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Cambridge Audio vs Naim

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Cambridge Audio and Naim are two renowned and well respected brands in the audio industry that produces high quality speakers, headphones, soundbars, and subwoofers. Naim also produces electronics such as amplifiers and receivers. 

In this article, we will cover a general overview of both brands, looking specifically at sound quality, durability, price and so on. Of course, each brand has different devices at different price points, however we will compare them as closely as we can.

Quick History

Cambridge Audio Quick History

Cambridge Audio is a British company that manufactures high-end audio equipment. It was formed in the early ’60s by a group of young technology graduates in Cambridge, England and started out as a division of Cambridge Consultants.

Their line of devices includes earphones, amplifiers, CD players, speakers, and many others.

Naim Quick History

Naim was founded by Julian Vereker in 1973. Vereker was a racing car driver, entrepreneur, and self-taught engineer with a deep passion for music. He spent his spare time listening to and recording his friends playing live in the 1960s.

His disappointment with the sound of professional recording equipment at the time led him to design his power amplifier. The company’s headquarters is based in Salisbury, Wiltshire.

Sound Quality

Cambridge Audio Sound Quality

As expected of a high-end brand, the sound quality is very excellent. The expert layering and detail of the sound ensure that all tonal ranges can play simultaneously without being muddled.

The deep bass stays in the background without overpowering the clear midtones and sparkling treble. All these are masterfully compounded to deliver sound with exceptional accuracy and vivid musicality, no matter what you’re listening to.

Naim Sound Quality

Naim devices are a good option for those who want uncompromising sound quality devices. They give you the exact sound as it was recorded, either good or bad.

This type of original recording reproduction is suitable for vinyl record players and turntables. They have a balanced sound at every volume, while the bass hits hard and has a lot of elasticity.

Features

Cambridge Audio Features

Cambridge Audio devices have several features incorporated for maximum enjoyment. Some of the features are shown below:

  • Personalized EQ settings – set up with the Melomania App
  • Unique High-Performance Audio Mode – for hi-fi quality sound
  • Up to 350W per channel in the amplifiers
  • Passive noise cancellation with Transparency mode – to interact with your environment.
  • Qualcomm cVc™ (clear voice capture)
  • Voice control feature for Siri (iOS) and Google Assistant (Android)
  • aptX™, AAC, SBC Bluetooth codecs support

Naim Features

Naim possesses many beneficial features which include the following:

  • Multiroom and high-resolution audio support
  • Wi-Fi, AirPlay, Chromecast built-in
  • Touch Controls
  • Naim App for Android and iOS
  • Bluetooth and Ethernet Connectivity
  • HDMI ARC, Optical, USB, digital and analog Inputs
  • Alarm clock (in some devices)

Build Quality

Cambridge Audio Build Quality

Cambridge Audio devices are fabricated from the best materials for maximum comfort and exceptional durability. Some of the materials used include comfortable silicone earbud tips, all enclosed in a solid steel, aluminum, or plastic chassis.

Cambridge Audio Melomania Touch

In addition to the sturdy structure, some devices are water resistant, like the Melomania Touch wireless earphones which have an IPX4 rating.

Naim Build Quality

Naim devices have a unique styling and luxurious build quality. For example, the Naim Mu-So speaker is built with a remarkably wooden cabinet in a layer of anodized aluminum with an elegant brushed finish.

Naim mu-so QB V2

There is a mirrored acrylic base light at one end to highlight the Naim logo, with an extruded heatsink that keeps it cool.

Ease of Use

Cambridge Audio Ease Of Use

Wireless remote and app control are some of the features that make Cambridge Audio devices user-friendly. Clearly labeled controls and an integrated voice assistant also allow for effortless use.

Naim Ease Of Use

There are many easy ways to control Naim devices at your fingertip. You can control them using the remote, the Naim smartphone app, or their stylish touchscreen display. There’s also a video and a manual to help you whenever you have difficulties installing or using the devices.

Cost

Cambridge Audio Cost

The quality of Cambridge Audio devices lives up to its high-end name, but so does the price. They are quite expensive, though some of their devices can be very cheap. The price ranges for some device categories are given below:

Speakers: $100 – $1000

Amplifiers: $300 – $6500

Earphones: from $80

Players (CD/network): $400 – $5500

Subwoofers: from $300

Naim Cost

Naim devices seem a little bit expensive for the kind of devices they produce. Below is the price range for different devices produced by Naim:

  • Preamplifiers: $2000 – $5000
  • Amplifiers: $1500 – $6000
  • Speakers: $1000 – $3000
  • Digital Audio devices: $500 – $1500

Space Requirements

Cambridge Audio Space Requirements

Cambridge Audio devices vary in size from tiny earphones to large amplifiers. The CXA81 Stereo Amplifier measures 148 x 430 x 365mm (HWD) and weighs 19.1kg, while the smaller ES30 outdoor speaker measures 330 x 202 x 198mm (HWD) and weighs in at 3.4kg.

This means that you will probably find a good device that fits your space requirements.

Naim Space Requirements

Some Niam devices consume a lot of space due to their shape and size, while some do not. An example is the Naim compact multi-source music player with a 10.5 x 9.7 x 3.8 inches and weighing 15.43 pounds. It is advised to consider the available space before getting any product.

Remote Controls

Cambridge Audio Remote Controls

Cambridge Audio devices can be remotely controlled via the mobile app, wireless remote, and voice assistants like Siri and Google Assistant. These options can be used for basic and advanced functions such as audio tuning or pause/play.

Naim Remote Controls

Naim only has a remote control for a few devices, though they produce remote controls that work perfectly for more than one device. Naim mobile app can also be used to control some of their devices. The remote control works in a range of 10 meters to 15 meters.

Connectivity Options

Cambridge Audio Connectivity Options

The wide range of connectivity options found in Cambridge Audio devices allows connection to other speakers and various other devices.

These options include digital optical, coaxial and USB Audio, hi-res Bluetooth, XLR sockets, stereo RCA inputs and several other options.

Power Range

Cambridge Audio Power Range

Powerful delivery is one of the easily noticeable features of Cambridge Audio devices. The Azur 851W Power Amplifier delivers a massive 800W at up to 350W per channel. The power range of Cambridge Audio devices ranges from 300W to 1200W.

Naim Power Range

Naim devices are power-saving, i.e. they use less power consumption. They have an average power range of 100W to 200W. Most Naim amplifiers produce power of 70W per channel into 8 ohms.

Frequency Response

Cambridge Audio Frequency Response

Cambridge Audio devices have excellent frequency response ranges, which range from as low as 5Hz all the way up to 80KHz.

The Melomania Touch has a frequency range of 20Hz – 20kHz. The ES30 outdoor speaker frequency response ranges from 55Hz – 20kHz.

Naim Frequency Response

Naim frequency responses are not so wide and generally range from 20Hz to 20kHz. Though the frequency response of Naim devices varies. Like the Naim mu-so QB V2 with a wider range frequency response from 24Hz to 48kHz.

Conclusion

Cambridge Audio is a brand for serious audiophiles, delivering excellent value and performance. The brand gives great value for money

Naim devices have a beautiful design, extensive features, and outstanding sound quality. Naim is one of the best audio devices you may get out there, especially if you like good looks. It may be a bit costly when compared with some other audio devices, but its stunning design and performance easily justify the hefty price tag.