Every year we pick one special product to honour for its enduring excellence and exemplary performance
Cambridge Audio isn’t a stranger to winning trophies, but this is a first for both the British brand and What Hi-Fi?. This marks the first time that a music streamer has been entered into our Hall of Fame.
The Cambridge Audio CXN first burst onto the scene in 2015, but it’s the evolved CXN (V2) model (released in 2018 and still current) that gets the distinction of being inducted into the Hall of Fame, sharing space with our pick of the very best products from every decade since the 1970s.
With yet another 2023 Award win under its belt in the music streamer category, alongside the company's new MXN10, this marks the sixth consecutive time that the Cambridge Audio CXN (V2) has won a What Hi-Fi? Award. That in itself is impressive, considering the competitive, ever-changing nature of the streaming market. Even with a price increase (from its original £700 to holding firm at £799 this year), the CXN (V2) has held off competition from plenty of new entrants from Arcam, Audiolab and Technics, to name a few, to remain the prime choice at this price level.
What makes this CXN streamer so special? The build is of a high quality, it can handle high-resolution PCM and DSD files, and it’s nice to use with the remote and control app, too. But it’s the ever-evolving nature of the CXN (V2) that has ensured it’s never out of date.
Cambridge Audio’s proprietary StreamMagic platform lies at the heart of this network streamer and ensures that new features and streaming services are continually added through software updates. This has helped with the product’s longevity and ensures existing customers don’t miss out. Apple AirPlay 2 and Google Chromecast are on board in this second-generation model, and it is also fully furnished with Spotify Connect, Tidal Connect, Qobuz, Deezer, internet radio and more. Add a rear panel full of digital and analogue physical connections and UPnP streaming from your local network storage, and it’s very well-connected.
Of course, none of this would matter if the Cambridge wasn’t any good to listen to. But the CXN (V2)’s crowning glory is just how much fun it is to listen to.
There’s an enthusiastic energy married to a full-bodied presentation and balance across the frequencies – the weighty bass is lithe while the top end is airy and light. It handles dynamic shifts with ease, voices are insightful, and even the most complex recordings emerge coherent and cohesive through this streamer.
Nothing has beaten the Cambridge Audio CXN (V2) for pure enjoyment at this price point, and that’s quite the accomplishment. And with six straight wins under its belt, this marvellous streamer fully deserves its entry into the What Hi-Fi? Hall of Fame.