Cambridge Audio Topaz SR10 Review - Warm British Sound
The Cambridge Audio SR10 is a gem of a stereo integrated amplifier that pretty much flies under the radar when someone searches for an affordable hi-fi home audio component. Folks venturing into the field of hi-fi generally look for brands such as Marantz or NAD - purely because there are many reviews and word-of-mouth marketing available for these products.
Getting the specifications out of the way: 85W RMS into 8 Ohms (2-channels driven), THD <0.01% @ 1kHz, 80% of rated power (<0.15% 20Hz - 20kHz, 80% of rated power), damping factor > 50, subwoofer pre out, max. power consumption 500 watts. This doesn't have an inbuilt DAC.
Build: Weighs around 8kg. When you try and lift it, you can notice the heft of the toroidal transformer on the left corner of the bulk. If you're not careful with this uneven weight distribution, you'll be caught by surprise by how heavy the transformer weighs. The front facia has a nice dark brushed aluminium that looks premium and kinda cold to the touch (I like it). The volume knob has a good stepped resistance and the cool blue display is easy on the eyes. The buttons feel quite tactile and make a stubby sound.
The sound: Plenty of power and punch, without harshness. Fantastic instrument separation when listening to Night Trouble by Petit Biscuit. Leonard Cohen's rich baritone voice stands right in the middle when listening to My oh my. I've personally listened to nearly 8 hours of music continuously, without a hint of fatigue. The music just flows. The SR10 was paired to the GoldenEar AON3 speakers. I had previously paired the JBL Control 1 to these and they sounded absolutely clean with great vocals. Of course, given the limitation of the speakers, the bass wasn't much to speak about.
Subwoofer pre out: Yes, this is fantastic. Want to add a bit more punch to your rhythm? Throw in a good sub and hook that up to the Cambridge Audio SR10. It's to be noted that many budget integrated stereo setups lack the pre out.
What's not so good?
The remote: Looks cheaply build. The remote that came with the Marantz PM5005 is light years ahead in terms of fit and finish and the button feel and spacing. You can't turn on/off the unit from the remote. Bummer!
Tone controls: The bass and treble controls are button operated, unlike the conventional rotating knobs. I'm a bit old school and prefer it that way for some fine adjustments, instead of looking at the stepped +/- levels on the display.
At 24,000/- INR ($300), this is a tremendous value for money budget hi-fi integrated amplifier that punches way above its weight in delivering a rich, warm British sound.