Yamaha or Cambridge Audio?

PdZ

Novice Member
Hi AVForum, always enjoy reading the threads on here.
After a few wayward years of placing convenience before audio sound after my Denon amplifier and AE speakers packed it in, I am looking to upgrade my system and was hoping to get some feedback on these options:

I have:

Spendor A4 speakers
Rega P3 turntable

Looking for:

Amp
Streamer

Setting/objective:

I currently have a mid-range Pioneer VSX-83 AVR to which I stream most music and which I also use for 'cinema/TV' sound (even though it comes through the same two speakers so not exactly a cinema set up...). Room measures circa 5x10m and I'd like to a) play hi fidelity sounds w/ vinyl & Tidal hi-fi, but b) also use to amplify the sound of television/movies (open to adding a sound bar for this purpose).

Budget:

£2000-2500

Current frontrunners:

1. Yamaha S1200 (love the sound profile and look of this Amp) combined w/ streamer: (Yamaha / Bluesound?)
2. Cambridge Audio: CXA81 + CXN (V2) (excellent reviews and recently updated tech) OR Azur 851N + 851A or 851W (all good kit but wondering whether due for an update soon. Does that matter?)
3. Rega Amp + CA streamer

Open to options but it does need to look good. Getting somewhat lost when I read about the best streaming tech and things like HT bypass (i.e. can I use ny current AVR as a streamer?)

Advance thanks for thoughts!
 

madfiddler

Active Member
If it were me I’d consider the Yamaha (assuming you have space for it) with bluesound node 2i, I think your Spendor will thank you for the extra bit of power and control. Also Rega elicit-r, or possibly Arcam SA30 I’d throw in the mix. And if budget stretches Musical Fidelity M6si but that blows the budget without getting you streaming unless you go s/h

The Arcam has streaming built in with full Tidal MQA support as well as Qobuz, an eARC HDMI input (stereo only) and offers Dirac, has mm and mc phono input too (TBF so do the others mentioned)

looks are in the eye of the beholder, but when listening to your music what are you looking at? 🤷🏻‍♂️ The Yamaha to me is the looker with its vintage style and VU meters. I’m an SA30 owner but likely would have considered the Yamaha more seriously if not for the extra space it needed. I do like having a single integrated box Though :)

you could of course use your pioneer to stream to via Bluetooth or chromecast but of course then it isn’t really streaming the services itself directly, your other device mobile/tablet) is the controller and streamer then sending the sound wirelessly to the amp. This might be sufficient for your needs depending on quality of streams required

ideally I’d suggest you try and get home demos

ooo...sorry a late thought, NAD C388 with bluOS module or an M10 maybe? The former has mm phono, you’d need a separate preamp with the M10 for your TT
 
Last edited:

DT79

Well-known Member
For that money you could get a Lyngdorf TDAI-1120, which is a new model and available in UK from 1st Sept apparently. I seriously doubt you can beat that for anything like that money (speaking as an owner of its big brother). There are one or two reviews floating about. It has a built in streaming module and MM phono stage, so ticks all your boxes, but crucially also has RoomPerfect DSP room calibration which is the best out there.

 

BT Bob

Distinguished Member
I have the CXA61 and really like it, so the 81 should be the same, but with more grunt.

No phono-input, so you'd need an external phono stage if you went down the vinyl rabbit-hole.

4 Analogue inputs, a couple of digital (Optical) plus USB and a very stable Bluetooth.

I have my Planar 6 into one of the analogues via the CA Alva Duo pre-amp, my TV into on of the Optical-ins (only for a better SQ - I have no real interest in "AV" as-such). I stream from my iPhone or iPad via the BT connection and have a MacMini running Apple Music acting as a server to an ext HDD with all my ripped music (mostly Apple Lossless - ALAC - from my old CD collection) into the USB. I'm running BitPerfect on the MAC to maximise the SQ, and "drive" it all using the Apple Remote app on my iPhone or iPad.

It all just works, and sounds fabulous through my Ophidian Mojos.

The CXA has a nice warm sound to my ears. Female vocals are stunning on it, but it seems capable to nailing everything I want to listen to.
 

Paul7777x

Distinguished Member
For that money you could get a Lyngdorf TDAI-1120, which is a new model and available in UK from 1st Sept apparently. I seriously doubt you can beat that for anything like that money (speaking as an owner of its big brother). There are one or two reviews floating about. It has a built in streaming module and MM phono stage, so ticks all your boxes, but crucially also has RoomPerfect DSP room calibration which is the best out there.

This all the way. It has everything you want, is discreet and you’ll be able to dump the pioneer.

RoomPerfect will amaze you. Modern room correction is impressive.

I’d add a sub for that size room too.

As Lyngdorf suggest using a pair in the corners, I’d go for a pair of BK 200s (small but very good quality, and realistic bass), which will stretch your budget by around £110.

You won’t regret it.
 

PdZ

Novice Member
If it were me I’d consider the Yamaha (assuming you have space for it) with bluesound node 2i, I think your Spendor will thank you for the extra bit of power and control. Also Rega elicit-r, or possibly Arcam SA30 I’d throw in the mix. And if budget stretches Musical Fidelity M6si but that blows the budget without getting you streaming unless you go s/h

The Arcam has streaming built in with full Tidal MQA support as well as Qobuz, an eARC HDMI input (stereo only) and offers Dirac, has mm and mc phono input too (TBF so do the others mentioned)

looks are in the eye of the beholder, but when listening to your music what are you looking at? 🤷🏻‍♂️ The Yamaha to me is the looker with its vintage style and VU meters. I’m an SA30 owner but likely would have considered the Yamaha more seriously if not for the extra space it needed. I do like having a single integrated box Though :)

you could of course use your pioneer to stream to via Bluetooth or chromecast but of course then it isn’t really streaming the services itself directly, your other device mobile/tablet) is the controller and streamer then sending the sound wirelessly to the amp. This might be sufficient for your needs depending on quality of streams required

ideally I’d suggest you try and get home demos

ooo...sorry a late thought, NAD C388 with bluOS module or an M10 maybe? The former has mm phono, you’d need a separate preamp with the M10 for your TT
Thanks!

Not hearing a lotta love for CA..?

A few thoughts:

Power: Yamaha has 90W per channels at 8Ohms; the CXA81 80W so pretty close.

On the CX series for a minute, one can't help but read all the good reviews the CX series gets and pause to think (this guy at Forbes loves it: Forbes). I like the fact that they're new models, whilst the 861N and 851W are not (they're 10 yrs old maybe? Not in itself a problem, but food for thought). The CX also feels like a solid set up with XLR connection, etc.

If one did step up from the CX, the Azure Power Amp has 200W per channels, and the 851N is both an excellent streamer and pre amp so that combo looks pretty solid. Any reason no two like it?


I am minded to have the amp be free of too much DAC tech. Again, if you read up on CX series it talks about these being upgradable, but generally I'd prefer to keep the amp and streamer separate, which is why I would hesitate about something like the excellent Arcam 30 or even the NAD.

The Pioneer has streaming services built in but I'd have to figure out which outputs to use to use it as streamer only. That's where my knowledge is lacking. In fact, short of using a cable, I am still not certain what the best streaming quality is but I know it's not Bluetooth.

Here's the review of the Pioneer. It's not a bad bit of kit.

In terms of testing, it's hard to listen to the Yamaha as I only know of one retailer in Birmingham that stocks it, but there are useful YouTube reviews and I can get a good sense from the reviews. It may not suit someone who listen to only House music, but it seems to excel at everything else.

So, Yamaha + Bluenode it may be. But why not pair it with a Yamaha streamer to the CA CX modern?
 

