• If you ever spot Spam (either in the forums, or received via forum direct message) please use the Report button at the bottom of each post to make sure a Moderator can handle it quickly. Thanks for your help in keeping things running smoothly!

Quad Vena or Cambridge Audio CXA60?

jonathanstromstedt

New member
Oct 29, 2017
5
0
0
Dear comunity,

I am in the process of upgrading my setup and would love your opinion on the above question. I am a newb but I love music and I have owned a Musical Fidelity Elektra 100, a Rega, Denon, Enaos, Jolida…

This is situation that I am in: till now I have only had part of the complete setup, some good items, other not so good, or a bad listening room. At last I can have all of the elements come together.

Listening room

Refurbished, insulated barn, all woods, 6 x 4 x 2.5 (height) meters

Source

Lossless format or Cds played through computer, with an optical cable directly into the DAC of the integrated amplifier.

Speakers

Polk Audio monitor 60, which i want to upgrade

Amplifier

Jolida hybrid tube-transistor JD 150 1RC, which i also need to upgrade.

Listening style

As an artist, i paint and listen to music for several hours. But I also like to play something punchy for a shorter amount of time and enjoy a fun, lively amp.

Music

Anything from classical, to americana, roots, electro, jazz, etc, ie a total mix.

This is the pickle: the Jolida amplifier is lovely, warm sounding and to me has some character, but it is very old and is breaking on me. So i need to upgrade it. The speakers are fine, but are pretty cheap and sound hollow compared to others that I have tested.

And here comes the setups that I have been testing:

I tried a NAD 3020D, found it OK, nice small format, not very powerful, a bit flat and far away sounding, I didnät feel so much emotional presence and it sounded a bit electronic to me.

The NAD 316 was worse, even emptier sounding i felt.

The NAD C338 was a better, but still sounded a bit flat to me, quite focused, but not dreamy or airy enough, lacking space. It did drive something deeper though, felt more gripping than the two others.

A Rotel RA12 felt precise, to the point and clearer, but i didn’t feel anything in the gut.

Finally I tried the Cambridge Audio CXA60 and just loved it. For me it felt musical, precise, inspired and clear, yet still throttling in the bass. And the notes felt organic, liquid and emotional, with vocal from Joni Mitchell bright and luminous, to the bass of Angus Stone really gripping the belly.

I tried all of the above with the Polks, which were OK, but the DALI Zensor 7s really hit the spot. The Dalis are also white which works in the room and they are OK for my budget, cannot afford more.

Now for the question: I can can get a great deal on the Quad Vena. I have read great reviews on it. Technically, it is a more expensive amp compared to the CXA60…? But I have not been able to test it. What do you think about the Quad? How does it stack up against the CXA60? Similar characters? Will the Quad pair well with the Dalis?
 

insider9

Well-known member
Sep 20, 2016
739
298
5,270
I've not heard either amp. I know Dali speakers. It looks like you've gone through quite a few amps to get to where you are. And most importantly you know what sound you're looking for and found it.

I would suggest leaving your setup until you find it lacking or have funds to upgrade it to the next level. That would be in a territory of double what you spent on each of your components. It's likely that anything at a similar cost will not be an upgrade just a sideways move.
 
Q

QuestForThe13thNote

Guest
Sorry I don’t know what’s best, but judging by the reviews I think you’d find it hard to beat the ca if buying new. I’d agree with insider, that you want decent upgrades that ‘pay’.
 

jonathanstromstedt

New member
Oct 29, 2017
5
0
0
Thanks for the welcome to the forum! To clarify, I am finding my speakers lacking and they were cheap, at 350 USD for both, while the Dalis are about 1000 USD for both. I am pretty set on getting those.

As for the Jolida, it is falling apart, hence, broken, noisy, etc. I cannot fix it and want to spend about what the CA or the Quad cost.

I am just trying to get a feel for how the Quad might compare to the CA...

