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Best Set-up for Cambridge CXA81 with Bluesound Node 2i

ast2312

Well-known member
May 3, 2020
31
6
45
Hi All,

Just wanted to get some views from the forum on this one.

My set-up is almost complete and have decided on the Cambridge CXA81 with a Bluesound Node 2i.

The question I have is the best SQ set-up. I guess I have two options;

Option 1 - RCA Analgue out from Bluesound into CXA81 (use the DAC in the Bluesound)

or Option 2 - Digital out from the blue sound into CXA81 (use DAC in the CXA81)

If option 2 is considered the best option can anyone advise on the best digital type cable to use please with the CXA81, Coaxial, USB or optical?

Any feedback much appreciated....
 
Last edited:

shadders

Well-known member
Nov 19, 2009
152
88
18,670
Hi,
Essentially use the DAC which sounds best for you.

The CXA81 (latest model) uses the ESS Sabre ES9016 DAC IC, and the Bluesound (assumed to be the Node 2i) uses a Burr Brown 32bit/192kHz DAC - probably PCM1794. Details are scant on the internet.

My preference is optical - so there are no ground loops etc., into the CXA81 if you use the amplifier internal DAC. If the file being listened to is greater than 192kHz, then i think USB into the Bluesound is the only option, and hence RCA into the CXA81.

Regards,
Shadders.
 
Last edited:

ast2312

Well-known member
May 3, 2020
31
6
45
Thanks Shadders,

Just realised my original post used the wrong name for the amp so just corrected.

I have also just realised that I would like the option to fully decode MQA. I know the Bluesound can do this but was uncertain if the CXA81 DAC is capable of MQA (don’t know much about MQA unfortunately).

I guess if the CXA81 is unable to decode MQA then I would need to go back to option 1 which is all conversion done by Bluesound and analogue fed to CXA81?
 

shadders

Well-known member
Nov 19, 2009
152
88
18,670
Hi.
I think some of the ESS DAC's have MQA decoding built in, but whether the CXA81 has implemented the relevant ESS DAC for MQA, is unknown - i did a quick search, and nothing returned specifically.

Here is a link to someone who had the same issue with regards to MQA and their Bluesound 2i :


So it seems that for MQA then Bluesound has the capability as per the thread, but unsure for Cambridge Audio CXA81.

Regards,
Shadders.
 

ast2312

Well-known member
May 3, 2020
31
6
45
Thanks for the replies, as I would like the option for MQA I will go for the Bluesound being the converter.

Thanks everyone...
 

rainsoothe

Well-known member
Apr 30, 2012
370
139
19,070
I think you should try it both ways and let your ears decide. Who cares whether it's MQA or not if it just sounds better? (Yes, I'm not a fan of the dac in the Node, but a lot of people like it, so don't let me put you off).
 

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