Replacment for Cocktail X40

offspinner

Novice Member
I bought a Cocktail X40 in 2015. I used it to rip my CD collection (c700 CD’s), to play recordings through my hi-fi, which comprises a Roksan K3 amplifier, Rogers LS35a speakers (still going strong after forty years), and a TDL subwoofer. I also used the X40 to stream music to my phone and to my wife’s laptop, and occasionally to record LP’s from my turntable.

In 2020 the X40 failed, and had to have its motherboard expensively replaced. Two years later, it has failed again, displaying the same symptoms. I do not propose to spend any more money on it.

I am therefore looking for something to replace the X40. There doesn’t seem to be any direct replacement on the market, and in any case I no longer need the facility to rip CD’s; I can rip the odd CD on the computer if I should need to. I am looking for something which will provide comparable audio quality to the X40 and allow me to stream music via the home network. I am considering using a dedicated laptop plus a standalone DAC, but there may be other solutions.

I would be grateful for any advice on how to proceed. I am looking to spend a maximum of 1,000 sterling, preferably considerably less, to include a new laptop if that is the preferred solution.
 

Justruckin

Novice Member
I own the Cambridge CXN V2, and really am enjoying it, I did look at one of the Cocktail units too before purchasing, and the Cambridge Azur 851N along with the offerings from Audiolab. I went with the CXN V2 due to all of the positive reviews on functionality and the dual Wolfson DACs. Money was not the issue, I just wanted the most bang for the buck with the best sound for the monies spent. I bought the unit locally at a hifi shop here in Ann Arbor, Overture Audio. I bought their last one, it appears to be their most popular streamer according to the salesman, and they carry a few brands. I had already made up my mind before purchasing, so far I do not regret the decision.

I have it currently running through a Schiit Freya S preamp and the Schiit Gungnir DAC via XLR. I am using Audirvana and Qobuz, which made an incredible difference for the better in regards to the sound coming out of my 2018 Mac Mini. Apple Music and Amazon HD just sounded veiled, neither had any life in them, which I discovered after installing the Audirvana and Qobuz, the sound difference is night and day. I think I am walking away from both Apple and Amazon music.

As far as streaming files from your network, I have read it can do most every format, including FLAC. But, you may want to research that if you consider the Cambridge. I have no experience there.

Oh, the Cambridge is a gapless player, and it works beautifully at that task. I played Dean Martin live at the Sands and everything played as if there were no gaps between tracks. I can say the same for Dark Side of the Moon too, and a few others, including Pink Floyds the Wall.

Currently I am trying to decide if I will stick with the Schiit gear, or simply use the on-board preamp section of the Cambridge unit. The preamp and dual Wolfson DACs in the Cambridge sound darn good. I'm still trying to decide which setup is going to sound the best with my KLH Model 5 speakers.

To note, I just downloaded the Audirvana Studio and Qobuz software, and played with it for a few hours yesterday using the Schiit gear. Tomorrow I am going to pull the Schiit and go directly to my XTZ Edge A2-400 amplifier via XLR from the Cambridge. I need to spend more time with this, but as I said, I do not regret the purchase.

The Schiit Freya S and the Gungnir DAC with the Audirvana is a bit bright for my taste, where as the Cambridge leans a tad bit to the warm side, which I would prefer. Now, the Audirvana software does come with an equalizer function, need to play with that too.

Prior to installing the Audirvana and Qobuz, the Schiit gear and the Cambridge were darn close in sound. The addition of this bitperfect software has changed the sound considerably for the better.

I would give the Cambridge CXN V2 a serious look, it can handle just about anything you can throw at it, and it sounds good to boot. The detail I am getting out of it through the Schiit Freya S preamp is incredibly good using the Cambridge DAC. I think this is going to wind up being an all in one solution though. My gut is telling me both of the Schiit units are going back in their respective boxes as the Cambridge can actually handle those tasks of preamp and DAC handily.

Or, I break out the old Schiit Freya tube preamp, that may just be the cure for that bit of brightness I am now experiencing. We shall see.

I am also dialing in two SVS SB3000 subwoofers into this mix, much more to this than I expected, but the sound is there, that will be taken care of here in the next few days, that I am sure of.

I hope this helps.
 
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offspinner

Novice Member
Many thanks for the reply and apologies for the slow response. I have looked at the CXN V2, and have downloaded the manual, which I often find is the best way to find out what something actually does. However I'm still unsure on one point: if I connect an external hard drive containing my 700-odd ripped CD's to a CXN V2, how easy will it be to access and search the files? I have seen reference to various phone apps, but cannot work out how usable they are in practice.

More generally, I'm still not sure whether I need a fully-fledged streamer, where I would be paying for some functionality which I do not need. I would also lack the ability to record from my turntable, which is an occasional requirement, and which laptop would provide. Or would the sound from a laptop/DAC combination be inferior to that from a something like the CXN V2?

Incidentally, I listen exclusively to classical music, especially opera, so gapless playback is a sine qua non.
 
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