Question Rega Brio (current) vs. Cambridge CAX81

Drew2

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Sep 1, 2020
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Looking at these 2 amps (among others but these are main ones). I know the CA has a higher power rating but assuming that 80w is not required how do these 2 compare in audio quality? I realize a home audition is preferred way to evaluate but in this day of COVID, that is not possible as most stores (US) are either online only or open by appt only. Also in my city there are no CA dealers. Appreciate any comments from those who are familiar with both the Brio and the CAX81. I know the CA has more features (DAC and digital etc) but looking for the sound, not the bells and whistles. Thanks
 

nopiano

Well-known member
Looking at these 2 amps (among others but these are main ones). I know the CA has a higher power rating but assuming that 80w is not required how do these 2 compare in audio quality? I realize a home audition is preferred way to evaluate but in this day of COVID, that is not possible as most stores (US) are either online only or open by appt only. Also in my city there are no CA dealers. Appreciate any comments from those who are familiar with both the Brio and the CAX81. I know the CA has more features (DAC and digital etc) but looking for the sound, not the bells and whistles. Thanks
What are the relative prices in the US? Here in Blighty the Cambridge is £999 but the Brio just £599. 40% cheaper means they’re scarcely comparable for most buyers here.
 
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Drew2

Well-known member
Sep 1, 2020
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520
What are the relative prices in the US? Here in Blighty the Cambridge is £999 but the Brio just £599. 40% cheaper means they’re scarcely comparable for most buyers here.
The Brio is right at $1000 and the Cambridge is $1300 so about a 30% delta. That said, by looking around at sales etc, the variance can be less.
 

leepish

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Oct 25, 2020
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I have been rocking the CXA 81 with Kef R3s and an SVS SB2000 Pro sub since October. It is fantastic! So on point, musical, fast and tight in the bass. Great sound stage. I am listening at the moment to Weather Report’s ”Havona.” I feel like bassist Jaco Pastorius and the band are giving me a private concert in my living room. Listen, There are a number good amps out there to choose from. Just know that this Cambridge Audio CXA81 is great, and especially for $1300. It punches above its weight. And it is not just a box ticking amp, in my opinion. Good luck with the search. BTW, I agree that the Brio doesn’t compare. Maybe with the CXA61.
 
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manicm

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May 1, 2008
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With the Rega you will get carried away with the music, whereas the Cambridge will keep reminding you of all the so-called hi-fi boxes it can tick.

Personally I'd choose the Rega without a second thought.
Perhaps, but that analytical sound might be mitigated with different speakers. I would try pairing a Dynaudio with the CXA81.

I’ve heard Dynaudios paired with Cyrus amps, and the sound was excellent.
 
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matthewpiano

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Nov 23, 2007
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Perhaps, but that analytical sound might be mitigated with different speakers. I would try pairing a Dynaudio with the CXA81.

I’ve heard Dynaudios paired with Cyrus amps, and the sound was excellent.
Dynaudio are always worth a try. My DM2/6s are the longest surviving component in my 'collection' of hi-fi. I bought them new around 7 years ago, and in the past couple of days I've been using them instead of my LS50 Metas.
 

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