Cxnv2 as a pre amp

anton1989

Novice Member
Hi all,

I’m in the process of building my first hi-fi system

so far I have a pair of 802n speakers & audiolab 8200mb amps.

the plan was to go for a Audiolab m-dac+ (Purely as it fitted in with the amps and is a reasonable price used) and some sort of streaming device

however I came across the Cambridge audio cxn which seems to eliminate the need for a separate pre amp

will I be missing out massively here by not using a dedicated pre amp?

The plan is to save and upgrade where needed (if needed) and find a sound that suits me

so perhaps the xcn for now and add a higher end pre amp later if needs be?
 

Paul7777x

Distinguished Member
The CXN really should have a good preamp. It’s not like CA can’t make them.

I have heard that the preamp in the CXN is not as good as the one in the cx80. But I really don’t know how much credence to give that opinion.

The speakers deserve a good preamp without doubt. But as a good quality stop gap I doubt you’ll be disappointed with the CXN. And you may possibly find that it’s all you need.

If you do buy a preamp, or dac/pre later, you’ll still have a very much lauded streamer the the CXN.
 

anton1989

Novice Member
Thank you for the reply

I went ahead and purchased one

so far I’m happy but I’m also Intrigued as to what it would sound like with a pre amp

any recommendations around the £1500 mark?
 

Baobr

Active Member
Thank you for the reply

I went ahead and purchased one

so far I’m happy but I’m also Intrigued as to what it would sound like with a pre amp

any recommendations around the £1500 mark?
Hello Anton,fwiw I have a node 2i used directly into my power amp and use the app to control volume, although I would have thought a pre amp would give me better sound I have tried various modes from a basic passive to one costing 3 times the cost of the node... slightly different yes....but to my ears at least not better.... where I noticed the most difference was the bottom end seems tighter without the pre......the one that blew e away but out of my league cost wise was the MUSIC FIRST......if I had the money I would probably buy one but just cannot justify cost...... happy hunting
 

Brad.F

Active Member
Thank you for the reply

I went ahead and purchased one

so far I’m happy but I’m also Intrigued as to what it would sound like with a pre amp

any recommendations around the £1500 mark?
If you have a local dealer, ask their opinion and also about home trials
 

mtenga

Distinguished Member
Hello Anton,fwiw I have a node 2i used directly into my power amp and use the app to control volume, although I would have thought a pre amp would give me better sound I have tried various modes from a basic passive to one costing 3 times the cost of the node... slightly different yes....but to my ears at least not better.... where I noticed the most difference was the bottom end seems tighter without the pre......the one that blew e away but out of my league cost wise was the MUSIC FIRST......if I had the money I would probably buy one but just cannot justify cost...... happy hunting
It’s interesting you’ve tried that route since the Node is source only and not designed to be plugged directly into a power amp. From what you are saying the sound was not too heavily compromised, which is surprising.

I plug my Node into an Anthem processor but have a Denon streamer which goes direct to a NAD power amp. That latter combination works well.
 

Baobr

Active Member
It’s interesting you’ve tried that route since the Node is source only and not designed to be plugged directly into a power amp. From what you are saying the sound was not too heavily compromised, which is surprising.

I plug my Node into an Anthem processor but have a Denon streamer which goes direct to a NAD power amp. That latter combination works well.
Yes ..well apparently Bluesound suggests using it this way too
.
 

mtenga

Distinguished Member
0Yes ..well apparently Bluesound suggests using it this way too
.
Have you got any links as to where they suggest that? I thought it was a no-no
 

bluedroog

Well-known Member
Have you got any links as to where they suggest that? I thought it was a no-no

It’s got a volume control for that very reason, the powernode is essentially a node with power amp.

I understand some maybe uncomfortable with the digital slider volume control but barring some sort of software glitch it is fine, you can set max volume parameters.

I tried mine direct to active Event Opals and worked great. I use my DAC as I marginally preferred the sound and the advantage of other inputs.
 

mtenga

Distinguished Member
OK that’s interesting that no pre-amp is required. I’ll look into it.
 

Paul7777x

Distinguished Member
Thank you for the reply

I went ahead and purchased one

so far I’m happy but I’m also Intrigued as to what it would sound like with a pre amp

any recommendations around the £1500 mark?

I can’t help but think the 800 series deserves a top class preamp.

One of these class A tanks certainly fits that description.

 
Last edited:

Paul7777x

Distinguished Member
If you’re quick you’ll be able to afford this very much praised preamp too.

 

mtenga

Distinguished Member
I’ve now got my Node 2i plugged directly into a power amp and works just fine as advised above.
 

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