PdZ

Novice Member
For that money you could get a Lyngdorf TDAI-1120, which is a new model and available in UK from 1st Sept apparently. I seriously doubt you can beat that for anything like that money (speaking as an owner of its big brother). There are one or two reviews floating about. It has a built in streaming module and MM phono stage, so ticks all your boxes, but crucially also has RoomPerfect DSP room calibration which is the best out there.

Looks great, thank you, and will check it out. Can't help but liking the idea of keeping the Amp DAC-tech free? That way one doesn't get caught out when the digital side of things moves on, though maybe that's an unnecessary worry.
 

PdZ

Novice Member
I have the CXA61 and really like it, so the 81 should be the same, but with more grunt.

No phono-input, so you'd need an external phono stage if you went down the vinyl rabbit-hole.

4 Analogue inputs, a couple of digital (Optical) plus USB and a very stable Bluetooth.

I have my Planar 6 into one of the analogues via the CA Alva Duo pre-amp, my TV into on of the Optical-ins (only for a better SQ - I have no real interest in "AV" as-such). I stream from my iPhone or iPad via the BT connection and have a MacMini running Apple Music acting as a server to an ext HDD with all my ripped music (mostly Apple Lossless - ALAC - from my old CD collection) into the USB. I'm running BitPerfect on the MAC to maximise the SQ, and "drive" it all using the Apple Remote app on my iPhone or iPad.

It all just works, and sounds fabulous through my Ophidian Mojos.

The CXA has a nice warm sound to my ears. Female vocals are stunning on it, but it seems capable to nailing everything I want to listen to.
Right, this sounds awfully close the my Option2 set up, including the optical connection for the TV.

You have the CXA61 power 4 Ohm speakers?

The turntable is for a bit of fun and plugging it into the Alva Duo is no problem.

When you say BT connection, what do you mean exactly? You mean using the CA App & your wifi network?

Thanks
 

PdZ

Novice Member
This all the way. It has everything you want, is discreet and you’ll be able to dump the pioneer.

RoomPerfect will amaze you. Modern room correction is impressive.

I’d add a sub for that size room too.

As Lyngdorf suggest using a pair in the corners, I’d go for a pair of BK 200s (small but very good quality, and realistic bass), which will stretch your budget by around £110.

You won’t regret it.
I see why you're recommending it. It does tick all the boxes in a well considered, tight, high performing package. It has a phono input, plenty of power, streaming capability, that RoomPerfect technology and looks good too (the higher specs models look even better I think). Not sure where I'd tuck away a couple of subs but one I could certainly do.

Mmm. Now I have to wean myself off the analogue looks of the Yamaha.
 

BT Bob

Distinguished Member
Right, this sounds awfully close the my Option2 set up, including the optical connection for the TV.

You have the CXA61 power 4 Ohm speakers?

The turntable is for a bit of fun and plugging it into the Alva Duo is no problem.

When you say BT connection, what do you mean exactly? You mean using the CA App & your wifi network?

Thanks
Yes - the CXA driving the 4ohm Mojos - very good. The bass at low-level listening is excellent.

Apologies - BT= Bluetooth. The amp is "receive-only" so I can stream, for example, podcasts, BBC Sounds, or music from iPhone/iPad to the Amp, but you can't, say, connect BT headphones to the CXA.
 

PdZ

Novice Member
I see why you're recommending it. It does tick all the boxes in a well considered, tight, high performing package. It has a phono input, plenty of power, streaming capability, that RoomPerfect technology and looks good too (the higher specs models look even better I think). Not sure where I'd tuck away a couple of subs but one I could certainly do.

Mmm. Now I have to wean myself off the analogue looks of the Yamaha.
This baby Lyngdorf has only 2x60W power I just noticed with 8 Ohm speakers.
 

PdZ

Novice Member
Yes - the CXA driving the 4ohm Mojos - very good. The bass at low-level listening is excellent.