Thank you!

Jonathan
 

CnoEvil

New member
Aug 21, 2009
556
8
0
Given your taste in amps, the Quad is "in theory" the better choice....but you liked the CX A60. Whether in the long term you would miss the euphony of the Jolida is something to consider.

I can't comment on the pairing with your speakers.

If you have access to Pathos, it might also be worth considering....also a brand of Hybrid. The same would apply to Croft.
 

drummerman

New member
Jan 18, 2008
540
1
0
I read the Vena's circuit was not designed by Quad/IAG but 'inherited' as part of a buy-out. Someone probably proof me wrong.

Chebby is the only member I know that owned the Quad.

I've only noticed mostly good things about the Cambridge but the Vena's design kind of appeals. Still, the C looks decent too.
 

jonathanstromstedt

New member
Oct 29, 2017
5
0
0
Hi,

Thank you for all of your comments. Maybe what i liked about the CAudio was the roominess, the clarity and space that it offered, making the other models seem duller. Maybe I am actually more interested in a clearer sound now, instead of some more gutteral which I liked in the past.

I was only able to pair the CAudio with the Dali Zensor 7s, but I may be able to try out the Quad with these following speakers, which are all within my budget and come in a white finish. Does anyone have any experience with these models? I know nothing about them.

- ELAC FS 77

- Canton GLE 476.2

- monitor Audio Bronze 5

As for the circuitry of the Quad not being -quad- that sounds scary...

Thank you for your input!

Jonathan
 

CnoEvil

New member
Aug 21, 2009
556
8
0
jonathanstromstedt said:
Hi,

Thank you for all of your comments. Maybe what i liked about the CAudio was the roominess, the clarity and space that it offered, making the other models seem duller. Maybe I am actually more interested in a clearer sound now, instead of some more gutteral which I liked in the past.
I'm just playing Devils advocate for a minute: - You say you like listening to music for hours, so just make sure that what sounds exciting for a demo, doesn't get fatiguing over long sessions. - If you like classical, check out how the system sounds with violins, sopranos and choral works/opera....if this makes up a lot of your listening, you could lose some of the magic/emotion. - If you have some poorly recorded stuff, check out how it sounds as well. EDIT. Sorry, the site has messed with my formatting. *dash1*
 

rainsoothe

Well-known member
Apr 30, 2012
339
124
19,070
CnoEvil said:
jonathanstromstedt said:
Hi,

Thank you for all of your comments. Maybe what i liked about the CAudio was the roominess, the clarity and space that it offered, making the other models seem duller. Maybe I am actually more interested in a clearer sound now, instead of some more gutteral which I liked in the past.
I'm just playing Devils advocate for a minute: - You say you like listening to music for hours, so just make sure that what sounds exciting for a demo, doesn't get fatiguing over long sessions. - If you like classical, check out how the system sounds with violins, sopranos and choral works/opera....if this makes up a lot of your listening, you could lose some of the magic/emotion. - If you have some poorly recorded stuff, check out how it sounds as well. EDIT. Sorry, the site has messed with my formatting. *dash1*
Hi. +1 from me to this.

USD pricing means you're in the US? If so, there's some good stuff there that you can get for better prices than we can in the EU, and you should definately check Rogue Audiio Sphinx (even the mk1). For amps it's also safer to check SH market (as opposed to speakers), and don't be affraid to buy ex-dem. Also, do try to demo the stuff in your own room, it makes a difference.

On the same principles as above, make sure you check Martin Logan Motion 20 and Golden Ear Triton speakers.

You can use a Schiit dac 'till you get the budget to upgrade to something better, if you don't already have one.
 

jonathanstromstedt

New member
Oct 29, 2017
5
0
0
Hi!

