduction and deliver an enhanced audio experience across various applications. Whether you are a music lover, audiophile, or home theater enthusiast, this amplifier aims to meet your demands with its impressive features and performance.

In this review, we will explore the technical specifications, design and construction, functionality, sound characteristics, sound performance, advantages, value for money, and ultimately draw our conclusion on whether the Cambridge CXA80 lives up to its promises. So sit back, relax, and join us on this sonic adventure as we uncover the capabilities of this remarkable amplifier.

Technical Specifications

The Cambridge CXA80 amplifier is a powerful integrated amplifier that offers impressive technical specifications. With a power output of 80 watts per channel at 8 ohms and 120 watts per channel at 4 ohms, this amplifier provides ample power to drive a wide range of speakers.

In terms of sound quality, the CXA80 boasts a signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) of 85 dB, ensuring minimal background noise and a clean audio signal. The total harmonic distortion (THD) is an incredibly low 0.002%, guaranteeing accurate reproduction of audio without any noticeable distortion.

This amplifier features a variety of inputs and outputs to accommodate different audio sources. It includes two USB ports, one coaxial audio input, two optical audio inputs, one XLR analog input, and four RCA line-level inputs. Additionally, it has a stereo preamp output, a dedicated subwoofer output, and a headphone output conveniently located on the front panel.

The Cambridge CXA80 supports a wide range of audio formats with a maximum sampling rate of 192 kHz for its built-in digital-to-analog converter (DAC). This allows for high-resolution audio playback, capturing every detail and nuance in your music.

In terms of frequency response, the CXA80 covers an impressive range from 5 Hz to 60 kHz, ensuring accurate reproduction of both low and high frequencies. The amplifier is designed to work with speakers ranging from 4 ohms to 8 ohms impedance, providing flexibility in speaker selection.

Overall, the technical specifications of the Cambridge CXA80 demonstrate its capability to deliver powerful and high-quality audio performance across various sources and formats.

Design and Construction

The Cambridge CXA80 amplifier boasts an elegant and sleek design that will complement any audio setup. Its black color adds a touch of sophistication to its overall aesthetic. The amplifier is constructed with high-quality materials, ensuring durability and longevity.

One notable design feature of the CXA80 is its “double mono” circuitry, where the left and right channels are completely separated from each other. This design ensures optimal signal separation and minimizes interference between channels, resulting in a cleaner and more accurate sound reproduction.

Efficient cooling is achieved through the incorporation of a well-designed heat sink system. This helps dissipate heat effectively, preventing overheating and ensuring the amplifier operates at optimal performance levels for extended periods.

The connectors and switches on the CXA80 are of excellent quality, further enhancing its overall build. The RCA inputs and outputs provide a secure and stable connection, while the XLR inputs offer balanced audio transmission for improved signal integrity. The switches are sturdy and responsive, giving users confidence in their reliability.

Overall, the design and construction of the Cambridge CXA80 amplifier showcase attention to detail and a commitment to delivering superior performance. Its sleek appearance, quality materials, efficient cooling system, and reliable connectors make it a standout choice in terms of both aesthetics and functionality.

Functionality

The Cambridge CXA80 amplifier offers a wide range of functionality, making it a versatile choice for audio enthusiasts. With its multiple connectivity options, this amplifier allows you to connect various audio sources such as CD players, computers, smartphones, and more.

One notable feature is the inclusion of two USB ports, allowing for easy connection to digital devices. This means you can directly play music from your computer or other USB-enabled devices, providing convenience and flexibility in your listening experience.

Additionally, the CXA80 amplifier provides a balanced XLR input, which is a rare find in amplifiers at this price point. This allows for superior audio quality and reduced interference, especially when using professional-grade audio equipment.

Furthermore, this amplifier offers tone adjustments and balance controls, giving you the ability to fine-tune the sound according to your preferences. Whether you prefer a more neutral sound or want to emphasize certain frequencies, the CXA80 provides the flexibility to tailor the audio output to suit your personal taste.

Another noteworthy feature is the availability of different operating modes. The amplifier includes a Direct mode that bypasses unnecessary circuitry to provide a purer audio signal path. This mode is ideal for audiophiles who prefer a minimalistic approach and desire the most accurate representation of their music.

Overall, the functionality of the Cambridge CXA80 amplifier is impressive. It offers a wide range of connectivity options, including USB ports and balanced inputs, allowing for seamless integration with various audio sources. The inclusion of tone adjustments and balance controls further enhances the versatility of this amplifier. Whether you are an audiophile seeking precise control over your sound or simply looking for a reliable and flexible amplifier for your home audio setup, the CXA80 delivers on its promise of exceptional functionality.

