Interviews

Interview with Dominic Baker, technical director at Cambridge Audio

Dominic BakerAfter graduating in electro-acoustics, Dominic Baker worked with prestigious English and French hi-fi brands for most of his career. A confirmed audio engineer, he is today Cambridge’s technical manager. He talked to us about the new CX hi-fi and home cinema range.

How would you define the Cambridge sound?
Neutrally British. Britain is known for having the best Artists and Studios in the world as well as for the uncoloured and balanced sound they produce. Cambridge is no exception to this sound.

What are the improvements of Cambridge CX Series over former models?
The sound is more dynamic and energetic. We have halved the number of components in the signal path compared to previous designs, bringing you even closer to the music. With less in the signal path, each component must be allowed to work perfect and unaffected by changes in signal level, main voltage, temperature etc. To achieve this the total component count increases significantly in order to perfectly control the environment that the signal path travels through. For example, the Cambridge CXA80 amplifier features over 500 components to set the ideal conditions for the 24 components in the signal path to do their job.

How would you compare Cambridge CXA and CXR amplifiers, when it comes to music listening?
They both have a Cambridge sound of course, but do not sound exactly the same. The casing, the power supply, the way components are placed are so many features that impact the sound. The CXR amplifiers feature considerably more powerful transistors. They are designed with the same philosophy but will always be different.

Cambridge CX

The Cambridge CXA80 amplifier and the Cambridge CXN network player used along with Klipsch Heresy III speakers.

Why is there no DAC in the Cambridge CXC CD Player?
We put DACs in all of the CX series amplifiers, therefore there was little interest in adding a DAC to the Cambridge CXC CD player. Placing the DAC in the amplifier enhances its performance. On the flipside, we installed two DACs in the Cambridge CXN network player for an excellent treatment of HD 24 bit / 384 kHz signals.

Can you tell us more about the Cambridge control app for smartphone and table which enables the user to listen to music shared on the local network?
The biggest change is to the way we browse with UPnP. Previously we were sending an instruction from the App to the player to tell it to go and look for music files on your network, a NAS for example. To speed up this process we decided to re-route the chain, so now the App does the browsing directly and once you have selected a track to play the App points the player straight to it. It’s a faster, slicker browsing experience.

Can you introduce the Cambridge CXU Blu-ray player?
CXU is better referred to as a universal digital hub. Yes it plays Blu-rays, but CDs SACD etc too. It has digital audio inputs that are fed through five Wolfson DACs to improve sound. It has HDMI inputs that benefit from Darbee processing to improve video quality from other sources. It is a music streamer. It is a video streamer.

Can you tell us a little bit about your own home audio equipment?
I regularly use a Cambridge CXU network player and a Cambridge CXR200 home cinema amplifier with a Cambridge Minx 5.1 audio system. I have a Cambridge Air 100 speaker in the kitchen and a Cambridge NP30 with a DAC Magic and home built active monitors in the study.

Espace passion Cambridge

This post is also available in: French

About the author

Tristan Jacquel

Tristan est rédacteur chez Son-Vidéo.com. Passionné de musique, d'acoustique et de high-tech, il réalise notamment les tests matériels pour notre blog.

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