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I have had many amps in the past before, and I would say that my experiences with the Cambridge A5 model were quite good. After reading reviews before buying the amp, I was really looking for someone to say the basic statement that the amp did what it was supposed too. All I wanted in an amplifier was for it to enhance the volume and quality of the sound I was listening to, whether that be music, or something on the television. The phrase that comes to mind when talking about the A5 is it does exactly what it says on the tin, no more, no less. The fact that it does no more would be a disadvantage for some, and their point may be valid as they may have different needs in an amp, but in my opinion, the A5 is brilliant in amplifing sound, after all, thats what it is supposed to do.
I have bought a few Cambridge Amps over the years, and I have found that in the most part, they are all simplistic indeisng, having various inputs for your devices, and easy to use turners for volume, bass, boost ect , so for me who doesnt consider themselves a tech wizard, this amp was perfect. Not being too big ment that it could fit easily on my side board table next to my stereo system and not look like an eye sore. I had bought previous models for £200 plus, but with the A5 I only paid just over £120, but saying that I have no idea when it had been released so me thinking it was a newer model to those I had previously owned, the fact may be that it wasnt and thats why it was cheap, however, it was still cheap all the same.
A definite recommendation from me, no word about it, a truly great product from Cambridge. Thanks for reading.
Sitting in storage at my Mum and Dads house is a lovely pair of KEF Q15.2 book shelf speakers which are waiting for me to get a place with more rooms in so I have some where to use them as at the moment I don't have the space for them.
I always figured that when I get more rooms and more space (house deposit is being saved for like mad) They could replace my existing smaller surround speakers (Q85s for anyone that is interested) of maybe they could be the speakers for a nice second music system...
I figured I could get myself a cheapish but decent amplifier and make a nice sounding system. I hadn't done anything about it but the idea has been with me for a while.
Well, the other day I was asked if I would like an amp which was surplus to requirements, I thought about it for approximately half a second and said yes. It turned out to be a Cambridge Audio A5 amplifier.
The Amp is 43cm wide, 29cm deep and stands 9.5cm high, so all in all a fairly typical sized piece of hifi equipment.
The design of the front is much the same as pretty much any stereo amplifier, starting from the left, there is a power button with an LED above it which illuminates yellow when the amp is switched on. Next are the bass and treble controls for tweaking the output, next to these is a source direct button which switchs the output between going through the tone controls on the amp or playing out directly. In the centre is the volume control and next to this is a knob for changing the balance between left and right. The final knob is the input selector.
The model I have is the black version, the whole amp is a nice satin/matte black which looks and feels much more pleasing than the finish of most cheap all in one hifi systems though is not as nice as the slightly textured and very luxurious finish of my marantz AV amplifier.
All of the controls have a good and positive feel about them, no cheap and light feeling switches or dials, everything feels like it is good quality and well made.
The sides and top of the amp have nothing on them witht he exception of vents for air, so next attention goes to the back of the amp, where all the exciting plugs and sockets are.
There are pairs of phono sockets for each of the amps 5 inputs, as well as pair for an output to a tape/minidisc recorder. There is also a set of pre-out phono sockets for attaching to a power amp if you wish to just use the A5 as an input selector/volume control.
Next to the inputs are the speaker connectors, which I am pleased to say are proper binding post type connectors rather than the rather poorer clip connectors which tend to be found on cheaper hifi equipment, also I was pleased to see they have removeable plugs in the end allowing the use of speaker cables with banana plugs on the ends (as mine have - makes life so much easier when it comes to plugging things back in!).
There are four pairs of speaker connectors allowing simple connecting for bi amping speakers if you wish for such facility.
The final connector on the back is the nice and simple 3 pin mains socket, having got a lot of equipment with permanently attached power leads I was pleased to see this had a removeable power cable, much easier for moving and packing up!
Again, all the connectors have a feel of quality about them and don't feel cheap and nasty, but then with the amp having cost about £150 or so when first released I should hope it would be fairly well built!
