As the flagship integrated amplifier in Cambridge’s CX range,the CXA80 boasts 80W per channel,a hi-res built-in DAC and an asynchronous USB Type B input. To that it adds three hi-res digital inputs: one coaxial and two optical. A second USB port supports the BT100 Bluetooth dongle (available for £70).
The trade off is no onboard phono stage, but there are four line-level inputs into which you can plug your own plus a pair of balanced XLR inputs and, on the fascia, 3.5mm inputs for personal players and headphones. And,
there are two sets of speaker terminals to easily facilitate bi-wiring.On top, the heat venting also doubles up as a showcase for the smartly dressed toroidal transformer and flanking heat sinks. But pretty as it looks, the symmetrical circuitry
drops a strong hint about the CXA80’s intent, which pushes the performance potential of its dual mono layout a
step further by having separate transformer taps for both the left and right channels.
In terms of build and finish, it’s hard to see where any corners have been cut. On the contrary, the thick aluminium fascia and smooth,radiused edges are something you expect to find on a far more expensive amp. As an ownership proposition,
the CXA80 looks and feels as desirable as any in the group.
Cambridge says it previously went to almost surgical lengths to minimise distortion in its amplifiers for the best
results and that, invariably, it meant 46 components sat in the signal path.For the CX Series, the company wanted to dramatically cut the component count. As a result, the CXA80 has just 24 components in the signal path. The big difference is that there are 500 support components as well. Their job is to guarantee those 24 key components are optimal
all the time regardless of mains fluctuations and other influences. So where previously tweaking one of the 46 components only made a tiny,hard to quantify, difference to the sound, changing just one of the 24 components in the CXA80 affects the
character of the amplifier, making it possible to hear clearly what each component is doing.
Power output80W RMS into 8 Ohms, 120W RMS into 4 Ohms-DACWolfson WM8740-Frequency Response<5Hz– 60kHz +/-1dB-Analogue audio inputs1x balanced XLR, 4 x RCA, 1 x 3.5mm MP3 input (front panel)-Digital audio inputs1 x S/PDIF coaxial, 2 x TOSLINK optical, 1 x USB audio, Bluetooth via BT100 (not supplied)-CompatibilityTOSLINK optical, S/PDIF coaxial, USB 1.0 and 2.0, BT100 Bluetooth receiver-OutputsSpeakers A+B, 3.5mm headphone, Preamp Output, Subwoofer Output-Max power consumption750W-Standby power consumption<0.5W-Dimensions (H x W x D)*115 x 430 x 341mm (4.5 x 16.9 x 13.4”)-Weight8.7kg (19.1lbs)
Timing feels fleet and generally secure, but a little more mechanical than some others here. That said,we seriously doubt you’ll find more clarity, drive and capacity to entertain in an integrated amplifier at this price.