Turntable Connection (Cambridge CXA80)

LeeB33

Standard Member
Hi All

Is it possible to connect a turntable directly into a Cambridge CXA80 amp or, as some of the websites online seem to suggest, albeit not overly clearly, that I’d also need to invest in a ‘phono-stage pre-amp’??

Is this essential? If so, is there not a Cambridge amp that you can plug a turntable straight into without the need of a pre-amp?

I’m on the verge of buying a CXA80 amp & CXN V1. I don’t want to further invest in another component as I’d have expected the CXA to be able to have a turntable connection.

Thanks
 

Ugg10

Distinguished Member
The cxa80 does not have a dedicated phono/turntable input.

the cartridge puts out a very small voltage (0.5-5mV typically), the power amp section typically (Part of an integrated amp) needs an input of 1-2V typically so you need to amplify the cartridge signal before the poweramp can. This intermediate preamp, often called a phono preamp or phono stage, can be in the turntable (look for the words line level output), a separate box (e.g. project phono box, Rega Fono etc), or integrated into the main preamp Or preamp section of an integrated amp.

this preamp also includes a filter, when recorded the lp has the treble and bass altered so they can be physically pressed, the filter reverses this compression and so is needed for the sound to be correct.

in your case it will either need to be in the turntable or a separate phono stage.

the final bit of the jigsaw is to know if your cartridge is a moving magnet (mm, higher voltage output, 2-5mV) or a moving coil (mc, lower voltage output, 0.2-0.5mV), this will determine they type of phono stage you need, the mm is the more common.

fir turntables with preamp built in have a look at AT LP120USB, Project Essential III phono, Teac TN300, however, let us know a budget for the turntable and I am sure a solution could be found. Worth noting that the phono boxes can be pretty small and hid out of the way easily, mine is about 120x70x50mm (Edwards apprentice mc).

hope this helps.
 

DT79

Distinguished Member
Hi All

Is it possible to connect a turntable directly into a Cambridge CXA80 amp or, as some of the websites online seem to suggest, albeit not overly clearly, that I’d also need to invest in a ‘phono-stage pre-amp’??

Is this essential? If so, is there not a Cambridge amp that you can plug a turntable straight into without the need of a pre-amp?

I’m on the verge of buying a CXA80 amp & CXN V1. I don’t want to further invest in another component as I’d have expected the CXA to be able to have a turntable connection.

Thanks
A turntable needs a phono pre-amp (normally called a phono ‘stage’ if built-in to an integrated amp). It is essential. Sometimes turntables have them built in, so if you haven’t got the TT yet, that’s an option. Otherwise you’ll need to buy a standalone one, which need not be expensive.
 

Alan Weir 1

Well-known Member
Looks like you are either gonna have to buy a phono stage (Cambridge do their own well regarded line), go for one of their cheaper offerings with a phono stage build in (Cx35) or switch manufacturer. I'm guessing as it's a CX80 you would be buying second hand so maybe something like an Audiolab 6000A would fall into a similar price bracket new.
All the features you require and excellent reviews.
 

acgingersnaps

Well-known Member
As above you will definitely need one. They don't have to be overly expensive though. The one in the link below is £65, new. 2nd hand there are some bargains out there.

 

Ugg10

Distinguished Member
I expect Cambridge amps don’t have phono connections because they want to sell their Alva phono Preamp’s, similar to Rega not putting built in Preamp’s in their turntables, interestingly Project cover both bases with built in and separate preamps.
 

LeeB33

Standard Member
Thanks for your help everyone.

Ugg10 - The turntable I’ve got (not yet out of the box!) is the Audio Technica AT-LP120 HC Silver USB Turntable. As you say, and as the spec states “A selectable internal stereo phono pre-amplifier allows the turntable to plug directly to components with no dedicated turntable input.”

Would this, therefore, mean that this particular turntable WOULD connect straight into the CXA80 without the need to purchase an additional phono-stage / pre-amp?
 

Ugg10

Distinguished Member
Correct, so long as the turntable is set to the line position (Switch on rear to the left on the phono plugs) it can be then plugged into any of the cxa80 inputs and should work fine.

if it works fine then crack on, if you have a slight hum then connect the turntable earth to one of the screws on the rear of the amp.
 

LeeB33

Standard Member
That’s great to know Ugg10 thanks for that.

I don’t suppose you would know much about the differences between the Cambridge CXN V1 & V2? I’ve posted in another forum topic but have not yet had any responses and am looking to buy the three components that I’m after as soon as today.

I only have a box room and will be using the system to, mainly, play music via Spotify or vinyl. I’m not really a radio listener and, from what I can see and read online, the V2 benefits are all geared towards the internet radio side of things so I’m trying to justify what the extra £200-£300 will get me for the V2. Equally I’m tying to make a more longer term purchase that I shouldn’t need to replace or update for a few years yet.
 

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