Apologies - BT= Bluetooth. The amp is "receive-only" so I can stream, for example, podcasts, BBC Sounds, or music from iPhone/iPad to the Amp, but you can't, say, connect BT headphones to the CXA.
Of course, got it. But are we happy with streaming via Bluetooth? Seems to me that all the effort and expense is sort of wasted when streaming music files over Bluetooth...
 

DT79

Well-known Member
Looks great, thank you, and will check it out. Can't help but liking the idea of keeping the Amp DAC-tech free? That way one doesn't get caught out when the digital side of things moves on, though maybe that's an unnecessary worry.
I don’t think there is any benefit these days to having a separate box for absolutely everything. There are certain things that logically sit together and the best products don’t suffer any detriment for being that way. The Lyngdorf TDAI amps operate purely in the digital domain, so rather than have digital inputs which go through a DAC, it’s the analogue inputs which go through an ADC. The amplification happens in the digital domain and the only conversion back to analogue is when the speaker cones start moving.

I wouldn’t worry about it being ‘only’ 60 watts into 8 ohms. The design of the amp inherently means that power exactly doubles into a 4ohm load, showing that it can deliver a pretty stiff current when called for. Plus the sound doesn’t change or harden up as you increase the volume. Unless you have a huge room and want to play at disco levels, I’m sure it will be enough.

Then you have the icing on the cake - Room Perfect. Whatever actual or theoretical disadvantages you might think the Lyngdorf has compared to the other models, IMHO they are outweighed ten fold by having RP on board.
 

BT Bob

Distinguished Member
Of course, got it. But are we happy with streaming via Bluetooth? Seems to me that all the effort and expense is sort of wasted when streaming music files over Bluetooth...
To be honest, I rarely use the BlueTooth to stream music - All the music on my iPhone has come from the MacMini that's using the USB, so I would usually use that.
So, any BT I stream will be podcasts or radio - neither of which I'm particularly bothered about the sound quality too much anyway (I can score 9 points on PopMaster whatever the sound quality ;) ).

it's more about the fact that it's there as a feature - and the new DACs in the CXA61 & 81 are (apparently) a big improvement over the earlier 60 & 80 models.
 

PdZ

Novice Member
I don’t think there is any benefit these days to having a separate box for absolutely everything. There are certain things that logically sit together and the best products don’t suffer any detriment for being that way. The Lyngdorf TDAI amps operate purely in the digital domain, so rather than have digital inputs which go through a DAC, it’s the analogue inputs which go through an ADC. The amplification happens in the digital domain and the only conversion back to analogue is when the speaker cones start moving.

I wouldn’t worry about it being ‘only’ 60 watts into 8 ohms. The design of the amp inherently means that power exactly doubles into a 4ohm load, showing that it can deliver a pretty stiff current when called for. Plus the sound doesn’t change or harden up as you increase the volume. Unless you have a huge room and want to play at disco levels, I’m sure it will be enough.

Then you have the icing on the cake - Room Perfect. Whatever actual or theoretical disadvantages you might think the Lyngdorf has compared to the other models, IMHO they are outweighed ten fold by having RP on board.
Gosh, this is both fun and difficult, isn't it? Love the looks and build quality and sound of the Yamaha, I like the efficiency of the Cambridge Audio system, but starting to get very interested in the Lyngdorf now. Need to get my head around the power though. I am no expert but feel the Spendors need driving and they can take well over 100W (not that I need that level of sounds, obvs).

Still not clear on how to ensure high quality streaming from mobile device. Surely using Bluetooth to stream kills most of the quality before it even gets to the amp?

Also, looking into where a sub (or subs) should be placed sounds like a real pain, unless you have an entirely dedicated room with no concern for aesthetics!
 

DT79

Well-known Member
Gosh, this is both fun and difficult, isn't it? Love the looks and build quality and sound of the Yamaha, I like the efficiency of the Cambridge Audio system, but starting to get very interested in the Lyngdorf now. Need to get my head around the power though. I am no expert but feel the Spendors need driving and they can take well over 100W (not that I need that level of sounds, obvs).

Still not clear on how to ensure high quality streaming from mobile device. Surely using Bluetooth to stream kills most of the quality before it even gets to the amp?

Also, looking into where a sub (or subs) should be placed sounds like a real pain, unless you have an entirely dedicated room with no concern for aesthetics!
You won’t need to stream from your phone If you buy an amp with a network connection and a streaming client built in. Streaming will be direct to the unit and your phone or other device will simply be your controller.

Lyngdorf recommend putting the subs in the front corners for optimum results. I couldn’t do that but instead have them against the wall between the speakers, which works great to my ears. I don’t think it’s ideal placing the sub somewhere other than on the front wall from a timing perspective for stereo and you lose much of the benefit of having stereo subs if each one isn’t located in the vicinity of the corresponding speaker.

That being said in my home cinema system the subs are in the rear corners (simply through lack of ability to place them anywhere else) and it still sounds good in stereo - again with room correction doing the hard part In terms of integrating them with the speakers (Dirac in this case).

But to be honest I’d say hold fire on the subs. Get your amp first and see how you get on then add the subs later If you feel the need.
 

Paul7777x

Distinguished Member
I’d agree DT79.

It’s possible to get powerful, but small subs.

Say ten inches on a side, and in all sorts of finishes to match just about any room.

I also wouldn’t worry about the power available form the 1120 for the Spendors.

Spendors do need a goodly current amount, but that is the point of the Lyngdorfs, they double the current into any speaker load that requires it.

That is much, much more important than quoted wattage output.

The Lyngdorfs are happy into a 2 Ohm load, which means your Spendors will never trouble the amp.
 

Paul7777x

Distinguished Member
...and, should you decide on a sub, or two, after a while, then the amp will no longer be driving deep bass from the Spendors, freeing up even more of its current capacity for elsewhere in the frequency range.
 

PdZ

Novice Member
You won’t need to stream from your phone If you buy an amp with a network connection and a streaming client built in. Streaming will be direct to the unit and your phone or other device will simply be your controller.

Lyngdorf recommend putting the subs in the front corners for optimum results. I couldn’t do that but instead have them against the wall between the speakers, which works great to my ears. I don’t think it’s ideal placing the sub somewhere other than on the front wall from a timing perspective for stereo and you lose much of the benefit of having stereo subs if each one isn’t located in the vicinity of the corresponding speaker.

That being said in my home cinema system the subs are in the rear corners (simply through lack of ability to place them anywhere else) and it still sounds good in stereo - again with room correction doing the hard part In terms of integrating them with the speakers (Dirac in this case).

But to be honest I’d say hold fire on the subs. Get your amp first and see how you get on then add the subs later If you feel the need.
Hi both, thanks for feedback. I like the idea of adding at least one sub and I'm thinking I could place one on the bottom shelf of an Atacama hi fi rack, assuming one fits. Think the highest shelf spacing is 300mm. Top shelf for turntable and middle for the amp.

One small fly in the ointment with the Lyngdorf is not having A+B speakers because if I have wired set of ceiling speakers in an adjacent small sitting room. It wasn't part of the 'spec' I shared with you because I haven't actually made use of these for some time, but the CA and Yamaha do have the A+B speaker option so I began to like the idea of wiring these in again.

Also, I'd love to hear your thoughts on the CA system, just out of interest.

Thanks, Paul
 

DT79

Well-known Member
I'm thinking I could place one on the bottom shelf of an Atacama hi fi rack, assuming one fits. Think the highest shelf spacing is 300mm. Top shelf for turntable and middle for the amp.
I really wouldn't do this, in fact this is probably the worst thing you could possibly do for your turntable, which needs to be isolated from vibrations as much as possible.

I don't have any experience of the CA, but by reputation and user experiences I've seen referenced on here it seems to be a very good amp. You probably can't go far wrong with it.
 

