Cambridge Audio has released the new CXA61 integrated amplifier, including a remote control and built-in DAC
This new CXA61 integrated amp is powered by 60W and features a range of digital and analogue inputs (see below) and several major changes over the CXA60 model it replaces.
The older model’s DAC has been replaced with an ESS Sabre ES9010K2M…
…and there’s now a USB input compatible with sources up to 32bit/384kHz and DSD256 in quality.
Additionally, aptX HD Bluetooth is integrated, for streaming up to 24bit/48kHz.
Available from October 2019, the price is £749
To read more, contact cambridgeaudio.com/en
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Anna28th September 2019 at 8:41 pm
Ugh, that gray color is disgusting.
Tibi1st December 2019 at 11:37 pm
Do you have any plans to review this? How do you think it will stack up against the Audiolab 6000A on a cost/benefit ratio? I’ve just purchased a Rega Planar 1 and haven’t decided on the rest of my set-up; I was initially looking into the Schiit Mani as a phono amp but the rest of the puzzle was a bit blurry. Then I read your review on the 6000A and decided that could do for a while as it has a built-in phono amp.
The CXA61 is still within my budget for an amp but lacks the internal phono so going this route would be a tough sell unless the sound was clearly superior to the 6000A.
Not to mention I still haven’t decided what to do about the speakers 🙂
Thanks for all the amazing work you’re doing!
Paul Rigby2nd December 2019 at 9:57 am
Hi Tibi – I’ve lost touch with Cambridge – no particular reason, just life 🙂 – and need to cuddle up to them again. So I do have plans to review something from Cambridge. I need to talk to them first. I’ll keep the 61 in mind though, sure.
The Mani would be a good choice for the phono amp although the built-in 6000A phono amp is ok for now if cash is tight. But I’d encourage a future upgrade ASAP. Thanks for your kind words 🙂
Rob Steckbeck5th January 2020 at 4:30 pm
The 6000A is on my short list for a short-term fix. I just read your 6000A review and liked your practicality and honesty. Like Tibi, CXA61 is on the same shortlist and was hoping to read your review of that, although phono isn’t that critical to me right now. Looking forward to the CA review, although I’m pretty sure I’ll make a decision before then.
Paul Rigby6th January 2020 at 12:58 pm
Thanks Rob – got quite a list of review items here but I’ll certainly try in the future.
Deepak Thammaiah14th April 2020 at 4:42 am
First and foremost hope you and your family are safe. Secondly, great website. I stumbled across it when doing some research on which stereo system to buy. I’m still an audio noob when it comes to the technicalities of a stereo system. I’m learning as I go along. I’m looking to build a simple stereo system (bookshelf speakers + int. amp) when this lockdown lifts in my country. My shortlist so far were the Q Acoustics 3020i / Elac Debut 2.0 B6.2 paired with the Audiolab 6000a. Until I came across the Elac Debut Reference DBR62 and the Cambridge Audio CXA61. Now I’m thoroughly confused. I understand the latter additions are a little more pricey, the catch is once I buy a system I will not be upgrading for quite a while. Would really appreciate your opinion on what pairing would be a best price+sound quality combination for someone like me. Much thanks in advance.
Paul Rigby14th April 2020 at 11:51 am
Welcome, Deepak – I hope you have a great time here 🙂 I’d go for the 6000A and 3020i combo myself. They work nicely together and both offer great value for money.
Deepak Thammaiah14th April 2020 at 1:40 pm
Thanks Paul. Does the 3020i lack bass when compared to the Elac B6.2? Also, any opinion on the new 3030i? (They claim frequencies as low as 46Hz)
Paul Rigby14th April 2020 at 5:01 pm
I never noticed that, bass on the 3020i was nicely integrated. Haven’t seen the 3030i yet, I’ve only published a news item thus far.
Khanabadhosh27th July 2020 at 7:49 pm
With limited equipment available, no chance to audition before buying and add to that, the Pandemic, India is a difficult place to buy Hi Fi. Cutting to the chase, I had very similar requirements as yours and my very extensive research led me to finalise on the Cambridge Audio CXA61. I was almost decided on the Elac Debut 2.0 B6.2. But I got the QAcoustic 3050i Floorstanders for a little more money.
So I’d say the Elacs are a good choice if you are stuck on Bookshelves. Also look at the entry level Klipsch bookshelf speakers if you don’t mind a brighter, more forward sound. Perhaps later you can add a Subwoofer to rattle your teeth fillings while watching a Friday night movie.
Have been waiting for delivery for the last 2 weeks. Hopefully they’ll come in a couple of days more.
Hope to leave a review somewhere after the break-in period. Do write and tell us what you finalised on.
Deepak28th July 2020 at 11:33 am
Congratulations on your new system. The wait must feel unbearable, I’m sure. Just out of curiosity did you manage to audition the CXA61 & 3050i? Would be interested to hear your thoughts, if you did. In terms of a sound I prefer it to be uncoloured, so the Klipsch might not be for me. Looking forward to your review and here’s hoping your wait ends soon.
Shyam16th August 2020 at 4:40 am
I am trying to audition the same combination together – Cambridge Audio CXA61 and QAcoustics 3050i. Local dealers in Bangalore, India stock either of these but not both. Appreciate if you can provide me your perspective of the synergy and overall sound signature of this combo. Thanks.
Deepak16th August 2020 at 2:36 pm
I stay in Bangalore too. I got my first pair of QAcoustics from a dealer on Residency Road named Babbler Marketing. I’ve been looking for a Cambridge Audio dealer but haven’t found one. It would be great if you could point me in the direction of one.
Shyam16th August 2020 at 3:12 pm
Please reach out to Palani at Audio Planet at Koramangala. Very good listening room with an exhaustive selection of electronics and speakers.
Sujan Roy16th August 2020 at 3:27 pm
After 3 weeks of use for TV and music I can say that it meets expectations but does not thrill me to bits. My room set-up is not ideal – an asymmetric room with glass French windows and a corner behind the left speaker and a wall far away behind the right speaker. A generous stuffed sofa and wood panelled back wall does absorb some reflections but I am sure it could be improved.
Connected to the TV with an optical cable and a USB B male to USB C male connecting to my OnePlus 7T. Both cables Amazon sourced. Music listened to is Hindi Bollywood 50s to contemporary music, Jazz, Western Classical and a bit of Rock. On TV, I am currently binge watching Spartacus which has a good sound track and lot of action sequences.
The Good: The Amp and Speaker combo work well with each other and give my money’s worth. I shall steer clear of superlatives. The clarity and timing are good. Experiment with the speaker positioning with a good recording that you are familiar with and you shall surely find the ‘sweet spot’ where the imaging becomes very revealing. The imaging and the timing of the combo are IMHO the best part of this rig. The speakers are not very finicky to positioning but patient experimentation with positioning is certainly rewarding. I prefer the speakers toed-in until they are almost facing me
The in-built DAC in the CXA61 is competent. I have not yet experimented with my external DAC – an AudioQuest Dragonfly Red. While other reviewers found that the speakers sound right when seated on a couch, I find true bliss sprawled on the floor, the top of my ears at the same level as the bottom cone. And certainly take off the baffles – they shiny chrome around the cones are very fetching and they seem to sound better that way.
The Bad: I prefer my sound warm and my wine sweet. There is a hint of warmth but my ears read the sound as almost neutral. The combo is dark and silent with no hum no matter how much you crank the volume. It seems fairly tolerant of poor quality recordings – a necessity in my circumstance given that I have the habit of copying music off USB drives from my cab drivers wherever I travel in the world. I will happily listen to folk songs in Tagalog and Bhutia recorded in less than ideal conditions.
It is not that this combo is incapable of deep bass, as much as it is stingy with it. The combo reminds me of my stern Father, who no matter what the eager son’s achievement, has always been extremely sparse with praise. Even when I tweak the EQ on the phone, the speakers only entertain with a rare rumble.
I was aware of this stinginess with bass having read the reviews and had hoped that my old Infinity Sub-woofer would compensate. However, the ‘sub-woofer out’ on the CXA61 seems to be putting out too more current than desirable. So the sub-woofer is overpowering and until I can buy an attenuator to dial down the Sub, it lies unused.
As time passes and I clock more time with the combo, I can definitely perceive that combo is settling into a more warmer tone. I understand that 100 hours of burn-in is needed before the rig settles into happy domesticity. 30 years ago my parents would not let me play my music loud and now it is my grown-up kids who stop me. So this burn-in will take some doing.
Keep in mind that the CXA61 is absolutely minimal – no balance, no treble, no bass or loudness switches. You can have any colour as long as it is Black. But it is a bloody good black! The switches and remote are well built and the amp itself would survive a bomb-blast (I have survived a couple of bombs myself)!
In the meanwhile I keep fingers crossed and hope that the Gods of sound will bestow upon me the joy of dripping honeyed baritone when I hear Jagjit Singh in Hoshwaalon Ko Khabar Kya as the speakers get used to the job!
Considering adding a Spotify premium subscription and perhaps a Yamaha WXC50 Musicast pre-amp by Diwali when I expect the Missus not to throw a hissy fit.
Do keep us posted of how you go about with your choice of kit. Hope my review helps decision.