Cambridge Audio EVO 150 First Look Review: This All-In-One Integrated Amplifier and Music Streamer Is A Knockout!

Cambridge Audio has manufactured class-leading streamers and integrated amps for some time now, so it was only a matter of time before they put both in one box. That time is now.

I just got my hands on one of their latest creations, the $3000 Cambridge Audio Evo 150 Integrated Amplifier with Wi-Fi Streaming, Bluetooth, and Apple AirPlay 2. I’m highly impressed with its ease of use, functionality, and design from my short time with it.

This thing has everything but the kitchen sink, including some of the best Class-D amps on the market (Hypex NCore-150w x 2 into 8ohms), 32 bit ESS SABRE Based DAC, 2-way aptX HD Bluetooth, DSD, MQA, App-based Multi-Room Audio, Spotify Connect, Tidal Connect, Roon, Qobuz, Deezer, Apple Music, Google Chromecast, MM phono stage, and probably a bunch of other stuff I forgot. I basically could do a whole post just digging into features/benefits.

The Evo 150 can serve up hi-res audio in a million different ways, all at the touch of a smartphone screen. Granted, many devices do this nowadays, but there aren’t many that do it in such an elegant manner.

As far as connections are concerned, it has just about anything you could ask for, including coaxial digital, dual optical inputs, balanced XLR input, RCA line-in, sub out, pre-out, 2 flavors of USB, HDMI ARC, and RS-232. There’s even a headphone jack on the front panel. It’s nice because this lets you grow in a lot of different directions.

I believe that upscale streaming amps with big, beautiful screens are the future of hi-fi, and so far, NAD (M10 BluOS) and Naim (Uniti Atom) have executed this form factor to the greatest effect. Now you can add Cambridge Audio to the list.

The Evo 150 has one of the most beautiful high-resolution screens (6.8”) I’ve ever seen on a hi-fi component (my photos don’t do it justice). The font sizes and types are perfect for viewing across a room, and the way Album Art comes across is just exquisite.

The overall industrial design is also exquisite, starting with its sharp metal casing and thick aluminum faceplate. I also love the textured metal source selector ring that surrounds the smooth turning volume knob.

While that’s all impressive, the most remarkable part of the design is the magnetic side panels, which allow you to totally change up the Evo 150’s aesthetic at the snap of a finger.

Is your style “pipe and slippers”? Then pop on the woodgrain panels. Going to put the Evo in your flashy Miami condo? Then pop on the wavy graphite panels for a more modern look. I’m partial to the wavy panels, by the way.

Setup and First Listen

This is supposed to be just a quick overview, so I won’t go too much farther into features, but I did want to talk about the setup.

First of all, setup was generally a breeze, especially using the iPhone and AirPlay. I installed the StreamMagic app, then selected the Evo 150 as an AirPlay player on the phone.

The unit then used AirPlay to log onto my network, bypassing the chore of typing your Wi-Fi password in on the amplifier screen.

Once the Evo is set up on your Wi-Fi, then you pull up the StreamMagic app and follow the steps, which in my case was just a few button presses. The button presses initiated a firmware update and allowed me to select a few initial settings like renaming the unit (something like “Living Room”, for example) in my app if I wanted to.

Once that was done, I was able to control the unit with my phone and play some music. I initially had a hiccup where it didn’t show the Evo 150 in the list of devices along with my Cambridge Audio CXN (V2) streamer, but a quick restart of the app fixed that.

Once I pulled the amp up in StreamMagic and logged into my Tidal account, I was able to play music and change the volume all from my smartphone. What I loved about the app control was how smooth and fast it was.

When changing the volume from my phone, I didn’t experience the lag I have seen with just about every other system I have used. The volume up/down adjustment was instantaneous, as was the power on/off. That was impressive.

From my first listen, using a pair of Triangle Borea BR08 floorstanding speakers, I was impressed at how clean and refined the Evo 150 sounded. Tonal balance was outstanding. The treble was smooth, the mids were clear, and the bass was really well controlled.

The soundstage was open and airy, and imaging was sharp. However, as sharp as everything was, I felt like the BR08s weren’t giving me all the depth this amp was capable of. I’m looking forward to hearing what it can do with even better speakers! Stay tuned for my full review!

Cambridge Audio Evo 150 Unboxing Gallery

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