PdZ

Novice Member
Noted on the sub. Was thinking the shelf would insulate it enough from vibrations, but maybe that's asking too much.
 

JoyDivision1982

Standard Member
I have had bad experiences with Cambridge stuff, apart from my DAC none of it has lasted. Where as I still have a spare 25 year old Yamaha amp that is as good as new. I may have just been very unlucky though!
 

PdZ

Novice Member
I have had bad experiences with Cambridge stuff, apart from my DAC none of it has lasted. Where as I still have a spare 25 year old Yamaha amp that is as good as new. I may have just been very unlucky though!
Interesting, thanks. That's been my niggling sense but I couldn't put my finger on it. Great reviews, up to date tech with the CX range, nice looking I think, great amp + streamer pairing with xlr cables, A+B speakers (which I have decided I need to have), etc, but I'm not feeling the love. But what if the CX range is better than made than their previous stuff?

Finding this hard. I think I like the idea of a matching separates system which rules out the excellent Rega, Roksan, etc. because they don't make streamers. Been looking at Audiolab as well, but the Yamaha 1200 remains appealing due to its sounds profile which fits my listening style (I play mainly indie rock, rock, folk, some dance music and jazz) and unquestionable build quality. I would have to pair it with the S303 streamer which gets okay reviews if I wanted to a 'paired' system look or the Yamaha WXC50 or Bluenode which is so well regarded (but not looking very hi fi-like..) I do mainly stream my music with Tidal hi fi and play the odd record for fun, so optimising the digital side of things is important.
 

AudioJosh

Standard Member
I'm not sure if my experience with Cambridge CX series will be of any help but I am running a CXA80 with the Yamaha WXC50 streamer and I absolutely love it. I find it to be a very rich and clear sounding amp which really brings a smile to my face and plenty of oomph if needed. I use the WXC50 DAC as I find it adds a smidgen of warmth to the CXA80 which I like. I mainly listen to dance, ambient, rock and indie and have been very happy with the results. I can only imagine the CXA81 will do it all better.

I have to say I've read the odd unhappy review of somebody saying their CXA80 randomly turns itself off. Not had this experience myself and on the whole people seem very happy with the CXA80 but yeh, I hope Cambridge have sorted that out for the CXA81. If reliability is important then I don't think you can go wrong with the Yamaha. I've only ever heard good things about Yamaha's reliability. I love Yamaha amps myself. Not heard the 1200 though, I've only listened to the AS-501/701 (still own an AS-501 which has never given me any problems). The CXA80 is definitely a bit brighter sounding than both of those, it took some getting used to I must admit and I've heard that said quite a lot with Cambridge amps that they can sound a bit bright.
 

Khazul

Well-known Member
In terms of testing, it's hard to listen to the Yamaha as I only know of one retailer in Birmingham that stocks it, but there are useful YouTube reviews and I can get a good sense from the reviews. It may not suit someone who listen to only House music, but it seems to excel at everything else.
I have an A-S2100 and I mostly listen to alot of house (and alot of other stuff too) and I think it is excellent for that and anything bass heavy as the amp exerts great control of the speaker (matters with large floor standers) so nice impactful tight bass - it was the first thing I noticed most when I first got it and tried it at home. There is also pre-amp outs that are handy for driving stereo line ins on a sub if desired.
 

The latest video from AVForums

Podcast: CES 2021 Special - Sony, LG, Panasonic, Samsung, TCL and Hisense TV news and more...

Latest News

Cyrus Audio announces soundBuds2 in-ear headphones
  • By Andy Bassett
  • Published
Audio Research launches Reference 80S power amplifier
  • By Andy Bassett
  • Published
What's new on Netflix UK for February 2021
  • By Andy Bassett
  • Published
NAD launches CI 16-60 DSP amplifier
  • By Andy Bassett
  • Published
Sky seals Studiocanal movie deal
  • By Andy Bassett
  • Published
Top Bottom