08. December 2021

A hi-fi streaming box to replace your receiver


It used to be that community gamers had been a comparatively area of interest hi-fi element, purchased by these with giant libraries of digital recordsdata at a time when many nonetheless most popular CDs or different bodily media. But today a streaming box may be the very coronary heart of your setup, and also you’ll want an excellent one in order for you to keep away from the lossiest wi-fi codecs or drive your digital music to very nice audio system.

On the opposite hand, you can take a look at changing your setup or receiver with an all-in-one that has high-end networking in-built. I’ve been testing the Evo 75 from British engineering stalwart Cambridge Audio and, when you miss out on some flexibility utilizing an all-in-one box reasonably than separate elements, the outcomes have been very spectacular.

Cambridge Audio’s Evo 75 is an all-in-one receiver and network streamer, just add speakers.

Cambridge Audio’s Evo 75 is an all-in-one receiver and community streamer, simply add audio system.

In essence, it is a box designed to output the best high quality sound from each streaming service and supply, however there are alternatives to help your bodily media through exterior gadgets too. It’s an honest funding at $3300, however then all you want to add are audio system and you’ve got a significantly high-end setup.

The Evo 75 is a slick and stable unit with the entrance dominated by a twin rotary dial for quantity and enter choose, plus a set of buttons and a big LCD to showcase your album artwork. It comes with a pleasant distant management, in addition to two units of magnetic aspect panels; you’ll be able to select between retro wooden veneer or a contemporary gray ridges.

Around again you’ll discover your outputs — audio system, sub and pre-amp — in addition to analogue RCA, optical, and coaxial inputs for your CD participant or another gear. There’s additionally a USB for attaching storage, a HDMI ARC so the Evo can drive your TV audio and a 3.5mm output up entrance for headphone listening. Unfortunately there’s no phono enter, so any turntables will want their very own phono stage.

If you’re not into wood grain, there’s a more modern side panel option in the box.

If you’re not into wooden grain, there’s a extra fashionable aspect panel possibility within the box.

But that’s all pretty common receiver stuff and, whereas the Evo 75 performs very properly with native sources, it’s the networking that’s entrance and centre.

It works with Tidal and Spotify straight from their respective apps, in addition to extra area of interest streamers Qobuz and Roon through Cambridge’s StreamMagic app. You can even ship music over AirPlay or Cast, tune into web radio, or faucet into your personal server or community storage. As a final resort it might probably additionally do Bluetooth, up to aptX HD if your cellphone helps it. You can use the app to outline preset stations or playlists, select which sources seem on your unit so that you don’t have to wade by stuff you don’t use, or configure your library over the community.

At first I had a whole lot of hassle getting the Evo to keep linked to Wi-Fi, which made it unattainable to play quite a lot of seconds of music and even use the app. I had higher luck after shifting it close to my router, so it might simply be my home, however I’d extremely counsel utilizing the Ethernet port on the again of the unit to hardwire it to your community.


Once you’re all arrange and it’s time to hear the Evo is a pleasure to use; simply flip the dial to choose a supply, choose one thing to hear to with your cellphone and settle in. This isn’t any tinny Bluetooth speaker or lossy data-sipping app; Cambridge’s sound is punchy and well-defined, with a large and musical stage. There’s a particularly primary EQ within the app, however you seemingly received’t want it; it’s fluid and detailed out of the box.

I actually get pleasure from that, subsequent to the monitor data and artwork, the Evo shows bitrate info so you already know you’re getting the best high quality streams doable from your supply of selection. It additionally has an MQA decoder on board so appropriate streams — for instance from Tidal’s Master library — can have their authenticity and provenance verified robotically and you will get that reassuring blue test.

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