Cambridge CXN (V2) next acquisition

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  • gudnoyez
    gudnoyez Posts: 7,614
    gudnoyez wrote: »
    So not needing a new preamp the CXN V2 is the way to go correct?
    Turning off the preamp setting is an easy switch in the app settings. I don't use it either. It's there if you do need it, but I only needed the streamer and DAC elements for now. At some point I might only need it for the streaming element.

    Do you have the 851 or the CXN?
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  • displayname
    displayname Posts: 937
    edited February 2019
    CXN v2
    *Edit - I'd imagine it's the same on the 815N though. Same app, same basic layout. But I can't say for sure.
    Analog: MoFi MasterTracker > MoFi UltraDeck > Sutherland 20/20
    Digital: Cambridge CXC / Streaming > Cambridge CXN v2
    MastersounD Dueventi > Rosso Fiorentino Certaldo or Arcam rHead > Hifiman HE4XX
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  • afterburnt wrote: »
    @audioluvr I am really happy with this piece, I think I may end up running it in my main system. That won't happen for a while but I would love to compare it to my Aries Mini head up.

    Curious to hear if you compared against the Aries Mini. Also, are you using the internal dac or external?
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  • afterburnt
    afterburnt Posts: 7,915
    I am using the internal DAC. I can easily hook up the Mini to test their respective DAC's
  • Ok, that would be great.
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  • Clipdat
    Clipdat Posts: 9,462
    edited February 2019
    I've been letting my CXN V2 stream various electronic music from the Digitally Imported (di.fm) 320kbps mp3 radio stations during the day while I'm at work, and then actually doing serious listening later on in the evening with Tidal when I get home. I would estimate that I have about 30 hours play time logged on it now.

    The internal DAC seems to be opening up/settling in nicely. Despite your personal feelings on upsampling, it would be hard to argue against it with the way that Cambridge has implemented it here. Smooth, coherent, and musical are the top three words I would use to describe it's sound. I would not say it's the last word in detail, as some of my other DACs seem to beat it in that regard. I believe they voiced it to have a slight edge in musicality, at the expense of some detail.

    If I had to compare the quality of Tidal on the CXN V2 to CD on my Marantz CD6004, I would say you're getting about 97% of what a CD gives you. To my ears, it's not quite as good, but just about. However, there are a lot of variables to consider here. Is it Tidal itself, such as a smoothing filter, EQ, or other proprietary algorithm that gets applied to all music in their library? Or is it just a characteristic of the CXN's DAC? The "3% difference" is only really noticeable on tracks that I know very well and have listened to a lot of times.

    Moving into some physical elements of the CXN itself, it feels pretty good for your $900, and I believe it's a good value for the money. Fit and finish are nice, as well as the packaging and overall presentation of the unit. It is lightweight (8lbs), but still feels solid. The main rotary knob has a slight lateral wobble to it if you press on it a certain way, but it's actual turning action and feel is good. That being said, it's mostly a non-issue since you'll ideally be controlling the streamer with the excellent and snappy Cambridge Connect app on your smartphone. I've only been using it a few days, but I find it a pleasure to use and it's very easy to navigate. I've not experienced any app crashes or hanging/lagging at all.

    Which brings me to usability/features and the main attraction or value of a device like this. In my opinion, it's the ability to stream a lossless music service like Tidal, and specifically the way it has been integrated so seamlessly into the CXN. Yes, it can play music stored locally on your network, or connected via USB. It even supports Chromecast, so you can send music to it that way via apps on your phone. But what's most impressive to me is how nicely Tidal is integrated into the Cambridge Connect app. It's really a pleasure to use and browse for songs to set up a one time playlist for your listening session. It adds a certain element of fun to be able to find almost any song you're thinking of and add it to your listening queue. Everything just feels so quick and responsive, that it encourages you to keep browsing and finding new tracks to play. Definitely a much different experience than how I typically listen to CDs/albums from start to finish.

    Looking forward to spending some more time with this bad boy, and trying it as a "transport" via AQ Carbon coax into my PS Audio DAC/pre and also my Ruby.

