Just Audio, Cambridge, Mission, Yamaha: Déjà Vu All Over Again

Walking into one of the rooms hosted by Middle River, MD audio dealer Just Audio was a bit of a surprise, and to quote Yogi Berra, "It's like déjà vu all over again."

I'd been in search of Cambridge Audio, to see what was new and if possible, spend some time with two of their integrated amplifiers, the $2999 Evo 150 and the $6499 Edge A. The Edge A is part of an upscale line that Cambridge created to establish a presence above their current one, which is defined by an ethos of "great sound, nondescript cosmetics, and reasonable prices."

The Evo 150 is about as different from the Edge as an integrated amp could be. The former looks and feels like a traditional class-A/B integrated to which a few new capabilities have been added. The Evo is from the future, just waiting for us to catch up. Its cosmetics are sleek, but a bit edgy, and leave no doubt that the Evo was developed from the ground up around today's latest technologies. Unfortunately, the only piece of Cambridge gear to be found in this room was the CXN v2 media player (below). It's very capable and well-built for the price, and nice enough, but . . .

This brings me back to the doorway. The first things I saw were the Mission 770—reviewed by JA1 in November 2022 and Misison 700 loudspeakers. They were resting on stands and flanked by display boards that rocked me back to the mid-1980s, when I was deciding between the Missions and Celestion 6s. Tom Bryant of Just Audio (top photo) explained that Mission didn't want to build a part-for-part recreation of the speakers, or to build 770s using new parts. The goal was to design and build a thoroughly modern speaker that that resembled the original as closely as possible but could compete with anything being built today.

Yamaha had gotten on the retro bandwagon too. I did a double take when I saw the Yamaha R-N2000A integrated amp and suddenly found myself kneeling to play with its knobs and switches. I swear that it was a dead ringer for the Yamaha amp I inherited from my older sister back when the world was young. Yamaha's approach was a bit different than was Mission's, however. Yamaha didn't have an iconic and immediately recognizable product like the 770, so no specific model was used as a standard, the products were instead crafted to have the look and feel of a 1970s–80s component and evoke fond memories in people of a certain age.

And OMG, there sat a Marantz 2230-A receiver with its wood case, the glowing blue meters and horizontal frequency display, and coolest of all, a horizontal wheel used to dial in that underground FM station.

Jazzlistener's picture

that although the Yamaha R-N2000A is new, the look and feel has been around for over five years now in their non-networked amps (AS-1200, AS-2200 and AS-3200).