Cambridge Audio CXA81 MKII – Integrated Amplifier with DAC


The Cambridge Audio CXA81 Mk II builds on the success of its award-winning predecessors. ALlways looking for new ways to improve your listening experience – Cambridge Audio recognises that great sound never goes out of fashion. ​

CXA81 Mk II is effortless, poised and sophisticated – only more so. 80 watts per channel give it complete authority over your music, to reveal every emotion and nuance contained within it.

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SKU: C11310K Category: Brand:
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Raising the Standard

How to improve on CXA81, the amplifier regarded by many as the standard-bearer at its price point?

Focusing on the all-important signal path, we re-engineered it with premium components end to end, plus an upgraded DAC and a whole load of listening and tuning; all part of a relentless drive to deliver new clarity and depth.

The outcome? Audio performance that goes way beyond expectations.

Your World’s a Stage

What hits you first when you hear familiar music through CXA81 Mk II, is just how detailed everything sounds. You’ll pick up instruments, subtle shifts in tone, and harmonies you’ve previously missed. Close your eyes, and you’ll be able to place every musician in the soundstage.

Once you’ve heard CXA81 Mk II, there’s no turning back.

Effortlessly Musical​

At the centre of CXA81 Mk II lies a custom-designed Class AB power amplifier stage with highly optimised components. It takes the musicality of Class A and blends it with the efficiency of Class B. The amp’s short signal path is super-efficient, leaving little opportunity for colouration.

The result is a detailed sound that connects you to the emotional power of your music.


Thanks to a chunky toroidal transformer, CXA81 Mk II delivers a generous 80 watts of power per channel. Dual taps into the left and right of the amplification board mean that, in effect, each channel has its own power supply – resulting in a vivid soundstage.

Dynamic shifts in music – like loud then quiet passages – are handled with ease.

Digital Love

Designed to bring your digital music to life, CXA81 Mk II features the upgraded ESS ES9018K2M DAC (digital analogue converter) in its dedicated circuitry. This means that digital audio files, up to a heady 24-bit/384kHz or DSD256, are unpacked – with every subtle detail delivered in full.

CXA81 Mk II combines unparalleled accuracy with vivid musicality, doing so beautifully.

Get Connected​

​CXA81 Mk II has connectivity covered. As well as digital optical, coaxial and USB Audio (from computers), it features stereo RCA inputs, balanced XLR sockets plus wireless hi-res connectivity via Bluetooth aptX HD – perfect for our Alva turntables.

You can even connect a second set of speakers, to hear your music in another room.

Total Control​

​Designed to work with carefully matched kit of a comparable quality, CXA81 Mk II isn’t festooned with switches and dials – to keep the signal path clear. Its minimal aluminium fascia has a power button, input selectors and a beautifully smooth volume control.

It’s also supplied with a CX Series remote control, which you can use with other products in the series. ​

Designed for Life​

​With elegant, minimalistic lines, crafted from aluminium and steel, CXA81 Mk II will endure physically and aesthetically. There should be no reason to change an amplifier for many years, if at all.

Making products that last is just one of the ways that we can minimise our impact on the planet and maximise your listening pleasure.


  • 80 watts per channel – ​power to drive the most demanding speakers ​
  • ESS ES9018K2M SABRE32 DAC – ​reference level digital/analogue conversion​
  • Class AB Amplification – ​for balanced & efficient performance ​
  • Toroidal Transformer – ​for incredible sound-staging ​
  • Digital inputs – ​TOSLINK, Coaxial & USB Audio Input ​
  • Balanced XLR inputs – ​for premium connection (to CXN100 etc.)  ​
  • Bluetooth aptX HD input – ​connect wirelessly to devices, incl. Alva TT V2​
  • Roon Tested – ​connect a PC or Mac over USB

In the Box

  • CXA81 MKII Integrated Amplifier, Power Cable, 3 x AAA Batteries, Remote Control, Control Bus Cable

Power Output 80W RMS into 8 Ohms, 120W RMS into 4 Ohms
DAC ESS Sabre ES9018K2M
Frequency Response <5Hz– 60kHz +/-1dB
Analog Audio Inputs 1x balanced XLR, 4 x RCA
Bluetooth Bluetooth AptX HD receiver built-in
Compatibility TOSLINK optical: 16/24bit 32-96kHz PCM only, S/PDIF coaxial: 16/24bit 32-192kHz PCM only, USB: audio profile 1.0/2.0 (default 2.0), up to 32bit 384kHz PCM, up to DSD256 or DoP256, Bluetooth: 4.2 A2DP/AVRCP supporting up to aptX HD (24bit 48kHz)
Outputs Speakers A+B, 3.5mm headphone, Preamp Output, Subwoofer Output
Roon Tested Yes
Remote Control Yes
Max Power Consumtion 750W
Outputs Speakers A+B, 3.5mm headphone, Preamp Output, Subwoofer Output
Dimensions 115 x 430 x 341mm (4.5 x 16.9 x 13.4”), 8.7kg (19.1lbs)
MSRP $1199.99