Cambridge Audio and Triangle

One question the Stereophile team asks in every AXPONA room we cover is, “Is any of the gear new?” The Cambridge Audio team wins a trophy this year—or would if there was a trophy. When I dropped in for a listen on the first day of the show, account manager Joseph Buechel told me that the Class AB CXA81 MkII integrated amplifier ($1199) was making its debut "today, right now." It’s so new that, as I write this, you can't have one yet. But you can join the waitlist on the website. Shipping is expected to start soon.

The CXA81 Mk II has some changes relative to the Mk I, such as onboard Bluetooth streaming, a higher-grade DAC with an ESS ES9018K2M Sabre 32 chip, a slightly larger screen, and a price that’s 20% higher; the earlier model cost $999. The power remains the same: 80Wpc RMS into 8 Ohms, 120Wpc RMS into 4 Ohms.

The minimalist design aesthetic of the Cambridge Audio brand is also unchanged. If you want a system that does its work but doesn't draw attention, this understated British gear just might be the ticket.

Lately, Cambridge Audio has been on fire. Just a couple of months ago, they introduced another new product: the Roon-ready CXN100 network player ($1099). Buechel demonstrated it proudly at AXPONA. We giggled about the cool virtual VU meters you can choose to show on the not-too-shabby 6.8" screen—a bit bigger than the ones on the Eversolo A6 and A8 players. Owners of select, previously released Cambridge Audio products aren’t left in the cold: Next month, following an over-the-air software update, Evo 75s and Evo 150s (both amp/streamer combos) will be able to display the VU meters, too.

Buechel had one final bit of news to share: An Evo 150 DeLorean Edition ($3199) recently began shipping, making Cambridge Audio the official audio partner of the DeLorean Motor Company; thank you Marty McFly. According to a press release, the DeLorean version “goes the extra mile, stripping down to bare metal with meticulously crafted, brushed bodywork and sumptuous silver detailing that pay homage to the iconic DeLorean DMC-12.” “DeLorean-themed” side panels allow for customization.

In this room, the Cambridge Audio gear ably powered the lovely, French-built Triangle Antal 40th anniversary edition speakers ($4700/pair) in a system cabled with AudioQuest and Chord products. People having loud conversations and music leaking in from an adjacent room made auditioning hard. Regardless: audiophiles with modest budgets should check out Cambridge Audio’s offerings as a matter of habit. The company's track record goes back to the Golden Age of audio in the 1960s, but they've kept pace with the times and now serve a modern, younger crowd that’s value-minded and appropriately picky.