Something we’re often asked by customers at Cambridge HQ is which amplifier from our CX series we recommend for their hi-fi system. At a slight glance, it can just look like a difference in power but there’s more to it than the difference of 20 watts! Here’s a quick look at both the integrated amplifiers differences and similarities.
So let’s start with the obvious… the CXA80 offers more power for your money and yes, it’s an extra 20 watts per channel over the CXA60. Another area where the power performance excels in the CXA80 is within the toroidal transformer. It has an extra 50% volt-amp capacity so can deliver more power to the speakers when you really need it. Especially when listening to those particularly gripping performances. Not sure what a toroidal transformer is? Check out our YouTube video and enlighten yourself!
USB and XLR Connectivity
The main area of difference between the two is with the extra digital and analogue inputs. The CXA80 adds an additional asynchronous USB audio input at the back. This allows you to play 24-bit/192kHz high-resolution files directly from your computer or laptop, supporting both Class 1 and 2 USB modes.
The CXA80 also includes an XLR input which allows you to connect up a range of extra audiophile grade sources if you have them. The benefit of connecting using XLR is that it's balanced with an earth wire in the cable. This makes the signal much purer, so it’s perfect if you need to use long runs of cable around the room without sacrificing any quality.
The CXA80 is a reference amplifier based on a specific balance between power and precision. The CXA60 on the other hand is considered by many as more ‘musical’ for want of a better word. With this in mind, the musical delivery from the ’80 has a more ‘mature’ feel and offers up an impressive and clear sound stage for the most discerning of listeners. Especially when listening to dynamic classical music. This is all thanks to its dual mono design, which means that the left and right channels are powered separately on different PCBs. This gives your music more power at the right points. It makes it more ‘muscular’ if you will.
We always advise people to get out there and listen to the products themselves so they can base their decisions on sound rather than comparing stats and figures. So although we’ve given you a quick rundown here, our next piece of advice is to go out there and put them to a listening test. If you fancy doing some more revision in the meantime, check out our YouTube videos below that also explore the CXA amplifiers and CX range.