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New streamer – Cambridge Audio CXN100, a few questions…

tonapo

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Hello all!

I have just purchased a new dedicated streamer for my main stereo, a Cambridge Audio CXN100. I want to use it primarily with Roon (via wired ethernet), Qobuz directly and the odd CD. I have a question about whether to use the CXN as a pre-amp, and other few odd questions too.

I have connected the CXN to my Cambridge Audio CXC CD Transport and my NAD M23 power amplifier (configured for low gain). I decided to get the CXN so I could simplify things a bit, I have been able to pull quite a bit of kit from the rack as a result. I have removed a raspberry pi 4 (used as streamer), a 5 port netgear switch, a Topping D90 DAC, a Logitech hub and possibly a Topping Pre90 preamp. So, by the using the CXN I can significantly reduce box count, wires etc.

I have a few things on my mind as I am getting used to the new device. Firstly, I am not sure I can hear much difference between the CXN DAC and the outgoing Topping D90 DAC, although that is probably to be expected. The CXN DAC chip is a ESS ES9028Q2M which has three filters, although I am yet to find out how to change them, again, I like to try these things, but I am not expecting to hear much of a difference, if I can tell at all.

I do like the CXNs screen, although a little small from my seating position, I like the XLR out, and the fact I can use the remote from my CXC to control the CXN. I also like the full width form factor.

I have previously had convolution filters loaded in Roon from Home Audio Fidelity, I will likely repeat a room measurement and get these updated. When using these convolution filters, I usually use Roons ‘MUSE’ Headroom management functionality to create a bit of headroom db’s, to avoid clipping. In addition, is it worth increasing the sample rate conversion within Roon too, or should I leave ‘as is’ and let the DAC chip handle it?

I am also a bit undecided whether to use the CXNs pre-amp functionality. I am thinking of two things, the first being whether there is any risk of a 100% signal being fed from the CXN to my NAD M23 power amp, which would not end well! The second being if I did use the CXN as a preamplifier would I be sacrificing any quality when using the digital volume attenuation when listening at lower volumes? I could just mitigate this risk, but just leaving the Topping pre90 in my chain and then not set the CXNs pre-amp functionality. The DAC could then still output at 100%. The downside is the need to use two remotes, as I would need the topping remote to control volume, and its not a great remote.

Thanks for reading!
 
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Rednaxela

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The second being if I did use the CXN as a preamplifier would I be sacrificing any quality when using the digital volume attenuation when listening at lower volumes?
I wouldn’t worry too much about this.

I am thinking of two things, the first being whether there is any risk of a 100% signal being fed from the CXN to my NAD M23 power amp, which would not end well!
How about keeping the Pre90 in the chain but only to mitigate this risk? Set it to a volume at which a 100% signal from the CXN100 would sound as loud as you would ever wish to play but not disastrously loud. Then keep the Pre90 at that level and enjoy the usability of the CXN in preamp mode.
 
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tonapo

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How about keeping the Pre90 in the chain but only to mitigate this risk? Set it to a volume at which a 100% signal from the CXN100 would sound as loud as you would ever wish to play but not disastrously loud. Then keep the Pre90 at that level and enjoy the usability of the CXN in preamp mode.
Thanks for the reply! This is a good idea, I will try it!
 

Overseas

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As Pre90 is not at peanuts price, that scheme is quite budget consuming. Very unfortunate for us, users.
 
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tonapo

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How about keeping the Pre90 in the chain but only to mitigate this risk?
Just a quick update in terms of my pre-amp question, leaving the pre90 in the chain seems to work quite well, I am still tweaking volume levels to get it right. Currently the Pre90 is at -15db, and then the Cambridge Audio sits around 70% volume overall and this gives you day to day levels. I was listening for a while last night and was around 90% which was pretty loud. And, in addition I feel more comfortable that with the Pre90 in the chain.

I have a few things on my mind as I am getting used to the new device. Firstly, I am not sure I can hear much difference between the CXN DAC and the outgoing Topping D90 DAC, although that is probably to be expected. The CXN DAC chip is a ESS ES9028Q2M which has three filters, although I am yet to find out how to change them, again, I like to try these things, but I am not expecting to hear much of a difference, if I can tell at all.
I have been looking around for a way to change the filters, but not found a way yet. As I say, this is just for tinkerings sake...

I have previously had convolution filters loaded in Roon from Home Audio Fidelity, I will likely repeat a room measurement and get these updated. When using these convolution filters, I usually use Roons ‘MUSE’ Headroom management functionality to create a bit of headroom db’s, to avoid clipping. In addition, is it worth increasing the sample rate conversion within Roon too, or should I leave ‘as is’ and let the DAC chip handle it?
Is generally worth having Roon upsample prior to sending to the Streamer/DAC?
 

Rednaxela

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I have been looking around for a way to change the filters, but not found a way yet. As I say, this is just for tinkerings sake...
Don’t know. Could it be that CA has simply not unlocked this feature?

Is generally worth having Roon upsample prior to sending to the Streamer/DAC?
You might be interested in this discussion. ;)

 
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tonapo

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Don’t know. Could it be that CA has simply not unlocked this feature?


You might be interested in this discussion. ;)

Thank made me smile!
 

Gyosa1

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May want to consider CA’s lack of firmware updates for their devices before your return window closes. I’ve owned a 851n for several years now and just sold it due to their poor FW update policy. It may be “current” now since it’s new , but they are painfully slow to provide updates.- and when they do , it’s usually too little , too late. I’m replacing it with a DMP A6 …

bk
 

Sgt. Pepper

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May want to consider CA’s lack of firmware updates for their devices before your return window closes. I’ve owned a 851n for several years now and just sold it due to their poor FW update policy. It may be “current” now since it’s new , but they are painfully slow to provide updates.- and when they do , it’s usually too little , too late. I’m replacing it with a DMP A6 …

bk
Never had that problem with my CXNV2.
 
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