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Cambridge Audio A300
15 Reviews
rating  4.27 of 5
MSRP 
Description: Integrated Amplifier


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Reviews 1 - 5 (15 Reviews Total) | Next 15

User Reviews

Overall Rating:4
Value Rating:4
Submitted by vik a Audio Enthusiast

Date Reviewed: November 5, 2003

Bottom Line:   
Overall a very nice amp for the money. I haven't really compared it to any other amps, although I've owned sherwood and fisher stereo receivers (the Cambridge easily smokes both), and a Marantz PM7000, which I haven't used extensively enough to compare. The cambridge has a nice smooth, warm, laid back sound, the typical 'British' sound. Best mated with bright/neutral sounding speakers. The highs are a little too laid back and the midrange may be a bit too warm for some. The amp also has a slight mid bass bump (right at 60 hz, could be due to dirty power). Soundstage and imaging are fine. Very easy to use and includes some nice features not normally expected at this price point (biwire terminals, pre-outs, tone defeat switch). I've used this amp with several pairs of speakers, Monitor Audio Bronze B2, Energy C-1, NHT Zero, and Wharfedale Diamond 7.2, and the Cambridge drives them all with no problems. I'm currently driving the MA's in biwire mode and the sound is fantastic, simply unreal at this price (though I think the sound is mainly due to the speakers, not the amp). Overall I am quite pleased with this amp for the price I paid. At the time I write this audioadvisor.com is selling them for $200 shipped, which is a steal for the performance you get (let's get real, people, $200 will get you a crappy Sony or Onkyo stereo receiver from a mass market chain store, would you rather buy that or get a nice integrated amp instead?)

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Used product for:   1 to 3 months

Duration Product Used:   Audio Enthusiast

Product model year:   2003

Price Paid:    $260.00

Purchased At:   local dealer



Overall Rating:2
Value Rating:4
Submitted by Jammy66 a Audio Enthusiast

Date Reviewed: October 21, 2003

Bottom Line:   
I originally bought an ex demo A5 from Richer Sounds to go with a Cambridge Audio D500 & T100 I'd bought off a mate, to upgrade from my Nad receiver and Awai CD. When I got it home & plugged it in it made a loud buzz and literally burnt my Mission speakers!

Lugged the amp and my speakers back to the shop the next day, not impressed, expecting to have an argument and wanting my money back & a new pair of speakers. But they offered to give me a free upgrade to an A300 and send my speakers off to Mission for repair (and loaned me a pair of Gale speakers in the meantime). Richer Sounds really do understand customer care - I've used them many times in the past and always been very happy. In fact I had gone to a more 'serious' hi fi dealer a few days before ready to part with my money for a new amp but they really couldn't be bothered with me, left me to look at metal boxes on shelves and so I walked. These places sell themselves on the fact that they let you audition the gear and provide a more personal service but the dealer in question (Sevenoaks Hi Fi) were really awful, and I wasn't the only customer in the shop trying in vain to get some help.

Direct comparison with the amp is difficult because I'm using new speakers as well as a new amp but initially I was disappointed. My Nad gives a much louder sound (and it's half the power) with much more bass. But Cambridge do ask you to allow 36 hrs run in time on a new amp and I'm about half way there (I can't leave it on continously for that amount of time, the neighbours wouldn't be happy!).

After listening to the A300 for a couple of days I plugged the old Nad back in for another listen and yes it is still louder and yes it is much heavier on the bass BUT I realised it was nowhere near as detailed or as punchy - the bass is muddled and boomy and it doesn't have the clarity and detail of the A300.

I listen to vynil as well and had the phono stage fitted to my A300. Again I was disappointed initially - my Dual deck always sounded better than the Awai CD with my old set up and now it sounds much 'flatter' with a slightly harsh treble. I thought when I listened to the Nad again I would resolve to return the A300 but was surprised to find little difference, again more detail with the A300 and if anything a less harsh sound. The Cambridge phono stage can't be great given that it's only an extra £20 but I wanted an acceptable sound without the inconvenience of having a separate phono amp.

I think the A300 is showing up some deficiencies in my Dual turntable which the bassy warm Nad covered, clearly the D500 CD is a much better machine than my Awai and I put the harshness down to the new speakers.

So, whilst my initial disappointment has given way to an appreciation of the shortfalls of my previous set up, I'm not yet 100% convinced - I want to hear it through my old speakers (if they can be repaired!) or at least speakers with more bass. My main concern is that the volume control has to be turned up to 12 O'clock to get a decent level of sound. This could be due to the warming up period but if not why is it necessary when the Nad was loud enough at 9 o'clock?? Surely I risk distorting the sound if I go much higher?

I will return with an update once I have my old speakers back, or buy a more comparable replacement for them (they really did stink of burning innards!).

I hope it all turns out satisfactorily because I like to buy British goods (even if it is assembled in China!) and don't want to be put off from buying from Richer Sounds in the future.

Interestingly, Cambridge Audio is part owned by Richer Sounds, as are a number of other manufacturers whose products they sell exclusively.

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Used product for:   Less than 1 month

Duration Product Used:   Audio Enthusiast

Product model year:   2003

Price Paid:    $119.00

Purchased At:   Richer Sounds



Overall Rating:4
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Alastair84 a Audio Enthusiast

Date Reviewed: October 5, 2003

Bottom Line:   
I have a pair of gale gold monitor speakers, and a philips cd 723 player. I had a Marantz pm4200 amp connected, and although the marantz was a v detailed amp, it just lacked the bass for me.
After having won this amp on ebay (£72 inc P&P,) i was not sure if it was the version 2, which is bi-wirable and has a little more power than the version 1. Well, it turned out to be the version 2.
You get a very warm sound with this amp. The amp really stands out with rock/dance music, but also copes well with classical, with a nice deep, rich bass. Probably NOT as good as the marantz pm4200 in the higher frequencies of classical music (flutes, trebles, triangles etc,) BUT this is more than compensated by the strong lifelike bass it gives the other instruments (oboe, double bass.)

Overall though, i probably only listen to classical 5% of the time, therefore this is a perfect amp for me, and for my Gale Golds.

PS
Don't get the cambridge audio a5, it sounds crap. Don't get the a500 either, cos u pay 70-80 pounds more for the same thing but with a remote

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Used product for:   Less than 1 month

Duration Product Used:   Audio Enthusiast

Product model year:   2001

Price Paid:    $70.00

Purchased At:   ebay



Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Arooga a Audio Enthusiast

Date Reviewed: August 23, 2003

Bottom Line:   
For the price this amp is amazing!

I am a first time 'separates' system buyer, but have compared the audio performance to other brands such as Arcam and older Rotel models.

I use this Amp with Mission M73s and a Philips CD723 I can say it sounds great.

Alot of people have said this amp lacks bass, but I would tell them to buy a pair of floorstanders and try again!

The most impressive thing is the clarity of sound.

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Used product for:   3 Months to 1 year

Duration Product Used:   Audio Enthusiast

Product model year:   2001

Price Paid:    $150.00

Purchased At:   Richer Sounds



Overall Rating:4
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Ilya Elbert a Audio Enthusiast

Date Reviewed: August 1, 2002

Bottom Line:   
I have A300v2, hooked up to a pair of B&W 302's. This amp really plays very loudly and cleanly, and I think the specs are understated. I like the fact that its sound is very laid back, with the B&W 302's which already have a warm mid-range. I think I will add some bright cables (bright as in boost in treble clarity), because that is the amp's main weakness. The cone that is responsible for the high frequencies is not made of metal, so the high's are smooth , rather than sparkly, which is not to my taste. Also the warm/fuzzy quality of this amp further makes the highs drop into the background, which I don't like...

So in conclusion, try this amp with agressive sounding speakers, otherwise it might sound too warm (read: coloration) for you.

P.S. as far as similiar products, well I got this for under $300, and I think anything you buy for this much will most likely be a horrible 5.1 or 2 channel receiver from best buy, so this amp is definitely a good buy for $300. Am I blown away by it? No. Do i really like it? Yes.

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Used product for:   More than 1 year

Duration Product Used:   Audio Enthusiast

Product model year:   2001

Price Paid:    $289.00

Purchased At:   Spearit Sound




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