Over the last few years our product design team has tried to strike the balance between ensuring our products stay up to date via firmware updates where we can rather than releasing model after model after mode. We know how frustrating it is when you see an updated version of your almost brand new purchase on the shop floor NOOO!!! So for a while our range changes have been evolutionary rather than revolutionary - until now.
For over a decade, the core of our range has been the Azur range of components. We can't really overstate how important they have been to Cambridge Audio as a company. From the arrival of the original Azur range in 2003, they have carved out a reputation for technical excellence and absolute performance that has transformed how we're seen as a brand. The formula has been so successful that we haven't really tinkered with it very much since. A 651C shares no parts in common with the original 640C but they are recognizably similar products.
Over the last few years however, the way we choose to listen to music and how we build systems has changed. These changes are now so significant that the only way to fully do them justice was to start with a clean sheet of paper and design a range of components that take these changes into account whilst also incorporating everything else we have learned in the last twelve years. That’s right, we set ourselves quite the challenge, but now it’s here. Ladies, gentlemen and audiophiles around the globe, the CX series is here.
On the face of it, things don't look that different but bear with us. The new range isn’t just a pretty face (although it sure is damn handsome) because we have altered the roles and responsibilities of the components. The amplifier has always been the heart of a system but our CXA60 and CXA80 are the brain as well. As we have started using different components for our digital listening, we have moved the digital to analogue decoding to inside the amps. Both amps are capable of decoding 24/192kHz digital files from a variety of sources. With the CXA80, we've fitted a USB input that means that with the simple addition of a computer and pair of speakers, you have a seriously flexible system good to go.
None of this new found decoding ability comes at the expense of qualities we demand from our amplifiers though. Both amps have the ability to drive a huge range of speakers with plenty of low distortion power. We have paid close attention to stereo separation in these amps with the CXA80 particularly, we have been able to build it as a dual mono design which offers the best possible performance from a single box amplifier.
So does all this work on the amps mean we've abandoned CD? Of course not! What we have done is stopped doubling up on the digital to analogue conversion. As decoding has been moved to the amp, the new CXC is a CD Transport. This means that the CD mechanism is not connected directly to a DAC inside the chassis. Instead, the CXC has digital outputs than can be connected directly to the CXA digital inputs- or indeed any other digital input. When combined together, the result behaves exactly like a conventional CD player and one that takes advantage of all of our experience in CD players but also one that doesn't double up on unnecessary components.
The other piece of source equipment we have added to the CX range is a network streamer. The CXN builds on the experience we've gained in this category and adds even more features like AirPlay and a full colour display. This means you can enjoy a peerless streaming experience with impressive convenience and the same handsome lines as the amplifier. Unlike the CXC, the CXN is built with the decoding on board and can be used entirely as a digital preamplifier in a suitable system but is just as happy being connected to a CXA amp and being used as a conventional digital source. This flexibility is one of the defining features of the CX range. We have striven to keep the same exceptional performance we have always offered in a range of components that are perfectly suited to the diverse ways we listen to music in 2015. We haven't rushed into replacing the Azur range, but now we have, we feel that we have a set of components that will follow in the footsteps of its illustrious ancestors and win over a whole new generation of music lovers.