Cambridge Audio AXC35 / AXA35 CD Player/Amplifier Budget Esoterica

Budget Esoterica

The concept of the budget amp with audiophile pretention really took root in the 1980s with the NAD 3020. Until that point, the 'affordable' amplifier was merely treated as the first step on the upgrade ladder. Naturally, once NAD had established this new market sector other models followed, including the Rotel RA-820, Mission Cyrus One and, latterly, the Pioneer A-400. By the 1990s low-cost CD players had truly taken off so the NADs, Pioneers and Rotels of the hi-fi world found themselves with partnering models. The budget digital system was born.

Cambridge Audio designed some well-regarded separates in the 1970s and delivered the ground-breaking CD1 player in 1984 [Vintage Review, HFN May '14], but it was in the mid '90s, following its acquisition by Audio Partnership, that its assault on the budget market commenced. The A1 amplifier kicked things off in 1995 and various CD players were also offered, but it was not until 2003 and the arrival of the Azur range that each amplifier had a dedicated CD partner [HFN Sep '04]. The Azur models were on the books for some eight years, finally superseded by the Topaz and now AX series. Despite advances in digital technology and the use of streaming services, it looks like there's still plenty of life yet in the classic budget amplifier and CD player pairing.

Cambridge Audio Ltd
Supplied by: Audio Partnership PLC, London
0203 514 1521