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 Post subject: Cambridge cxn vs 851N
PostPosted: Tue Jun 05, 2018 5:33 pm 
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Has anyone heard them in same system care to share their thoughts on how the sound differs or it sounds the same?


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PostPosted: Tue Jun 05, 2018 6:38 pm 
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I used to sell both so no ownership bias to share in my comments. We put both in the same system and the 851N was more engaging somehow. The CXN was almost flat sounding in comparison. I had expected them to sound the exact same but I was wrong. They were attached to more than $60k in gear and the setup was neutral sounding and very good at showing changes with sources. The same impressions of the CXN carried on when moving it to different systems. YMMV


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PostPosted: Tue Jun 05, 2018 8:04 pm 
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I own the 851N, and did consider the CXN.

The 851N sounded a bit more refined to my ears, with a larger soundstage and better in some parameters.

Something I wish to share. I sent an email to the Tech dept. at Cambridge Audio in the U.K. - those guys are very helpful and quick to respond. Much better than even a certain canadian manufaturer of electronics if you asked me.

When I initially was interested in this product line, I did ask pretty much the same question to them about the differences.

They told me that the 851N was better, and one of the most audible ways of finding this out was with lower bit-rate music (like 320 kbps music as streamed on Spotify Premium). And he was right - this machine makes Spotify sound better that I could imagine, actually quite a surprise.

Now that they have the Tidal firmware update, I am of course curious to find out how much better-sounding Tidal is.

For what it's worth, I do have the Yamaha BDA 1060 universal player doing transport duty, feeding the digital signal into the 851N - sounds pretty nice. The Cambridge App is pretty good too. The 851N is a no brainer and extremely user friendly. The CXN is very nice too - both are good purchases. But then, there are a lot of capable Dacs out there for not that much money....


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PostPosted: Tue Jun 05, 2018 8:53 pm 
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Very informative replies! Thank you! :o


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PostPosted: Tue Jun 05, 2018 10:00 pm 
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One more thing. Is the 851n glitch free like not buggy when streaming and playing digital files?


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PostPosted: Wed Jun 06, 2018 4:25 am 
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flm wrote:
One more thing. Is the 851n glitch free like not buggy when streaming and playing digital files?


Nothing to report, it has been very smooth and dependable so far. I must again mention the great product support from Cambridge A. I have emailed to them several times with inquiries and they are stellar.


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PostPosted: Wed Jun 06, 2018 5:10 am 
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Just upgraded from a CXN to 851N. Similar experience here as everyone else. Right away, quite obviously,
I could hear more detail, better imagining, and nice instrument separation. Having a lot of those, I've never heard that before moments. Dare I say closer to my analog setup. My CXN was lagging behind vinyl and made me search for a better digital setup. Digital versions of Jazz albums were missing that special something vs vinyl counterparts. Now with the 851N that gap between vinyl and digital has shortened.

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PostPosted: Wed Jun 06, 2018 6:29 am 
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milag wrote:
flm wrote:
One more thing. Is the 851n glitch free like not buggy when streaming and playing digital files?


Nothing to report, it has been very smooth and dependable so far. I must again mention the great product support from Cambridge A. I have emailed to them several times with inquiries and they are stellar.



Cool!☺

-- 06 Jun 2018 14:31 --

ae86 wrote:
Just upgraded from a CXN to 851N. Similar experience here as everyone else. Right away, quite obviously,
I could hear more detail, better imagining, and nice instrument separation. Having a lot of those, I've never heard that before moments. Dare I say closer to my analog setup. My CXN was lagging behind vinyl and made me search for a better digital setup. Digital versions of Jazz albums were missing that special something vs vinyl counterparts. Now with the 851N that gap between vinyl and digital has shortened.



Nice! Thanks! :o


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PostPosted: Wed Jun 06, 2018 7:36 am 
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James_W wrote:
I used to sell both so no ownership bias to share in my comments. We put both in the same system and the 851N was more engaging somehow. The CXN was almost flat sounding in comparison. I had expected them to sound the exact same but I was wrong. They were attached to more than $60k in gear and the setup was neutral sounding and very good at showing changes with sources. The same impressions of the CXN carried on when moving it to different systems. YMMV


James_W: Excellent insight (CXN vs. 851).

