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Cambridge Audio Edge A Integrated Amp. Review, Opinion.


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It took a while but I have finally been able to lay my hands on an Edge A.  

There has been a lot written about the Edge series, Cambridge Audio's 50th year Anniversary series.  They are statement pieces which are stunning to look at and, as it turns out, pretty damn stunning to hear too.

 

If you read through some of the reviews below you will likely come to a few conclusions that I'll address below:

https://www.stereophile.com/content/cambridge-audio-edge-integrated-amplifier

https://www.avforums.com/reviews/cambridge-audio-edge-a-integrated-amplifier-review.16997/

https://www.stereonet.com/au/reviews/review-cambridge-audio-edge-a-integrated-amplifier

https://www.whathifi.com/reviews/cambridge-audio-edge-a

https://hometheaterhifi.com/reviews/amplifier/integrated-amplifiers/cambridge-audio-edge-a-integrated-amplifier-review/

https://twitteringmachines.com/review-cambridge-audio-edge-a-integrated-amplifier-a-complete-package/

https://www.soundstagehifi.com/index.php/equipment-reviews/1345-cambridge-audio-edge-a-integrated-amplifier-dac

 

That third link is the Stereonet review from Mark Gusew, which by way of fortuitous coincidence, is the exact same component that I now have gracing my lounge.

 

cambridgeEdgeA.thumb.jpg.f11e8ef4fbc6c4910a55046a47df3f83.jpg

 

There it is, after one of the most complicated unboxings I've ever had to experience (very creative, and showy, I'll give it that but unnecessarily multi staged.  What's wrong with a traditional double box?) there it is in all it's clean-faced glory.  

As it is in the picture above it did not sound its best, those speaker cables did not work with it, however I did find a pair that did and I'll get to the details of those as I go along.

 

When I put the Edge into my system I connected it up as an analogue amp with the Orchard Audio Pecan Pi+ DAC doing the decoding duties.  I did this because I'd had the Pecan Pi+ in the system for a while and I wanted to hear the Edge as an amp, its DAC side could come later (I had also heard a whisper that the DAC was not as good as the rest of the amp, a whisper that I have not been able to find mention of anywhere on the net but I will sure as hell investigate as I go).

 

And try it I did.  

This amp is an absolute treat to listen to.  Feed it a slow and sultry song, it gives me slow and sultry, feed it hard and fast it gives me hard and fast, feed it electric guitar, drums and powerful vocals (the song "Turning Gold" by The Pretty Reckless is a good example) and it puts one hell of a smile on my face 😃.  I now believe pretty much every positive word written about it in every review above.  There were some that claim it didn't give them great bass, I do not understand that, the bass I get from this amp is extraordinarily good (were they using the internal DAC maybe?)  I think I'm going to have to pull out my old test tracks and make some notes because the Cambridge is so good I'm thinking it is likely to become my reference amp for all things integrated.  

 

And then there is the DAC.

Using the Orchard Audio DAC the Edge A impressed me.  It had impact, depth and fullness to the bass and  it had a mid range full of clarity and definition with extremely good vocals.  Changing over to the internal DAC (using the coax input) reduced impact, depth and fullness to the bass and reduced the mid range vocals from extremely good to fairly good.  I am not a fan of the internal DAC.  I have not trialed the other inputs yet but I will.  

 

When it comes to the aesthetics I don't have strong feelings really.  The double dial looks fairly cool (I don't love the clean shaven look, but I feel that it does suit the amp so I'm OK with it) and it's functional, the lights telling you which input you have selected are a bit hard to read but then you can set up 4 buttons on the remote as presets for inputs and starting volumes so that fairly effectively removes the difficulties once you have set it up.  

 

I will have to set things up for a full review session with notetaking and that may take me a little while to get to but I feel it may be worth it because my curiosity is piqued.  Is this amp actually as good as I think it is?  I really want to know.

 

Bear with me and I'll see if I can find out.  (I'm working with some GaN power amps too ATM so things might take a while)

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  • 2 weeks later...

@Cafad A Cambridge Audio amp really good??? I think you must be getting soft in your old age mate 🤣 Nah, they have been getting better and better over the past 20 years so I'm not surprised. Last time I heard/owned a goodish Cambridge amp was around 2002 (an Azur 740A amp?? I think). They've come some way since then I believe. I look forward to your more in-depth thoughts 🙂 

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I'm leaning into the class D GaN stuff just now Blake but I'll get back to the Cambridge before too long.  I have some comparo plans that I am working on for the Edge A. 

 

Not small plans, but as not-so-small-plans they may take some time to implement.  

 

I'll keep you posted.

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