"I seriously doubt you'll find more clarity, drive and capacity to entertain in an integrated amp at this price." 'Hi-Fi Choice - Recommended'. Tested at £750.
Top end components
Lift the lid on the Cambridge CXA80 and you'll find components and technology that would usually only be found on much more expensive designs. At its heart is a fully symmetrical Class A/B amplifier, which ensures a precise, even sound with excellent separation between the right and left channels.
Powering the amp is a large toroidal power transformer with separate, dual-mono windings. Separate winding for the left and right channels creates a clarity and imaging more reminiscent of amplifiers from a class or two above. Renowned for their low noise, high efficiency and superior sound quality, the over-sized transformer gives the CXA80 a powerful, dynamic sound and a hefty 80W per channel power output - enough to drive most speakers to high levels in pretty much all domestic environments.
The Cambridge CXA80 has been to work just as well with digital sources as analogue ones. Cambridge has fitted a high quality Wolfson WM8740 DAC chipset for sound that could actually improve the sound of your existing digital sources. With two optical digital inputs and one coaxial one, you can connect up to three digital sources, such as games console, TV and a CD transport such as the matching Cambridge CXC.
A further highlight of the CXA80's spec is the asynchronous USB socket at the rear. This makes the ideal connection for hooking up your computer, as it will effectively 'control' the PC's output for the best sound quality possible. This greatly reduces jitter and gives the highest quality sound possible from your computer audio.
Add the optional Cambridge BT100 Bluetooth dongle (cost option) and you'll be able to enjoy Bluetooth connectivity with your Bluetooth-equipped devices. Not only will the music from your Bluetooth device sound superb through the unit's sophisticated DAC technology, but as it uses the higher grade Bluetooth aptX CODEC, it will be as close in quality as its possible to get to a conventional wired connection.
Plenty of analogue inputs
More usually found on 'reference' hi-fi and professional equipment, the CXA80 boasts balanced XLR inputs. When connected to a suitable source, this gives a fully balanced, hot/cold, connection for the ultimate analogue signal quality. The Cambridge CXA80 also has four line level inputs: easily enough for the vast majority of systems. An added bonus is the 3.5mm, front-mounted input, perfect for connecting an MP3 player or smartphone for convenient playback. Other handy connections include an RCA subwoofer output, headphone socket and connections for two pairs of speakers.
The CXA80 is part of the totally redesigned CX-Series. The distinctive tear-drop profile gives the CXA80 a contemporary look and makes it the ideal partner for the matching CD transport and network player. Yet it's far more than just a good-looking case; it helps the sound quality, too. With rigid, metal construction and low-resonance design, the casing helps shield the amp from both mechanical and electrical interference, helping to improve clarity and reduce background noise.
If you've been looking for an amp with the finest sound quality without compromising connectivity, you need look no further. The Cambridge CXA80 has it all!