Hands on: Cambridge Audio MXN10 review

A big upgrade for older hi-fi in a small package

What is a hands on review?
Network streamer: Cambridge Audio MXN10 / Cambridge Audio AXN10
(Image: © Future)

Early Verdict

The MXN10 has certainly caught our attention, with its petite size and affordable price combined with great streaming features. We're can't wait to get our hands on a review sample to test it out properly.


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    Dinky design

  • +

    Affordable price

  • +

    Excellent streaming features and file compatibility


  • -

    Very basic physical controls

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This week Cambridge Audio unveiled two new affordable music streamers, the limited edition AXN10 and small-form-factor MXN10.

Having been invited to the company’s offices for the official unveiling, we got the opportunity to take an initial look and listen to the two new streamers. Here’s what we found out.

Pricing & availability

Network streamer: Cambridge Audio MXN10 / Cambridge Audio AXN10

(Image credit: Future)

The AXN10 is a “limited edition” full-sized streamer, which is set to retail for £549 / $599 / €599 at launch. 

The MXN10 meanwhile (pictured above) is much smaller and slightly cheaper, with Cambridge Audio confirming it will retail for £449 / $499 / €499. This places the pair in the affordable end of the market and in direct competition with the Award-winning Bluesound Node, which is currently our top affordable choice in our best music streamers guide.


Network streamer: Cambridge Audio MXN10 / Cambridge Audio AXN10

(Image credit: Future)

As we prepared to check out the two streamers in Cambridge Audio’s office and listening room, the company confirmed they are both near-identical internally, with the only difference being their size. A spokesperson at the event went so far as to say “the only difference, really, is that the larger one has more air in it”.

And visually they look similar, both featuring grey, screen-free, metal frames with minimalist source controls on their front. The only difference we spotted was that their input layout is slightly different around the back due to their different sizes. Despite this, they feature identical connectivity with one pair of RCA line level, one coaxial and one optical on both. There’s also a physical ethernet connection for people that want to directly connect it to their router.

Network streamer: Cambridge Audio MXN10 / Cambridge Audio AXN10

(Image credit: Future)

We were really impressed with the smaller MXN10’s looks, with its tiny dimensions (52 x 215 x 191mm) making it wonderfully discreet and an ideal option if you’re looking for a space-efficient streamer. In fact, Cambridge Audio claims it designed the streamer to be that small in a bid to entice buyers looking for a space-saving way to stream to “legacy hi-fi”. At first glance, it has achieved this goal. In fact, it was so discreet that, spying it out of the corner of his eye upon entering the listening room, our journalist thought it was a Mac Mini.


Network streamer: Cambridge Audio MXN10 / Cambridge Audio AXN10

(Image credit: Future)

Under the hood, the two are identical at a component and connectivity level, from what we saw at the demo, which included looking at the naked circuitry of both. 

Both feature a wide array of streaming options including AirPlay 2, Google Chromecast and Bluetooth 5.0.  

The proprietary StreamMagic streaming module also lies at both units’ centres. This is the technology (and accompanying app) from Cambridge Audio that acts as a control centre for streaming from your smartphone. It works exactly the same way as it does on the five-star Cambridge Audio CXN (V2) (also a multiple What Hi-Fi? Award winner), which is no bad thing. 

Both new models have the same ESS Sabre ES9033Q DAC inside, which lets them stream hi-res audio files up to 32-bit/768kHz PCM and DSD512 files. Streaming support for Spotify Connect, Tidal and Qobuz is included on both. The only odd omission we noticed is that it doesn't have native MQA support for Tidal Masters streams.


Network streamer: Cambridge Audio MXN10 / Cambridge Audio AXN10

(Image credit: Future)

Commenting on sound quality with real authority is impossible until we’ve managed to get the streamers into our test rooms and used them for a prolonged period. 

But during the demo, we were able to hear them play The Buggles’ Video Killed The Radio Star and Taylor Swift’s The 1 streaming from Tidal with the two boxes connected to either an AXA35, CXA61 or (slightly older) Azur 351A stereo amplifier. 

As an added layer of complexity, the audio was being played on PMC OB1 speakers, which are more expensive than we’d expect buyers looking at a streamer at this price to own.

Despite this, during the demo the audio was impressive. We were particularly taken with listening to Video Killed The Radio Star with the MXN10 connected to the 10-year-old Azur 315A. Despite the amp being slightly old, the sound was wonderfully detailed and had a pleasing precision. There was suitable space around vocals and instruments, making it a pleasure to listen to.

Interestingly, listening to the same track with the more recent AXA35 connected, the audio performance between the two wasn’t audibly different when switching between the two streamers. We’ll be curious to see if this remains the case when we properly test the two streamers during our full review.

Initial verdict

Network streamer: Cambridge Audio MXN10 / Cambridge Audio AXN10

(Image credit: Future)

We only had a very short and sweet chance to look at and listen to the Cambridge Audio MXN10 and AXN10, but the two streamers undeniably have a lot of potential. Though they have very utilitarian designs, they’re incredibly competitively priced considering the hardware and features they offer. 

The MXN10’s smaller dimensions also make it a potentially enticing option for buyers who want to upgrade an older system, but don’t have oodles of space. We’ll be curious to see how it performs with proper testing when we get it in for review.


Also consider the Bluesound Node 2i

Read our Cambridge Audio CXN (V2) review

Best music streamers: upgrade to a wireless system

What Hi-Fi?

What Hi-Fi?, founded in 1976, is the world's leading independent guide to buying and owning hi-fi and home entertainment products. Our comprehensive tests help you buy the very best for your money, with our advice sections giving you step-by-step information on how to get even more from your music and movies. Everything is tested by our dedicated team of in-house reviewers in our custom-built test rooms in London, Reading and Bath. Our coveted five-star rating and Awards are recognised all over the world as the ultimate seal of approval, so you can buy with absolute confidence.

Read more about how we test

What is a hands on review?

'Hands on reviews' are a journalist's first impressions of a piece of kit based on spending some time with it. It may be just a few moments, or a few hours. The important thing is we have been able to play with it ourselves and can give you some sense of what it's like to use, even if it's only an embryonic view.

  • djh1697
    Why does WHF see not having "Tidal MQA" compatibility as a missing feature? I would call ir an advantage. CA is obviously learning from respected UK manufacturers such as Naim and Linn who do not support MQA for good reasons.

    Well done CA I say!