Categories
REVIEWS

Cambridge Audio CXA61 Review

The Cambridge Audio CXA61 is an integrated amplifier that follows up on the success of the previous CXA60 amplifier. The newest model offers smooth power with the ability to connect your favorite devices. This Cambridge Audio CA61 review will describe the key features of this integrated amplifier so you can determine if it is the best option for adding power to your home theater. (>>> Check on Amazon).

Cambridge Audio CXA61 Review of Specifications:

 Cambridge Audio CXA61
Amplifier2.1 Channel (60W per channel)
Frequency response5Hz - 60kHz
Weight18.3 pounds
Wi-FiYes
BluetoothYes
Product Dimensions16.9 x 13.4 x 4.5 inches
Price Find on Amazon

The Cambridge Audio CXA61 is a two-channel integrated power amplifier. It supplies 60 watts RMS at an eight ohm load. Getting your resistance down to four ohms will provide you with 90 watts RMS. The power is generated using an audiophile-grade oversized toroidal transformer. The advantage of this design is that you get plenty of power without noise and distortion.

Toroidal Transformer

The transformer is located toward the center of the unit to aid in the reduction of unwanted noise and signal interference. Sensitive electronics are moved away from the transformer so there is maximum airflow to prevent heat damage. This is a unique design that produces full and vibrant sound at all power levels.

ESS Sabre DAC

The Cambridge Audio CXA61 uses an ESS Sabre SE9010K2M DAC that is designed as a high-end component for home theater and professional studio use. It uses the HyperStream architecture to deliver a DNR up to 116 dB and a THD+N of -106 dB to satisfy even the most discerning listener.

Streaming Capabilities

Built-in WiFi and Bluetooth enable streaming from compatible devices. The CXA61 uses the latest aptX HD encoding to give you the ability to stream lossless files and play music with the full data set that the music was intended to include. In order to get HD streaming, you’ll need a device capable of encoding through aptX HD.

Pros

  • Warm, rich, and natural sound
  • Plenty of power for an excellent sound
  • Good combination of performance and convenience

Cons

  • IR remote is poor quality
  • Lack of individual channel control
  • Some buyers have issues with dropping signals from optical outputs

Connections

The CXA61 has lots of opportunities to connect your favorite devices in the best way possible. It provides two TOSLINK optical digital inputs, a coaxial digital input, and a USB-B input. This configuration will allow you to connect to numerous types of devices including an AV preamp receiver.

The amplifier gives you four RCA analog inputs, a mono output, and a stereo preamp output. Switchable speaker busses and a Cambridge Audio input bus are arranged on the back panel.

How the Cambridge Audio CXA61 Sounds

Most amplifiers in this range require tweaks and tuning to get the sound right. Straight out of the box, the CXA61 provides a warm and rich sound that fills in details and depth to your music. Where many amplifiers are tinny and hard to listen to, the CXA61 provides an excellent balance of power and realism that is unlike other amplifiers on the market.

While 60 watts may not sound like a ton of power, you’ll be impressed with the ability of this amplifier to produce big volume at all frequencies. It pairs well with low impedance speakers to get the most out of the power band. The amplifier operates between 20 and 20 kHz to ensure that every audible frequency gets full power for the best quality.

Known Drawbacks

Cambridge Audio CXA61 connections

While this is an excellent amplifier, it does have a few drawbacks. The left and right channels are not independent, so you won’t have control over each side. For some people, this can be a drawback because it prevents fine tuning the channels for the most realistic sound possible.

The IR remote control is widely disliked by owners. It requires a precise line of sight and isn’t illuminated, so it can be difficult to use in dim settings. Several owners have commented that the lack of an app-based control is a drawback to this system.

Many buyers have experienced problems with one of the optical links dropping signal. In some cases, this has been addressed through a firmware update while other times the amplifier had to be replaced under warranty. This issue may have been due to a bad batch of components, as the issue seems to have cropped up during a limited timeframe.

Conclusion

The Cambridge Audio CA61 is an all-around excellent performer with some minor caveats. The toroidal power supply produces a bigger-than-advertised sound that makes this a consistently popular choice for the average audio enthusiast and the audiophile alike (>>> Find the  current price on Amazon).

REFERENCES AND FURTHER READING: