Class XA Amplification – Key Technologies in the Edge Series
DC Servo Technology – Key Technologies in the Edge Series
Digital Input Board – Key Technologies in the Edge Series
The StreamMagic Platform – Key Technologies in the Edge Series
Twin Toroidal Transformers – Key Technologies in the Edge Series
StreamMagic has been at the heart of Cambridge Audio’s network music streamers since 2011. But what does it do and, more importantly, why should you care?
Fast food might well be quick and convenient but it’s not necessarily what your body needs to thrive. To get full nutritional value from your mealtimes, you may need to make a bit more of an effort from time to time.
The same could be said for how we consume music in the digital age. Music streaming services offer instant gratification. They are a brilliant way to discover the next big thing, try out a recommendation from a friend or rustle up a playlist of your favourite tunes.
But when you discover your next melodic fixation (or rediscover an old one), is your streaming service delivering at a high enough quality to properly nourish your new-found appetite? Some “high quality” streams carry just a quarter of the information found on a CD and standard streams less than a tenth. Enough to enjoy a taster maybe, but are you getting a completely wholesome musical experience?
To get the most from the music you love, you may choose to invest in something with more of the good stuff left in. That could well take the shape of a high-resolution digital download.
For both convenience and quality, there’s no question that a hi-res download is an attractive option. Storage is only limited by easily expanded hard drive space rather than finite shelf space and – when played back on good hi-fi equipment – the extra information captured within means voices and instruments can take on an improved clarity and depth of tone. Compared to standard quality streaming, think of hi-res in terms of ordering a sirloin steak rather than a burger.
The only downside can be getting your music player to not only recognise, but actually play the wide variety of available file sizes and formats. Imagine ordering that steak and not being given a steak knife! That’s why Cambridge Audio created the award-winning StreamMagic platform to power our range of networked music players. Not only does StreamMagic easily deal with standard quality digital music files from your favourite streaming services, it can also identify, unpack and decode a vast range of different hi-res file types, making it nice and simple to order from the higher quality section of the musical menu.
Of course, you can still enjoy fast food – we wouldn’t tell you otherwise – but how much better is a sit-down meal in a good restaurant? StreamMagic guarantees your reservation.
In our current line-up you’ll find StreamMagic powering our Edge NQ, 851N, CXN (V2) and CXR products.
Optimum sound quality
Class XD (Crossover Displacement), a patented Cambridge Audio technology, is a unique amplifier circuit design created to offer the optimum sound quality currently available from existing amplifier configurations, whilst retaining the efficiency and high power levels required for a truly dynamic performance. It was conceived by our London-based engineering team to combine the best of both worlds from Class A and Class AB amplifier operation.
Class A amplification sounds wonderful thanks to its extremely low distortion, but unfortunately it’s horrendously inefficient. We’ve all seen big Class A mono-block amps the size of coffee tables – that’s all costly heat sink, required to deal with the huge amount of heat generated by Class A operation.
Class AB amplification on the other hand is far more efficient but can often have a greater level of distortion due to how fragile the audio signal is when it crosses through the zero crossing point from transistor to transistor. By eliminating this distortion, Class XD, delivers the sonic benefits of pure Class A amplification, combined with the efficiency of Class AB. In turn, this allows us to spend more of the budget on the quality of amplification, power supplies, etc rather than on heat sinks!
Distinct from Class AB, XD moves the controlled current’s crossover point away from either side of zero volume (the worst possible position in terms of distortion) and instead displaces it to a different point where the transfer functions of the transistors are better matched, at a significant output level where distortion is far less audible.
The benefits of this approach give the sonic refinements of Class A operation and the uncompromising efficiency and power of Class AB operation. In fact, the 851A delivers a gigantic 120 watts per channel (into 8 ohms) - enough for the most demanding speaker set-up.
Balanced Mode Radiators
BMR® is a technology that brings a number of exceptional advantages to audio reproduction. The BMR® technology provides a full range drive unit that has a similar acoustic behaviour to a point source drive unit where the majority of the audio band is produced from a single membrane, avoiding the common problems associated with crossovers and material change within the audio band.
Unlike traditional pistonic or flat panel speakers, BMRs® uniquely combine vertical and horizontal dispersion using Horizontal Vibration Modes. This means BMRs® can deliver a much wider sound stage and a truly room-filling performance.
A BMR® is a modal loudspeaker which uses a flat membrane, where a limited number of bending resonances are harnessed to produce midrange and high frequencies. The membrane is built into a chassis, like a traditional loudspeaker, with a voice coil, surround and spider to extend the response down into the low frequencies.
The key BMR® listener benefits are:
Don't miss a drop of detail
Our unique ATF2 (Adaptive Time Filtering) upsampling technology, developed in conjunction with Anagram Technologies, Switzerland.
All incoming audio data such as a CD 16-bit 44.1kHz signal, is upsampled to 24-bit 384kHz using a high-end 32-bit Analog Devices DSP (Digital Signal Processor). "Polynomial Curve Fitting Interpolation" provides a much more accurate upsampled audio soundwave than traditional upsampling processes. And a unique timing system buffers audio data to almost eradicate digital jitter. Vital – as jitter, common in digital audio devices, loses vital detail, often leaving digital audio sounding flat and lifeless.
On products that have ATF, every digital input, no matter where it comes from, wired or wireless, goes through the upsampling and jitter reduction process. From low quality MP3 and internet radio, to high res WAV or FLAC files, everything is treated the same so everything will sound detailed and full.