Thanks again for the added input. It really is awesome to have backup and help at hand when trying to make these decisions. I try to trust me ear, but it is so true that a kicking demo might as an example be trying on the ear if a session goes on for hours. I have had that happen, and it is happening now with the combo that I have. The Polk Audio Monitor 60 sounds so triffled, narrow and pushing, as if they were singers with no enough capacity in their lungs or skills, so that they have to push the air out by singer harder - it just feels painful.

Thank you for the comments on the euphony of the tube amplifier. I hear what you are saying. Yet, yesterday i was able to demo the Quad in Stockholm and it sounded quite mutted compared to a similarily priced Vincent. As a raver in my earlier years, I am wondering whether i have damaged my high notes sensors in my ears and need a spikier amplifier to enjoy higher notes?

As for where I am located, I actually moved to Sweden from the US. I acquired the Jolida in the US, as well as the Polks. Now that I am in Sweden, the Jolida is unserviceable and I had to do some fancy rewiring, with help from Jolida over a skype session, to get it to work on 220-240V. You can see where this is going...that amp is like a fire hazard now lol.

Does anyone have any experience with those last 3 speakers I mentioned? I am going to try to demo them with another Quad in a week or so in my town...
 

CnoEvil

New member
Aug 21, 2009
556
8
0
jonathanstromstedt said:
Thank you for the comments on the euphony of the tube amplifier. I hear what you are saying. Yet, yesterday i was able to demo the Quad in Stockholm and it sounded quite mutted compared to a similarily priced Vincent.
Vincent make some great Valve and Hybrid amps.

Also, don't assume that a Valve amp is all warm and over honey'd....a good modern one, will give an exciting and dramatic presentation, but with that "liquid midange", which is where the emotion resides.
 

Al ears

Moderator
CnoEvil said:
jonathanstromstedt said:
Thank you for the comments on the euphony of the tube amplifier. I hear what you are saying. Yet, yesterday i was able to demo the Quad in Stockholm and it sounded quite mutted compared to a similarily priced Vincent.
Vincent make some great Valve and Hybrid amps.

Also, don't assume that a Valve amp is all warm and over honey'd....a good modern one, will give an exciting and dramatic presentation, but with that "liquid midange", which is where the emotion resides.
I agree, the OP is lucky to get to hear one.

I don't know where you could do this in the UK or even if you could get one for anywhere near the price of the Vena
 

jonathanstromstedt

New member
Oct 29, 2017
5
0
0
Indeed, it was a Vincent SV-500 för 900 pounds. That is out of my range.

The Vena in Sweden also costs about that, but now they have a special on it for 430 pounds, hence the interest. That will be cheaper that buying the CX A60 which is 630 pounds in Sweden. I am factoring all of that in so that I may put the extra 200 pounds into speakers...

How about those last three speakers, anyone have any expeirence with them?

- ELAC FS 77

- Canton GLE 476.2

- monitor Audio Bronze 5

Thank you!

J
 

insider9

Well-known member
Sep 20, 2016
739
298
5,270
Have a different presentation to those of Dali Zensor 7. They will sound more restrained and don't really match what you wrote in OP "like to play something punchy for a shorter amount of time and enjoy a fun, lively amp". Dali match that in abundance.

Other speakers you mention are not available in the UK so can't comment.
 

jonathanstromstedt

New member
Oct 29, 2017
5
0
0
thank you for the comments on the monitor Audio Bronze 5. Indeed, that restraint, that need for me to stretch forward to hear the music, or to turn the volume up to have it reach me, is what i have sometimes felt and wish to avoid. It happened with the Rotel, the Quad yesterday, and so forth. So i will heed you advice and keep it in mind when and if i can try them out next week. I really did like those Dalis. They were just so lively and fun..and look snazzy to boot, definitively sparks up the listening room.

As for the - ELAC FS 77 and - Canton GLE 476.2, they are german brands that I have never heard of... anyone have any ideas about them?

Thank you!!

