Cambridge Audio EVO 150 Streaming Amplifier Bench Test Results

lovinthehd

lovinthehd

Audioholic Jedi
I'm not sure I would call this a "streamer" and compare it to a Wiim pro. It's more comparable to the Wiim Amp. In that respect I would use them for different applications.

In general, when I think of a "streamer", I think of a device that could be added to an AVR, receiver, or integrated amp as a component. It's more like adding a DVD player or turntable to your system. I have the discontinued Chromecast dongle on my AVR.

Devices like these, "Streaming Amplifiers", like the Cambridge EVO 150 or the Wiim Amp, are devices for setting up a 2-channel stereo system. They're a streamer and integrated amp built into one.

I bought in early to this technology nearly a decade ago. I have a GD Mondo Elite going to an Emotiva a100 miniX amp. It's a great 2 channel bedroom setup. If was doing this today I would probably go with the Wiim (streaming) Amp.

What's nice with the Chromecast is I can stream to all three of my systems simultaneously for full house sound.
IIRC the Wiims offer such multiroom playback as the audio chromecasts, too.
 
H

Hobbit

Senior Audioholic
IIRC the Wiims offer such multiroom playback as the audio chromecasts, too.
They do with various methods including Chromecast. I believe all these streamers have the capability in one form or another. I'm just most familiar with using Chromecast.
 
lovinthehd

lovinthehd

Audioholic Jedi
It does with various methods including Chromecast. I believe all these streamers have the capability in one form or another. I'm just most familiar with using Chromecast.
I use the Audio Chromecasts mostly like you....altho they had a hiccup recently and seems I have to setup again (but had one to add to the group anyways). I haven't seen a lot of choice on the multiroom thing but don't shop streamers either.
 
T

Trebdp83

Audioholic Spartan
Airplay and Chromecast are great and lossless audio is available over each depending on service and tier. Chromecast supports up to 96/24 for those concerned but is restricted to the Main Zone when using it to stream to an AVR from a Smart device on the same network. Airplay works with multiple zones using a single AVR.

There are some services and AVRs that support a “Connect” feature that sends the stream from the service right to the AVR and the Smart device app works as a remote controller and not actually as the streaming source device.
 
H

Hobbit

Senior Audioholic
Airplay and Chromecast are great and lossless audio is available over each depending on service and tier. Chromecast supports up to 96/24 for those concerned but is restricted to the Main Zone when using it to stream to an AVR from a Smart device on the same network. Airplay works with multiple zones using a single AVR.

There are some services and AVRs that support a “Connect” feature that sends the stream from the service right to the AVR and the Smart device app works as a remote controller and not actually as the streaming source device.
You lost me. What do you mean by "restricted to the main zone?" That sounds more like a specific AVR issue and has nothing to do with the dongle. Which after all is just using an AVR input like a DVD/CD player.

To you second comment, that's how Chromecast works. Once I start casting from a smart device, usually my smart phone, the phone only acts as a remote. You can even turn off your phone or leave the house with it and it keeps casting just fine. The phone just facilitates making the initial connection between the Chromecast devices (individual or groups you choose when starting) and your Wi-Fi.

However, if you break the connection to any device (turn off the stereo in one room), the cast ceases to all devices. Likewise, if I started streaming from a google display/hub or smart device I can't stop streaming to just one device. If you want to change the devices you are streaming to you have to stop casting and restart selecting just the devices or "groups" you want.

The dongle's output is supposedly bitperfect when using toslink instead of the 3.5mm cable.

Now that audio streaming appears to be gaining momentum, I wonder if Google has considered re-releasing the Chromecast Audio dongle? Maybe with some upgrades.
 
T

Trebdp83

Audioholic Spartan
When using a Smart device, such as a phone, to Airplay or Chromecast DIRECTLY to an AVP/AVR, there are restrictions. Chromecast, and DTS-Play-Fi by the way, will turn OFF casting if one attempts to stream to Zone 2 as well as the Main Zone. This is not the case with Airplay 2.

Yes, when using a stand alone streaming device connected to an AVP/AVR, a Smart phone's app can act as a remote controller for the streaming device connected to the AVP/AVR. When an AVP/AVR supports the "Connect" feature of a given service, there is no need for a stand alone device and the Smart phone's app can continue to act as the remote controller and not the streaming source device as the stream will go directly to the AVP/AVR from the service.

Many have AVP/AVRs and even TVs that support one or more streaming protocols and don't need a dongle for one protocol or another at all. Alexa Cast, Google Assistant and Siri can get streams going and control devices with voice commands but I won't touch those bitches with a ten foot pole.
 