Sound Characteristics

The Cambridge CXA80 amplifier offers exceptional sound characteristics that elevate the listening experience to a whole new level. With its impressive audio performance, this amplifier delivers a rich and immersive soundstage that will captivate any audiophile.

One of the standout features of the CXA80 is its ability to reproduce intricate details with remarkable clarity. Whether you’re listening to a delicate acoustic guitar or a complex orchestral piece, every nuance and subtlety is faithfully reproduced, allowing you to truly appreciate the depth and intricacy of the music.

Instrument separation is another area where the CXA80 excels. The amplifier’s dual mono construction ensures that each channel is completely isolated, resulting in a precise and well-defined soundstage. Instruments are distinct and well-positioned, creating a three-dimensional sonic image that enhances the overall listening experience.

The bass response of the CXA80 is deep, powerful, and controlled. It provides a solid foundation to the music, adding weight and impact without overpowering or muddying the other frequencies. Whether you’re listening to electronic beats or thumping basslines in rock music, the CXA80 handles low frequencies with finesse and accuracy.

In terms of treble clarity, the CXA80 shines with its ability to reproduce high-frequency details with precision and sparkle. The highs are crisp and well-extended, offering a delightful level of airiness and shimmer to vocals, cymbals, and other high-frequency instruments.

When it comes to different music genres, the CXA80 adapts effortlessly to each style. From classical symphonies to energetic rock anthems or smooth jazz melodies, this amplifier allows you to fully immerse yourself in the unique characteristics of each genre. It faithfully reproduces the dynamics, tonal balance, and emotional nuances of every musical genre, ensuring that your listening experience remains authentic and enjoyable.

Overall, the sound characteristics of the Cambridge CXA80 amplifier are nothing short of exceptional. Its ability to reproduce intricate details, provide instrument separation, deliver powerful bass response, and offer treble clarity make it a top choice for discerning audiophiles. Whether you’re a fan of classical music, rock, jazz, or any other genre, the CXA80 will elevate your listening experience and bring your favorite music to life.

Sound Performance

The Cambridge CXA80 amplifier delivers an exceptional sound performance that will captivate even the most discerning audiophiles. Its ability to faithfully reproduce audio signals is truly remarkable, providing a listening experience that is both immersive and engaging.

One of the standout qualities of the CXA80 is its clarity. The amplifier effortlessly brings out intricate details in the music, allowing each instrument and vocal to be heard with precision and definition. Whether it’s the delicate plucking of guitar strings or the subtle nuances of a singer’s voice, every element is presented with utmost clarity, ensuring that no detail goes unnoticed.

The dynamics of the CXA80 are also commendable. It has the ability to effortlessly handle both soft and loud passages in music, maintaining control and composure throughout. The transitions between quiet and loud moments are smooth and seamless, adding depth and excitement to the listening experience. This dynamic range allows for a more engaging and realistic portrayal of the music, making it feel alive and vibrant.

In terms of tonal balance, the CXA80 achieves a harmonious blend across different frequency ranges. The lows are rich and full-bodied, providing a solid foundation to the music without overpowering other elements. The midrange is warm and inviting, bringing out the natural timbre of instruments and vocals. The highs are crisp and detailed, adding sparkle and airiness to the overall sound. The amplifier ensures that no frequency range dominates over others, resulting in a well-balanced sound signature that is pleasing to the ears.

Whether you’re listening to classical orchestral pieces, rock anthems, or intimate jazz performances, the Cambridge CXA80 excels in faithfully reproducing the essence of each genre. Its sound performance transports you into a world where every note is crystal clear, every rhythm is infectious, and every emotion is palpable.

In conclusion, the sound performance of the Cambridge CXA80 amplifier is nothing short of exceptional. With its clarity, dynamics, and tonal balance, it elevates the listening experience to new heights. Whether you’re a music enthusiast or a professional audio engineer, the CXA80 will impress with its ability to faithfully reproduce audio signals and bring your favorite music to life.

Advantages

The Cambridge CXA80 amplifier offers several notable advantages that set it apart from its competitors in the market. Firstly, its “double mono” design ensures complete separation between the left and right channels, allowing for a more precise and detailed sound reproduction. This design also includes symmetrical signal paths and separate power supplies for each channel, further enhancing the audio performance.

Another advantage of the CXA80 is its versatility in connectivity options. With a built-in Wolfson 8740 DAC and multiple digital inputs, including an asynchronous USB input, this amplifier allows for seamless integration with various digital sources. Additionally, it features a phono stage, making it compatible with turntables, and an optional Bluetooth receiver can be added for wireless streaming convenience.

In terms of power output, the CXA80 delivers an impressive 120 watts per channel at 4 ohms and 80 watts per channel at 8 ohms. This ample power ensures sufficient headroom and dynamic range to drive a wide range of speakers with ease.