Cambridge has (and continues) to make some excellent product. Case in point, their last-gen (840 series) preamplifier -astonishingly impressive.

pj

-- 06 Jun 2018 15:38 --

-- 06 Jun 2018 14:31 --

ae86 wrote:
Just upgraded from a CXN to 851N. Similar experience here as everyone else. Right away, quite obviously,
I could hear more detail, better imagining, and nice instrument separation. Having a lot of those, I've never heard that before moments. Dare I say closer to my analog setup. My CXN was lagging behind vinyl and made me search for a better digital setup. Digital versions of Jazz albums were missing that special something vs vinyl counterparts. Now with the 851N that gap between vinyl and digital has shortened.


(RE: CA 851N):

Appears to be an excellent performer -always very valuable hearing from users.

pj


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PostPosted: Wed Jun 06, 2018 8:03 am 
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allhifi wrote:
James_W wrote:
I used to sell both so no ownership bias to share in my comments. We put both in the same system and the 851N was more engaging somehow. The CXN was almost flat sounding in comparison. I had expected them to sound the exact same but I was wrong. They were attached to more than $60k in gear and the setup was neutral sounding and very good at showing changes with sources. The same impressions of the CXN carried on when moving it to different systems. YMMV


James_W: Excellent insight (CXN vs. 851).

Cambridge has (and continues) to make some excellent product. Case in point, their last-gen (840 series) preamplifier -astonishingly impressive.

pj

-- 06 Jun 2018 15:38 --

-- 06 Jun 2018 14:31 --

ae86 wrote:
Just upgraded from a CXN to 851N. Similar experience here as everyone else. Right away, quite obviously,
I could hear more detail, better imagining, and nice instrument separation. Having a lot of those, I've never heard that before moments. Dare I say closer to my analog setup. My CXN was lagging behind vinyl and made me search for a better digital setup. Digital versions of Jazz albums were missing that special something vs vinyl counterparts. Now with the 851N that gap between vinyl and digital has shortened.


(RE: CA 851N):

Appears to be an excellent performer -always very valuable hearing from users.

Agreed! :o

pj


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PostPosted: Wed Jun 06, 2018 11:06 am 
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Location: Mississauga, ON, CA
Excellent info guys. I do have another question needs assistance, I have download quite bit of ambient electronic music (artists such as Jens Buchert, Chillwalker, etc etc) and stored them in an external hard drive. Does it work well the 851 ? Will all the info (album art work, bit rate, track info) shown on the small monitor ?

Thanks


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PostPosted: Wed Jun 06, 2018 12:00 pm 
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JWong wrote:
Excellent info guys. I do have another question needs assistance, I have download quite bit of ambient electronic music (artists such as Jens Buchert, Chillwalker, etc etc) and stored them in an external hard drive. Does it work well the 851 ? Will all the info (album art work, bit rate, track info) shown on the small monitor ?

Thanks

For what it's worth, it does on my CXN ( at least where I went to the trouble of downloading the cover art ) so I would expect the 851N to do it as well.

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PostPosted: Wed Jun 06, 2018 12:18 pm 
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JWong wrote:
Excellent info guys. I do have another question needs assistance, I have download quite bit of ambient electronic music (artists such as Jens Buchert, Chillwalker, etc etc) and stored them in an external hard drive. Does it work well the 851 ? Will all the info (album art work, bit rate, track info) shown on the small monitor ?

Thanks


Yes it works excellent, if the artwork is detailed enough, the resolution looks very sharp on the screen. As for showing the bit rate, the 851's screen automatically shows this regardless of digital source used. On the monitor screen, the brightness level is too high so I use the dimmer setting...


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PostPosted: Wed Jun 06, 2018 12:41 pm 
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Sounds good. Thank you all.


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PostPosted: Wed Jun 06, 2018 1:40 pm 
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Cambridge audio uses the tag info from files to sort via genre/artist/album. I use mp3tag to edit my tags to my liking. It can take awhile to edit a large collection but necessary if you want them organized. Have to edit all new files when adding them to my NAS. I like to keep the genres simple, rock, jazz, classical. Yet the file creators use genres like heavy rock, or alternative rock so you end up with 100 different genres to go through. Also some artists could be spelled slightly different splitting up albums. For example The Rolling Stones vs Rolling Stones. If you don't edit the tags you will have 2 folders of Stones albums.

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