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STEREO AMPLIFIERS

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▪ Cambridge Audio CXA81

£999

Cambridge Audio didn’t necessarily need a complete overhaul of its CXA series, but the results of doing so have been quite phenomenal.

The Lunar Grey chassis and removal of balance and tone controls from the front panel are the only tweaks that are immediately obvious in the CXA81. But though this new integrated amplifier’s basic analogue circuit layout remains unchanged, Cambridge’s engineers have upgraded most of the op-amps in the signal path, as well as the capacitors in both the pre and power sections.

The CXA81 also houses a superior ESS Sabre ES9016K2M DAC and improved USB input that supports audio of up to 32-bit/384kHz and DSD256 quality, while an aptX HD Bluetooth receiver allows direct streaming at up to 24-bit/384kHz.

On the analogue side there are four RCA ins and a balanced XLR, while the CXA81’s S/PDIF coaxial input will handle files up to 24-bit/192kHz, and its pair of Toslink optical connections take that up to

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