Cambridge Audio CXA81 is rated 4.8 out of 5 by 18.
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Cambridge Audio CXA81

Stereo Amplifier

In-store Clearance item

Open Box Guide Price (6 available across all stores) £679.000000
Last brand new price £899.000000
Refurbished Guide Price (1 available across all stores) £639.000000
Last brand new price £899.000000

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”More than justifies the outlay once more.” ’What Hi-Fi?’ 2022 Product of the Year.

The amp that does it all

Engineered to the highest standards, the CXA81 delivers class-leading sound quality. The 80 watt amp is powerful enough for the largest rooms and the most power-hungry speakers. A built-in ESS DAC (Digital to Analogue Convertor) means you get the best from your digital, as well as analogue sources. Thanks to standard Bluetooth, you can now stream music in top quality aptX HD. All this, plus the Lunar Grey CXA81 looks more stylish than ever.

Powerful sound from the toroidal transformer
Powerful sound begins with the power supply, which is why Cambridge Audio use an audiophile quality, toroidal transformer. Renowned for their low noise, high efficiency and superior sound quality, the over-sized transformer gives the CXA81 a powerful, dynamic sound and a hefty 80W per channel power output - enough for ‘party level’ sound in even the largest domestic spaces.

Digital inputs with top spec DAC for detail
Featuring a reference standard ESS Sabre ES9016K2M DAC, the CXA81 works wonders with your digital audio and video sources. With two optical digital inputs and one coaxial, you can connect up to three digital sources, such as a games console, TV and a CD transport – the Cambridge Audio CXC makes the perfect match.

Bluetooth as standard
Now a standard fitment, Bluetooth offers simple, wireless music streaming from your mobile, tablet or laptop. Stream stored music or popular music streaming services such as Spotify, Tidal and Apple Music. The Bluetooth receiver is compatible with aptX HD, giving the highest quality sound possible from Bluetooth, right up to 24bit/48kHz. You also get the benefit of the sound passing through the ESS Sabre DAC, meaning precise, detailed sound from all your streamed music.

The best from USB audio, with Hi-Res sound
If you enjoy Hi-Res sound, you’ll love the CXA81. Using an asynchronous USB socket at the rear, you can connect up to your laptop, PC or server and stream Hi-Res music, right up to studio-quality 32bit/384kHz and DSD256. As well as improving the sound over your computer’s soundcard, the asynchronous ‘direct control’ link also greatly reduces jitter, for lower distortion and more precise audio.

Professional connection
More usually found on 'reference' hi-fi and professional equipment, the CXA81 boasts balanced XLR inputs. When connected to a suitable source, this gives a fully balanced, hot/cold, connection for the ultimate analogue signal quality.

All for analogue
The Cambridge CXA81 has four line level inputs - enough for all your analogue sources. A pre-amp output is also fitted – ideal for power amp upgrades. Other handy connections include an RCA subwoofer output, headphone socket and connections for two pairs of speakers.

Connected for installs
A wide range of control sockets make the CXA81 ideal as part of a more complex home installation. RS-232C, IR input, trigger in/out sockets and Control Bus RCA phonos mean the CXA81 is more than happy to work with a wide range home automation control systems.

Vibration resistant casing
With rigid, metal construction and low-resonance design, the casing helps shield the player from both mechanical and electrical interference, helping to improve clarity and reduce background noise. Isolating feet help adsorb vibration for a further reduction in distortion.

Sleek new finish
The CXA81 is part of the refreshed CX-Series 2. The distinctive tear-drop profile gives the CXA81 a contemporary look and makes it the ideal partner for the CXC CD transport, CXN V2 network player. The Lunar Grey front panel contrasts with the black top and sides and blends well with both black and silver separates.

Complete versatility meets the finest sound, with the Cambridge Audio CXA81.
Analogue RCA Inputs
Audio Outputs
Yes - Combined with pre-output
Coaxial Digital Inputs
Headphone Output
Optical Digital Inputs
Pre Output
Speaker Sets
Speaker Sets FILTER
x 2
Sub Output
Sub Output
USB Input
Yes (1)
XLR Inputs
Manufacturer's Warranty
2 years
Frequency Response (Hz)
5 - 60,000
High Resolution Audio
Power Output
80 x 2
Power Output - Watts per CH
60 - 99
Energy Consumption
Power Consumption - Normal Use (W)
Power Consumption - Standby
Dimensions WxHxD (mm)
430 x 115 x 341
Weight (KG)
Remote Control
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great amplifier Great amplifier. A friend recommended this amp as he has the same one. Works perfectly with the cambridge audio music streamer .
Date published: 2024-04-22
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Lovely Jubbly It is Christmas morning & like a kid in a sweetshop! Ac/Dc has been rocking away very nicely indeed. Bon Scott sounds even better now! Must thank my better half so much! But thank you too Cambridge Audio, you got me sold on this CXA81 my previous was a 640A pre amp. Loved it 2 bits also.. I am so lucky to have a partner like I do!
Date published: 2023-12-25
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Music Magic Had the amp a week or so was a little concerned about the lack of Balance, Base and Treble but you no what - not an issue my Vinyl sounds better than it did 20 years ago on my dusted off TD160 via Cambridge Phono amp into KEF 101's the only issue fro me was the lack of a line out - but a work around via a multi directional RCA switch saved the day - Just ordered a Cambridge CD Transport to revive my CD collection - Great Products
Date published: 2023-09-28
Rated 4 out of 5 by from If you want the fifth star... Read on Very, very happy with the full amp, CD and streamer limited black edition offering of the CX range. Looks delicious and sounds beautiful However, I'm left with a problem. I have a turntable, equally gorgeous but Cambridge don't offer a black edition phono stage. It's silver and it would somewhat ruin my overall finish. Reverted to using an old NAD PP2 with a gleaming green perma light distracting the eye from the main act. Any chance of a black edition of the Alva duo?
Date published: 2023-03-15
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Lovely soundstage that is warm and muscial I bought this not so long ago having compared a handful of other amps. I am no audiophile so went with the sonic characteristics that appealed to me. Some of the others sounded clinical in the name of clarity and boomy in the name of deep bass. But the CXA81 brought it all together. It felt warm, musical and controlled. The soundstage appeared wider with the ability to easily distinguish perception of depth in the placements of various musical instruments. Everything felt controlled. The built-in DAC is extremely good. But nothing like the Mojo 2 for those of you who use it. I have used the CXA81 with the Q Acoustics 3020i as well as Oberon 5s. Add Mojo 2 to the mix and the result was astounding.
Date published: 2023-01-22
Rated 5 out of 5 by from PUNCHES ABOVE ITS WEIGHT Excellent sound and well focused soundstage. Mid range and treble are beautiful with good recordings. Bass is very good but lacks the slam of more expensive amps.. Overall sound is neutral with just a touch of warmth that allows all the nuances of the recording to come through.
Date published: 2022-10-24
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Fantastic amp Probably the best amp I have ever bought (and I have had a few). I have it hooked up to my mac by a very good usb cable, so I get 24/192 hires and it sounds amazing. The only thing I would have liked would have been the ability to toggle off the speakers completely but I found a good workaround. I have a few Cambridge products and they are all top notch.
Date published: 2022-03-25
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great Digital Amp Great amp. Bought this primarily for streaming my digital music collection alongside streaming via Bluetooth from my TV. Works brilliantly with great sound and very little latency. Would recommend this to anyone looking for a digital HiFi amp. So impressed I'm going to purchase the CXN when budgets allow.
Date published: 2021-10-09
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