CXA61/81 w. 250 ohm phones?

My2Cents

Well-known member
Nov 10, 2023
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One cannot use the pre amp outs to a headphone amp with the Cambridge Audio CXA61/81's.
Well, actually you can, but there is no way to mute the speakers.
Pretty big mistake on CA's part I'd say.
Perhaps the next gen. replacement model will have a speaker mute feature. Plugging in a dummy 3.5mm jack into the headphone out mutes the speakers and the pre amp outs!
Has anyone used 250 ohm headphones with the CXA's built in headphone amp with these models? If so, does it have the power to drive them?
 

Al ears

Well-known member
One cannot use the pre amp outs to a headphone amp with the Cambridge Audio CXA61/81's.
Well, actually you can, but there is no way to mute the speakers.
Pretty big mistake on CA's part I'd say.
Perhaps the next gen. replacement model will have a speaker mute feature. Plugging in a dummy 3.5mm jack into the headphone out mutes the speakers and the pre amp outs!
Has anyone used 250 ohm headphones with the CXA's built in headphone amp with these models? If so, does it have the power to drive them?
I haven't personally but would be very surprised if it didn't have sufficient power.
Have you tried it or are you just looking to buy?
 

WayneKerr

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Jan 21, 2022
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He has already stat
He has already stated that its not possible to do so as no way to mute the speakers which I find a tad odd.
If that's the case he is looking at the wrong amplifiers.
Understood. It is rather strange that the mute button is a global mute function. According to the manual the amp can handle headphones from 8-600ohm.
 

Gray

Well-known member
Well, actually you can, but there is no way to mute the speakers.
All the pictures I looked at were useless, but I saw the CXA-61 had A & B speaker outputs.
I could also (just about) see A & B marked on the front panel.

Is the A speaker output always connected then? with only the B output switchable?.....how does it work?
 

My2Cents

Well-known member
Nov 10, 2023
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All the pictures I looked at were useless, but I saw the CXA-61 had A & B speaker outputs.
I could also (just about) see A & B marked on the front panel.

Is the A speaker output always connected then? with only the B output switchable?.....how does it work?
You can choose speakers A, B, A+B or speakers OFF (as with most amps). However, switching the speakers OFF (or plugging headphones in) mutes the pre amp output.
So, using a headphone amp connected to the pre amp out results in the speakers still being driven. Turning down the volume doesn't help as it too affects the output level at the pre amp output.
The pre amp out is actually designed for an alternative way of connecting a powered sub. but as the amp has LFE out (which I use) the pre amp out is kinda useless.
Most amps don't dissable the pre amp out when the speakers are set to OFF.
 
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Gray

Well-known member
the pre amp out is kinda useless.
Certainly is, for your requirement.

You asked if the CA would drive 250 ohm headphones, but didn't confirm whether you already own some.

The obvious thing to do is to try the CA headphone out.
If you don't rate it, then decide.

Short of changing the amp, you can either put individual source into a h/p amp - or leave the speakers switched in and use an external, additional speaker switch to mute them.

Not ideal - but neither is your amp.
 

Mavayr

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Mar 17, 2022
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You can choose speakers A, B, A+B or speakers OFF (as with most amps). However, switching the speakers OFF (or plugging headphones in) mutes the pre amp output.
So, using a headphone amp connected to the pre amp out results in the speakers still being driven. Turning down the volume doesn't help as it too affects the output level at the pre amp output.
The pre amp out is actually designed for an alternative way of connecting a powered sub. but as the amp has LFE out (which I use) the pre amp out is kinda useless.
Most amps don't dissable the pre amp out when the speakers are set to OFF.
Plugging in headphones mutes all other outputs on my CXA81, which suggests that you may have a fault in the unit.

As per the Manual:
Note: Plugging in headphones will automatically mute the loudspeaker, pre-out, and sub-outputs.
 

Gray

Well-known member
Plugging in headphones mutes all other outputs on my CXA81, which suggests that you may have a fault in the unit.

As per the Manual:
Note: Plugging in headphones will automatically mute the loudspeaker, pre-out, and sub-outputs.
You've confirmed what he said.
It's the preamp outputs that he doesn't want to mute (when the speakers do).
 

nightanddaygamechangers

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Nov 19, 2023
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There’s nothing wrong with this amp. Connect your speakers to A. Select B only output to mute the speakers while maintaining pre amp output. Some simple experimentation would have identified this. I have the CXA60 and I tested this briefly to confirm it works as I’d expect, but personally have no need to connect a headphone amp to an integrated.
 