H

Hobbit

Senior Audioholic
When using a Smart device, such as a phone, to Airplay or Chromecast DIRECTLY to an AVP/AVR, there are restrictions. Chromecast, and DTS-Play-Fi by the way, will turn OFF casting if one attempts to stream to Zone 2 as well as the Main Zone. This is not the case with Airplay 2.
This sounds like an implementation problem and not an actual restriction of CC/DPF by the manufacturer. It sounds similar, if not the same(?), to the problem where the "lower tier" onkyo/denon AVRs will not feed a digital input from an HDMI to zone 2. Which, according to Denon support only happens on their lower tier models and not the "newer" upper tier models. Or probably more realistically they spent some engineering resources and spun a new board that solved the issue on the newer upper tier models.
 
T

Trebdp83

Audioholic Spartan
HDMI to Zone 2 is not completely prohibited in most newer units but the signal needs to be PCM 2.0 when using Zone 2 AND the Main Zone even on something as pricey the A1H.

The Chromecast Zone 2 issue goes all the way up the ladder. Chromecast also used to support Dolby Atmos from a device streaming Amazon Music Unlimited but that is no more.

The source of the restrictions matters not. The implementation of them at any point sucks. Not the point of the thread though. There are some cool yet pricey integrated streamers out there and this thread is about one of those devices.

Spending ten to twenty times the amount of money on these “high end” devices compared to a basic streamer connected to an older quality AVP/AVR will NOT deliver ten to twenty times better sound. In most cases, there will be no real audible difference at all.

Anybody with a network connectable AVP/AVR may be able to use a Smart device as a remote controller to stream to them from their favorite service without spending another dime on a new device. Some might convince themselves that ANY improvement in sound is worth it at ANY price. They just won’t ever convince me of it and I’ll just save my money.
 
H

Hobbit

Senior Audioholic
HDMI to Zone 2 is not completely prohibited in most newer units but the signal needs to be PCM 2.0 when using Zone 2 AND the Main Zone even on something as pricey the A1H.

The Chromecast Zone 2 issue goes all the way up the ladder. Chromecast also used to support Dolby Atmos from a device streaming Amazon Music Unlimited but that is no more.

The source of the restrictions matters not. The implementation of them at any point sucks. Not the point of the thread though. There are some cool yet pricey integrated streamers out there and this thread is about one of those devices.

Spending ten to twenty times the amount of money on these “high end” devices compared to a basic streamer connected to an older quality AVP/AVR will NOT deliver ten to twenty times better sound. In most cases, there will be no real audible difference at all.

Anybody with a network connectable AVP/AVR may be able to use a Smart device as a remote controller to stream to them from their favorite service without spending another dime on a new device. Some might convince themselves that ANY improvement in sound is worth it at ANY price. They just won’t ever convince me of it and I’ll just save my money.
Agreed, does this unit compete with a quality stereo receiver -that has bass management- and an added wiim pro (if you're not satisfied with the built in offerings) for 1/2 the cost?
 
T

TankTop5

Audioholic Field Marshall
i am not sure such a question has a good answer. The whole thing is complicated, and could be confusing....

For example, I just listened to my $520 Denon AVR streaming Amazon music, just the standard definition version. Via HEOs, it sounded like FM radio, listened through my win11 laptop via input aux, it sounded much more transparent, even without using Audyssey and/or Dirac. With Dirac and DEQ on, the same streaming, same Amazon, same $520 AVR sounds amazing, no different than listening under the same streaming thing using my separate dacs, preamp (Cambridge audio, incidentally) and power amps such as my Parasound Halo A21 and Bryston 4BSST, buckeye amp etc.

So again, I don't know what is a reasonable answer to your question. All I know is, I don't quite know what to do with my many ext. Dacs. Along with my preamps, power amps, and integrated amp, they likely end up idling 99% of the time.
I’m always drooling over some high end gear but in the end I’ll probably get the Denon 3800 simply because it’s better than my ears. Maybe I sell a really high end custom roof and get the A1H, who knows
 
Cos

Cos

Audioholic Samurai
So another $3K streamer amp.

The only streaming I do is streaming from my phone, tablet, or Home Network HTPC using the built-in MusicCast in my AVR and AVP that works 100% of the time even when my Home Internet is down (using only local network).

What can these $3K-$6K streamers do that MusicCast in an AVP or AVR cannot do? Will the $3-6K streamers sound better? :D
I stream from my NAS, and I also use my Apple TV direct to my Marantz 40N. If I do stream wirelessly, it is usually with Amazon Music because It offers the highest wireless bitrate with HEOS. Truth be told I could have probably done this all through a simple AVR and as Peng has already stated, I probably wouldn't notice a sonic difference.