Compared to other models in its price range, the Cambridge CXA80 stands out with its exceptional build quality and attention to detail. The use of high-quality components and the inclusion of features like a dedicated headphone output on the front panel demonstrate Cambridge’s commitment to delivering a premium product.

Furthermore, the sound quality of the CXA80 is highly regarded among audiophiles. It offers a balanced and transparent sound signature, with excellent clarity across the frequency spectrum. The low distortion levels (0.002%) contribute to a clean and natural sound reproduction.

Overall, the Cambridge CXA80 amplifier offers numerous advantages that make it a compelling choice for audio enthusiasts. Its superior design, extensive connectivity options, powerful output, and exceptional sound quality make it stand above many competitors in its price range.

Value for Money

The Cambridge CXA80 amplifier offers exceptional value for money with its impressive performance, extensive features, and reasonable price point. When considering the overall package that this amplifier provides, it becomes evident that it offers a great balance between performance and affordability.

In terms of performance, the CXA80 delivers powerful and detailed sound reproduction. With a power output of 80 watts per channel at 8 ohms and 120 watts per channel at 4 ohms, this amplifier is capable of driving a wide range of speakers with ease. The low distortion level of just 0.002% ensures that the audio signal remains clean and accurate, allowing for an immersive listening experience.

Furthermore, the CXA80 features a built-in Wolfson 8740 DAC, which enables high-quality digital-to-analog conversion. This allows for seamless integration with various digital sources, including computers and media players. The inclusion of two USB ports, one coaxial audio input, and two optical audio inputs further enhances its versatility by accommodating multiple devices simultaneously.

Considering the price point of the Cambridge CXA80, it is clear that the amplifier offers excellent value when compared to other amplifiers in its class. It provides a level of performance and features that are typically found in more expensive models. The inclusion of a phono stage for vinyl enthusiasts, as well as the option to add a Bluetooth receiver (BT100), adds to its value proposition.

Overall, the Cambridge CXA80 amplifier offers outstanding value for money. Its combination of powerful performance, versatile features, and competitive pricing make it an excellent choice for audiophiles who seek high-quality sound reproduction without breaking the bank. Whether you are a music enthusiast or a discerning listener, this amplifier provides an exceptional audio experience that rivals more expensive options on the market.

Conclusion

In conclusion, the Cambridge CXA80 amplifier is a powerful and versatile audio component that delivers exceptional sound quality and performance. With its “dual mono” topology and separate power supplies for each channel, this amplifier ensures excellent channel separation and a wide soundstage. The inclusion of the ALPS volume control and Wolfson 8740 DAC further enhances the audio experience, allowing for seamless integration with digital sources.

The CXA80’s design and construction are top-notch, featuring a sleek and modern aesthetic. The build quality is solid, and the amplifier feels sturdy and durable. The inclusion of a remote control adds convenience to the overall user experience.

Functionality-wise, the CXA80 offers a range of connectivity options, including two USB ports, one coaxial audio input, two optical audio inputs, one XLR analog input, and four RCA line inputs. It also features a phono stage for vinyl enthusiasts and a subwoofer output for enhanced bass response. Additionally, the option to add a Bluetooth receiver (BT100) provides wireless connectivity for streaming music.

When it comes to sound characteristics, the CXA80 excels in delivering a detailed, balanced, and dynamic sound signature. The amplifier exhibits excellent clarity across all frequency ranges, with tight and controlled bass response, smooth midrange reproduction, and crisp high frequencies. It effortlessly handles complex musical passages with precision and finesse.

In terms of sound performance, the CXA80 truly shines. It brings music to life with its ability to reproduce intricate details and subtle nuances in recordings. Whether you’re listening to classical orchestral pieces or energetic rock tracks, this amplifier delivers an immersive listening experience that will captivate audiophiles and casual listeners alike.

One of the notable advantages of the CXA80 is its versatility. It caters to a wide range of audio setups and can easily drive various speaker configurations with its ample power output of 120 watts per channel at 4 ohms and 80 watts per channel at 8 ohms. The inclusion of a preamp output allows for further system expansion, making it an excellent choice for those looking to build a comprehensive audio setup.

Considering its features, performance, and build quality, the Cambridge CXA80 offers excellent value for money. While it may be a significant investment for some, the amplifier’s exceptional sound reproduction and versatility make it well worth the price.

In conclusion, the Cambridge CXA80 is a standout amplifier that delivers outstanding audio performance and versatility. Its attention to detail in design, construction, and functionality ensures a premium listening experience. Whether you’re a discerning audiophile or a casual music lover, the CXA80 is an amplifier that will elevate your listening enjoyment.

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