Cambridge Audio power comparison




I am thinking of getting a new amp and CD player (maybe the 340c and 340a se) and am just wondering what the power is like compared to my current Sony mini Hifi system? The specs of the sony are as follows:

Technical Details for Sony MHC-NX1

*DIN power output (rated) 80+80 Watts - (6ohms at 1Khz DIN)

*Continuous RMS power output (reference) 100 + 100 Watts - (6ohms at 100Khz, 10% THD)

*Music power output (reference) 160 + 160 Watts - (6ohms at 100Khz, 10% THD)

Don't really know whatt all that means but if someone could let me know if the new seperates would be any better that'd be great.


You posted this in the wrong section. It should be the Hi Fi forum

Hopefully the mods can move it for you.

But to answer you question, your sony is double the power of the 340a se, on paper anyway. If funds allow, you may want to look at the 640a as that is more on the same level power wise.

CA 340A SE power ratings are as follows

45 watts 8 ohms
55 watts 6 ohms

Azur 340A SE Specifications

There are very good report about the 340 but only your ears can tell you whether it sounds any better than what you already have. So if you can, a demo would be the wise thing to do.

I would be more inclined to trust the CA power ratings which will be into 8 ohms (as stated) with THD 0.1% at worst compared to the 10% qoted by the Sony.

To summarise in an A/B test IMO the Cambridge Audio 340 would sound much better and provide more punch and detail than the Sony when connected with appropriate speakers i.e. Tannoy Custom F1, Mordaunt Short 902i or Wharferdale Diamonds 9.1.

Just my opinion but hope it helps.
The sensitivity of your speakers should be more of a consideration.

Remember watts doesn't necessarily mean better sound.
RMS/FTC power is with a sustained sine wave tone, and as such puts more demands on the amp. Some amps can have high dynamic power, but are weak on sustained power.

It seems very unlikely that your DIN power is lower than your RMS power, plus you said RMS power was at 100khz, again, that seem unlikely. So, I think you have copied the specs wrong.

Next, I alway search out the 8 ohm power ratings. Power rated at anything less than 8 ohms is going to be inflated. Simply because the current is higher, the power will appear correspondingly higher. So, 100 watts to 6 ohms, should only be 75 watts to 8 ohms. It is simple math.

Now, the 6 ohms and 4 ohm power are relevant because they indicate how the amp will handle more extreme loads. From a purely mathematical perspective, the 4 ohms power should be twice the 8 ohms power, though it rarely is, especially in consumer amps. But the 4 ohms rating when given in conjunction with the 8 ohm rating can tell you something worthwhile about the amp, if you know how to interpret it.

Also, THD or distortion, 10% is insanely high. You can immediately knock 10% off the rated power just for that. THD or distortion should be a fraction of a percent; 0.1% is not uncommon and 0.01% is not unheard of in good audio equipment.

A quick check of the owner's manual indicates that you have given us the Front speaker channel power ratings-

While the specs don't lie, it seems extremely unlikely that this amp delivers what it claims. A quick search of Google indicates that this system can be purchased for US$379 (£236 at current exchange rates).

Sony MHC NX1 Mini system - Metallic silver, cherry

Yet here is what the Cambridge 100 watt stereo integrated amp sells for -

Cambridge Audio 640A, 75 watt/ch-8ohms = £299
Cambrdige Audio 650A, 75w/ch-8ohms = $349
Cambridge Audio 740A, 100w/ch-8ohms = £549

Cambridge is not even the most expensive amp.

Consider -

Marantz PM8003, 70w/ch-8ohm = £749

You got a complete systems including radio, cd player, and a bunch of other stuff for about £250. So, what is the difference? Well, quality for one thing. You don't get something for nothing. It is hard to believe that you system even had room for the heatsinks necessary to dissipate 100 watts of power. And that doesn't even take into consideration the room necessary for a power supply to support all those alleged watts. In short, you compact system is just to compact for me to take its power specs seriously.

Still these compact all-in-one systems do server a purpose for those on a budget, but I'm finding it extremely hard to believe those power ratings even when adjusted for reasonable distortion and for an 8 ohm load.

So, again, there is a reason why expensive equipment is expensive, and it is based in quality. I would put a good 50 watt amp up against your compact audio system, and would expect it to out shine your alleged 100watts. As someone pointed out, it is more about quality of watts rather than quantity of watts.

The Cambridge model 340A is a solid 40watt/channel to 8 ohms, and that is enough power for most consumers stereo needs. The Cambridge 340A-SE is 45 watts. There is also a similar Marantz PM5003 amp with similar power for the same price. Compared to the 340A-SE model, and for the same price is the Marantz 6002 with the same power.

The next step up in the Cambridge Audio is the model 540A for £249 with 60 watt per channel to 8 ohms. That is as much as most people need in a stereo and it will drive virtually any speaker on the consumer market.

Presumably you are still on a tight budget, and I think the Cambridge and the Marantz both represent good value for the money; both are an excellent compromise between quantity and quality.

Another good choice, worth considering, is the NAD C325 BEE for £219 with 50w/ch-8ohm.

Just a few thoughts.

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