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Cambridge CXA61 versus CXA81

ast2312

Well-known member
May 3, 2020
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Hi All,

I have just read ‘The Master Switch’ review of the Cambridge CXA61 and found the comparison made with the CXA81. The review mentions that although the CXA81 is more clean and analytical the CXA61 more fun.

I currently have B&W 607 and am considering either the CAX81 or the CXA61. Qi am now starting to think that the CXA61 makes better sense in terms of a balanced system (cost) and the warmer nature of the amp with the 607’s (as long as it can power the 607’s well).

Be grateful if anyone has done a comparison or can offer advice.

Should also mention my source is a Mac mini connected via usb.

Many thanks
 

rainsoothe

Well-known member
Apr 30, 2012
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136
19,070
Hi. Fwiw, I wouldn't partner any B&W with CA (they do the same thing usually, big strong bass and some brightness), but of course if you can you should demo. Maybe look at Arcam SA20 or a used FMJ A19 or 29 or even 39, or a Roksan Caspian M2 (also on the sh market) and use whatever DAC you can budget for (Schiit Modi 3 or Topping D30, or Behringer UCA202 on the ultra-cheap).
 

ast2312

Well-known member
May 3, 2020
31
6
45
Hi, thanks for the suggestion. The 6000a has great reviews but I thought the usb was used for firmware updates only but could be wrong.
 

ast2312

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

Mark thanks for the suggestion, I wish it did have USB but looks like that’s just for updates only - shame really, it would have been a good option.

Best

Andrew
 
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Gray

Well-known member
Nov 27, 2015
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Seems like USB is important to you Andrew.
If you absolutely must have the facility built in, then ignore what I am going on to say.

Otherwise, this might be worth considering:
Demo one or both of your Cambridge options and the Audiolab.
If you prefer a Cambridge, all well and good.
If however, you prefer the sound of the 6000A, don't let a lack of USB input rule it out.
It's £150 cheaper than the cheapest Cambridge, spare money for a decent USB DAC - which would feed one of the analogue line inputs on the 6000A.
(I've just bought one for £100. Like the Audiolab, it's got an ESS Sabre DAC chip and I'd bet it sounds every bit as good, if not better).

You may have seen this thread on USB DACs. At least 3 of the suggestions cost below £150.
If you haven't, it might be worth a look:
 
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ast2312

Well-known member
May 3, 2020
31
6
45
Many thanks Gray and appreciate your helpful post. I will take a look at the various options. My preference for a USB digital input comes from the quest for minimal leads and a neat 2 box solution (Mac-mini + amp). Unfortunately the new Mac-mini’s do not have the digital out feature from the 3.5mm outlet so I am led to believe.

Really appreciate the help on this topic.
 
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ast2312

Well-known member
May 3, 2020
31
6
45
No worries Mark (and no need for apologies), it was a great suggestion and I am looking at how to find a DAC or interface solution.

Thanks for helping with the thread.
 

Gray

Well-known member
Nov 27, 2015
992
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5,770
My preference for a USB digital input comes from the quest for minimal leads and a neat 2 box solution (Mac-mini + amp).
Understood (y)
(I should have just mentioned that the DAC I bought is about the size of a pack of cards, so can easily be hidden away (say, behind the 6000A).....doesn't even have a separate power supply, as it takes power (as well as the music data) from the USB feeding it).

Good luck with whatever you choose.
 

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