Any improvement of using 2K$ Dac with Cambridge CXN

I am now using Cambridge CXN mainly for TIDAL HIFI to int.amp Creek 100A and speaker Amphion Argon 3.

Now looking to update my system, is there any improvement if I buy external dac (2K$) and let the CXN as network transporter. Or should I sell the CXN and looking to new streamer that able to use TIDAL MQA (because CXN cannot). 
My eyes are now on
- TEAC NT505
- Mytek DAC
- Lumin
- Aularic

BTW, sorry my English is not that good and I stay in Bangkok, Thailand.


9934afaa 8f95 42ee b7b5 976aa6d77a0eAg insider logo xs@2xwallpoom

Sell the CX it is a good streamer but not that good, and as a transport you are going to introduce a lot of jitter.

All the units you mentioned are great.

Mytek Brooklyn Bridge great dac, MQA, good preamp, good heaphone amp.

Lumin great app, MQA fantastic sound quality, makes an excellent transport.

Teac also excellent we haven't tested it.

Auarlic also very good.

Dave and Troy
Audio Doctor NJ Lumin and Mytek dealers

Dear Dave and Troy,

Thank you for your suggestion. By the way, what is "jitter"



@wallpoom IMO it depends on what your goal is. It kind of looks like you're looking at all-in-one network streaming DACs, but asking if that is a better option versus a standalone DAC where you continue using the Cambridge Audio as your network streamer.

I would say technically you're more likely to get a higher quality DAC and overall better sound at a given price point if you continue using your Cambridge Audio as the network streamer and purchase a DAC, ignoring MQA.

This article about jitter may help, but in short imagine a clock or metronome sometimes being a little off whenever it ticks. Either the next tick comes a little too soon or a little too late. If you're trying to keep time based on the ticks, and they're not always exactly right, then whatever you're doing might be a little incorrect.
The Cambridge is very good for the money,their Flagship 851n beats many $3-4kdacs  out there. their  AD dual dacs are still one if the best sounding out there . 
I owned a Lumin my friends Cambridge Audio 851N was Much more detailed across the board  that is why it has won awards 4 years in a row . very good parts quality ,well engineered in the U.K and built in China in their factory .
if built here it  would be over $3k with ease .
Audioman 58 but we used to sell both the Cambridge and the Lumin.  We had both units in the same system and could a/b both at the same time and in the same system, and there was no contest at all, the Lumin completely outclassed the Cambridge.

Also totally don't agree with you about beating $3k-$4k dacs, the Mytek Brooklyn Bridge is way better, so is the Lumin D2 and the Lumin T2 different league altogether. 

The 851n is the same guts as the 851CD player a 2012 design.

Another fact Lumin is constantly adding features that people want, such as Obouz and MQA,  we stopped selling Cambridge,because we coudn't sell the streamers  as our clients wanted access to Tidal and were not interested in waiting for Cambridge to add Tidal access,  both the CXN and the 851N streamers only had access to Spotify unless you wanted to blue tooth to the streamers. It took them years to finally add Tidal.

Don't think that Qbouz is available now is it, also no MQA.

The general hardware  feature set of the Cambridge units are great, the sound quality is good,  the no Qbouz and no MQA are kind of deal breakers for a popularly priced streamer. 

Sorry to have a very different opinion of the company, they do make some excellent products, the 851N is showing its age it is a good piece for its no lower price with the above mentioned caveats.

Dave and Troy
Audio Doctor NJ Lumin, Mytek, dealers


yeah my concern is that the software technology is always quickly change. If I buy a good quality DAC now in the future I can just sell CXN and buy another streamer transporter with catch-up recent technology( MQA, QUBUS, ...) and keep using the same DAC.  Or I should buy the all-in-one but once technology change I just sell it and buy the new one...  

How about Naim ND5 XS II.

In Thailand, talking about streamer, Cambridge and Naim are more popular compare to Lumin, Aularic, Mytek, Teac,...

And the "What Hi Fi" score, are they reliable?  they always reviews Cambridge and Naim LOL.  

The Cambridge has upgraded several are biased and dealers should not be voicing opinions IMO ,what you hear and like is not what someone else finds great. Not all Lumin are that good I sold mine .the Schitt top dacs and Belcanto  dacsfor example  was more resolved  and beat a lot of well known digital products . 
@wallpoom, it sounds like part of your desire to upgrade DACs includes the desire to experience high-res content. If you’re willing to wait until the end of this year, Amazon will begin streaming CD and high-res content through its service, Amazon Music Unlimited. The price appears to be $15 USD/month for an individual plan, which is cheaper than Tidal’s $20 USD/month. Amazon’s high-res content will not be MQA based. So, you can take advantage of 24/96 content on your current Cambridge streamer via its the Chromecast ability. If you’re willing to wait a bit, you can effectively save money and get an upgrade at the same time.

I suspect, like the Schiit owners, that MQA is just a fad. Amazon’s recent announcement to tackle high-res content may prove that out. Amazon positioned its streaming preamp and streaming amp at the mass consumer $300 threshold. Further, Amazon may be taking a loss at its streaming price of $15/month, knowing that its streamers will own Prime memberships, and that Amazon will recoup its losses elsewhere. Ultimately, a plan to make CD and high-res music cheaper and easier to access is great for all music consumers, but this particular way of doing may spells bad news for MQA, and may be bad for Tidal too.

If you buy an MQA DAC now, and if MQA goes the way of SACD and DSD, you may find that you could have purchased a better non-MQA DAC for the same money.
@audiotroy Clearly consumers, including audiophiles, are beginning to prefer all-in-one systems over separates. Although customers prefer streaming DACs, would you say that streaming DACs are more likely to be sonically superior to a separate streamer connected to a separate DAC over SPDIF?

I currently run an integrated amp with DAC (the Peachtree Decco65). My problem is finding a decent streamer separate, not to mention one at the relevant price point. Almost all the streamers out there have DACs included, and I would prefer not to duplicate equipment costs unnecessarily. Any thoughts on how to build a decent budget system without spending hundreds on a second DAC that isn’t used?
@wallpoom separating out the DAC and the streaming technology in order to upgrade those over time without constraint does favor going with separates.

The only issue would be MQA, if that is important to you, since that technology usually requires both the network streamer and the DAC to support MQA.

I would recommend getting a Lumin U1 or U1 Mini for the network streaming and a separate DAC that provides the sound quality you're looking for. Lumin's software is constantly updated, and their hardware is excellent and compatible with non-Lumin software too. Since you're in Thailand, I think you should be able to demo one locally.

Your choice of DAC will come down to personal preference.
There are good arguments between the integrated streaming solutions and separates.

One of the reasons we recommend the Lumin products so highly is that both their entry level D2 streamer and the T2 can morph into very good streaming transports, because they have digital outputs, in the T2 a USB output is also there.

The truth is that a properly designed all in one, will almost always beat a two piece dac and streamer, because of the issues which occur in transmitting data and the likelyhood of introducing jitter into the dac.

Are the Lumin's perfect no, but they sound fantastic are extremely well designed, and offer an upgrade path because they have good digital outputs and as mentioned previously Lumin is all on implementing the streaming choices that people want.

MQA is a good option for Tidal users, does MQA sound great yes it does, Will it endure, who knows with the streaming content wars, the good thing either way is how Lumin will always offer the best in streaming services. 

As per Naim and Cambridge always winning What Hifi awards hey they are both British kind of looks like in house nepotisim. 

Dave and Troy
Audio Doctor NJ Lumin dealers