J
 

maroonbells

New member
Sep 18, 2017
0
0
0
I am very pleased with my CXA60 apart from the DAC which frankly is outdated and gives me a headache. As long as I'm using my Chord DAC then I'm getting a tremendous sound from my setup. Lots of punch and dynamics.
 

jonathanstromstedt

New member
Oct 29, 2017
5
0
0
thanks Marroon for the info. What do you mean about the DAC of the CXA being outdated? And how does it give you a headache? Finally, how do you like the Q 3050s? Do they go well with the CXA?

j
 
Q

QuestForThe13thNote

Guest
I wouldn’t have said the dacs in the Cambridge Audios are outdated. They may be old designs but perform well and frankly for a dac and amp in one, you’d struggle to beat that Cambridge Audio at its price, and as you liked it too. Chord dacs have a reputation for punching above their weight but I wouldn’t have thought a mojo is going to be hugely better than the dacs in the ca, if maybe only a preference thing.
 

maroonbells

New member
Sep 18, 2017
0
0
0
I find that if I play it at highish volume there is something in the higher frequencies that really grates, it isn't something you can immediately hear though, maybe it is digital distortion. Apart from that the amp is very good and i won't grumble for the price. The mojo is WAY above the onboard DAC, a different league entirely.
 

Pedro

New member
May 31, 2016
4
0
0
The DAC inside the CXA60 is a good one. DACs and amps have much less levels of distortion than (passive) speakers and I doubt many people could tell the difference between that Wolfson and a posh DAC in a blind test with matched levels.

Or maybe this is all a big mystery.
 

Al ears

Moderator
Pedro said:
The DAC inside the CXA60 is a good one. DACs and amps have much less levels of distortion than (passive) speakers and I doubt many people could tell the difference between that Wolfson and a posh DAC in a blind test with matched levels.

Or maybe this is all a big mystery.
Perhaps that is why Chord sell so many Mojos... ;-)
 

davedotco

New member
Apr 24, 2013
20
0
0
Al ears said:
Pedro said:
The DAC inside the CXA60 is a good one. DACs and amps have much less levels of distortion than (passive) speakers and I doubt many people could tell the difference between that Wolfson and a posh DAC in a blind test with matched levels.

Or maybe this is all a big mystery.
Perhaps that is why Chord sell so many Mojos... ;-)
Are interesting for two reasons...

Firstly, they do not use regular dac chips but use a processor that runs their own propriety software, by no means the only company to do so, Wadia were doing something similar some 20+ years back. However doing this in a product the price of the Mojo is I think unique.

Also, Chord dacs all have exceptionally high output levels, unless properly compensated for, this alone could account for the percieved improvement in clarity, separation and pretty much anything else that is heard in comparitive demonstrations.
 

insider9

Well-known member
Sep 20, 2016
739
298
5,270
davedotco said:
Al ears said:
Pedro said:
The DAC inside the CXA60 is a good one. DACs and amps have much less levels of distortion than (passive) speakers and I doubt many people could tell the difference between that Wolfson and a posh DAC in a blind test with matched levels.

Or maybe this is all a big mystery.

 
Perhaps that is why Chord sell so many Mojos...  ;-)
Are interesting for two reasons...

Firstly, they do not use regular dac chips but use a processor that runs their own propriety software, by no means the only company to do so, Wadia were doing something similar some 20+ years back. However doing this in a product the price of the Mojo is I think unique.

Also, Chord dacs all have exceptionally high output levels, unless properly compensated for, this alone could account for the percieved improvement in clarity, separation and pretty much anything else that is heard in comparitive demonstrations.
Agreed

I've compared Mojo against a few other DAC (level matched) and it did sound very good indeed and it's an excellent dac and a bargain. However it didn't suit my system so sold it in the end.
 

davedotco

New member
Apr 24, 2013
20
0
0
insider9 said:
davedotco said:
Al ears said:
Pedro said:
The DAC inside the CXA60 is a good one. DACs and amps have much less levels of distortion than (passive) speakers and I doubt many people could tell the difference between that Wolfson and a posh DAC in a blind test with matched levels.