    Even after only really using it for a week, I can confidently recommend this product if you are in the market for a streamer.
  • joecoulson
    joecoulson Posts: 4,950
    Yessir and I echo all those sentiments. Its such a good bang for the buck, and if you are a fan of Tidal - it's such a no brainer. The onboard DAC is sufficient for my listening as this source is not for critical, nothing streaming should be.
  • Clipdat wrote: »
    I've been letting my CXN V2 stream various electronic music from the Digitally Imported (di.fm) 320kbps mp3 radio stations during the day while I'm at work, and then actually doing serious listening later on in the evening with Tidal when I get home. I would estimate that I have about 30 hours play time logged on it now.

    The internal DAC seems to be opening up/settling in nicely. Despite your personal feelings on upsampling, it would be hard to argue against it with the way that Cambridge has implemented it here. Smooth, coherent, and musical are the top three words I would use to describe it's sound. I would not say it's the last word in detail, as some of my other DACs seem to beat it in that regard. I believe they voiced it to have a slight edge in musicality, at the expense of some detail.

    If I had to compare the quality of Tidal on the CXN V2 to CD on my Marantz CD6004, I would say you're getting about 97% of what a CD gives you. To my ears, it's not quite as good, but just about. However, there are a lot of variables to consider here. Is it Tidal itself, such as a smoothing filter, EQ, or other proprietary algorithm that gets applied to all music in their library? Or is it just a characteristic of the CXN's DAC? The "3% difference" is only really noticeable on tracks that I know very well and have listened to a lot of times.

    Moving into some physical elements of the CXN itself, it feels pretty good for your $900, and I believe it's a good value for the money. Fit and finish are nice, as well as the packaging and overall presentation of the unit. It is lightweight (8lbs), but still feels solid. The main rotary knob has a slight lateral wobble to it if you press on it a certain way, but it's actual turning action and feel is good. That being said, it's mostly a non-issue since you'll ideally be controlling the streamer with the excellent and snappy Cambridge Connect app on your smartphone. I've only been using it a few days, but I find it a pleasure to use and it's very easy to navigate. I've not experienced any app crashes or hanging/lagging at all.

    Which brings me to usability/features and the main attraction or value of a device like this. In my opinion, it's the ability to stream a lossless music service like Tidal, and specifically the way it has been integrated so seamlessly into the CXN. Yes, it can play music stored locally on your network, or connected via USB. It even supports Chromecast, so you can send music to it that way via apps on your phone. But what's most impressive to me is how nicely Tidal is integrated into the Cambridge Connect app. It's really a pleasure to use and browse for songs to set up a one time playlist for your listening session. It adds a certain element of fun to be able to find almost any song you're thinking of and add it to your listening queue. Everything just feels so quick and responsive, that it encourages you to keep browsing and finding new tracks to play. Definitely a much different experience than how I typically listen to CDs/albums from start to finish.

    Looking forward to spending some more time with this bad boy, and trying it as a "transport" via AQ Carbon coax into my PS Audio DAC/pre and also my Ruby.

    Even after only really using it for a week, I can confidently recommend this product if you are in the market for a streamer.

    Excellent write up and review.
    Living Room
    Parasound HINT 6, Yamaha Aventage RX-A 1060, Yamaha BD-S681, Cambridge Audio Azur 851N, Polk S60, Polk S30, Samsung 60" LED

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  • Clipdat
    Clipdat Posts: 9,462
    edited February 2019
    One thing I forgot to mention in my review is that I was getting immediate and palpable stereo imaging effects on some drum n bass tracks.

    When I hear these despite my less than ideal speaker placement and room setup, I consider it a testament to the quality/performance of a DAC.
  • joecoulson
    joecoulson Posts: 4,950
    DSkip wrote: »
    joecoulson wrote: »
    Yessir and I echo all those sentiments. Its such a good bang for the buck, and if you are a fan of Tidal - it's such a no brainer. The onboard DAC is sufficient for my listening as this source is not for critical, nothing streaming should be.

