What Hi-Fi? Awards 2023 winner. Small, affordable and… superb Tested at £449 / $499 / AU$899
What Hi-Fi? Verdict
+Brilliant all-round sonic performance
+Fantastically affordable price
+Great streaming features and file compatibility
-Somewhat basic physical controls
-No MQA support via Tidal
-No on-unit display
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Size really isn’t everything. Whether it’s a pair of speakers, a dinky DAC or even a portable Bluetooth speaker, there’s absolutely no guarantee that size in any way correlates with great sound. Big and bulky units certainly have their place, and the trend towards more size equalling more sound is pretty inescapable, but that doesn’t necessarily mean improvements in actual audio quality. In reality, the finest brands in the business often know how to get a lot out of a little.
That’s just as well, because Cambridge Audio’s latest network music streamer is something of a tiddler. Neat, compact and easy to pop onto your hi-fi rack without needing three burly men and a new extension to install, the Cambridge Audio MXN10 is one of the most unobtrusive network players you’ll find, not to mention one of the least expensive. If this little thing has the sonic chops that belie its size and price, its rivals should be quaking in their figurative boots.
Build & design
As hinted at above, the MXN10 is a tiny little operator; a far smaller, narrower design than its larger counterparts such as the more traditionally sized Audiolab 7000N and even the fairly compact, Award-winning Bluesound Node (2021). Finished in smooth, inoffensive lunar grey, the MXN10 features four preset buttons on the right accompanied by a clearly demarcated power button and a small white light to tell you whether or not you’re currently connected to the wi-fi. Clean, clear and simple are the watchwords here.
Sources AirPlay 2, Bluetooth 5.0, Google Chromecast, Spotify Connect, Tidal, Deezer, Qobuz, Internet Radio
Network Wi-fi, ethernet
Inputs USB Type A
Outputs Coaxial, optical, RCA line level
Headphone output? No
Max file resolution: 32-bit/768kHz PCM, DSD512
Dimensions (hwd) 5.2 x 21.5 x 19.1cm
Regarding physical connections, the MXN10 is fitted with an RCA line level analogue output, one coaxial and one optical on the digital side, as well as an ethernet port if you’re planning on plugging the unit directly into your router as opposed to relying on your wi-fi connection. It’s not exactly a party round the back, but there’s enough here to satisfy the essential requirements.