Reviews

Review: high-quality Edge A, the best Cambridge Audio amplifier ever

The best Cambridge Audio stereo amplifier ever
Over many years, the Cambridge Edge A has been tuned not by the machine, but by the human ear. Once perfected, the end result offers a perfect musical balance without adding anything or removing it. With each component selected from the listening session, Edge A sounds closer than ever to live music. If you want to hear what the musician feels, listen to this.

Maximum accuracy
Using two toroidal transformers, Edge A cancels out electromagnetic interference. This gives less distortion and a ‘black ink’ background, which means you hear every detail of the music no matter how thin.

Natural, sweet sound
The use of a Class A amplifier design element gives Edge A a sweet, natural sound that rivals the best valve amplifiers. Cambridge Audio has also replaced conventional capacitors with DC-coupled topology and precision volume control. When combined, these provide the cleanest signal path for uninterrupted musical magic.Cambridge Audio EDGE A Stereo Amplifier

Power to match accuracy
This highly developed hybrid amplifier has no hard riding problems as it looks sweet. With a real 100 watts per channel at 8 ohms and a monstrous 200 watts at 4 ohms, Edge A is not challenged by almost all speakers. Unlike some high-end amplifiers, this is a design that takes difficult speakers in its step.

Style and substance in perfect harmony
The Cambridge Edge A looks as exquisite as it sounds. Using the same principles of precision and ‘nothing added’, minimalist design is timeless. The smooth, all-metal housing is designed to the highest standards. As an indication of the strength of this amplifier is built, just take a look at the weight – a powerful 24.4 kg!
The Edge A costs £4,500, which makes it the most expensive amplifier that the company has ever produced. For a company that quite a few people still take to be a ‘budget’ brand, that one side considers the change.
In the background, Edge A could best be described as conventional but impressive though. It’s a Class A/B amplifier that’s in itself quite unusual because the company made the effort to develop its own amplifier topology a few years ago called class XD that was meant to bring most of the benefits of pure class A operation without energy consumption and head accumulation – something that was at least partially successful in. Edge A returns to a more conventional circuit, but maintains a part voltage system that could be seen as a partial extension of the XD circuit. More important than the circuit itself, are the numbers. Edge A develops 100 watts in eight ohms, but doubles to exactly 200 watts in four. This is usually the brand of a “done correctly” amplifier and indicates that power is within the task of allowing this to happen.
Even this feeder is not simply a very strong piece of copper. They are, in fact, two toroids that are mounted on the same axis. They are then rolled in opposite directions, which means that, they eliminate the flow of each other. There are also other interesting peculiarities. The output phase has no capacitors, choosing instead to use a direct coupling drawing that denies that they are necessary. This is not commonly found and means that Edge A has more than differences in detail from its rivals at a similar price. Similar to cars, the argument seems to be that, in order to “prove” that they live until the creation of an amplifier at this price.Cambridge Edge A amplifier has three analog options; a pair of RCA inputs and a single balanced input. This may seem limiting, but, realistic for a moment, the number of customers with more than three analog sources in 2020 is not terribly significant. It should also be seen along with the other connectivity that has Edge A. This extends to five connections. Four of these are quite normal – two optics, a coaxial digital connection and a USB-A connection that supports PCM and DSD256 at 384 kHz. This means that if you add a streaming transport, Edge A is a separate system. There is also Bluetooth-enabled HD aptX and for a pretty stylish fast and dirty connection system. However, the last entry is more unusual. It is an HDMI ARC jack which means that edge A can be connected (and wake up/turn off with) a properly equipped TV.


Using Edge A for film and television work is exceptionally effective. Throughout a wide selection of films and television works, Edge A used the same sentimental presentation to absolutely excel. Select each box you could realistically sort in terms of dialogue, sound scenery, and critical immersion feel for two speakers to create a realistic listening experience. Edge A has its work cut off, but more than meets the challenge. Last but not least, all the boring bits of the process also work. The latency is perfect and auto-start with HDMI also works well. The Cambridge Audio is indisputably a relatively high-end stereo amplifier, but it doesn’t fail in the kind of thing a 150-pound soundbar can do well. Edge A asks very little of itself in exchange for being an excellent partner for your TV.

The highest level of digital streaming – via USB
If you have a nice library of digital music stored on your laptop or PC, then the best way to access it is via USB. The USB Audio Class 2.0 interface supports up to 32 bits/384 kHz or DSD256 for effortlessly high-resolution music playback.

Studio-level XLR balanced inputs and outputs
If you prefer analog connectivity, Edge A has also covered. An XLR balanced input set allows you to connect a suitable network CD player or streamer with studio quality accuracy. Balanced cables provide better shielding and a more stable signal, allowing you to hear every detail edge A can.

High-resolution Bluetooth
With aptX support, the built-in Bluetooth receiver gets the best out of your smartphone or tablet. This wireless connection comes close to CD quality and provides the convenience of broadcasting music directly from your device.

Connect your TV via HDMI
When your amplifier sounds so good it would be a shame not to let your TV share the benefit. An HDMI with ARC (Audio Return Channel) means you can connect your TV and benefit from audio playback through the amplifier – VH1 will never have sounded so well! Photo:Cambridge Audio

Other digital and analog devices – fully connected
With built-in DACs (digital to analog converters), Cambridge Edge A amplifier improves the sound of digital components. Connect up to three devices, such as CD/DVD player, game console, and streamer, and you’ll have a meaningful audio update. For analog sources there are two additional pairs of RCA phono inputs, perfect for connecting a quality sound stage.