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My2Cents

Well-known member
Nov 10, 2023
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There’s nothing wrong with this amp. Connect your speakers to A. Select B only output to mute the speakers while maintaining pre amp output. Some simple experimentation would have identified this. I have the CXA60 and I tested this briefly to confirm it works as I’d expect, but personally have no need to connect a headphone amp to an integrated.
This does not work with the CXA61. Selecting a speaker out with no speakers connected is never a good idea unless there is a power soak built into the circuit. Cambridge Audio confirmed this in a tech support e mail.
 

nightanddaygamechangers

Well-known member
Nov 19, 2023
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This does not work with the CXA61. Selecting a speaker out with no speakers connected is never a good idea unless there is a power soak built into the circuit. Cambridge Audio confirmed this in a tech support e mail.
Thanks for the clarification. Mine is normally set on A only. Having said that I just checked my other amp in my office, an old Audiolab 8000a, and its been set like that, possibly for months. It has a dedicated on/off for the second set of speaker terminals. It was probably pressed by accident, as it’s right next to the power button, and is exactly the same size and shape. It’s not clear which state it’s in just by looking at it. Fortunately its never complained, but I’ve set it to off.. Maybe it has the power soak you mentioned. I’d imagine tech support have to say it’s not advisable as a general safety policy.

With regard to your original comment, is the pre amp output on your new Yamaha amp always active?
 
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Rodolfo

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Jul 31, 2023
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I just tested headphones on my Rotel A12 integrated, with coax 1 operating; and learn it does not mute my speakers either. I suppose this would be the case with any input.

It's a rotten shame, but I'm still convinced I have the right integrated.
 

My2Cents

Well-known member
Nov 10, 2023
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Thanks for the clarification. Mine is normally set on A only. Having said that I just checked my other amp in my office, an old Audiolab 8000a, and its been set like that, possibly for months. It has a dedicated on/off for the second set of speaker terminals. It was probably pressed by accident, as it’s right next to the power button, and is exactly the same size and shape. It’s not clear which state it’s in just by looking at it. Fortunately its never complained, but I’ve set it to off.. Maybe it has the power soak you mentioned. I’d imagine tech support have to say it’s not advisable as a general safety policy.

With regard to your original comment, is the pre amp output on your new Yamaha amp always active?
Hi,
Indeed, the pre outs on the Yamaha are still active with the speakers off.
The CXA manual seems to suggest that the pre out on the CXA61 was primarily designed for use with a sub woofer. However the CXA also has an LFE out, which is the more common way to connect a sub these days (which I did use).
I have a headphone amp connected to the Yamaha pre out now and and can use 2 pairs of phones (one pair into the amp and a second pair into the headphone amp.) and mute the speakers.
 

My2Cents

Well-known member
Nov 10, 2023
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Certainly is, for your requirement.

You asked if the CA would drive 250 ohm headphones, but didn't confirm whether you already own some.

The obvious thing to do is to try the CA headphone out.
If you don't rate it, then decide.

Short of changing the amp, you can either put individual source into a h/p amp - or leave the speakers switched in and use an external, additional speaker switch to mute them.

Not ideal - but neither is your amp.
I do own some 250 ohm phones (Beyerdynamic DT 880 PRO's) but they have never sounded good since the day I purchased them (muddy sounding). I sent them back to Beyerdynamic (who claimed that they had repaired them) but they didn't sound any better when I got them back.
I have used other pairs of DT 880's that have sound good and so I just use mine for playing drums through (they do a pretty good job in that role).
I have since used my DT 880's with a high quality headphone amp and they do in fact sound better than they did.
Beyerdynamic also claim that changing the ear pads (they provide 2 different types) also opens up the sound but I can't remember which they said my phones had, I think I'm supposed to try the EDT770 pads and mine came with EDT990 pads (which are thicker).
The key to high impedance phones is not so much the power required but the impedance at the headphone out. High impedance phones require ultra low impedance at the output socket of the amp (around 0.2 ohms is ideal) and many amps don't provide that (or even publish such specs).
 

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