    I use streaming all the time for demos and have no complaints. I even had two clients seriously consider dropping vinyl to get into streaming after hearing my system.

    To each is own.
  • I wouldn't drop vinyl, but that's because I like the vinyl hobby. But I do think it's much more affordable to get MUCH higher up in the streaming world. The tech has come a long way, and by comparison it's pennies on the dollar for a killer streaming front end in my opinion. Not arguing which is better overall, but I do think digital is lowering the barrier of entry to really world class audio.
    Analog: MoFi MasterTracker > MoFi UltraDeck > Sutherland 20/20
    Digital: Cambridge CXC / Streaming > Cambridge CXN v2
    MastersounD Dueventi > Rosso Fiorentino Certaldo or Arcam rHead > Hifiman HE4XX
    Discogs
  • Clipdat
    Clipdat Posts: 9,462
    @displayname try this track on your CXN, I was blown away with how good it sounded. Literally gave me goosebumps: Fracture, Taso: Lose You

  • Clipdat wrote: »
    @displayname try this track on your CXN, I was blown away with how good it sounded. Literally gave me goosebumps: Fracture, Taso: Lose You

    Noted, I'll give it a spin once I'm back home.
    Analog: MoFi MasterTracker > MoFi UltraDeck > Sutherland 20/20
    Digital: Cambridge CXC / Streaming > Cambridge CXN v2
    MastersounD Dueventi > Rosso Fiorentino Certaldo or Arcam rHead > Hifiman HE4XX
    Discogs
  • DSkip wrote: »
    joecoulson wrote: »
    Yessir and I echo all those sentiments. Its such a good bang for the buck, and if you are a fan of Tidal - it's such a no brainer. The onboard DAC is sufficient for my listening as this source is not for critical, nothing streaming should be.

    I use streaming all the time for demos and have no complaints. I even had two clients seriously consider dropping vinyl to get into streaming after hearing my system.

    I'd drop both of my systems after hearing your rig...no doubt.
    "if it's not fun, it's not worth it & remember folks, "It's All About The Music"!!
    *****************************
  • audioluvr
    audioluvr Posts: 3,161
    Clipdat wrote: »
    @displayname try this track on your CXN, I was blown away with how good it sounded. Literally gave me goosebumps: Fracture, Taso: Lose You


    Ok. So I tried this track and my cat immediately jumped straight up in the air and ran and hid somewhere in the house. I frantically was trying to find the volume control on the remote all the while trying to decide if I should run away too... They should put a warning on that... Guess I'm more of an easy listening kind of guy
    Cambridge Audio 851N Streamer/DAC
    Belles 21A Pre modded with Mundorf Supreme caps
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    There is about a 5% genetic difference between apes and men …but that difference is the difference between throwing your own poo when you are annoyed …and Einstein, Shakespeare and Miss January.

    by Dr. Sardonicus
  • Clipdat
    Clipdat Posts: 9,462
    Yikes. How loud did you play it? haha.
  • audioluvr
    audioluvr Posts: 3,161
    Loud enough...
    Cambridge Audio 851N Streamer/DAC
    Belles 21A Pre modded with Mundorf Supreme caps
    B&K M200 Sonata monoblocks refreshed and upgraded
    Belles 350A Reference modded with Mundorf Supreme caps
    Polk SDA 1C's modded
    Wireworld Silver Eclipse IC's and speaker cables


    There is about a 5% genetic difference between apes and men …but that difference is the difference between throwing your own poo when you are annoyed …and Einstein, Shakespeare and Miss January.

