Streaming upgrade from Cambridge Audio cxn v2

I have a great sounding system with ayre integrated and sonus faber serrafino speakers. The streamer/dac is by far the cheapest part of the system with the Cambridge Audio cxn v2. I’m wondering if upgrading the streamer/dac would give a step function improvement or if the cxn is already good enough and the improvements will be subtle at best. My dealer is recommending the ayre qx8 but I’ve not yet listened to it. Any thoughts for a streamer/dac that would give me a step function improvement for around $6000 new or used.?


Do you have the newest CXN v2 with ESS chip, or the older version?  I am a huge fan of the CA unit but in my main system I run it into an external DAC (Bryston DAC3).  I would start with a DAC upgrade and see how you like the CA just as a transport 

I am both a Cambridge Audio and Aurender dealer, and I owned both the CXN V2 and a Modwright-modded CXN V2 which features Dan Wright’s signature tube analog output stage using Lundahl transformers and two linear power supplies. For a high value step forward, if you can find the ModWright-modded one on the used market, swing for it. It outperforms many separates over $5K. He doesn’t offer the mod anymore given the lack of availability of parts. 

That said, the streamer in the CXN V2 and its digital volume control were the biggest culprits of degraded sonic performance. I’m not sure if you are aware, but just this month Cambridge released the new CXN100, the successor to the CXN V2. It featured an analog volume control, Cambridge’s latest streaming platform, updates to a newer reference DAC chip that enables less components in the signal path, along many other features. It is a very good step forward for its retail at $1099. 

For ~$6K, I would also be looking at the Aurender A200, or more likely an Aurender A15 as a dealer’s demo model if a dealer happens to have one (I suggest buying from authorized dealers as used units sold by consumers are not covered by warranty). The streamer architecture and sonic performance in an Aurender will vastly surpass that in the CXN units, and Aurender’s DACs are uncolored and true to the source. Overall the improvement you get at investing in this range will result in higher resolution, lower distortion and noise floor, and a larger, more immersive, and more engaging soundstage projection of the performance in your room. 

Should you have any questions on any units mentioned, please feel free to message me. 

I’m not a dealer, just an experienced user for many many years.

I would keep the streamer and play with different DACs if desired. Or if you must just upgrade to the new version of that streamer just released. I have been quite pleased with the DAC in my Evo 150 for a couple of years now FWIW. Cambridge makes very nice gear.


I strongly recommend streaming with Roon software regardless of hardware. The DSP finctionality in Roon applied wisely can be a game changer on that no room is perfect and tweaking sound by guessing on expensive gear changes is not a very efficient nor cost effective way to get things tuned in optimally. Room treatments like bass traps alone can help but DSP is needed to complete the job . Also a Roon license will cost less than most any “audiophile streamer” device, most of which are  “Roon Ready”

Thank you all so much for the suggestions.

I'll definitely explore separates but the space considerations may make that difficult (but not impossible).  Thanks also for the roon suggestion; I will do at least the trial and see if that helps.

blisshifi: I am not using the digital volume control of the CXN V2; just using it as a streamer/dac since I have an excellent volume control in my Ayre integrated.  Since you are a Cambridge Audio dealer, do you have any insights into sound quality improvements in CXN100 (if one is not using the volume control)?