Cambridge Audio C500 Preamplifiers

Cambridge Audio C500 Preamplifiers 

DESCRIPTION

solid state preamp w/ remotr

USER REVIEWS

Showing 1-10 of 15  
[Apr 20, 2007]
andrewpaul
Audio Enthusiast

Strength:

Realism of both voice and instruments. Timing and pace.

Weakness:

Bass presentation not as tight as I've heard. (by bypassing the preamp entirely via variable bias imput on the poweramp)

C500 preamp (bought in Australia)

After hooking up a NAD c540 (preamp circuits of integrated amp) to the NAD c270 poweramp (120w RMS) and listening to this combo for about 6 months, was keen to aquire a dedicated preamp. Along came the Cambridge Audio c500 on offer from eBay. After sucessufully bidding on this little gem I hooked it up to take the signal from my NAD c542 cd player to the c270 poweramp. What has impressed me most about the Cambridge c500 pre, is the timbre, tone and realism of voices. Very impressive. It is a revelation. To hear singing voices this accurate is wonderful. In addition, the rendering of instruments is a vast improvement on the hifi set-up I've been used to. The c500 has the ability to present the signal in a precise and timely fashion, with an emphasis on accurate rise and fall of sounds. The only thing I could fault so far is the bass which I find is a little woolly and rounded. But this may be a result of other factors. I have the option of bypassing the preamp and send the cd signal directly to the c270 poweramp via a variable bias input at the rear of the poweramp (very handy feature from NAD). What I gain by bypassing the c500 is tightness of the bass rendering, but at the expense of accuracy and realism. Like the other reviwers here, I recomment this preamp for those wanting the get a taste of true hifi and like me, will have cash in the future to 'blow' on some truely hi-end kit, like Musical Fidelity, Quad, Cyrus, Krell, etc. But like a lot of audio hounds, there's always other urgent things to spend money on (like children's school fees and dental treatment).
I think you should try this little wonder if the moneys tight, it's woth every cent. Well done Camridge Audio boffins.

Similar Products Used:

Preamp sections of both NAD c540 and NAD 3020 amps

OVERALL
RATING
4
VALUE
RATING
4
[Dec 05, 2002]
Christian Schroff
Audio Enthusiast

Strength:

smooth sound, good soundstage.

Weakness:

none at this price. perhabs: very simple remote.

I changed the old Denon PRA-1100 preamplifier with this Cambridge Audio. Very smooth sound, good soundstage, gives the impression, as if there would be an other room behind the speakers (let's say: behind the musicians). At this price, I think you cannot get a better preamplifier. Yet: In a high-end shop I compared the C500 with the Audio Refinement Pre 5. The Pre 5 costs four times the price of a C500, but it sounded much better - even on a relative cheap CD-Player - than the C500 with external DAC or an expensive CD-Player. My audio equipment: Linn Kabers active, driven with 3 Cambridge Audio P500 and Luxman CD-Player. The C500 cost about Euro 360,00. I bought it for Euro 220,00

OVERALL
RATING
4
VALUE
RATING
5
[Aug 20, 2002]
Norman
Audio Enthusiast

Strength:

Clear full sound when power cable is replaced.

Weakness:

Except power cord nothing major.

Made the move from a Yamaha receiver to separates and didn't notice much difference. I purchased mostly Cambridge Audio products including the T500 tuner, the D-500 cd player and the P-500 amps. It is a great price for what you get at this level. I bought a used Bryston 4B amp to replace the Cambridge Audio amps and what a difference this made. The tones became richer, the pace faster and the detail more pronounced. I followed this upgrade with Newform Research speakers, the R-630 model. And although the sound was still good, I found the high midrange was too bright. So I did some speaker and cable upgrades. Trying to find the right match. Thanks by the way to Omer of OZ Enterprises, who allowed me to audition a number of cables and had the best prices in town. Back to this pre-amp. One of the changes I made was to replace the power cord. This power cord is as bad as the power cord on the D-500 cd player that everyone complains about. It was this move that solidified the great credentials that this pre-amp has. The sound is now rich and clear. The fact that this pre-amp comes with a remote that can be used on the tuner and cd player is a plus. Someday I will upgrade the pre-amp, but for now, I think for the price it is unbeatable.

Similar Products Used:

Yamaha R-5 receiver, HK-45 receiver.

OVERALL
RATING
4
VALUE
RATING
5
[Apr 29, 2002]
Keith Carden
AudioPhile

Strength:

Sound perfection,user friendly

Weakness:

cheap front pannel,the back pannel is much nicer than the front.

Sound quality at its best,anything clearer would be fiction.CAMBRIDGE AUDIO have done their home work.

Similar Products Used:

marantz cd5000

OVERALL
RATING
4
VALUE
RATING
5
[Mar 23, 2000]
Will Lytch
Audio Enthusiast

Strength:

Neutrality and displays an excellent soudstage. Value for the money.

Weakness:

Front fascia appears a bit "cheap." Lacks a headphone jack.

When I replaced my aging Denon DCD1500 cd player, it became obvious that the Adcom GTP-450 preamp I was using was thin and harsh sounding. After considering the Parasound P/HP850, I decided to try the Cambridge, based on reviews of their products. This preamp, while hardly the most impressive piece of audio gear cosmetically, is a true sonic gem with performance that belies it's modest price. Out of the box, it impressed me with it's broad, expansive soundstage. Instruments and voices are well localized in their positons and one has a fine sense of the "air" surrounding them. Nuances of timbre and note decay are finely resolved.
As is to be expected at the price, certain things are lacking. The lack of a headphone jack and the less than perfect remote among them. Cosmetics of the front panel are not up to the standards of pricier gear. However, the controls have a reassuring feel of quality and function smoothly. Much better in fact than many other more expensive units. The phono stage is also quite fine and sounds excellent. In contrast to the tone controls of some other preamps that only work at the extremes of pitch, the 100hz and 10khz rollovers of the Cambridge are actually useful if you need to touch up certain recordings deficiencies.
All in all, this is an impressive piece of gear for the money that rates five stars. The value conscious will not be disappointed.

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
[Apr 02, 2001]
Gerry R
Audio Enthusiast

Strength:

natural sound, clean looks

Weakness:

for the price, none

Agree with reviews below about soundstage, not to concerned about remote (volume only used). I like the looks and so does the wife, more importantly. A good pre-amp for those who are realistic about comparing sound and price.

Denon DCM-370 Cd
ATI 1502 Amp
Energy C-8 Speakers
Ultralink Cables

Similar Products Used:

always owned integrated amps

OVERALL
RATING
4
VALUE
RATING
4
[May 11, 2001]
Jack
Audio Enthusiast

Strength:

It is simply an outstanding piece for the money.

Weakness:

Remote, no selector

I bought this preamp on a hunch. I currently own the above listed preamps, and thought, what the hell. It simply out preforms the rest, no kidding. This difference from the Adcom, was and is, night and day..so open, and detailed. The Acurus has a little bigger soundstage, but thin on bass, as all Acurus products are. This little 300.00 preamp just outshines the rest by quite a margin. ABSOLUTELY NO COLORATION... I A/B'd my ATI 1502's (biamped) running straight in my CD player, and with and without the Cambridge in the chain, literally no change. This is my find of the year.

Similar Products Used:

ACURUS RL11, ADCOM 710

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
[Nov 10, 1999]
Tom Burton
Audio Enthusiast

Strength:

What you get for the price.

Weakness:

None

Picked up one of these for $250 with the optional phono stage, which is like getting the phono stage for free.
I have to agree with the earlier reviews that this pre-amp will not color the sound at all. Very neutral. It enabled me to spend me money on the power amplifier, and the neutrality enables me the get the most out of the better power amp. I tried out a few demo power amps at home and could really be sure I was hearing the amps qualities.
I am sure there are better pre-amps out there especially for very high end amps, but at this end of the spectrum it will be hard to beat.
My system:
Cambridge Audio C500 Pre-amp
Cambridge Audio D500 CD Player
Onkyo Integra Tuner
Conrad Johnson Sonographe Power Amplifier
Onkyo Tape Deck
Nordost Blue Heaven Interconnects for CD and pre-power link.
Cambridge Audio Studio Reference Interconnects on Tuner and Tape Deck output
Cambridge Audio Pacific on Tape Deck input.

Similar Products Used:

NAD, Rotel

OVERALL
RATING
4
VALUE
RATING
5
[Aug 13, 2001]
Maarten
Audio Enthusiast

Strength:

Value for money, build quality, sound etc.

Weakness:

None so far

When I replaced my Technics CD player with a NAD5000 monitor series player, I did not like the sound. It was too sterile, no warmth at all. Even the most dark jazz recordings sounded like they were recorded in a bright white empty room, instead of a smokey, dark bar. I figured that my Yamaha amplifier had to go. So I was looking around for a nice integrated amp when I saw the Cambridge Audio. I listened to it quitte extensively and after a week I had the nice warm, yet detailed and wide open sound back that I missed! I admit that it does not look very fancy, but personally I don't give a damn, because I do not buy my equipment on basis of looks.
Pretty soon after this I had the chance to buy the Cambridge Audio C500 amp, so the the amp section was complete. A wonderfull combination for the money! Good soundstaging, although the positioning of bass instruments is not as good as the positioning of violins for instance. The optional phono-section has also a pleasant sound. Just the other day I suprised a friend of mine by playing a very noisy part of music on a high volume. He was very impressed because it didn't sound "hard", which means it was not an exhausting experience. The sound was still stable, the bass still tight and bright treble without "hissing". My Yamaha was very impressive on this erea, but the Cambridge Audio outplays it even although it is not as powerfull!!

Similar Products Used:

Rotel RC1000

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
[Sep 17, 2001]
Yellow Man
Audio Enthusiast

Strength:

Price, sound.

Weakness:

remote, volume potentiometer.

This is a cool designed preamp. Regarding build quality it is OK, except remote. Volume potentiometer (especially motor - is poor). It has too dynamic volume control at low levels. And when you volume down with the remote, the motor transmitting weird sounds. Except these it is all right.

Similar Products Used:

none

OVERALL
RATING
4
VALUE
RATING
5
Showing 1-10 of 15  

(C) Copyright 1996-2018. All Rights Reserved.

audioreview.com and the ConsumerReview Network are business units of Invenda Corporation

Other Web Sites in the ConsumerReview Network:

mtbr.com | roadbikereview.com | carreview.com | photographyreview.com | audioreview.com