Cambridge Audio CXA60 arrived today

Discussion in 'Audio Hardware' started by Mike McMann, May 4, 2015.

  1. Mike McMann

    Mike McMann Forum Resident Thread Starter

    I have been waiting for this amp to show up in Canada since the CES 2015 announcement of this series.
    Today, I received the silver edition and to me, this is a great little amp and well worth the wait.
    I was back and forth between the Marantz PM7005 and this CXA60.
    Already owning the AZUR 752BD with Wolfson dacs on board kind of swayed me.
    I really like the Wolfson sound and although the Marantz has more features as in DSD capabilities, I don’t have interest in that direction.
    I found the looks of the CXA60 to be much more appealing as well.
    This thing is very solidly built and well ventilated. Connections are pretty much all there, with four analogue connections and three digitals.
    I’ve been back and forth from 96K downloads to SACD, Blu-ray and Redbook cd’s all night and this thing is bringing out some real good sound. I love two channel and this is a real cool looking and sounding little amp.
  2. Is it 60 WPC?
  3. Mike McMann

    Mike McMann Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Yes at 8ohms
    Ringtone and eelkiller like this.
  4. I have an older Cambridge integrated and love it, congratulations.
    Mike McMann likes this.
  5. Mike McMann

    Mike McMann Forum Resident Thread Starter

    I replaced a Marantz NR1504 with this.
  6. Ntotrar

    Ntotrar Not To Old To Rock And Roll

    Tri-Cities, Tn.
    Congrats and best of luck with it! Give us a review when you have a measure of its mettle.
    Last edited: May 4, 2015
    Mike McMann likes this.
  7. Javier Calle

    Javier Calle New Member

    Hi Mike, I'm really curious about your impressions on the new Cambridge CXA60, it sounds like a very well designed unit. does it perform as good as it looks?
    Thanks in advance
  8. Mike McMann

    Mike McMann Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Hello Javier,
    I've had the CXA 60 for just over a month now and it continues to impress me. There was a little less bass on the analog connection for cd playing. I spoke with tech support and it was suggested to go to one of the digital connections. This did make a bit of difference but I think it is more of a breaking in period and getting used to the sound it is producing.
    A small disappointment was the optical connection itself as it is loose fitting and not the snap fit I was expecting. It connects to the 752BD that way but not into the amp. However the sound is excellent to me.

    I play SACD through the analog connection and it is very crankable without distortion. Switching from SACD to Computer Audio to CD is easily handled by selecting the input off of the remote.
    I play Hi-Rez downloads through JRiver - Mac-Mini - Teac UD-H01 - CXA 60 and it produces a beautiful soundstage with lots of detail.

    One thing that is a tad bothersome is that there is no volume gauge readout on the front panel. There is a slot cut into the volume knob to show the levels. It will also automatically shut itself off after 30 minutes of non use. Which is not a bad feature and there is a work around offered if required.

    Overall this is a perfect 2 channel amplifier for me with enough connections and power to keep me happy.
    Very well built and plain looking which I like. Not a pile of buttons and knobs everywhere that don't do anything.
    I chose the silver version and it is very classy looking.
    I'm debating about adding the CXN (network player) to it this fall to cover all bases of playback.
    I'm told, by going to the separate CD transport they offer (CXC) as well would improve sonically over the 752BD Universal player but what I'm getting at present is very very nice.
    Hope this is of some help.
    Dan Steele and Shiver like this.
  9. Javier Calle

    Javier Calle New Member

  10. Javier Calle

    Javier Calle New Member

    Mike, thank you for taking the time to write such a thorough review, it sounds like the Cambridge CXA60 is a really nice unit, it's definitely on my short list. the others I'm looking at are the Arcam FMJ A19 and the Rotel RA 12. The nice thing about the Cambridge is that you get a really nice DAC built in, where as the Arcam does not. I had the opportunity to audition the Arcam last week and it sounds really nice. We'll se where I end up.
    Thanks again Mike
  11. Stringman

    Stringman Well-Known Member

    I am looking at a Cambridge Audio CXN. After a lot of research this seems to be the best streamer that fits into my budget.
    It'll play through my Arcam amp and B & W speakers so hopefully it will sound great.
    Anyone else have any experience or thoughts on the CXN?
  12. RockAddict

    RockAddict Well-Known Member

    Hopefully the following will be helpful to anyone else thinking about the Cambridge CXA60. Most of the following is lifted from feedback I gave directly to Cambridge. Being my first post, I tried to keep it short. I failed :confused: .

    I've had a Cambridge CXA60 for a couple of months now and would suggest it is well worth consideration. For info, my main sources are a Cocktail Audio X10 (would advise new buyers to look at Nova Fidelity X12) for music and a LG LN575V television, with a Linn Axis turntable making an occasional appearance. Speakers are Q Acoustics Concept 20s (bi-wired). Cabling for the speakers is standard OFC with basic (er, cheap :)) optical cables to connect the sources to the amp.

    I had been using a Marantz PM6005 amp but became more and more aware that the tonal quality was compromised in the midrange. When the music got busy, the midrange became a bit muddled. In addition, some of the midrange sounded a bit compressed; i.e. a properly expressed piano strike might be described as a sphere whilst, with the PM6005, that same strike can sound as if is has been compressed from the top forcing it to sound “fat” at the sides. In fairness, I think the PM6005 is a reasonable amp overall and only suffers by comparison with significantly more expensive products, such as the CXA60. Anyway, it was that tonal issue which drove the search for a new amp.

    During the search, I demoed a Rotel RA-12, a Cambridge CXA80 and a Cambridge Audio Topaz SR20. I didn't demo any of the Yamaha amps with digital inputs because the number of such inputs was the same as the Marantz and I need more.

    Soundwise, the Rotel sounded rather uninvolving (certainly not worth upgrading from the Marantz), the Topaz SR20 sounded cloudy and the CXA80 sounded as if it had been tuned to produce every last molecule of detail but without worrying about the listening experience. To my ears, the CXA80 was VERY bright and shouty with some music being distinctly unenjoyable.

    By contrast, the CXA60 sounded tonally balanced, didn't have the midrange issues of the Marantz and had decent bottom end extension without sounding boomy or muddy. In “direct” mode, I found the CXA60 did, on occasion, tend to brightness. I tweaked the treble downwards just a touch and found the tonal mix that worked for me. I know some think tone controls are for philistines; however, not all music is recorded with the same equipment or sound values and it's handy to be able to tweak overly dull or bright recordings. For that reason alone, I won't consider amps without EQ/tone controls.

    The CXA60's soundstage is excellent, with plenty of detail, width and depth. Separation between and placement of instruments is good without leaving the music sounding cold or clinical.

    For me, the presence of at least 2 optical inputs was important due to the sources I have. The coax option is also useful for anticipated future use. Will I eventually need more than 3 digital inputs? Not sure. I definitely don't need more than 3 (normal) line inputs, excluding phono stage. Ideally, an onboard phono stage would have been nice. On the subject of a phono stage, it may be of interest that I went for the “Pro-Ject Phono Box USB V” ahead of the “Cambridge Audio Azur” products (651P & 551P) because of the USB option.

    There is no recording loop and some may find this annoying. I no longer need one, so it wasn't an issue for me.

    The volume control should have a more prominent mark - the groove is nigh on impossible to see.

    The remote control has relatively limited functionality. Options to change tone controls would have been useful, including the “direct” option. The “dimmer” option should have a couple more steps.

    The full physical manual for the CXA60 was not included in the box - it is available online from Cambridge's website.

    In summary, compared to the PM6005, I find the CXA60 to have greater clarity in the midrange, deeper bottom end extension, slightly more detail and there is just a bit more control in the musical output but without sounding restrained. The Marantz is far from a bad amp and has more features than the significantly more expensive CXA60. However, the CXA60 wins in terms of sonic delivery and as I don't need a recording loop and was prepared to add an external phono stage, I replaced the Marantz.

    With the PM6005, I was never far from thinking "so close, but not quite". After two months with the CXA60, I have no inclination at all to change the amp and it looks very much like it will be a "keeper" :eek: :chill:.

    Happy listening all.
  13. Humbuster

    Humbuster Forum Resident

    I picked up a CXC transport and will soon add the CXN streamer as well.

    So far, very impressed with the transport.
    Mike McMann likes this.
  14. Mike McMann

    Mike McMann Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Nice, hope you get a pile of joy from it. I came close to grabbing the CXC as a separate player but ended up staying with the 752BD Universal player.
    I like the Cambridge Audio products very much and would like to have the CXN as well sometime. I'd be be curious to hear your thoughts on the CXN when it arrives. Cheers.
    Brother_Rael likes this.
  15. ls35a

    ls35a Forum Resident

    Eagle, Idaho
    I have their new AVR and the sound quality on it blows my mind.

    Am thinking of trying the CXA80 in my office.
    Mike McMann likes this.
  16. Bas B.

    Bas B. New Member

    Hi Mike, what speakers do you use with your CXA60? I am planning to buy a CXA60 and I own KEF Q7. Do you think these are decent speakers for the Cambridge Audio?
  17. Mike McMann

    Mike McMann Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Hello Bas B.
    I am using KEF Q100 bookshelf speakers and they bring out a sound I really like.
    I don't think you will be disappointed matching the Q7's with the CXA60.
  18. Dominguez2288

    Dominguez2288 New Member

    Hi all, I'm totally new to this. I just bought the CXA60 and I'm baffled at how to wire it to my b&w685s. The speaker cables I was using with my old amp are thicker and don't seem to fit the CXA60. Can anyone help me? THANK YOU
    Adam9 likes this.
  19. Mike McMann

    Mike McMann Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Welcome Dominiguez2288, I use Rocketfish banana plugs. Not sure what you are up against but I hope this picture helps.

    Hey Man, I use Rocketfish banana plugs to connect my speakers to the CXA60. I have a pic
  20. dcollins0621

    dcollins0621 New Member

    I use plugs also, easy to ensure a good connection and fun when making changes.

    FYI I've had my CXA since last July and my attachment to it continues to grow. After run-in its power delivery is smooth sweet clear and substantial, real high fidelity imo. The dac itself has also settled in VERY nicely, as in smooth! In fact I'm wanting a decent standalone DAC/HP amp for my office, +- same budget, and over here in ZA nothing I've auditioned yet (admittedly only 2 diff units tried so far) compares to what the CXA sends to it's dinky hp jack.
    Mike McMann likes this.
  21. Brother_Rael

    Brother_Rael Forum Resident

    Scottish Borders
    Mike, the new CXU didn't introduce as far as I'm aware, any new audio goodies over the 752BD. Main feature being Darbee for video, DAC and the rest all as per the 752.
    Mike McMann likes this.
  22. Mike McMann

    Mike McMann Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Thanks Brother_Rael, you are correct. I did look at the CXU and saw nothing new on the audio side of things so I stayed put and still very happy with the 752BD.
    Brother_Rael likes this.
  23. joleth

    joleth New Member

    My new Cambridge Audio CXA60 a few month's old has empowered me with nicely formed music better than anything I have ever owned in my 40 years of audio filing. The final sound plays through new Totem Rainmakers. The built in DAC with its wonderful Wolfsen chip receives its signal from my Sony BDP-S5200 and interprets the CD and all other devices with a synergy of near sonic perfection-at least to my old ears! I spent a lot of time trying to figure out the best solution to my stereo sound with a relatively small budget and small bachelor suite to work it in. I tried Marantz, Sim Audio, Creek and lower end amps when I came across the positve 5 star review of the CXA60 in WHAT HI FI. Also, with speakers I tried many used monitors and floor standers before I concluded with the Rainmakers. My budget of $2000 was well spent. The new B&W 685 2 series speaker was a close second to the Totems and it basically came down to the best deal from the dealers involved.
  24. SpeedMorris

    SpeedMorris Forum Resident

    Do any of you guys think that the essential sound of the CXA60 is a departure from the Azur 651A? I see that thing sitting at accessories4less at $480 and it seems like such a deal.
  25. Stringman

    Stringman Well-Known Member

    Sounds fabulous. What albums sound the best through your system?

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