Naturally as soon as I got the amp home I wanted to get it set up to try it out. I prised out the plugs in the ends of the speaker posts and hooked up my KEF Q35 floor standing speakers and my Marantz CD6000 CD player, knowing how this sounds through my Marantz amp I thought this would give me a good idea of the sound of the Cambridge Audio amp.
Listening to a few firm favourites, mixing all sorts of different styles of music I put the amp through it's paces and I have to say I was pretty impressed!
Rated at 60w per channel @ 4-8ohm, the amp drove my KEFs well and produced some lovely audio. The audio was nice and detailed and crisp, with plenty of bass. Certainly it was good enough to listen to, and streets above anything you'd hear from your average high street hifi system (ok the cracking speakers and cd player help). Newxt I hooked up my phone (HTC Desire Z) and played a few mp3s to see how the amp sounded with a poorer quality source, again I have to say it was pretty impressive, sound nice deep bass, detailed highs and nice full mid range.
Next I hooked it up to a small pair of Eltax surround speakers I have had kicking around for a few years. Naturally the bass was lacking as the speakers are only small but even so, the sound was still quite impressive. The addition of a small sub would turn this combination into a nice sounding budget hifi system!
Overall I am pretty impressed with the Cambridge Audio A5, it is a nicely built amplifier with plenty of inputs to suit most systems and enough power to drive even a big pair of floor standing speakers. If I absolutely had to make a criticism it would be that it's presentaion is a little on the bright side for my tastes. I guess I am spoilt by my Marantz amp which has a lovely rich and warm sound to it that the Cambridge Audio can't match but overall this is a decent amp and if you could pick one up cheap (they are going for about £40-£50 on ebay) it would make a lovely base to an entry level separates system that would wipre the floor with a high street all in one system!
A few years back I was putting together a small hifi system for my fiancée to use in her bedroom at the time. Not wanting to spend too much money, I looked at numerous reviews for budget amplifiers and, in the end, plumped for the Cambridge Audio A5. I teamed this with a pair of Cambridge Audio S30 bookshelf speakers and some good quality QED interconnects to her MP3 player and DVD.
Strangely, I think I'll start with the limitations of the A5 - firstly, there's no remote. I guess it's down to individuals as to whether this is a negative or not, personally, I'd rather it had one. Secondly, there's no headphone socket. Yes, you can work around this in a variety of ways, but I'd rather there was one provided.
The downsides out of the way, on to the positives:
The A5 is attractive and really well built - it feels reassuringly weighty and solid in the hand and the finish of the silver paint is really smooth. The design is simple, but classically so - there's a large volume control in the centre, a mode selector and balance control to the right, bass/treble to the left and a couple of small buttons for "source direct" and monitor in between.
To the rear, there are ample connections for a basic home audio system - 5 inputs, a couple of tape loops and some nice quality speaker connectors.
Most importantly, the sound that the A5 outputs is really impressive. The detail and balance rival that of much more expensive kit I've tried out. I'm quite fussy about sound quality, but love to listen through the A5. The volume doesn't "go as loud" as some people may wish - this isn't a PA system - but for casual listening in smaller rooms it's quite adequate. So good is the A5 that it beat off competition from my own amp (costing 3x as much) when my fiancée and I moved in together and had to assemble a system for our lounge. Despite the lack of remote or headphone socket (both of which would have been useful), we decided that the sound quality, along with the attractive appearance of the A5, made it the worthy victor.
In summary, I can't recommend the A5 highly enough as a first amp, or the basis of a basic hi-fi system. It sounds great, looks great and seems built to last (ours is going strong some 5 years later). The trade-off for the low price is the loss of a couple of features - but if you can live without these, you'll not do any better for the same money.
The Cambridge Audio A5 has been my first and only seperate amplifier. It does everything you would expect an amp to do - it amplifies. No, seriously, it is a very good amp and although some may say it is basic with very few adjustables, the genuine music lover knows that the more variables in the way of the function mean a lesser quality experience. Saying this, there are a few nobs to change the bass and treble, and a volume wheel aswell. The other controls are the balance and also one that controls which input you are using (CD, radio, mp3 etc). This is just how an amp should be and has 5 inputs in the back which I think is sufficient for most. The sound is down partly to do with which speakers you use, but if what they recieve is of poor quality then it wouldnt matter how good your speakers are. The amp delivers lots of punch and it handles all genres very well indeed.
