Cambridge Audio EVO 150 Review

Cambridge Audio EVO 150 Review

Cambridge Audio EVO 150 Review

"Here it is, the future!" - with such a phrase you can wake up every morning. And there is no need to expect any other future, even more beautiful than what is already outside the window. Now let's enjoy what we have! And we have the Cambridge Audio EVO 150 - the flagship combine, which belongs to the category of all-in-one devices.

Cambridge Audio EVO 150 Review

This model, together with the younger version - EVO 75 - became the debut for the British manufacturer of Hi-Fi equipment. Yes, and it's about time! Because a change is coming not only to generations of audio equipment, but also to generations of music lovers. And modern trends are such that more and more often large racks with a bunch of shelves, on which all sorts of AV classes are hot, are slowly being reduced to one device.

Look even at the High End segment: they also do not disdain the creation of such combines, which sometimes cost like a small farm. And this tells us only one thing: the all-in-one niche continues its development - and today it already has something to offer even to a music lover tempted by large toroidal transformers.

Or maybe not the next. Because Cambridge Audio got to Hypex Ncore amplifier modules that work in class D. But let's not jump to conclusions. Squint your eyes and enjoy the moment as our test moves on to a more detailed description of the internals of the EVO 150.

Why is the device called "EVO 150"? I think that "EVO" can not be discussed, everything is clear here anyway. But 150 is the power in watts per channel at a load of 8 ohms. Very simple and practical.

Cambridge Audio EVO 150 Review

Of course, there is a DAC here - this is the Saber Reference ES9018K2M. There is support for all the necessary bit rates and kilohertz, and DSD also did not stand aside. But the most important thing for the technology that represents the “new wave” is the hardware support for MQA. Because this trend has reached such an intensity that sometimes there are cases when the presence of MQA support becomes a decisive factor in choosing such a device.

The DAC of the EVO 150 will obviously not be left without work: the Cambridge Audio developers have done everything in their power for this. There are two optical inputs on the rear panel, one coaxial and USB of two standards at once: A and B.

In addition, to receive an analog signal, there are a pair of XLR connectors and a pair of RCA. Here, very close, there is another pair of RCA connectors and a ground terminal: an MM phono stage! In the UK, they do not forget that the very “new wave” is not only streaming and MQA, but also vinyl players. With renewed vigor, it rolled over minds tired of continuous digitalization and literally demanded a place in the sun for itself. They took it into account, paid attention and introduced it into the circuitry.

The company's phono connectors were a subwoofer output and a preamplifier output - this is where the audiophile connectors end. But no: a LAN connector for connecting to the Internet is also an audiophile one, because a good LAN cable improves the sound. And for cinephiles, they provided one HDMI ARC connector.

Cambridge Audio EVO 150 Review

Traditionally, the developers of Cambridge Audio have paid attention to integrating the EVO 150 into various control systems: there is a connector for the RS-232C bus, an input and output for trigger cables, as well as a separate connector for the interaction of the EVO 150 with the new CD player from the same line - EVO CD.

You can finish the description of switching beautifully: four pairs of terminals for connecting speaker cables! In fact, it is not only beautiful, but also very functional - but more on that later.


Perhaps we should start with this, but all the most delicious, as a rule, are usually left for dessert. Now is the time: we have a real dude!

But first of all, you need to find out what “style” means for such devices. As a rule, the hi-tech direction is taken as the basis. This fully meets the principles of "EVO" and, judging by the renders, it integrates nicely into high-tech designs. Therefore, this trend has found successful application in new devices from the British. Personally, I really like the approach when the device looks calm and at the same time expensive.

Cambridge Audio EVO 150 Review

But if you suddenly want to add color, the designers of Cambridge Audio offer to take an uncompromising step: change the side panels. The wooden ones give the EVO 150 a more classic look, while the structured, wavy, mega-sustainable material gives it a more modern look. You can do without panels at all - here it’s up to the owner to choose.

If, after changing the side panels, there are still few colors, just turn on the device and start some track. Huge by the standards of the device, a display with a diagonal of almost 7 inches will immediately remind you that you need to enjoy life here and now - you can even enjoy simply interacting with a device that is well-assembled and, as they say, “strongly knocked down”. Both tactilely and visually, the EVO 150 leaves only pleasant impressions.

All in one

The Cambridge Audio developers have already tested their streaming platform for a long time: the Stream Magic application is well known to all fans of the brand, and not only to them. Therefore, the buttons on the front panel of the EVO 150 are likely to be used very rarely, because all streamer settings are always available on the phone or tablet screen.

Cambridge Audio EVO 150 Review

But still, let's carefully approach the EVO 150 and take a closer look at the volume knob. As it turned out, it consists of two parts, and both of them rotate with a pleasant effort, but in different ways.

Silver - active input selection - rotates with elastic clicks. Black - volume control - spins "tightly", the numbers run smoothly. Aesthetics is in the nuances.

When you first connected to the EVO 150, I was pleasantly surprised by the change in the interface - Stream Magic is regularly updated, and every time you can find some improvements there, thanks to which it becomes more convenient to live with the application.

