Cambridge Audio has had a great year – and now I want it to revive a decade-old classic

Network streamer: Cambridge Audio MXN10 / Cambridge Audio AXN10
(Image credit: Future)

Cambridge Audio has had a pretty big year. The company secured not one but three big wins at the 2023 What Hi-Fi? Awards.

The MXN10 network streamer earned not only the overall Product of the Year accolade in the best music streamer category but also the Readers’ Award public vote.

The Cambridge Audio CXN (V2) entered the What Hi-Fi? Hall of Fame, too, an acknowledgement of the mid-range streamer's enduring quality – and an achievement few products manage.

But it was this success across the hi-fi spectrum that made me yearn for the company to revisit a category of products it has ignored for quite some time – speakers.

Sure, it's been a great year for speakers – the category remains as competitive as ever. Jump over to our list of the best speakers you can buy, and you’ll see it’s jampacked with awesome performers across various sizes and prices. It's fair to say Cambridge Audio has never been the biggest name in the category, but for me, there are two reasons I'd love it to re-enter this arena.

Cambridge Audio Aero 5.1 on white background

(Image credit: What Hi-Fi?)

The first is that I feel high levels of nostalgia for the Cambridge Audio Aero 5.1 speakers from 2013. These are a personal highlight for me as they were the first “proper” 5.1 surround speakers I ever owned.

They were given to me as a hand-me-down and, stuffed into my tiny Deptford flat, I remember being amazed the first time I heard them. Transformers: Age of Extinction and Guardians of the Galaxy had never sounded so good in my modest domicile, and it was a proper lightbulb moment that made me truly appreciate how important audio quality is for movies, even at home.

Thankfully the team at What Hi-Fi? from that era, which includes more than a few familiar faces in the current team, were also impressed, awarding the package the full five-star set. Our Aero 5.1 review’s verdict sums up my experience: "Cambridge Audio has delivered an excellent 5.1 package that is as exciting, informative and seamless as we've heard for the money."

And this leads to the second part of my argument. “For the money” is the important part of that verdict. The Aero 5.1 was an incredibly cost-effective package at the time, and Cambridge Audio still has a fine track record of delivering great sound-per-pound performance value to this day.

In a cost of living crisis, if it could replicate this magic and offer fresh competition to the likes of Dali, Wharfedale and Q Acoustics, that would only be a good thing.

That’s why “bring back the Aero” is high up on my wish list for Santa this year – I'm certainly ready to make room for a new Cambridge Audio speaker system in my house. I'll keep my fingers crossed.


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Alastair Stevenson
Editor in Chief

Alastair is What Hi-Fi?’s editor in chief. He has well over a decade’s experience as a journalist working in both B2C and B2B press. During this time he’s covered everything from the launch of the first Amazon Echo to government cyber security policy. Prior to joining What Hi-Fi? he served as Trusted Reviews’ editor-in-chief. Outside of tech, he has a Masters from King’s College London in Ethics and the Philosophy of Religion, is an enthusiastic, but untalented, guitar player and runs a webcomic in his spare time. 

  • Combat
    I can't help but think Cambridge Audio, Bluesound, NAD, and even the really high end brands like Naim and Chord are going to struggle with WiiM taking the world by storm. In a few years I wonder how many people will still be falling for the snake oil?