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Question CA CXN (V2) or CA AZUR 851N?

Legzr1

Well-known Member
Apparently the 851N is being discontinued and is available on CA eBay shop at £800 so any ‘additional cost’ may not be as ‘additional’ as you thought!

If there’s a chance of you using Roon in the future, the CXN may be the one to go for as CA are looking into a firmware update to allow this. This will not be an option for the 851N and has quite a few owners rather annoyed. Before the Edge series was released the 851 range was their top tier product so the decision seems strange (I understand the 851and CXN use differing OS and hardware making it all but impossible to update the 851N for Roon).

Personally, and subjectively, I much prefer the 851N to the CXN. It looks and feels a better quality product in use and sounds more mature, more ‘grown up’ and gives me a sound I’m very happy with. There’s a clarity to the midrange and texture to the bass that always seemed a little lacking with the CXN (and previously the SM6). My room, my equipment, my ears etc etc and I get that others might disagree but I actually did pay £600 to change to the 851N - no regrets here.

I’m even getting Tidal Masters now using an app suggested on this forum (Mconnect) which does the first ‘unfold’ using the iPad processor and sends (up to, depending on source file) 24/96 to the 851N with excellent results.

At the end of the day, your original question is difficult to answer simply because ‘worth’ is so subjective. If you have £601 until pay day and the car needs tyres and a service then no, it’s not worth it. On the other hand, getting a new 851N for £800 (if still available - it was a few weeks ago I spotted mention of it) then the difference in cost is negligible and I’d suggest going for it. The inbuilt DAC and analogue sections are a step above in my opinion and the unit sounds great.

Best of luck with it and don’t forget to update the thread with what you decide.
 

Fergal82

Distinguished Member
Can a cxn or 851n be connected straight into an AVR or should it be connected to an integrated amp / power amp?
 

Adamgbiggs

Active Member
Can a cxn or 851n be connected straight into an AVR or should it be connected to an integrated amp / power amp?
They can be connected to any amp/AVR with RCA or digital inputs.

Adam.
 

Adamgbiggs

Active Member
I take it you’re relying on how good (or bad) the AVR sounds for music if you did connect that way
Most recent AVRs can stream music like the CXN can, sound wise it’s really up to the end user to determine if it’s worth it or not.

Adam.
 

Legzr1

Well-known Member
I’m probably the wrong person to ask having turned my back on surround sound in favour of stereo only but, for music at least, dedicated stereo for me. I’ve tried good Marantz, Denon and Krell processors but they’ve always sounded compromised in stereo compared to a good 2-channel set up.

Using an 851N into a midrange AV amp would work but it’s capable of so much more.
Using it to output digital into an AV amp would be a travesty and an absolute waste in my opinion.
 

Adamgbiggs

Active Member
I’m probably the wrong person to ask having turned my back on surround sound in favour of stereo only but, for music at least, dedicated stereo for me. I’ve tried good Marantz, Denon and Krell processors but they’ve always sounded compromised in stereo compared to a good 2-channel set up.

Using an 851N into a midrange AV amp would work but it’s capable of so much more.
Using it to output digital into an AV amp would be a travesty and an absolute waste in my opinion.
I agree with this, I had a Denon X4200 AV amp and it just didn’t sing with stereo, no matter what I did with it music just didn’t sound great, disabled all the video processing etc, still nothing, in fact I originally replaced it with a Denon PMA720AE £200 stereo amp and it absolutely destroyed the £1,100 AVR with music, so I got rid and got a cheap AVR for movies and a decent stereo setup, pure bliss now.

Adam.
 

rocketride

Standard Member
Was wondering what peoples thoughts are on this.

Does the 851N justify the additional cost (£600) over the CXN??

Yes it does.

Azur 851N is much better sounding unit. Solid build and powerful sound.
Software upgradeable so now you can use Stream Magic app.
 

ABC*

Active Member
I've got the 851N and really impressed with it, using it in pre-amp mode with a pair of Xindak 8800mnu mono block power amps.
 

MartinH32

Well-known Member

hauxon

Novice Member
Old thread but UPDATE! The 851N now has Roon integration through firmware update.

See:
 

kartdriver8

Standard Member
I have a desired music outcome and I had some solutions. Here is what I went with. Hoping this will help others.

Situation:
I have a vast iTunes music library of purchased and ripped music. I went from a 20 year old AVR to a newer AVR that can stream music and such.

Desired Outcome:
I want the best quality of music to come from my iTunes library and have the option to stream Tidal or Qobuz with the solution.

Solutions:
Either stream directly to the AVR and take advantage of the internet streaming apps that are built in. The other items I looked at are Cambridge AVN and 851N. Other solutions I looked at are Roon and others.

Verdict and WHY:
I went with a Cambridge Azur 851N. The reason is to clean up my existing music library and just stream all my music through it. Brand new they are running $1499. I picked up mine from ebay for $1100. If you are patient, you can get a good one for between $1000 and $1250. Looking at the alternatives was going to be from $500 for a small server to $1000 for another brand streamer. In the end, was not adding up to what I would potentially get with the Azur 851N. In the future, I can layer Roon or other tech to expand its capabilities.

I hope this helps.

kartdriver8
 

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