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Hello All,

 

I am seriously considering getting one of these. Currently playing music from my iMac connected to the DAC via the path on my signature. iMac also has a HDD and not an SSD. Am I right in assuming the sound quality from the CXN should be a step up from my iMac? Another reason for the upgrade is, I mirror the iMac from my MacBook to control the music and would prefer a more straight forward control because sometimes the connection is laggy and have the odd connection issue which is solved by a re-start, I will also be able to play music via my phone and not always depend on the MacBook. Although a streamer isn't an absolute necessity right now, I will eventually have to get one when I move into my own place anyway, so I thought I'd see what's out there and was leaning towards the CXN.

 

For those who have owned one, have you compared it to the usual suspects like the Auralic Aries (any version), SoTM 200, microRendu, etc? All the reviews I've read are positive, and if anyone would like to share their experience either with the V2 or even the V1, it would be much appreciated. 

 

If anyone has any alternatives, I'd be open to consider other models. I really want a colour display (I like the look of it-I know, I'm a bit vain!), preferably under $2k new or used, doesn't have to be super audiophile quality-the rest of my system won't do it justice anyway, a decent step up from my PC would be sufficient.

 

Thank you!

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9 hours ago, Cardiiiii said:

Hello All,

 

I am seriously considering getting one of these. Currently playing music from my iMac connected to the DAC via the path on my signature. iMac also has a HDD and not an SSD. Am I right in assuming the sound quality from the CXN should be a step up from my iMac? Another reason for the upgrade is, I mirror the iMac from my MacBook to control the music and would prefer a more straight forward control because sometimes the connection is laggy and have the odd connection issue which is solved by a re-start, I will also be able to play music via my phone and not always depend on the MacBook. Although a streamer isn't an absolute necessity right now, I will eventually have to get one when I move into my own place anyway, so I thought I'd see what's out there and was leaning towards the CXN.

 

For those who have owned one, have you compared it to the usual suspects like the Auralic Aries (any version), SoTM 200, microRendu, etc? All the reviews I've read are positive, and if anyone would like to share their experience either with the V2 or even the V1, it would be much appreciated. 

 

If anyone has any alternatives, I'd be open to consider other models. I really want a colour display (I like the look of it-I know, I'm a bit vain!), preferably under $2k new or used, doesn't have to be super audiophile quality-the rest of my system won't do it justice anyway, a decent step up from my PC would be sufficient.

 

Thank you!

6

I've been using the CXN V1 for nearly two years and really love it. In case you don't already know the V2 has a faster processor but the sound quality is the same when compared to the V1. I have 1.2 TB of mainly FLAC files stored on a portable HDD connected to the CXN which has no trouble caching that amount of data - I figure the V2 would do it a bit quicker.

 

The Dual Wolfson 24-bit DACs produce a lovely natural sound and the streaming capabilities are also more than adequate. The only thing that I don't like is the lack of a USB output for when I eventually upgrade to a better stand-alone external DAC. At that point, I will sell the CXN and be on the lookout for a used Auralic Mini which also has a great reputation and a USB output. Hope this helps.

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I have had one of these for these for the past year, and have been very happy with it. I would add that the internet radio on it is excellent, with great sound- there are some great stations out there. The sound quality is good, though if you are the type with upgraditis, as mentioned above, the lack of a USB output is limiting. I listened to it alongside the 851n Cambridge streamer, and the SQ  differences were very very  subtle, and despite having the  money to get the more expensive model, I went for the more recent CXN v2. 

If you are connecting a drive to it, or running from and NAS or computer server, you can stream in native hi res, though it doesn’t do more than basic level DSD, which for many of us is academic! I have my collection on an old Mac mini, which I have permanently running in the background, connected to our router via Ethernet with another Ethernet connection from the wifi extender at the other end of the house. A NAS works just as well if you are just using the CXNs native app, though if you do this, I found the Ethernet connection to the router/access point made for a more stable connection, though I have two kids battling for bandwidth, so YMMV.

I run Roon to control my music, and have Tidal within this, though the machine does Spotify through its own app as well as Tidal. If you use Roon, the CXN is limited to 24/48 through its internal chromecast or 16/44 through AirPlay. Again, if most of your collection is ripped CDs, then this won’t be a limiting factor.