You could go out and spend £300+ on a 'better' amp, but I would suggest it could be a waste and unless you really need the additional functions offered on some amps, this one will suffice for most. At the budget price it will attract the majority of the £100 bracket buyers and rightly so.
quite a remarkable amp at the price ,i bought thecd4 to match it, then everything was as even in sound as it is in looks, iv recently perchased a cambridge hdd dvd player,well now this is were this item comes into a life of its own, the hdd thru the amp is absolutely brain melting,i owned a quad 77 amp and cd player, with mission m51s speakers , and tha was awesome to tell the truth, but there again, i put the cambridge amp and hdd against it, and was amazed wat came out in competiveness they both sounded almost equal. except the quad did have a more rounder spacier sound, but not much more , the cambridge held its sound with ease, the quad struggled on rock n blues which is my musik tastes, so to round this up, iv sold the quad made a packet back, and saved a fortune all round, my missions sound absolutely bliss on the a5.,,also tried my monitor audio bronze speakers, and they also were good, but the missions are the speakers for cambridge systems, this to me is a must av system set up, cambridge with mission m51s,,, go get em now, youl see wat i mean, as an old valve addict, i think i know wat i am talking about since ive had em all from 1979 til now .missions sum this all up in one go.. from mr g,dyer ..south wales .
I managed to get this from richer sounds in brum for the stupidly low price of £100 on an offer, was originally going to pair it up with some less expensive speakers but in the end i went for the Mordaunt Short 902i. Which leaves my system very similar to my brother's system which originally inspired me to splash out. I got this beast in black with black speakers to match, so apart from the sound, it looks schweeet. now i own this set up my itunes is never closed, and my room never silent.
the 60 wpc is probs more than you will use, and the bass and treble response make you wonder if it really is worth going to the bathroom, when you could just stay here and listen to your tunes, even if it does mean sitting in a warm puddle.
In terms of controls, it gives a minimal more than you need, as it gives little but you wont want to adjust anything as it would be like poking Witney Houston and telling her to sing better, and yes, there is no remote, and it doesnt do that cool thing where you change the volume on the remote and the control moves on the amp, but why would you not want to touch this thing its beautiful!
err so you want one yet? you should! go to richer sounds right now and just buy it, screw the consequences, its fairly likely you wont want to go out anymore cos you can stay and listen to this, so you can save money on your social life, and when you are at home, you will probably eat a lot less because you wont be able to think about anything but music, so i would say you would have paid it off in a month. Anyway at this price its pretty much free, imagine if someone wanted to sell you a brand new ferrari enzo for £120, and maintain it for five years for £10, that enzo is in fact a Cambridge Audio A5, and that seller is richer sounds.
so yeh err get one.
Have had to put up with the tinny undefined sounds of a poor quality Goodmans midi system for nigh on 6 years, you can imaging my glee when I finally got round to purchasing my new separates system just before Christmas. The Cambridge Audio A5 was my choice amplifier, purchased from Richer Sounds for £119.95, a snip for such quality merchandise. Many of my friends have separates and all were envious of my purchase. It has a massive 60 WPC output, which is frankly far more than I needed, but it also ensures low down poke and high level crispness even a low volumes. With 8 inputs and bi-wirable capability for the speakers, few amps in this price range come close. The control as with all Cambridge products are minimal, Volume, Bass, Treble, Balance along with channel select and direct output button. Again as with the majority of Cambridge products no remote control, which is comforting, as this in my opinion means that the money has gone where it really matters, the actual sound quality. The general aesthetics of the complete product right down to the sexy packaging add to the overall feeling of class. The sound quality is phenomenal, with low down punchy base, perfect for the majority of my guitar based collection but also equally suited to Chemical Brother beats. The treble and top end don’t disappoint either adding up to a great all round purchase, made so much easier my the helpful and knowledgeable staff at Richer Sounds. I would higher recommend purchasing a Cambridge unit and especially if there is a Richer Sounds near you.