Ho ho hi-fi! The YoYo (M) scooped the prize of Best Bluetooth Speaker at the T3 Awards, thanks to its combination of punchy, true stereo sound and Scottish wool-clad smoothery. Now the YoYo (L) arrives just in time for Christmas. It's a (L)arger, one-box Bluetooth and Chromecast speaker with an impressive set of connections.
Also on Cambridge Audio's sonic sleigh: not one but two phono amps for your 'vinyl turntable', as today's modern young people call it, and an updated, hi-res audio streamer. There really is a stocking filler for everyone here, so long as your stocking is rather large, and Santa's in a generous mood.
- T3's favourite speakers, both Bluetooth…
- …And multi-room speakers via Wi-Fi
- The best record players demand your Yuletide attention…
- …As do the finest streaming DACs
The Yoyo (L) features a full range driver and subwoofer at front, left and right, all with their own amp. The result should be a very full and rich sound field. I've not heard it yet, but Cambridge Audio's stuff nearly always sounds good.
The YoYo (L) improves over the Bluetooth-and-3.5mm-only (M) by adding Spotify Connect and Google Chromecast, which gives wireless, lossless-and-better-than-lossless streaming of Spotify (again), Tidal, Google Play and various other key music apps. There's no Chromecast support for Amazon Music or Apple Music thus far but you can beam them via Bluetooth.
Even more impressively, there's also an optical digital and 3.5mm line in, and HDMI ARC. That is seriously impressive for what looks at a glance like your standard Bluetooth speaker.
Here are some photos of the YoYo (L) in a charming location, from a number of anglesImage 1 of 6
As I mentioned, I've not heard the (L) yet but not only does it have Cambridge's usually impeccable hardware engineering, but also MaxxAudio, "a suite of advanced audio enhancement tools from Waves" that "offers unparalleled sound performance, with clearer highs, enhanced bass and increased volume."
Can't say fairer than that now, can you?
Less good: they seem to have kept the same 'gesture' controls as the YoYo (M). This is unfortunate, as they were crap.
Also on the Xmas roster is a new version of the CXN streamer. Available in black or silver, natch, the CXN (V2) offers MPEG-DASH and HLS compatibility for high-res web radio streams, a more powerful processor, and the ability to fast forward and rewind through tracks streamed via UPnP and Spotify Connect, or through the USB input.
Cambridge is very proud of its proprietary streaming platform StreamMagic, and assures us it "offers a smoother user experience and opens up new listening potential." So that's good. Even better, ATF2 upsampling technology and dual Wolfson WM8740 DACs mean that "audio is upscaled to a hi-res 24bit/384kHz format using polynomial curve fitting interpolation."
If you really want to get the most out of your music and uncover new nuances in familiar tunes, a streaming DAC like this is a great addition to your audio arsenal. And come on, man: it's got a polynomial curve fitting interpolation!
The CXN (V2) supports Spotify Connect, Apple AirPlay, NAS Drive/UPnP compatibility, asynchronous USB, coaxial and optical digital inputs. There's also the option of Apt-X Bluetooth, albeit via a £70 BT100 dongle.
A large colour screen lets you admire your favourite albums' artwork in high definition, as well.
And finally, as Trevor McDonald used to say before introducing a story about a skateboarding badger, Cambridge has two, yes TWO phono pre-amps, the Solo and Duo.
These, young people may be interested to learn, are used to amp up the weedy output from a record player so it can be plugged into a line level input, of the type found on all amplifiers and nearly all powered speakers.
The Solo supports moving magnet (MM) stylus turntables while the Duo, as its name suggests, is good with both MM and moving coil (MC) stylii. More usefully still, the Duo houses a headphone amp, so dad can listen to his old Hawkwind LPs without disturbing the kids, who are trying to work out how to get their Stormzy 'vinyl' to play on a laptop. Ho ho!
Solo and Duo both use "the latest switch mode power supplies and surface mount technology to allow a compact overall design with short signal paths on the board inside." This, it says here, gives them a "faster response, greater precision and, importantly, lower background noise levels, free from the hum and noise that can badly corrupt the delicate low-level signals of vinyl."
I'm afraid again, I've not heard these in action, but Cambridge's usual quality control should mean they sound super for the price.
And what is the price, you ask?
• Cambridge Audio Solo £149, Duo £249. Both out at the start of the new year. The YoYo (L) will be a more than reasonable £349.99 when it too launches in January. The CXN (V2) streamer is out now, and a slightly more testing 800 quid.