Cambridge Audio One +
Although DAB+ may be exciting for some people outside the UK, for us Brits the One+ isn’t enough of an updateWrite your own review
- Nice build
- bundled iPod dock
- smooth, fluid and controlled delivery
- good bass depth
- Lacks the excitement and organisation of the best
- DAB+ doesn’t benefit UK buyers
Does the Cambridge Audio One+ look familiar? It should: a couple of logos apart, it's visually identical to its predecessor, the One. The ‘+' signifies that this version can receive DAB+ signals, which are of a higher quality than plain old DAB.
Before you get too excited, it's worth pointing out that the UK currently has no DAB+ broadcasts, and no concrete plans to add any.
Our friends in exotic and far-flung places such as Switzerland, Italy and Australia have plenty, so can feel as smug and excited as they like.
DAB+ is the core addition, but the One+ has a few other upgrades, including retuned circuitry, faster operation and standby power usage of less than one Watt.
Unfortunately, the sound hasn't improved a great deal since the One received its four-star verdict, and now there are extra-affordable rivals in this market sector.
Pop Foals' Total Life Forever into the slinky slot-loader and press ‘play' and the Cambridge reproduces the ethereal opening vocal of Blue Blood in smooth, floating style. As the track continues, that vocal becomes more focused, and the Cambridge brings it forward in the mix, just as it should.
A touch lacking in excitement
However, when the rest of the instruments kick in, the overall presentation becomes a little muddled.
This is partly the result of bass that, although not exactly overbearing, is just prominent enough to attract the ear a little more than it should; it's more to do, though, with a lack of precision to the timing, which reduces overall punch and excitement.
It's by no means an unpleasant listening experience, though: that extra bass weight and depth helps add scale to orchestral music, and the overall fluidity and treble control makes for a smooth, easy-going delivery.
As well as the CD drive and DAB/FM tuner you get USB and SD card connections, a 3.5mm headphone output and a collection of stereo ins and outs, along with a subwoofer output.
Also the One+ comes bundled with an iPod dock, and as long as you're using uncompressed or lossless files, the performance isn't far behind that of the original disc.
All of that makes it a real do-it-all micro machine, it's just a shame it doesn't do it all just a little bit better.