New Minx Xi and Aero speakers make CEDIA debut
By Paul Ridden
September 30, 2013
The UK's Cambridge Audio was at the 2013 Custom Electronic Design & Installation Association (CEDIA) Expo in Denver, CO, last week and took along an audiophile-pleasing addition to its Minx range, and a new range of speakers. The high end components found in the new Minx Xi all-in-one music player promise music streaming and internet radio lovers top quality sound for a wallet-friendly price. The company has also brought its great-sounding hybrid Balanced Mode Radiator (BMR) driver technology to classic-looking speaker design for its Aero speaker range.
The Minx Xi Streaming Digital Music System features Bluetooth with aptX support for wireless playback of music from a smartphone or tablet. Built-in 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi means that the player can also access over 20,000 quality internet radio stations and online music services like Pandora and Rhapsody. Music stored on a Universal Plug and Play (UPnP) server, Network Attached Storage (NAS) drive or PC/Mac computer linked to a home network can be streamed to the device, too. It supports many popular audio codecs, including Apple Lossless, AAC, MP3, Ogg Vorbis and 24-bit WAV and FLAC.
In order to ensure the best possible listening experience, Cambridge Audio has put the player together using audiophile-grade components. These include a low-distortion, power-efficient Class AB amplifier, a Wolfson WM8728 24-bit/96 kHz digital-to-analog converter for precise sonic detail, and a large toroidal power supply to ensure the delivery of quality audio no matter the volume. The Xi also sports similar jitter suppression prowess as the company's NP30 Network Music Player from 2011.
Physical connections on offer include Toslink and S/PDIF digital inputs to the rear that cater for cabling to TVs, set-top boxes or games consoles, two RCA analog inputs and a 3.5 mm aux-in jack for direct connection to hi-fi system separates like a CD player or tuner, and two powered USB ports for charging mobile devices. There's an Ethernet port for anything over 16-bit audio resolution, and a subwoofer output for some extra low end presence.
The 3.5 x 10.6 x 11.2 in (90 x 270 x 285 mm), 12.8 lb (5.8 kg) Minx Xi is reported capable of 40 W RMS output into 8 ohms, or 55 W RMS into 4 ohms. There's a user interface to the front, or you can take control of the system with the supplied IR remote or via the Cambridge Audio Stream Magic iOS/Android companion app.
The Minx Xi comes in a white or black gloss finish, and is available now for a suggested retail price of US$899.
Unlike its series brethren, the Minx Xi doesn't have built-in speakers. Fortunately, Cambridge Audio announced a new range of Aero speakers at CEDIA, with the same BMR driver technology that impressed us when we reviewed the Minx Air 200 earlier this month.
For the new Aero speaker range, Cambridge Audio developed custom cone drivers designed to compliment the company's BMR speakers, and put disturbing frequency crossover well outside of the range of even the most sensitive of ears for the promise of distortion-free listening. Audio enthusiasts can also worry less about trying to find the sweet spot in a room speaker setup, thanks to the wider dispersion capabilities of the BMR drivers.
The range consists of a pair of bookshelf speakers, each with a 2.25-in BMR driver to replace the tweeter found in traditional design, and a custom 6-in cone subwoofer which offer a combined frequency response of 40 Hz to 22 kHz, 90 dB sensitivity, and 8 ohms impedance ($549). There's a pair of floor-standing speakers, each with one 2.25-in BMR driver, two 6-in custom cone subwoofers and bass porting to the front for a frequency response of 30 Hz to 22 kHz, 90 dB sensitivity, and 8 ohms impedance ($1,099).
Next up is a pair of wall-mountable surround speakers, each with two 4-in BMR drivers for a frequency response of 80 Hz to 22 kHz, 88 dB sensitivity, and 8 ohms impedance ($549). There's a center speaker with one 2-in BMR driver and two 5.25-in cone speakers, and a frequency response of 50 Hz to 22 kHz, 90 dB sensitivity, and 8 ohms impedance ($449).
The final member of the Aero clan is a subwoofer with a 500 W Class-D amp, a 10-in custom subwoofer and a 10-in down-firing auxiliary bass radiator for a frequency response of 21 Hz to 200 Hz ($899).
Have a look at the overview video of the Minx Xi system below:
The new Aero speaker range can be seen in the following video: