Apple Airplay, Spotify Connect, Google Chrome/Cast (UPnP) and (optional) Bluetooth – the four pillars of Cambridge Audio’s StreamMagic platform; a streaming hardware/software pairing that made their CXN (V2) network player such a runaway hit, especially among more wallet-conscious audiophiles looking for compatibility with the broadest possible range of mobile apps. Network streaming for the real world.
An updated StreamMagic platform has made its way into Cambridge Audio’s Edge NQ streaming player / pre-amplifier (US$4000), one of three ‘cost no object’ components designed to mark the company’s 50th birthday.
The Edge NQ offers support for aptX HD Bluetooth (plus AAC for iPhone users). On hard-wired hook-ups, we note 24bit/96kHz PCM-capable coaxial and TOSLINK inputs plus a 32bit/384kHz PCM- and DSD256-capable USB input. Rear-panel balanced XLR and single-ended RCA socketry push the Edge NQ’s analogue output into an amplifier, its front-panel 6.4mm headphone socket into headphones.
Company co-founder Professor Gordon Edge, designer of Cambridge Audio’s first product (1968’s P40 integrated amplifier) lends his name to the new range that additionally features the 100wpc Edge A integrated amplifier (US$5000) and the lower noise 100wpc Edge W power amplifier (US$3000).
The new flagship Edge series also boasts short-as-possible signal paths with a mere 14 components in the Edge W’s circuit. Both amplifiers make use of ‘XA’ amplifier technology that reportedly puts any ‘push-pull’ crossover distortion out of audible range.
Ahead of their scheduled June shipping date, the three new Edge models will make show-and-tell appearances at AXPONA in Chicago next month and Munich High-End in May — the perfect places to observe the Edge series’ super-sleek looks up close.
However, please remember: your local high street dealer is a more reliable venue for product auditions. It’s where you call the shots on music played and A/B comparisons, ancillary hardware and A/B comparisons with other pieces.
Further information: Cambridge Audio