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FriscoDesi

CA CXA80 vs NAD C368

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I am putting together my first stereo 2.1 setup (Klipsch RF-82 II, SVS PB1000) in the living room. After much of the research and budget considerations, I have narrowed down my choices to Cambridge Audio CXA80 and NAD C368. Warm sound profile seem to match what I listen to and hence these two choices. Anyone have experience listening to them both? Any recommendations? Much appreciated.

Edited by FriscoDesi
grammar

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For a 2.1 rig, I would recommend something with bass management.  My go-to two channel solution are the slim line Marantz AVRs: effective bass management, pre outs for L and R to accommodate external amps (probably never need more power, but you can, as well as having the option to throw a tube amp in the mix).  

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@Ski Bum Thanks for the reply. Both CA and NAD have subwoofer output though. I understand that it is not the same as AVRs dedicated bass management. I don't plan to watch a lot of movies in the living room (have a small media room with 5.1 setup). 

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Yeah, that's one thing where I think NAD and others are dropping the ball.  Subs are ubiquitous these days, and the benefits of bass management are quite real.  Two channel kit should really be designed to meet the needs of today, not 1978.  (I wonder if Klipsch has it in their otherwise interesting, fancy new integrated amp...probably not.)

 

Too bad Klipsch's new integrated hasn't hit the shelves yet, it looks like it would compete with the NAD and Cambridge.

 

Anywho, take that as a rant against what the industry offers us, not an indictment of those particular products, which I don't know much about.  A cursory glance shows that NAD to be one of their newer models using the Hypex n-core amps, which they seem to be switching over to across the board.  I think that Klipsch is using the same in their new amp, too, but not certain.  I think the CA is a traditional class a/b amp, tried and true tech.  Either would probably work just fine.   

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3 hours ago, FriscoDesi said:

I am putting together my first stereo 2.1 setup (Klipsch RF-82 II, SVS PB1000) in the living room. After much of the research and budget considerations, I have narrowed down my choices to Cambridge Audio CXA80 and NAD C368. Warm sound profile seem to match what I listen to and hence these two choices. Anyone have experience listening to them both? Any recommendations? Much appreciated.

First, I am a big fan of both CA and NAD.

 

Second, I never considered either NAD or CA as warm.  IMO, CA is about as neutral as you can get and NAD on the "slightly" warm side of neutral.  Of course, all are subject to interpretation. 

 

With that said, I have NAD driving my Heresys in the spare bedroom.  My family room HT setup consists of a little of both.  NAD pre/pro with CA BD/Universal player and CA CD player/DAC.

 

Truthfully, I think either the NAD or CA will sound great with your setup.

 

Bill

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Don't know why it did that quote thing above. My bad ☺

Back to topic, i would hold on with the new NAD classics until they get some reviews. They are not Ncore but the cheaper Ucd and furthermore some kind of hybrid of that. I haven't heard them yet but i ain't holding my breath:p

I really dig the CXA. They look gorgeous and sound great.

You could however propably save a bit of coin and get the NAD C356. It is an older design but sounds great and you might just find it for sale as they are changing them out with the new ones.

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I have the NAD c368 and am very happy with it. I have never had a chance to listen to the other model you are considering but as for me it works really well for my bedroom setup. I have upgraded the amp and added the BluOs module which I thought was a little pricey but after a few hours of use I definitely realized the value and versatility the system had to offer. Other than the BluOs module I don't have any other source components hooked up to it 100% of my listening has been streaming with Tidal and when I want to listen to local radio I use either  I Heart Radio or Tune In Radio. The c368 does have rca outs so you can hook it up to a subwoofer or if feel like you need the extra power you can use it as a preamp as well. Honestly the only thing I dislike about it is the plastic "cheap feeling"of the faceplate and volume nob other than that I do recommend the product especially when you add the BluOs module.

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I have no experience with the NAD unit, but I purchased the CXA80 after a lot of research. If you're in the same position, you are also looking for:

dedicated 2-channel

simple, clean look

integrated, high quality DAC

multiple digital input options (I use asynchronous USB with ground lifted)

 

That last point is the difference between the CXA60 and the 80 (other than power). It's intended for digital listening. I have never owned anything in this league, so naturally I'm very impressed. Mine is dedicated to 2 channel streaming from a MacBook Pro into my Forte IIs. Clean, clean, clean.

 

Sound is subjective and not easily conveyed on a forum, but I'm blown away. 

 

Look and feel is stellar. The brushed aluminum matches the Mac too! (Also available in black)

Edited by digital_throwback

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Thank you all for great feedback. I have finally decided on CXA80 and that will be my birthday self-gift (in a month :)). I may end up getting refurbished from A4L for 799.

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On 2/15/2017 at 3:45 PM, FriscoDesi said:

Thank you all for great feedback. I have finally decided on CXA80 and that will be my birthday self-gift (in a month :)). I may end up getting refurbished from A4L for 799.

 

Please let mw know if you are happy with youe CA CXA80? I am also trying to decide between this one and NAD c 368 for RP250F speakers. 

Thank you 

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