Cambridge audio Stream Magic Technology
Cambridge Audio brings over half a century of experience to the audio world, and its British roots remain central to the company's ethos. Since its 1968 formation, Cambridge Audio's stated aim for its designs – from amplifiers to cassette decks to CD players to tuners to turntables – has been to deliver an unadulterated and unfiltered sound. This audio character is what it terms 'the British sound'. However, the digital revolution transformed how many of us play music, including massive rises in those streaming and downloading music. To ensure it could still deliver that British sound with the latest digital music systems, in 2011, Cambridge Audio developed StreamMagic, its own streaming platform. StreamMagic is the module that powers Cambridge Audio's Network Audio Streamers, including the new MXN10. The accompanying StreamMagic app lets you take control of proceedings from the comfort of your smart device.
Cambridge Audio designed StreamMagic in-house at its London HQ, and for a good reason: proprietary tech, done correctly, can offer several advantages over third-party systems. The Cambridge Audio engineers can react quickly to support new technologies and formats – meaning reduced risk of waiting on a global behemoth to update your section of a system. An example is StreamMagic's support for the TIDAL music streaming service. Cambridge Audio initially directly integrated TIDAL into the StreamMagic app. But in response to the launch of TIDAL Connect – which lets the TIDAL app directly connect to compatible Cambridge Audio products (and in full hi-res where possible) – the company planned to remove TIDAL integration from the StreamMagic app. However, in response to customer requests, it pivoted and continues to integrate TIDAL into StreamMagic and work with TIDAL Connect.
StreamMagic supports AirPlay, Chromecast built-in, Spotify Connect, and TIDAL Connect. It also directly integrates music streaming services, including Qobuz and Deezer, the latter of which joined the platform in September 2022. Add Roon Ready status, plus the ability to browse a NAS drive, and you have a hugely flexible ecosystem from which to source your music. And, remember, with Chromecast built-in, Roon, Spotify Connect, and TIDAL Connect, your phone acts solely as a remote control. Content is pulled directly from the cloud to your player, swerving Bluetooth's limited bandwidth and revelling in Wi-Fi's greater bandwidth acreage.
Available on Android and iOS, the StreamMagic app controls compatible streamers, lets you change standby modes, rename the unit and even set volume limits. That last feature could be invaluable if teenagers form part of your equation. It's a thoughtful sort of app, too, and after spending a bit of time in your company, it learns to create personalised shortcuts based on how you use your Cambridge Audio streamer. Currently, the app works with the 851N, CXN, CXN (v2), CXR120/200, Edge NQ and Evo150/75, and the new MXN10 but we'd always recommend that you check system requirements before you buy.
Internet radio remains an arguably undervalued and underused feature on several sound systems. There are thousands of stations to choose from, including some genuinely wondrous channels, but no doubt that seemingly endless choice daunts many potential users. Helpfully, the StreamMagic app includes a search function – including an option to enter a station's URL – and lets you save up to 99 stations as presets.