I always make it a point to stop at the Cambridge Audio room when I hit a show and even more so this time because I hoped to hear both the relatively new AX Series budget amps and the brand new CX Series 2 Integrated Amps. Dubbed the CXA81 ($1299) and CXA61 ($999), they offer several improvements over the previous CXA60 and CXA80 the latter of which I loved.
I’ll defer to the press release for detail on the upgrades over the first series:
CXA 61: The older model’s DAC has been replaced with a cutting-edge ESS Sabre ES9010K2M, and there’s now a USB input compatible with sources up to 32bit/384kHz and DSD256 in quality. Additionally, aptX HD Bluetooth is integrated, allowing music lovers to stream wireless audio in stunning quality, up to 48kHz 24Bit.
CXA 81: Rebuilt from the ground up, the CXA81 offers several new features over its predecessor the CXA80, including a superior ESS Sabre ES9016K2M DAC, improved USB input supporting 32bit/384kHz and DSD256 quality and integrated aptX HD Bluetooth receiver, allowing users to stream from their mobile device direct to the amp at up to 48kHz 24Bit quality.
While I didn’t get to hear the AX Series, the CXA81 was running with the $6000 Q Acoustics Concept 500 floorstanders, and while they might have been overkill, the 81 did an excellent job of bringing out their virtues. I hope to get one in the house soon, but probably not with something the level of the Concept 500s.
The Cambridge Audio CX Series 2 will be available for purchase in October 2019. Visit cambridgeaudio.com for more information.