Why I went with the Marantz 40N
  • Build Quality, seriously the unit itself (speaker posts, internals, front aluminum faceplate, to the remote, screams solid build quality. The heft of the remote is just different, even from the higher end AVRs. (Again not important, but I like it)
  • Separate Sub Out, so many of these streamers don't include a sub out
  • HDMI ARC. I hook mine up to a 4k TV, cheat mode for 2 channel, but I use it quite a bit
  • Phono Amp: again, a nicely built phono preamp for my turntable
Last, but not least, if I bought an AVR, I would have been tempted to add more speakers, this unit prohibits me from doing that and saves me from a divorce ;) Side note, got a good deal, and its small 80w per channel is more than enough to drive my pair of Revel M106s.
 
T

TankTop5

Audioholic Field Marshall
I stream from my NAS, and I also use my Apple TV direct to my Marantz 40N. If I do stream wirelessly, it is usually with Amazon Music because It offers the highest wireless bitrate with HEOS. Truth be told I could have probably done this all through a simple AVR and as Peng has already stated, I probably wouldn't notice a sonic difference.

Why I went with the Marantz 40N
  • Build Quality, seriously the unit itself (speaker posts, internals, front aluminum faceplate, to the remote, screams solid build quality. The heft of the remote is just different, even from the higher end AVRs. (Again not important, but I like it)
  • Separate Sub Out, so many of these streamers don't include a sub out
  • HDMI ARC. I hook mine up to a 4k TV, cheat mode for 2 channel, but I use it quite a bit
  • Phono Amp: again, a nicely built phono preamp for my turntable
Last, but not least, if I bought an AVR, I would have been tempted to add more speakers, this unit prohibits me from doing that and saves me from a divorce ;) Side note, got a good deal, and its small 80w per channel is more than enough to drive my pair of Revel M106s.
Have you figured out how to get HEOS to work with Amazon Music and your playlists and likes? I use it on many different platforms, mostly my iPhone in the car but HEOS doesn’t mirror my library and it’s really annoying and I just end up streaming Bluetooth. Yes I’m signed into Amazon Music on HEOS
 
Cos

Cos

Audioholic Samurai
Have you figured out how to get HEOS to work with Amazon Music and your playlists and likes? I use it on many different platforms, mostly my iPhone in the car but HEOS doesn’t mirror my library and it’s really annoying and I just end up streaming Bluetooth. Yes I’m signed into Amazon Music on HEOS
99% of my music listing is through my NAS and Apple TV. I seldom use HEOS except when I am too lazy to get up and the remote is not nearby, but my cell phone is ;). HEOS is very limited.
 
M

MrBoat

Audioholic Ninja
I am using an avr as streamer and use Dirac Live to enhance sq, it sounds really great.

If I have too much money, I wouldn't mind something like the CA Evo, or one of Marantz, or NAD's but will alwasys use it with DL. I don't think they will sound better though, it is more about build quality, feeling good, and ownership pride.
I still feel pride of ownership of my 3805 that was given to me. I hoped to get two years from it while I saved for modern power. Then I just got attached to it because it's a formidable piece of gear. Not the best, not the worst, but I have been able to use it for everything and have another still. I have it playing now and it's just superb. Listening in the Michael Franks rabbit hole Gene's demo list got me trapped in currently.

I stream from my desktop PC through a Topping USB DAC to the 3805's AVR CD input. Not one hint of a sound or hiss from a PC driven system seems astounding to me. I was using Roon to play with the EQ but I didn't really need it so I didn't keep it. Now I just use Amzon HD, Pandora and CD.

Of all the things I have streamed with, nothing seems as complete as this desktop system, that also affords to read or surf while listening with minimal other dedicated hardware or TV. Can also control the sub amp on the fly from the same desktop.

If sound quality were not to be a noticeable, needed improvement, I cannot think of a reason to add a different piece of equipment or to spend more on it. It's ridiculous how good even the BT from my crappy motorola phone to the Fosi BT30D Pro in my bedroom sounds using just Pandora, with nothing other than Paul Carmody's Classix2 bookshelf speakers in play.

While the unit is pretty nice, I'm not a fan of the DeLorean theme or VU gimmicks. I could see someone building a system based on things like this, though, especially if that's all they are used to, or cares about, is streaming. Also, it's not a bad way to get into Hypex power so I can abide by it, I reckon.

A lot of my lack of need for yet another dedicated streamer is because I have been streaming since there ever was such a thing so these things seem rather superfluous, at least to someone who already has multiple ways to stream and more than enough amplifiers. The way streaming hardware is talked about now though, it was making me think of it as something new, or that I had somehow failed to adapt to yet.
 
