I have a CXA80 with 30 year old speakers

E. J. Mohr

Active member
Mar 21, 2021
3
1
25
Well ladies and gents I bought myself a Cambridge Audio CXN V2 streamer and the above mentioned amp. I hooked her up to my old Energy C6 speakers and was underwhelmed. To be clear the Cambridge equipment is superb but the speakers not so much. Now, and some of you may remember these things, I recalled that I had some really old speakers in the basement.

I hauled the 45lb each monsters upstairs and hooked them up. They are Kenwood LS-890's and they sound amazing and make the Energy kit seem dull and listless. They are also over 40 years old. So, my question, and you knew that was coming is what modern speakers are recommended for the Cambridge CXA80 and now CXA81 amps? Surely the newer speakers must sound better yet I would hope, but I'll see what you fine people have to say.
 
Well ladies and gents I bought myself a Cambridge Audio CXN V2 streamer and the above mentioned amp. I hooked her up to my old Energy C6 speakers and was underwhelmed. To be clear the Cambridge equipment is superb but the speakers not so much. Now, and some of you may remember these things, I recalled that I had some really old speakers in the basement.

I hauled the 45lb each monsters upstairs and hooked them up. They are Kenwood LS-890's and they sound amazing and make the Energy kit seem dull and listless. They are also over 40 years old. So, my question, and you knew that was coming is what modern speakers are recommended for the Cambridge CXA80 and now CXA81 amps? Surely the newer speakers must sound better yet I would hope, but I'll see what you fine people have to say.
Speakers are normally chosen to work well in a particular room not solely with a particular amp.
Can I take it, from ownership of those Energy speakers, you are in the States or Canada as I don't think they made it over here to the UK.
Hang on to those Kenwoods....... :)
If you are thinking of getting modern speakers then I guess it's going to come down to the old question...what can you actually get to audition where you are?
And I guess you knew that was coming.
 

E. J. Mohr

Active member
Mar 21, 2021
3
1
25
I am in Canada and far away from any place that would allow me to audition any speakers - about 130 miles to the nearest proper audio dealer. You're right in that I knew you were going to ask that question. I just gave the Kenwood another listen and I am quite amazed. I suppose the original amp I had didn't do them full justice but I wasn't aware when I bought them that they were considered "High End" but apparently they were. They sell on E-Bay for multiples of what the Energy's sell for - if that is any indication and it may not be.

One reason I ask, is that I once introduced a friend to the world of high current amps and she bought a nice little Cambridge system with these amazing smallish speakers that put most speakers to shame. I think they were Monitor Audio speakers, but whatever they were they floored me with extraordinary sound. I suppose I should pay more attention to these things:)
 
I am in Canada and far away from any place that would allow me to audition any speakers - about 130 miles to the nearest proper audio dealer. You're right in that I knew you were going to ask that question. I just gave the Kenwood another listen and I am quite amazed. I suppose the original amp I had didn't do them full justice but I wasn't aware when I bought them that they were considered "High End" but apparently they were. They sell on E-Bay for multiples of what the Energy's sell for - if that is any indication and it may not be.

One reason I ask, is that I once introduced a friend to the world of high current amps and she bought a nice little Cambridge system with these amazing smallish speakers that put most speakers to shame. I think they were Monitor Audio speakers, but whatever they were they floored me with extraordinary sound. I suppose I should pay more attention to these things:)
That's a fair way to go for an audition I must admit but possibly worth it if you are going to be spending a good deal on speakers.
What sort of room size is your listening room? I do think that modern small standmount speakers have progressed somewhat over the years but the big old designs like those Kenwoods still have their place.
The likes of the Monitor Audio Gold100 or Silver 100 might go well with the Cambridge amp.
 

E. J. Mohr

Active member
Mar 21, 2021
3
1
25
That's a fair way to go for an audition I must admit but possibly worth it if you are going to be spending a good deal on speakers.
What sort of room size is your listening room? I do think that modern small standmount speakers have progressed somewhat over the years but the big old designs like those Kenwoods still have their place.
The likes of the Monitor Audio Gold100 or Silver 100 might go well with the Cambridge amp.
The dimensions of the room, which is a combined dining room living room, are about 12' x 24' with a wood floor. The speakers are at the far end and are about 8' apart with new plans to quickly order better speaker cables ASAP since the Kenwood's are relegated to an inferior set for now. I have to say I am still astonished that the until recently banished to the basement old equipment purgatory Kenwood's are leading a new life of glory.
 
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