Or maybe this is all a big mystery.
Perhaps that is why Chord sell so many Mojos... ;-)
Are interesting for two reasons...

Firstly, they do not use regular dac chips but use a processor that runs their own propriety software, by no means the only company to do so, Wadia were doing something similar some 20+ years back. However doing this in a product the price of the Mojo is I think unique.

Also, Chord dacs all have exceptionally high output levels, unless properly compensated for, this alone could account for the percieved improvement in clarity, separation and pretty much anything else that is heard in comparitive demonstrations.
Agreed

I've compared Mojo against a few other DAC (level matched) and it did sound very good indeed and it's an excellent dac and a bargain. However it didn't suit my system so sold it in the end.
Interesting.

Care to take a few minutes to expand on that?
 

insider9

Well-known member
Sep 20, 2016
739
298
5,270
davedotco said:
insider9 said:
Agreed

I've compared Mojo against a few other DAC (level matched) and it did sound very good indeed and it's an excellent dac and a bargain. However it didn't suit my system so sold it in the end.
Interesting.

Care to take a few minutes to expand on that?
Sure, level matched conditions to within under 1dB at 1kHz with Umik-1 calibrated mic.

DAC chips compared were AKM4440 (Minidsp OpendrcDA8), ESS9006 (Yamaha WXC-50), TDA-1543 (I think, NOS DAC TeraDak). I'm writing from memory so apologies if any of the DAC chips are slightly off. And of course Chord Mojo woth it's FPGA chip.

Other equipment used:

- speakers Red Rose Classic, Jamo Concert 7, Epos M15.2

- amps Roksan L3, Naim 5i-2

- headphones AKG K712 and briefly Shure SRH1540

Observations as an owner of all of the above equipemnt with a couple of week loan of TeraDak.

Initial observations were that there wasn't much different but the more I listened the more I appreciated how ultimately big the differences were. Mojo sounded very good indeed. Ultimately it was between Mojo and AKM4440. At this point I need to say that AKM4440 stayed and Mojo went. Particularly because I can use room correction with AKM chip being part of my Minidsp as well as overall tonal balance being more neutral (or however I set it to). For comparisons below I didn't use any DSP.

Mojo in my eyes (ears) good timing, well detailed and really nice resolution. Really liked how it handles layer upon layer of music. But its particular strength was its bass were notes were very well pronounced and precisely timed. Seemed as if it had more attack then most (AKM was on par). Overall tonal balance was rich sounding with very good timbre but on the warm side. Especially mid to upper bass and lower midrange felt exagerated and this is what ultimately made me sell it. Particularly didn't suit my AKG K712 which have a lift in that region. Combo felt somewhat congested and not neutral enough. Soundstage was nicely organised with air between instruments but it wasn't night and day difference. Shure headphones sounded really rich and lush with it. Not critical level neutral but natural and fun.

Via speakers paired really well with Naim + Epos, did equally well with Red Rose but unfortunately Naim didn't have enough grunt for these speakers. Pairing it as Jamos (again Naim could only go to a certain level before running out of juice) was interesting depending on the amp. With Naim it sounded too warm, female vocals sounded nasal, saxophone reed was hear very well and you could easily tell shimmer of Zildjan cymbals. But the timbre was over the top even though it was fairly detailed. On the end of Roksan it sounded almost right, warm and rich but the detail was somewhat lost (down to amp no doubt). Not sure why this is as Roksan is ultimately warmer of the two.

So I ended up selling it with a though of getting either 2Qute or Hugo after my amplification was changed to better suit my speakers. Now this was done I'm perfectly happy with Red Rose being driver by Densen B-110 with Minidsp and it's AKM4440 dac. The difference is rather staggering but I'd rather leave that for another thread.
 

ASK THE COMMUNITY

TRENDING THREADS

Latest posts