Renowned for producing a roster of audio products with signature “British sound” since its P40 amplifier reached retail shelves in 1968, Cambridge Audio, in self-distribution mode since April, has set up U.S. operations and is looking to tell its story to a new generation of streaming audio consumers that may not have been exposed to high-quality streaming content delivery, but are very accustomed to streaming’s conveniences.
The company’s CX Series hits retail tickets from $449.99 to $999.99, and includes the top-priced CXN upsampling network music player, positioning the brand well to do just that – as it uses Cambridge’s proprietary StreamMagic platform to play streaming content at full 24-bit/192kHz quality.
Cambridge Audio is touting what it calls “authenticity and truth” in sound, founded upon recording innovations born in the U.K. during the rise of the Beatles, Stuart George, managing director, told Dealerscope. The design and engineering development of products and the apps that control them are done in London and Cambridge, “so that we can streamline the user experience,” said George.
The CXN, currently in the Beta stage of a software upgrade, can stream content from computers, laptops and NAS drives, and is outfitted with two USB inputs for direct playback from USB/HDD memory sticks. Further, it supports Apple AirPlay and Bluetooth, and can handle all popular codecs and lossless FLAC, ALAC, WAV and AIFF files. Built in as well is support for Spotify Connect and Internet Radio.
The CX series, which also includes two integrated amplifiers (CXA60 and CXA80) and a CD transport that incorporates Cambridge’s S3 anti-jitter servo technology (CXC), is the company’s mid-priced line and has been out about 18 months – and its amplifiers are among the best-selling such components in the U.K, he said. It is sandwiched, price-wise, between the company’s entry-level Topaz line and flagship 851 series, and takes advantage of some technologies developed for 851 (such as the S3 servo).
The company is increasing its dealer network in the U.S.; currently, that roster includes specialty retailers ListenUp, MusicDirect, Audio Advisors, Crutchfield, Hi-DEF Lifestyles and World Wide Stereo. “We’re in the process of building relationships with regionals with physical locations,” said Gregg Chopper, director of the Americas, who is based at the company’s American office, just established in Chicago. Cambridge is also out to gain a foothold with custom technology integrators. “Those relationships are less developed right now than other channels, but that’s part of our goal for this last half of the year,” he said.