I am going to admit something that will make me even less popular with hardcore hifi-istas than I already am as a result of championing consumer brands like Bang & Olufsen and slightly off-the-wall audio products like Nuraphone. It’s this: while I urge anybody who loves music to invest in the best loudspeakers possible, and, to a lesser extent, the best speaker cables (but don’t go silly), when it comes to an amplifier, as long as you go for something Premier League (by which I mean something in the £1,000-plus bracket), it is unlikely that you will be able to tell one serious contender from another.
So if I were in the market for an amp to enlighten these dark winter nights, this, from a new upper-tier range by the renowned (and hitherto strictly middle-market) Cambridge Audio, would be my choice. It’s seriously designed (I’ve been to the brand’s R&D centre in Southwark), physically beautiful (especially with that magnificent central knob) – and sounds the same, even at cataclysmic volume, as all the other £1,000-plus amps I’ve heard, including those costing two, three and even five times as much.
While I would judge it to be of audiophile quality and then some, the Cambridge Audio Edge A is also suitable for normal people – and by that I mean you can, if you prefer, stream to it by Bluetooth, which in the latest aptX HD flavour supports up to 24-bit/48kHz quality. And if your ears find that beneath them, well done them. Mine love it.