The Astounding Cambridge Audio CXA81 Integrated Amplifier In The House! First Impressions And Unboxing Pics!

Ever since I had a chance to do a review of the Cambridge Audio CXA60 integrated amp, I’ve been a big fan of their CX Series components. Cambridge Audio always aims to provide huge value for the money and that line definitely hit the mark. Well earlier this year, Cambridge released the new and improved CX Series 2, where they upgraded the two integrated amps, now dubbed CXA61 and CXA81.

I first had a chance to listen to Series 2 at this year’s Rocky Mountain Audio Fest, where they had the CXA81 playing with some $6000 Q Acoustics Concept 500 floorstanding speakers. I was impressed by what I heard, and I requested to get one for evaluation. Thankfully, Cambridge Audio was gracious enough to send one out.

The design isn’t much different than the CXA80 it replaces, but it doesn’t need to be. The CXA80 still has one of the freshest designs out there, so only a minor facelift was necessary on the 81. They did remove some buttons from the front and change to a new grey color which I think is really classy. All the major changes are under the hood, check out my upcoming review for a full discussion of the upgrades!

Features and Unboxing Pics:

  • 80-watts per channel with Class AB amplification for detailed and powerful audio performance
  • Separate, symmetrical left and right channels are carefully engineered to deliver incredible sound-staging
  • Balanced XLR inputs for low noise interference
  • High-Quality DAC – Connect digital sources directly via TOSLINK and Coaxial
  • USB Audio Input accepting up to 32bit/384kHz & DSD 256 digital files from Mac or PC
  • Bluetooth aptX HD built-in

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