    by Dr. Sardonicus
  • Clipdat
    Clipdat Posts: 9,462
    That'll wake you up!
  • steveinaz
    steveinaz Posts: 19,370
    The CXN v.2 was certainly on my radar, but I decided to go with the Bluesound Node 2i. I think the CXN is a GREAT choice if you don't have a good ext DAC, and you're wanting a front display. Neither of these was true for me; I sit about 12 feet away from my equipment, so the display does me no good, and I have an external DAC.
    Source: Bluesound Node 2i - Preamp/DAC: Benchmark DAC2 DX - Amplifier: Parasound Halo A21 - Speakers: MartinLogan Motion 60XTi
  • WagnerRC
    WagnerRC Posts: 2,012
    I purchased a CXN v2 just to compare it to my aries mini. Can it beat the mini? time will tell.
  • joecoulson
    joecoulson Posts: 4,950
    Seems like this newest update covers some of the issues I was having. Seems it was an IOS compatibility issue not network related in my case.

    https://techsupport.cambridgeaudio.com/hc/en-us/articles/360000258138-iOS-Release-Notes-
  • Clipdat
    Clipdat Posts: 9,462
    It would be interesting if they released an update to integrate Qobuz into the CXN the way Tidal is integrated. But until that happens I see no reason to use anything but Tidal with the CXN.

    The way that it's natively integrated/supported is absolutely sublime.
  • joecoulson
    joecoulson Posts: 4,950
    Agreed

    Just did a test, had the CXN and my Denon 2910 start the same song at the same time. One from Tidal and one on CD. CXN using internal DAC and Denon using PS A DAC. The results were almost identical except for imaging/placement. The CXN seems to accentuate the image slightly - making it seem wider, at the expense of cohesiveness. This is so slight, I had to flip back and forth many times to verify what I was hearing, but this confirms that the PSA slightly edges out the CXN as far as the built in DAC. Not enough for me to stop using the CXN's DAC to listen to Tidal

    I tried to make the same comparison with the TT, but the volume has to go so far up on the pre for that low output Cart, that I scared myself s**tless switching back and having it make my ears bleed when pumping the CXN thru at 80%!
  • tonyb
    tonyb Posts: 32,287
    WagnerRC wrote: »
    I purchased a CXN v2 just to compare it to my aries mini. Can it beat the mini? time will tell.

    OK Boss...times up, what's the verdict. :):)
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  • WagnerRC
    WagnerRC Posts: 2,012
    tonyb wrote: »
    WagnerRC wrote: »
    I purchased a CXN v2 just to compare it to my aries mini. Can it beat the mini? time will tell.

    OK Boss...times up, what's the verdict. :):)

    Tony, It great delivered on Monday. :)

  • erniejade
    erniejade Posts: 5,533
    WagnerRC wrote: »
    tonyb wrote: »
    WagnerRC wrote: »
    I purchased a CXN v2 just to compare it to my aries mini. Can it beat the mini? time will tell.

    OK Boss...times up, what's the verdict. :):)

    Tony, It great delivered on Monday. :)

    Got it hooked up yet?
    Den: Lumin D1,Wireworld Silver Eclipse RCA, KEF LS50 Wireless, Velodyne SPL1200, Technics 1200, Denon DL160, Jolida D9,

    Living Room:,T+A PA 1530R,Wireworld Silver Eclipse SC, Tyler Highland H2, High Fidelity Reveal RCA, Innuos Zen MK3 , W4S recovery, LKS MH-da004,

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  • WagnerRC
    WagnerRC Posts: 2,012
    erniejade wrote: »
    WagnerRC wrote: »
    tonyb wrote: »
    WagnerRC wrote: »
    I purchased a CXN v2 just to compare it to my aries mini. Can it beat the mini? time will tell.

    OK Boss...times up, what's the verdict. :):)

    Tony, It great delivered on Monday. :)

    Got it hooked up yet?

    still on the ups truck

  • WagnerRC
    WagnerRC Posts: 2,012
    I’ve installed this in my office to start with musical fidelity ms6si and paradigm s4 speakers. This system is different than the other room. First impressions sound good. I did purchase a refurbished unit for 649.oo and it is in new condition. The new units run. 900.00 so I didn’t care to spend that much to compare. Thanks
  • afterburnt
    afterburnt Posts: 7,915
    Broad soundstage but lacking depth, not nearly as nimble as the CXN either. It certainly suffers with complex passages. All and all I give it a 5 because it has a good brat snd it's easy to **** to.
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