By clicking “Accept”, you agree to the storing of cookies on your device to enhance site navigation, analyse site usage, and assist in our marketing efforts. View our Cookie Policy for more information.
Cambridge Audio CXN100

Cambridge Audio has made a big impression on those seeking high-quality audio equipment ever since its inception in 1968 - most recently with a range of network players, which add streaming capabilities to your existing hi-fi system. 

The CXN100 is the company’s latest network player and a replacement for its highly regarded CXN v2. It sits at the top of the range and, as you’d expect, offers a wealth of ways to access digital music thanks to wi-fi and Ethernet connections, as well as Bluetooth 5.1, AirPlay 2, Chromecast and even the option to plug a USB drive into the back of the player. 

The CXN100 lets you listen to Spotify Connect, TIDAL, Qobuz and Deezer, as well as music stored on a NAS drive on your network, on your smartphone or tablet, and hundreds of digital radio stations - all of which can be accessed via the StreamMagic app. It’s also Roon Ready, so you can collate all these sources into one area. When it comes to listening, you can use analogue RCA, digital coaxial or digital optical to connect the device to an existing system or speaker. 

Sound Quality

I am immediately impressed by the detail and warmth of tracks streamed by the CXN100. The ESS ES9028Q2M SABRE32 DAC certainly helps to ensure full and well-defined bass without any distortion, while also delivering clear vocals and a bright-sounding top end.

When listening to versions of Dance With Me Tonight by Olly Murs directly from TIDAL and as a digital file stored on an iPhone, I enjoy the same rich, warm sound. The trumpets are clear, the bass is deep, and the overall balance means Olly’s soulful vocals aren’t overshadowed.

Listening to Africa by Toto, either on TIDAL or in lower quality via Spotify, is an equally pleasing experience. In both cases, the CXN100 ensures the melodic vocals are front and centre, while still allowing the powerful drums and gentle sharpness of the snare plenty of chance to shine. The pipes in the middle of the track are bright and clear, too.

Bass-heavy tracks present no problem either, with this network player offering up powerful, rich low notes when listening to Peaches & Cream by American RnB outfit 112, but making certain it doesn’t cross the line into distortion. Similarly, Jennifer Lopez’s Love Don’t Cost a Thing can sound hollow when digital files are less than top-drawer, but the CXN100 makes the track sound full-bodied.

As well as being able to play music from streaming services and tracks stored on a smartphone, the CXN100 also provides access to thousands of digital radio stations - from giants such as Radio 1 and Virgin to niche stations like 24-7 Disco. It reveals the same pleasingly full, balanced sound no matter which station it’s tuned to. 

Living with

The Cambridge Audio CXN100 is a full-size component – it’s of standard kit-rack width but has a relatively low profile. As it’s just over 300mm deep, it can be a struggle to find space for it on a shelf unless it’s a dedicated hi-fi rack. If, like me, you are a lover of sleek lines, you may prefer to use Ethernet for network connectivity as the two wi-fi antennas don’t didn’t sit flush with the top of the player.  

The CXN100 has a slightly larger (4.76in) full-colour screen than its predecessor, and this displays album artwork or the radio station you’re listening to. I’m not a huge fan of bright colour screens that often appear garish, but Cambridge Audio has worked hard to ensure it’s not fully ‘in-your-face’. One of the control buttons on the right-hand side lets you turn the album artwork feature on or off, something I found a go-to in the evenings when the lights were dimmed for a cosy listening environment.

Speaking of buttons, there are fewer on this network player than on previous models, so it blends in better with a traditional hi-fi stack. Those on the left-hand side of the screen allow you to play, pause, and skip forwards and backwards through tracks. The remaining right-hand side buttons let you scroll through the various sources via on-screen menus. 

There’s also a volume dial - initially, I thought this was something I wouldn’t use, but that was until I realised that while most aspects of the CXN100 can be controlled through the StreamMagic app, volume isn’t one of them. If you’re not using the streamer in ‘pre-amp’ mode, though, the volume dial does nothing. 

The app does, however, let you choose which source to stream through the network player, and also assign presets to albums, tracks, playlists and even radio stations. It also facilitates over-the-air firmware updates so it will be able to offer, for example, access to new services, ensuring a level of future-proofing that’s always welcome. 

AirPlay 2 and Chromecast are both built-in to the CXN100, so you can create a multi-room system with tracks playing on both your hi-fi system and on compatible smart speakers in your home, simultaneously. 

Although it’s customary for network players to come with a remote control, you won’t find one in the box with the CXN100. One can be purchased as an optional extra if you want it – something that I’m pleased about. Not only does it keep the price down but it also ensures I don’t have another remote to lose down the back of the sofa. 

I also think the Eco Mode, which means the CXN100 has to be switched on by the standby button (or the remote if you chose to buy one) is a nice touch. 


Cambridge Audio has struck the right balance between style and smarts with the CXN100. It’s a full-size box, yes, but it provides access to a huge range of digital music with the ability to easily add more in the future - and it doesn’t skimp on the technology that ensures digital music is an engaging and enjoyable listening experience. 

Listening Notes

OneRepublic I Ain’t Worried

Ryan Tedder’s cheery vocals, the catchy whistle melody and the bouncy guitar riff are on equal footing when played through the CXN100, but there’s still a generous helping of warm bass – something which can get lost when playing this track via other sources.

Beyoncé Best Thing I Never Had

Beyoncé’s emotional vocals and some powerful bass are the stars of this track - but they’re so controlled they never threaten to overshadow the delicate tinkle of the piano. 

Chris Malinchak So Good to Me  

This early 2010s Ibiza chill-out track successfully blends electronica with soulful vocals for a modern uplifting vibe - and it proves a thoroughly enjoyable listen through the Cambridge player.

What the press say

Why you should buy it

The CXN100 is an especially good buy if you love your existing set-up but want to enjoy digital music through it as well. It is priced at the higher end of the mid-market, but with futureproofing that ensures other services can be supported further down the line, it’s a worthwhile investment - particularly if you have a classic hi-fi stack that it can slot into. Just make sure you’re happy with a physical dial for volume control.

Video review

Pair it with

Alternatives to consider

No items found.