One of my missions during this year’s AXPONA was to finally get to hear Cambridge Audio’s new high-end Edge line, so it was the second room I hit once I got there. First was Andrew Jones’ Debut 2.0 demo room which I couldn’t resist since there was such a buzz around it.
First thing I have to say about the Edge series is that pictures do them no justice. One has to see the massive heatsinks, the substantial curved aluminum faceplates and the considerable machined knobs in person to appreciate the build quality. I picked up the EDGE A ($5000) integrated amp that was sitting on the counter next to the demo setup, and it has to be the heaviest integrated I have ever touched, probably due to the heatsinks and huge toroidal transformers inside.
CA’s demo setup was built around the Edge W Power Amplifier ($3000) and Edge NQ Streaming Preamplifier ($4000) paired with B&W 800 series standmounters. I think it was a good match, with the Edge gear easily bringing out the naturalness and realism that the B&Ws are known for. The speakers just disappeared and all you heard was the clear presentation of the recording. I would love to hear more in my listening space at home.
I was also hoping to listen to Monitor Audio’s new Studio ($1500) standmount speaker, and I was happy to see they were also on display at the show teamed up with some Roksan K3 electronics (Integrated, DAC, & CD Player). The design for the speakers is pretty much pulled directly from their flagship Platinum PL500 ll floorstanding speakers, and even though they were small in stature, the sound that came from them was huge, with nicely controlled bass that could fool you into thinking you were listening to a much larger speaker.
Another room that impressed was the Schiit/Salk room on the third floor, the setup was comprised of Salk Song 3A floorstanders, Schitt Freya preamp, Schiit Gungnir Multibit DAC, and 2 Schiit Vidar power amps in the mono configuration. The Schiit gear is very modestly priced at about $3500 for the lot, and they really made the beautiful Salk speakers which go for about $3900 sing. It was one of my favorite rooms.
The newest version of PS Audio’s SPROUT integrated amp, dubbed SPROUT 100 was on display, and it looked very similar to both the original and to the upgraded SPROUT II they released with Massdrop. Like the Massdrop collaboration, it had a remote control, but it also had a bright led in the upper right hand corner which the Massdrop product didn’t have. I didn’t get a release date on it, but it sounded good with the 1st Gen Elac Debuts they had hooked up to it. I expect it to be in the $500 range when it comes out. I love this product because it does it all, (amp, headphone amp, DAC, preamp, phone pre), it sounds good, and is affordable to boot.