While Cambridge Audio is extremely well known in the U.K., the brand is much less familiar to audio enthusiasts in the U.S. At AXPONA 2017, the company demoed its flagship AeroMax 6 speakers, driven by its Azur 851 series premium electronics.
Although the company did not debut anything new at the show, the appealing sound that I heard during the demo, and the attractive pricing of the AeroMax 6 towers ($1300/pair) got my attention.
AeroMax 6 speakers are not a typical cone and dome design. Instead of a tweeter, these speakers implement what Cambridge calls a BMR driver, which stands for “balanced mode radiator”. Cambridge has been developing this hybrid of a tweeter and midrange since 2010. It is flat (planar) and circular, with a 2″ diameter.
Cambridge audio sets the crossover point for the AeroMax 6 at 250 Hz, thanks to the wide range that the BMR driver covers. The company touts this as being highly advantageous because it negates the need for a crossover at higher frequencies, where human hearing is more sensitive. Dual 6.5″ drivers handle bass.
Frequency response for these towers is listed as 30Hz to 22kHz and power handling is 120 watts. The cabinet measures 38.6″ x 9.4″ x 13.5″ and each speaker weighs 37.4 pounds. They’re only sold in pairs, and come available in black-gloss or white-gloss finish.
The folks from Cambridge Audio had all of the chairs in the AXPONA 2017 demo room lined up against the back wall. At first, I wasn’t getting much in terms of Imaging from the speakers. But, when I pulled the chair out about 3 feet, everything fell into place.
Three Radiohead tracks provided the substance of my audition. “15 Step” from the album In Rainbows showed the speakers could image well and deliver a nuanced presentation. As a bonus, bass response provided some “slam” that energized the room. I measured 93 dB (C-weighted average) from about 11 feet away. The speakers appeared to have plenty of headroom.
“Bodysnatchers” and “Nude” kept the cool musical vibes flowing, and at that point I realized I had yet to be subjected to typical audiophile jazz and classical recordings at AXPONA. Perhaps it was just luck of the draw, but instead I heard a lot of Electronica and Rock music.
At least to my ears, there was no question that these speakers provide really good performance for the dollar. The BMR driver approach is genuinely different than what most of the other speaker makers in the building or doing, and yet it’s absolutely based on sound principles.
If the AeroMax 6 towers are too large or expensive, the company also sells a bookshelf model, the AeroMax 2 ($600/pair). While I did not audition those, I’m very intrigued as to how a pair would perform in a sub/satellite configuration.
I liked what I heard enough that I plan to follow up with Cambridge audio about reviewing a pair of AeroMax speakers. If you share my curiosity as to how these speakers perform, please leave a comment to that effect.
My final notes from the Cambridge Audio room and the AeroMax 6 audition? “Anyhow, if the point of the demo is to show these quite affordable speakers rock, it succeeds.” ‘Nuf said.