Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
njpunkmusic

Cambridge CXN Digital Streamer

Recommended Posts

Anyone have one of these?  I recently upgraded to a Cambridge CX80 amp and then started reading about this.  The reviews are pretty solid, but $900 may not be worth it.  I currently bluetooth from my Mac or phone to it using the Cambridge BT100 (when not spinning records.)  The BT100 works great, but really curious how much better this streamer can make Tidal, Spotify, and my iTunes library.  

Also, there are two versions on the CXN with V2 just having an updated processor.  Would love to find a V1 for a reduced price, but cant seem to find one.  Suggestions?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I've been looking into streamers as well. Part of I think what you need to figure out is if you want to use the built-in DAC in a streamer like the CXN or if you want to get a streamer/server and then use an external DAC. My advice is that you can get some pretty decent streamers/servers from the $40 Google Chromecast Audio to the Auralic Aries Mini (about $400, a bit less used) and then spend the difference on a solid DAC. I just picked up a Chord 2Qute for $900 CAD (about $650US). Currently using a Chromecast Audio which you can attach coaxial into the DAC, as well as an Onkyo Digital Audio Player that has my uncompressed files. 


I just did a bit of research on the DAC chips in the V1 and V2 CXNs. They are decent, but both of those are primarily designed as streamers more than for their DAC capabilities. Depending on if you want a screen, or an attached app, may be worth deciding whether you want multiple components or an all-in-one. If you have between $300-700 to spend, there are a lot of options. The thing I've found in doing research about streaming devices is that within two years they seem to be quickly obsolete, and/or their resale value goes way down. That's kind of why I've made the decision to have a separate streaming device to my DAC.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
15 minutes ago, Sidney Crosley said:

I've been looking into streamers as well. Part of I think what you need to figure out is if you want to use the built-in DAC in a streamer like the CXN or if you want to get a streamer/server and then use an external DAC. My advice is that you can get some pretty decent streamers/servers from the $40 Google Chromecast Audio to the Auralic Aries Mini (about $400, a bit less used) and then spend the difference on a solid DAC. I just picked up a Chord 2Qute for $900 CAD (about $650US). Currently using a Chromecast Audio which you can attach coaxial into the DAC, as well as an Onkyo Digital Audio Player that has my uncompressed files. 


I just did a bit of research on the DAC chips in the V1 and V2 CXNs. They are decent, but both of those are primarily designed as streamers more than for their DAC capabilities. Depending on if you want a screen, or an attached app, may be worth deciding whether you want multiple components or an all-in-one. If you have between $300-700 to spend, there are a lot of options. The thing I've found in doing research about streaming devices is that within two years they seem to be quickly obsolete, and/or their resale value goes way down. That's kind of why I've made the decision to have a separate streaming device to my DAC.

Thank you for this information.  I'm going to have to do a bit more research.  I still get a bit confused on the DAC part.  All I know if that the amp I bought has a DAC.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Depending on who you speak to, and the level of critical listening, DACs to some make little difference, or a whole world of difference. Fifteen to twenty years ago, the costs of digital-to-analog conversion were significantly higher (which is why sound cards, discmans, and any other way to decode digital music cost hundreds of dollars). Now, a half-decent DAC costs literally pennies (take, for example the lightning to headphone adapter which costs $9 - it has a DAC in it, and it sounds pretty decent). Most cheap laptops now have passable DACs (though often terrible speakers). There are some incredible $100 DACs out there, and then when you start spending more, the improvements in sound are definitely noticeable but not significant until you start spending a lot more or get cutting edge technology. I do most of my listening with very expensive headphones, and I find I can definitely hear differences. On my speaker/turntable system, I don't hear as much of a difference (partly because my speakers are in my kitchen/dining room where I can't do as much critical listening). 

 

Let me know if you are thinking more about DACs - I've owned at least 7 or 8 in the past few years, and while I'm not expert at all, I have definitely learned a lot about the differences and approaches.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My streaming setup is pretty simple. 

 

I run an Apple TV (currently the 4k,  formerly a 3rd gen, and an Apple Airport Express) into my Marantz SR5008 which is passing the signal in Pure Mode (2.0 stereo, no signal to sub)  to my Marantz PM8004 in amp only mode powering Monitor Audio RX8 speakers. 

 

In other words, I am using my AV receiver (SR5008) purely as a digital preamp and not to drive my speakers.

 

I have tried running the same digital signal from the Apple streaming units into my Emotiva XDA-2 DAC into the PM8004 and didn't really notice a difference and I had to push some additional buttons to get it set up that way versus just using the same setup I use for movies, etc.

Edited by Tardcore

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Mine is cheap and easy (really easy for you since you have a Mac). Airplay to generation 1/2 Airport express, to my set-up. Has a halfway decent DAC in it. I used to run it to a Schiit man (optical out) but sold it. I think the Airport express was $20 on ebay shipped.

Edited by Thomas³

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 10/3/2018 at 1:10 PM, Sidney Crosley said:

Depending on who you speak to, and the level of critical listening, DACs to some make little difference, or a whole world of difference. Fifteen to twenty years ago, the costs of digital-to-analog conversion were significantly higher (which is why sound cards, discmans, and any other way to decode digital music cost hundreds of dollars). Now, a half-decent DAC costs literally pennies (take, for example the lightning to headphone adapter which costs $9 - it has a DAC in it, and it sounds pretty decent). Most cheap laptops now have passable DACs (though often terrible speakers). There are some incredible $100 DACs out there, and then when you start spending more, the improvements in sound are definitely noticeable but not significant until you start spending a lot more or get cutting edge technology. I do most of my listening with very expensive headphones, and I find I can definitely hear differences. On my speaker/turntable system, I don't hear as much of a difference (partly because my speakers are in my kitchen/dining room where I can't do as much critical listening). 

 

Let me know if you are thinking more about DACs - I've owned at least 7 or 8 in the past few years, and while I'm not expert at all, I have definitely learned a lot about the differences and approaches.

youre amazing dude.  thank you so much.  im pretty content with just having the CXA streaming from spotify on my Mac via the BT100 bluetooth drive.  Sounds great on my Monitor Audio RX8.  Its funny cause all ive been playing since I got them in Pink Floyd, The Doors, Who, and Queen.  Sounding so good.  Oh I through Pawn Shop on by Sublime and thought the bass was going to wake the neighbors

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for Vinyl Collective. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  

×