Cam­bridge CXN V2 £799

What Hi-Fi (UK) - - Awards 2018 -

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

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