Considering a Cambridge CXA61 - thoughts?

MikeyFresh

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The grey area around Linux and any streamers that use it (Raspberry Pi) is certainly a concern
I do see a series of posts on the Ubuntu forum dating to 2016 where a user reported success with that amp's USB input without the need for any custom Linux driver, so if that is accurate I'd bet by now most mainstream Linux distros including Raspbian... er Raspberry Pi OS are probably working.

There are so many variables it's hard to tell with any specific posts or accounts what exactly is going on, but I'm sure it's some combination of initial incompatibility due to their driver not having been immediately accepted into the kernel version in use, user error, need for a firmware update, or even stupid stuff like someone thinking they can use an extra long really cheap shitty or damaged USB cable.

So I'd lean towards Yamaha provides no official Linux support, and only states Windows and Mac compatibility because they don't want the nightmare of even trying to support every known weird Linux flavor on the planet.

I'd bet it now works even if at one time it did not, and hopefully without any glitches.
 

billfort

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Maybe a major change in direction is in order.

Did an experiment over the weekend – hooked up my main-system DAC which has spdif in and an level control, out to my big Harmon-Kardon SS amp to see how all this might sound, especially considering I love how this DAC sounds. Listened to some music - lossless FLAC via Radio Paradise, some high-rate mp3 from Spotify, TV content from my fiber provider and Tubi, then a couple movies on Netflix and Amazon Prime.

All pretty bad actually; the music was OK, but the TV content and movies were worse – movies being bad enough that voice/dialog was often hard to follow – bad enough that I even put the subtitles on for some things!

I don’t think this is the ‘quality’ of the source>DAC>amp>speakers as much as it’s just plain horrible room acoustics and trying to use simple 2-channel audio in a role were a Swiss-army-knife box might make better compromises.

The room - a large open format living room with lots of hard surfaces and kitchen attached – will get better when we actually get some furniture and floor coverings, but it won’t change much, and will be a moving target over the next while. My head might explode thinking about this, but DSP might be the answer, along with something real flexible as to inputs, maybe a better TV focus to go along with the music and gulp…a center channel?

Maybe the new Yamahas, like the RX-A4A? 5yr warranty on those, so if it dies and has to be thrown out like my Marantz HT receiver did (computer heart dies, discard patient), I might get 5yrs out of it…

Yikes, I’m back to the sink-hole of HT receivers! :)
 
Pioneer SC series. I have an SC-09 I would part with but I think it'd be out of your budget. The 05/25/35 would be great options and sound good to boot. They're also older so cheap to buy.
 

JohnVF

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I had an SC-27 (about ten years ago) that I thought pretty highly of. A sort of tuned ICEpower amp section. It even had a good phono stage and a decent DAC section. I mostly used it for 2 channel watching movies with a projector, needing the HDMI switching. I eventually used it as a preamp with the outs going to an old Luxman Laboratory Reference amp...which was more because I switched to my Quads and the Luxman liked the Quads better than the ICEpower did. It really made me rethink AV receivers, as it did sound very nice.
 

JoeThePop

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"My head might explode thinking about this, but DSP might be the answer"

Just saw this on the Meadowlark Audio Forum and I want it. Someday.

 

prime minister

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"My head might explode thinking about this, but DSP might be the answer"

Just saw this on the Meadowlark Audio Forum and I want it. Someday.

It’s a cool toy. I’ve thought of it a lot .
 

prime minister

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Maybe a major change in direction is in order.

Did an experiment over the weekend – hooked up my main-system DAC which has spdif in and an level control, out to my big Harmon-Kardon SS amp to see how all this might sound, especially considering I love how this DAC sounds. Listened to some music - lossless FLAC via Radio Paradise, some high-rate mp3 from Spotify, TV content from my fiber provider and Tubi, then a couple movies on Netflix and Amazon Prime.

All pretty bad actually; the music was OK, but the TV content and movies were worse – movies being bad enough that voice/dialog was often hard to follow – bad enough that I even put the subtitles on for some things!