P

PENG

Audioholic Slumlord
I still feel pride of ownership of my 3805 that was given to me. I hoped to get two years from it while I saved for modern power. Then I just got attached to it because it's a formidable piece of gear. Not the best, not the worst, but I have been able to use it for everything and have another still. I have it playing now and it's just superb. Listening in the Michael Franks rabbit hole Gene's demo list got me trapped in currently.
I have owned the 3805 for many years and only gave it to my DIY BMR partner about two years ago. So we are talking about it as a "receiver (as to someone who received something:)") and a giver lol..

In my experience, and a few AB comparison, level matched, I found the 3805's performance was as good as my other devices, including my separate components. So, to me, all those forum talks about sound signatures don't apply to me, except of course if DSP functions are used, then they may all sound audibly different.

People like to hype up the high current capability a lot, the 3805 actually passed at least one 1 ohm test, on the AVtech's (Miller audio research) bench, I don't recall too many managed, not HK, not NAD, in fact probably only a couple that did on that test bench.
 
AcuDefTechGuy

AcuDefTechGuy

Audioholic Jedi
I have owned the 3805 for many years and only gave it to my DIY BMR partner about two years ago. So we are talking about it as a "receiver (as to someone who received something:)") and a giver lol..

In my experience, and a few AB comparison, level matched, I found the 3805's performance was as good as my other devices, including my separate components. So, to me, all those forum talks about sound signatures don't apply to me, except of course if DSP functions are used, then they may all sound audibly different.

People like to hype up the high current capability a lot, the 3805 actually passed at least one 1 ohm test, on the AVtech's (Miller audio research) bench, I don't recall too many managed, not HK, not NAD, in fact probably only a couple that did on that test bench.
Yeah we’ve talked about that 1-ohm torture test a few times. The Denon AVR passed that 1-ohm test with flying colors while many so-called “separates” amps can’t even pass that 1-ohm test. The other 1-ohm test I always talk about was the Audio Critic PowerCube 1-ohm test of the ATI 60WPC distribution amp that was meant to be used as a whole-house “low-power” amp. :D
 
highfigh

highfigh

Seriously, I have no life.
So another $3K streamer amp.

The only streaming I do is streaming from my phone, tablet, or Home Network HTPC using the built-in MusicCast in my AVR and AVP that works 100% of the time even when my Home Internet is down (using only local network).

What can these $3K-$6K streamers do that MusicCast in an AVP or AVR cannot do? Will the $3-6K streamers sound better? :D
The lack of problems with MusicCast is one of the reasons I never jumped on the Sonos bandwagon. Their marketing direct to consumers is another.
 
highfigh

highfigh

Seriously, I have no life.
Yeah we’ve talked about that 1-ohm torture test a few times. The Denon AVR passed that 1-ohm test with flying colors while many so-called “separates” amps can’t even pass that 1-ohm test. The other 1-ohm test I always talk about was the Audio Critic PowerCube 1-ohm test of the ATI 60WPC distribution amp that was meant to be used as a whole-house “low-power” amp. :D
Was the Power Cube test recent? I have heard very little about that since I worked in car audio and Rockford Fosgate showed us their results vs others. I would like to see it used more.
 
M

MrBoat

Audioholic Ninja
I have owned the 3805 for many years and only gave it to my DIY BMR partner about two years ago. So we are talking about it as a "receiver (as to someone who received something:)") and a giver lol..

In my experience, and a few AB comparison, level matched, I found the 3805's performance was as good as my other devices, including my separate components. So, to me, all those forum talks about sound signatures don't apply to me, except of course if DSP functions are used, then they may all sound audibly different.

People like to hype up the high current capability a lot, the 3805 actually passed at least one 1 ohm test, on the AVtech's (Miller audio research) bench, I don't recall too many managed, not HK, not NAD, in fact probably only a couple that did on that test bench.
The friend who gave it to me had never considered using the 3805, or any older AVR solely as a 2-channel amp or hooking a desktop PC up to it for what amounts to advanced streaming capabilities along with desktop movies and games. He has shown some remorse since, having no idea it was still useful for anything once HDMI came on scene, or that it would be such a potent music system.

This is possibly the most driving factor to how much I stream now and I was a die hard CD fan. The fact that this old hardware can manage to unseat such traditional (and modern) stubbornness, is testament to how formidable it actually was/still is.
 
AcuDefTechGuy

AcuDefTechGuy

Audioholic Jedi
The lack of problems with MusicCast is one of the reasons I never jumped on the Sonos bandwagon. Their marketing direct to consumers is another.
MusicCast is just too awesome. Awesome streamer, streamer app, remote control app not only for streaming but also to control the Yamaha AVR/AVP. And I don’t have to spend another dime on any standalone Network streamer. :D

Oh, did I mention that MusicCast has worked flawlessly (100% of the time) for me - even when the Internet is down and I only have local network? Yeah I did. About a 100 times. :D
 

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