Cambridge CXN V2 £799
The music streamer nut is a very hard one to crack, yet Cambridge’s two streamers here now have seven Awards between them: three for the 851N – again our Product of the Year – and a truly extraordinary four for this, the CXN.
True, this is version 2 of the CXN, but the changes are so slight, particularly in terms of sound quality, that we’re prepared to consider it pretty much a fourth win for one product, rather than a first for a new one.
Those slight changes? Increased processing power for a better digital experience, with the headline being the addition of Google Chromecast; so it’s less of a replacement than an improved prospect for future customers.
Regardless, it remains the hugely enjoyable sonic performance that really singles the CXN out. It sounds fantastic. There’s an enthusiastic drive to the performance, combining subtlety, snappy timing and rich detail to deliver a sound that is wonderfully entertaining.
It’s a punchy sound that has a really good grasp of rhythm and low-end We’ve seldom heard a Cambridge product sound so muscular. Bass lines are meaty, textured and bound along happily to the lively sense of rhythm.
Admirably balanced tone
The CXN is skilful at conveying the space between instruments, too, with Ghostpoet’s atmospheric X Marks The Spot filling the room with easy dynamics.
The sound isn’t overly smooth, but the Cambridge delivers a full-bodied performance that’s hugely pleasing to listen to. The CXN certainly doesn’t hold back from delivering the full impact of a song: the intensity of The Dead Weather’s brooding, screeching 60 Feet Tall is fully conveyed, while you’ll be blasted with the full force of Extreme’s funk-metal anthem Rest In Peace.
The admirably balanced tone in evidence on these samples never puts a foot out of place, either. Drums hit accurately, the bass digs deep, and the top end sparkles.
The midrange in particular sounds lovely, with voices fully fleshed out and packed with character. The streamer is not fussy with file type either, it sounds fluid and dynamic with high-resolution and Spotify-streamed tracks alike.
Chromecast is a neat new feature, but it’s just yet another string to the CXN’S already vastly-strung bow. Here you have a hi-fi streamer of rare all-round ability.
The addition of Chromecast is just another string to the CXN’S already vastly-strung bow