Cambridge Audio CXN100 vs CXN V2: What’s the difference?

The Cambridge Audio CXN100, Cambridge Audio’s latest network streamer, features some notable improvements over its predecessor the Cambridge Audio CXN V2.

The Cambridge Audio CXN100 is essentially a high-end network streamer that allows you to stream music to your Hi-Fi component system at very high quality. The new CXN100 which replaces the CXN V2 streamer comes with a fully reengineered interior, featuring the advanced StreamMagic Gen4 module with MQA support. The device’s DAC is also upgraded, moving from the older Wolfson DAC to the more sophisticated ESS ES9028Q2M Sabre32 Reference chip. This change bolsters the post-DAC analog stage with an improved signal-to-noise ratio and minimized distortion and delivers a much cleaner sound performance for Hi-Fi audio.

The Cambridge Audio CXN100 comes with a larger front display with a sleek metallic finish

Comparing the Specs

SpecificationCambridge Audio CXN100Cambridge Audio CXN V2
DACESS ES9028Q2MDual Wolfson WM8740 24-bit DACs
THD @ 1kHz 0dBFs< 0.0005%<0.001% 24-bit (at volume set to full)
THD @ 20kHz 0dBFs< 0.0005%<0.002% (at volume set to full)
Frequency Response20Hz-20kHz +/- 0.1dB20Hz-20kHz +/- 0.1dB
Signal to Noise Ratio> 120dBr-112dBr (at volume set to full)
Crosstalk @ 1kHz< -120dB< -100dB
Digital OutputsS/PDIF Coaxial: 16/24-bit, 32-192kHz; TOSLINK Optical: 16/24-bit, 32-96kHzS/PDIF Coaxial and TOSLINK Optical
Streaming ProtocolsRTSP, MMS, HTTPRTSP, MMS, HTTP
ConnectivityUPnP, USB, AirPlay 2, Chromecast, Internet Radio, Spotify Connect, TIDAL, Qobuz, Deezer, Roon ReadyUPnP, USB, AirPlay 2, Chromecast, Internet Radio, Spotify Connect, TIDAL, Qobuz, Roon Ready
Wi-FiIEEE 802.11 b/g/n or AC (2.4GHz and 5GHz)IEEE 802.11 b/g or n (2.4GHz only)
USB1 x USB 2.0 current limited to 1A3 x USB 1.1 current limited to 1A each
Dimensions80 x 430 x 325mm (3.1 x 16.9 x 12.8″)85 x 430 x 305mm (3.4 x 16.9 x 12.2″)
Weight3.55kg (7.8Ibs)4 Kg (8.8lbs)

The CXN100 features an ESS ES9028Q2M DAC, supporting higher-resolution audio formats, including DSD up to DSD512. It also offers a slightly broader range of Wi-Fi standards and a more advanced Bluetooth integration compared to the CXN V2. The CXN V2, on the other hand, utilizes dual Wolfson WM8740 24-bit DACs and provides multiple USB ports, although they are of an older standard (USB 1.1). Both models have a similar frequency response, digital outputs, and streaming capabilities, but the CXN100 has a slightly better signal-to-noise ratio and crosstalk performance.

The most significant update in the Cambridge Audio CXN100 is undoubtedly its shift from the CXN V2’s dual Wolfson WM8740 24-bit DAC to the more advanced ESS ES9028Q2M SABRE32 Reference DAC. This new DAC elevates the CXN100’s capabilities, handling PCM digital signal inputs up to 32-bit/768kHz and supporting DSD 512 files, compared to the CXN V2’s 24-bit/192kHz limit. This is a huge upgrade, as you can now listen to high-quality compressed digital files on the CXN100 with much more detail than the CXN V2 and improve the overall sound of your Hi-Fi system.

Additionally, the CXN100’s post-DAC analogue stage has been upgraded with more efficient capacitors and op-amps, increasing the signal-to-noise ratio and reducing distortion. These improvements were noticeable in our listening tests, where the CXN100 demonstrated clear space and separation in music, handling complex tracks with crystal clear clarity and a level of detail that you would expect from a high-end network streamer.

The precision of the new DAC’s timing has also enabled Cambridge Audio to eliminate the need for a post-DAC filter, simplifying the signal path and enhancing audio clarity. Additionally, improvements in the post-DAC analog stage have led to reduced distortion and a higher signal-to-noise ratio.

The CXN100 also comes with an upgraded display from the CXN V2 predecessor. The screen size is increased from 4.3 to 4.8 inches and is now complemented by a simplified array of dedicated physical buttons which makes it more intuitive and easy to control. This enhancement also makes it easier to view album art and track details. Comparatively, the WiiM Pro and Pro Plus network streamers fall short in terms of usability, particularly due to the absence of a screen and the less intuitive unlit capacitive buttons.

Cambridge Audio CXN100 Back View
The Cambridge Audio CXN100 supports USB, digital and coaxial inputs and wireless connections

Streaming Compatibility

The CXN100 is compatible with a wide variety of music streaming services, including Spotify Connect, Roon Ready, Tidal, Qobuz, Chromecast, and Apple AirPlay. It also offers a range of connectivity options like Bluetooth, USB, digital coaxial, and optical connections. For analog output, users can choose between balanced XLR and unbalanced RCA sockets. Although the CXN100 does not support aptX Bluetooth, it supports high-quality Wi-Fi and Ethernet connections and can integrate music across different rooms and devices using Google Home, AirPlay, and Roon. With that said, the CXN100 does not support spatial audio for stereo streaming (so you can’t make use of Apple Music’s spatial audio with Dolby Atmos on this network streamer).

In terms of design, the CXN100 retains the sleek dimensions of its predecessor (the CXN V2) but features an enlarged 4.76-inch high-res color screen. We really the sleek metallic finish of the CXN100 which gives it a really nice modern aesthetic finish and it blends into home interior decor easily. One thing that we really liked is the new streammagic app which you can use with the CXN100 to control every aspect of the network streamer without a remote.

We really liked the network streaming app which allows you to control every feature on the Cambridge Audio CXN100 without a remote

The Verdict?

Overall, we would say that the Cambridge Audio CXN100 is a worthy upgrade over the CXN V2 and is not just a V3 version of the CXN series. This network streamer comes with a better and faster DAC with improved timing filters and more efficient capacitators for distortion-free music performance, and is a great improvement over the older Wolfson DAC used on the CXN V2. The CXN 100 network streamer supports multi-room capability with Google Home, Airplay and Roon multiroom systems. It also comes with a new stream magic app which you can use to control virtually every feature on the CXN100 which is really convenient if you don’t want to use a remote.