From it we get access, firstly, to streaming services. Moreover, this access is implemented according to the most modern standards: if Tidal - then Tidal Connect, if Spotify - then Spotify Connect, if Yandex.Music - then you don’t need it.

A separate item is the familiar Roon icon - it is used to put the EVO 150 into Roon Ready mode. In addition, here you can also view the tracks that are on the server or on a flash drive connected directly to the EVO 150.

Cambridge Audio EVO 150 Review

According to the settings of the device itself: from the application, you can set the auto-off time for the EVO 150, the brightness of the display, the volume limit, and even adjust the timbres, if suddenly this is necessary.

Here you can close the topic about four pairs of terminals. In addition to the banal biwiring, you can connect another pair of speakers to the second pair of terminals, and then choose from the menu which of them will play at the moment: speakers A, speakers B, or speakers A and B together.

The last option is Headphones. In this case, the signal is fed to the headphone output, which is on the front panel of the Cambridge Audio EVO 150.

In general, we can say that Cambridge Audio turned out to be a device with which it is really pleasant to communicate. Both through the application on the smartphone and through the buttons on the front panel, communication is smooth and predictable. And let all the surprises be left for the next chapter.

A + B = D?

The math is simple, but the example is one of the hardest.

I failed to implement my old practice, when the price of the tested component is not known in advance: in the listening room of the Dr.Head store, there was a price tag near the EVO 150. Well, at least there was no list of technical characteristics - this information remained a secret throughout the test.

Cambridge Audio EVO 150 Review

To continue the test in the company for the Cambridge Audio EVO 150, it remained to choose acoustics. We took DALI - and both Opticon 2 shelf speakers and Opticon 6 MK2 floorstanding speakers were immediately at hand. Both speaker options are quite self-sufficient and - most importantly - are familiar in sound. 

On the one hand, from the very first track it became clear that the device sounds exactly from Cambridge Audio. First of all, the brand-manufacturer gave himself away with the tonality: fairly even throughout the entire range, but at the same time with notes of interest and musical unity.

But on the other hand, you may not recognize Cambridge. The fact is that the dynamics and resolution indicators in the EVO 150 obviously came not from the CX line, but from somewhere higher. Something similar can be heard from the amplifier / streamer bundle from the Azur line - and this is good news!

The call was immediately with trump cards: the soundtrack to the film "Joker". Very difficult compositions, with an underlined lower case of stringed instruments. Here the EVO 150 had a hard time, but still we can say that he coped with this task. Goosebumps on the skin became a witness to this.

Cambridge Audio EVO 150 Review

For the next portion of goosebumps, we go to another genre - let it be London Grammar. Very, very much: what they came for, they got it. Even special music, whose album covers can often be censored - for example, Guru Guru "Hinten" - played here better than expected.

It is worth noting the good construction of the scene and the positioning of the instruments. Moreover, here we can already talk about separation and other audiophile troubles. It is not even clear where the sharpness and excessive audacity of the D-class went, and when these digital amplifiers were taken under the quivering wing of audiophilia.

The fact is that the sound of the Cambridge Audio EVO 150 never even hinted at the fact that it is based on digital amplification. But he didn’t completely go away from him, but retained the best that could be taken from there: the dynamics and acoustic control of the EVO 150 deserve praise.

He is well versed in musical genres and will play whatever you offer him. This is how a device of this class should be, because its initial position is to become one and only in the rack. And the temptation is very great.


Not another attempt, but a logical and thoughtful, self-sufficient and complete product - this is exactly what the Cambridge Audio EVO 150 turned out to be.

Cambridge Audio EVO 150 Review

Four laudatory epithets in one sentence at once - but each of them has a real basis. These words describe both the appearance and functionality, and all variations of the interaction of the EVO 150 with the user. Just like the EVO 150 combines everything you need to create a modern Hi-Fi system with a decent level.


Modern design; wide functionality and convenient application for management; overall sound is very good


You can only complain about the price


Cambridge Audio EVO 150

Cambridge Audio EVO 150 Specs

Type: network streamer with integrated amplifier, phono stage and DAC 

Amplification: Class-D Hypex Ncore®, 2 x 150W (8 ohms)

Frequency response: 20-20,000 Hz (-3 dB)

DAC: ESS Saber ES9018K2M

Signal Options: PCM up to 32bit/384kHz, DSD64, DSD128, DSD256

Supported digital audio formats: ALAC, WAV, FLAC, AIFF, DSD (x256), WMA, MP3, AAC, HE AAC AAC+, OGG Vorbis

Wireless interfaces: Wi-Fi 802.11ac (2.4 / 5 GHz), Bluetooth 4.2 with support for aptX HD (24 bit / 48 kHz)

Digital inputs: Ethernet RJ45, USB-A, USB-B, digital optical 2 pcs, digital coaxial, HDMI ARC

Analog inputs: XLR, 2 x RCA, Phono MM  

Analog outputs: 2 x RCA Pre-Out, RCA subwoofer output

Display: 6.8 inch

Optional: UPnP support, Airplay 2, Chromecast built-in, Internet Radio, Spotify Connect, TIDAL, MQA, Qobuz, Roon Ready Power Consumption: 700W (Max) 

Dimensions (WxHxD): 317x89x352 mm

Weight: 5.3 kg

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