I would investigate one of the software options like Roon, Plex , Audirvana, etc., as whilst the CXN cambridge connect app is fine, it is relatively basic.

In summary, whilst this machine is not 100% perfect for what I do, it is close, and short of spending $$$ more, it is hard to beat as a one box solution.

 

 

Edited by Juzbear
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@PeteD @Juzbear

 

Thank you for your thoughts. I feel I should provide some additional information. My listening will be mostly through Tidal and a little bit of my ripped files from iTunes. So I could use the Chromecast feature on my phone or the Airplay from my MacBook. I don't need the DAC or the pre-amp features, I'm looking purely for a streamer with a colour display that looks nice ( a little vain I know). I plan on using the coax/SPDIF out to connect it to the DAC. 

 

I have no intention of spending large sums of money on streamers that cost anything higher, that money is better spent elsewhere.

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8 minutes ago, Cardiiiii said:

@PeteD @Juzbear

 

Thank you for your thoughts. I feel I should provide some additional information. My listening will be mostly through Tidal and a little bit of my ripped files from iTunes. So I could use the Chromecast feature on my phone or the Airplay from my MacBook. I don't need the DAC or the pre-amp features, I'm looking purely for a streamer with a colour display that looks nice ( a little vain I know). I plan on using the coax/SPDIF out to connect it to the DAC. 

 

I have no intention of spending large sums of money on streamers that cost anything higher, that money is better spent elsewhere.

I am not familiar with all of the brands/models in your signature. What DAC are you using?

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12 minutes ago, PeteD said:

I am not familiar with all of the brands/models in your signature. What DAC are you using?

I will be using a Holo Audio Spring DAC.

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Thanks for the clarification. I would  still recommend the CXN- it looks the business, and works well as a streamer. The integrated Tidal works well.

I would be very interested to hear of your experience using an outboard DAC, as this is one of the things that I often think may be worth doing at some stage. 

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42 minutes ago, Juzbear said:

Thanks for the clarification. I would  still recommend the CXN- it looks the business, and works well as a streamer. The integrated Tidal works well.

I would be very interested to hear of your experience using an outboard DAC, as this is one of the things that I often think may be worth doing at some stage. 

Do you use the native Tidal app on your phone/laptop or the Cambridge Audio app?

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45 minutes ago, Cardiiiii said:

Do you use the native Tidal app on your phone/laptop or the Cambridge Audio app?

I mostly access tidal through Roon, and then directly on my mobile- for some reason when I use Roon I do not get metadata and images displayed, whereas with the tidal app I do, and searching for music is better through the Tidal app.  Both are running through chromecast. I do use the Cambridge app from time to time and it is solid, though doesn’t have as nice an interface as the others. You can easily to and fro between them at will without mucking things up, as using controls in any of the above or on the remote works. The CXN is nice like that.  

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16 minutes ago, Juzbear said:

I mostly access tidal through Roon, and then directly on my mobile- for some reason when I use Roon I do not get metadata and images displayed, whereas with the tidal app I do, and searching for music is better through the Tidal app.  Both are running through chromecast. I do use the Cambridge app from time to time and it is solid, though doesn’t have as nice an interface as the others. You can easily to and fro between them at will without mucking things up, as using controls in any of the above or on the remote works. The CXN is nice like that.  

So you play it off your phone? On the Tidal app itself, you can choose the output can't you? Does that play over wifi or is that through Chromecast as well?

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8 minutes ago, Cardiiiii said:

So you play it off your phone? On the Tidal app itself, you can choose the output can't you? Does that play over wifi or is that through Chromecast as well?

I have just tested it out and you can start playback off your phone on the tidal app, and then turn your phone off and playback continues. Therefore I guess the internal tidal capability of the CXN is doing the heavy lifting. 

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  • 2 weeks later...
On 26/12/2018 at 2:44 PM, Juzbear said:

I have just tested it out and you can start playback off your phone on the tidal app, and then turn your phone off and playback continues. Therefore I guess the internal tidal capability of the CXN is doing the heavy lifting. 

