When it comes to high-end hi-fi, the most important thing is how your system sounds. But that doesn't mean you shouldn't care about looks too. After all, part of the fun of having a really great audiophile system is showing it off before you play a single note. So I'm delighted to see that Cambridge Audio has decided to bring everyone a design blast from the past.
Whenever I think of Cambridge Audio, I think of their black separates – and they haven't made them for a while now, concentrating instead on sculpted aluminium fascias in what the firm calls Lunar Grey. And while I think they look brilliant, they don't necessarily match the design of existing hi-fi kit that you already own.
Also, I'm a sucker for little winking lights embedded in solid black boxes. And that's what the new and sensibly named Black Editions offer. Cambridge Audio has decided to bring its greatest hits back in black.
Why Cambridge Audio's limited editions are none more black
According to Cambridge Audio CEO Stuart George, the reason's simple: customers really like black hi-fi hardware. "Since we stopped making black hi-fi products, people have been asking us to bring them back. We decided to do this limited run, in response to that demand – and I have to say, they look pretty damn cool," he says.
He's not wrong. It's hard to see in photos because black on black isn't exactly easy to photograph, but there's some really nice design work in the Black Edition CXA61, CXA81, CXN and CXC. The front plate is made of matte black aluminium with subtly shimmering black gloss lettering, so it looks and feels much more premium than your average black bit of hi-fi kit.
Inside, the components haven't changed – and that's no bad thing, because the CX Series has won stacks of awards worldwide for its sound quality. And refreshingly, special editions don't mean special prices: the Black Edition is the same price as the current range. The catch? If you want one you'll need to move quickly: Cambridge Audio is only making 1,000 of each model.