I don’t think this is the ‘quality’ of the source>DAC>amp>speakers as much as it’s just plain horrible room acoustics and trying to use simple 2-channel audio in a role were a Swiss-army-knife box might make better compromises.

The room - a large open format living room with lots of hard surfaces and kitchen attached – will get better when we actually get some furniture and floor coverings, but it won’t change much, and will be a moving target over the next while. My head might explode thinking about this, but DSP might be the answer, along with something real flexible as to inputs, maybe a better TV focus to go along with the music and gulp…a center channel?

Maybe the new Yamahas, like the RX-A4A? 5yr warranty on those, so if it dies and has to be thrown out like my Marantz HT receiver did (computer heart dies, discard patient), I might get 5yrs out of it…

Yikes, I’m back to the sink-hole of HT receivers! :)
DSP is very nice. It even worked very well in my challenging basement room way back when with the hk990. While the DSP did correct the room issues, that early implementation did add a layer of grey to everything. But the technology has come a long way in the past 15 years, and I think you will be pleasantly surprised by what something like Dirac can do.

PS Nice to hear the hk is still running.
 

JoeThePop

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It’s a cool toy. I’ve thought of it a lot .
I've never had a dedicated room for listening where any kind of acoustic panels or bass traps would be welcome. And if I do end up with a dedicated listening space after our move, I'm still not sure any would be welcome. The better looking stuff gets expensive, and I'd rather have the toy.
 

billfort

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Yes, the HK is still running great, but I have to admit I enjoyed it a lot more on the Altec 416As in the old listening room. :)

That's kind of what pushed me off the rails here on the integrated search; I really like the HK amp - even used it on the DQ-10s for a while - and love the sound of that MP-2 DAC, so if that combination sounds...kind of shitty?...I'm thinking I have a real problem with this room, and acoustic treatments are not an option.

So maybe brute-force, and since digital will be the source across the board anyway, what the hell, might as well consider going all-in. I do remember used DEQ pretty heavily on the old Marantz HT receiver with these speakers in that 'difficult' open living room of the old house, and it sounded quite nice with the TV and music. And the more I read about the kind of convenience and flexibility I might realize with some of these new computers...sorry, I mean AVRs...the more I think this might just be better all-around anyway.

I'm kind of liking the end-game too; right out on the bleeding edge of disposable, here-today-gone-tomorrow digital audio technology on the main level, and some seriously old (real old!) antique analog audio 1 flight down. Can I be happy at both extreme ends? might be fun to find out.
 

billfort

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Yikes is right, whole 'lotta stuff goin' on inside of those units! Where will you hide it?

View attachment 41107

Yeah, how daunting is that! It's so ridiculous and over the top, I kind of like it :)

I notice there is a spot on the left-hand side where another plug of some kind could go though.

I promise, if I get one of these, I'll post a pic of it's ass-end right above a rear pic of my 2A3/45 amp, once I s-can the binding posts and solder the speaker wires to the output transformers.
 

billfort

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I notice there is a spot on the left-hand side where another plug of some kind could go though.
Now if I'm slogging through all the ad copy on the Yamaha RX-A4A correctly, it appears they could have used that little empty panel spot for a USB in to feed the DAC!

I might be missing something (this stuff is like learning a whole new language, then learning how to launch rockets), but it appears the only way to play DSD on this AVR is to plug in a USB thumb drive on the front, or maybe, use Yamaha's MusicCast app to connect to a PC/NAS on the network and navigate to the DSD files.

Finding the right Swiss-army-audio-knife for me is going to be a challenge.
 

MikeyFresh

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maybe, use Yamaha's MusicCast app to connect to a PC/NAS on the network and navigate to the DSD files.
You can, up to DSD128. But your server would need to be UPnP compatible if I'm not mistaken, I don't believe MusicCast is Roon Ready (I might be wrong or that could be old news), MusicCast is actually quite old and has been through at least 3 iterations now.

A NAS that is UPnP compatible would also then work as a source for the DSD files.
 
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