 

I just picked up the V2, does the playback pause in-between songs? Any way you can have continuous playback? I'm playing Tidal via my android phone.

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5 hours ago, Cardiiiii said:

 

I just picked up the V2, does the playback pause in-between songs? Any way you can have continuous playback? I'm playing Tidal via my android phone.

To be honest, I hadn’t given this much thought, due to the sort of music I mostly play, though yes it does briefly pause between tracks. I tried this on purely streamed content and dowloaded albums and it seems to do so on both, with a gap of about half a second. Not sure whether this is a tidal, CXN or both kind of problem! 

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8 minutes ago, Juzbear said:

To be honest, I hadn’t given this much thought, due to the sort of music I mostly play, though yes it does briefly pause between tracks. I tried this on purely streamed content and dowloaded albums and it seems to do so on both, with a gap of about half a second. Not sure whether this is a tidal, CXN or both kind of problem! 

Yes, I'm using the Tidal app on my Pixel and looking at the sceen, it literally shows pause between songs, it's a little annoying but the sound quality more than makes up for it. And the screen is very pretty to look at ?

2 minutes ago, Juzbear said:

FWIW, It does not have a pause when I play it via ROON, so I guess it may be related to the android and iOS to chromecast relationship. 

I did some reading and apparently Roon has gapless play which the Tidal app does not. Not sure what it's like on iOS though. And my MacBook doesn't seem to be able to recognise it, maybe the Airplay is iOS only?

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@Juzbear I figured out how to play Tidal via AirPlay from my MacBook Pro. Good news-Continuous playback, no pausing at all. Bad news-No album artwork on the CXN. I've contacted Cambridge Audio to see if it is a known issue. Playing on iPad via AirPlay has artwork and no pausing!

Edited by Cardiiiii
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I've owned 2 CXN's for a couple of years now and love them, highly recommended and they sound fantastic, I stream off my NAS, and Tidal, as reliable as they come, good app for the phone as well, works beaut with the CXC 

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  • 2 months later...

Does the CXN (I assume V1 & V2 are the same?) outputs simultaneously Toslink and XLR?

 

Also, does it convert DSD to PCM?

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1 hour ago, Snoopy8 said:

Does the CXN (I assume V1 & V2 are the same?) outputs simultaneously Toslink and XLR?

 

Also, does it convert DSD to PCM?

From memory all the outputs are active. Cant help on point 2

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My CXN V2 is going strong, and whilst I do not use any DSD, as I use the Wifi or ethernet (depending on which stage of tinkering I am at) to connect my Roon Core, via chrome cast, which is only PCM, up to 24/48 (despite many conversations on the internet, and Cambridge claiming in the promo info that it can do up to 24/96, I have not been able to find any evidence it is possible at the present time). I found this quote from another forum, which I think answers your question about what happens to DSD once you get it into the CXN. 

 

Bart (Cambridge Audio)

May 8, 16:35 BST 



Thank you for contacting Cambridge Audio.

The CXN supports DSD x64 (AKA DSD64 or 64FS- Including DSF/DFF). 

The DACs used for the CXN aren’t capable of playing native DSD files so the signal does needs to be converted to PCM.

If you require any further information or assistance, please do not hesitate to contact us again.

Kind Regards,

Bart
Cambridge Audio.

 

I am still interested in anyone's experience in using external DAC for the CXN, as I confess this is a temptation, though for the most part a remain very happy with the sound I am getting from it via the XLR outputs.

 

Cheers, Justin

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38 minutes ago, Juzbear said:

My CXN V2 is going strong, and whilst I do not use any DSD, as I use the Wifi or ethernet (depending on which stage of tinkering I am at) to connect my Roon Core, via chrome cast, which is only PCM, up to 24/48 (despite many conversations on the internet, and Cambridge claiming in the promo info that it can do up to 24/96, I have not been able to find any evidence it is possible at the present time). I found this quote from another forum, which I think answers your question about what happens to DSD once you get it into the CXN. 

 

Bart (Cambridge Audio)

May 8, 16:35 BST 



Thank you for contacting Cambridge Audio.

The CXN supports DSD x64 (AKA DSD64 or 64FS- Including DSF/DFF). 

The DACs used for the CXN aren’t capable of playing native DSD files so the signal does needs to be converted to PCM.

If you require any further information or assistance, please do not hesitate to contact us again.

Kind Regards,

Bart
Cambridge Audio.

 

I am still interested in anyone's experience in using external DAC for the CXN, as I confess this is a temptation, though for the most part a remain very happy with the sound I am getting from it via the XLR outputs.

 

Cheers, Justin

You have a Chromecast connected to your CXN? Does Roon see the CXN via Airplay? I'd be more worried about introduced noise than bitrates and formats. 

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Chromecast is internal to the CXN, and is one of the two options, including airplay (limited to 16/44), that you can use if you are going via Wifi or ethernet. You can of course use USB (or older digital connections) and these give you the ability to play higher bitrates, etc. , but bring their own disadvantages, whether it is noise via USB from your laptop, etc., or the inability to see metadata on SPDIF. 

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4 minutes ago, Kaynin said:

The 851N does native DSD.

Thank you.  I am assuming that it can read a DSF (DSD) file and convert it to 24/96 PCM to be sent to Toslink output.  Otherwise, Toslink cannot work.

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7 hours ago, Mike13 said:

@Cardiiiii why mess around with a little colour display. $50 google chrome cast (display only, SMS-200 etc for sound):

 

Or if you want real time lyrics:

 

712E0D5D-9A50-4688-9C63-4C2F14C87064.jpeg

AF31687E-CE3D-4256-913C-D4B223787028.jpeg

Yep perfect set up, hate little tiny screens you can't see when sitting down. All streamers should have a HDMI out for video. This is why i have to use Kodi, HDMI to projector and USB to DAC for audio.

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8 hours ago, powerav said:

Yep perfect set up, hate little tiny screens you can't see when sitting down. All streamers should have a HDMI out for video. This is why i have to use Kodi, HDMI to projector and USB to DAC for audio.

Funny I find having a tv on when listening to music to be a mood detractor, iPad screen on the couch arm next to me for control is all I need.

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13 minutes ago, Hi-Fi Whipped said:

Funny I find having a tv on when listening to music to be a mood detractor, iPad screen on the couch arm next to me for control is all I need.

So do I if it isn’t the artist or lyrics that you are looking at. 

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11 minutes ago, Cardiiiii said:

@Mike13, that is a nice idea but I'll admit to being a bit of a gadget wh**e. I thought you were going to swap the white Astors back with Evil C?

If you have Roon, it is really simple. Other way around in the speakers. He got the black ones and I got the white.  

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  • 1 month later...

Hi, I am using the cxn v1 at the moment. I initially bought it as a stop-gap after my Sotm died. But it is really nice to use so I sold my old DAC. 

But now I'm wondering if I could get a benefit from using the CXN with an external DAC. Anyone tried that sort of thing? 

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28 minutes ago, sleach said:

Hi, I am using the cxn v1 at the moment. I initially bought it as a stop-gap after my Sotm died. But it is really nice to use so I sold my old DAC. 

But now I'm wondering if I could get a benefit from using the CXN with an external DAC. Anyone tried that sort of thing? 

I have wondered the same thing. The need for more power cords is a disincentive, but if the sound quality improves...

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49 minutes ago, sleach said:

Hi, I am using the cxn v1 at the moment. I initially bought it as a stop-gap after my Sotm died. But it is really nice to use so I sold my old DAC. 

But now I'm wondering if I could get a benefit from using the CXN with an external DAC. Anyone tried that sort of thing? 

Tried it quite a few times with DACs that were more expensive than the CXN. All sounded better. Seems like a waste to have the CXN in that scenario though

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10 hours ago, Bunno77 said:

Tried it quite a few times with DACs that were more expensive than the CXN. All sounded better. Seems like a waste to have the CXN in that scenario though

Thanks!   I know what you mean but I just thought it would save getting another streamer. I quite like the functionality and the interface, but of course want to see if I can get better sound too.

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The little ProJect Pre Box S2 Digital has been compared favourably as an improvement over the CXN, for a lot less money, or for those who have the CXN, a cost-effective upgrade.

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