Cambridge Audio A1 - which audible sonic difference between all Versions ?? - diyAudio
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Old 9th April 2012, 04:53 PM   #1
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Default Cambridge Audio A1 - which audible sonic difference between all Versions ??

I have heard, that there are at least three different versions - the last both with chip amp (monolithic IC's); MK-II with TDA1514/TDA1514A and mk3 with LM3875.
The MK-I version is a so called "original version" according several posts, developed from Michael Creek (or X-PRO, the same developer from it's successor, the A3i - I don't know exactly).

This version (with optional SRPP phono RIAA head amp modul) I know as a very fine sounded integrated amp despite sluggish/slow fuse in serial to the speaker connectors (instead DC protection relay contacts).

The schematic from this version I have and the topology is very close to those from douglas self blameless amp - only douglas self's buffer stage between the LTP and VAS stage isn't present here.

I've personally never heard the two later versions, but other user's tell me,
that they were disappointed about the sonic quality - compared to the first and discretely version from the A1 (BTW - in Germany the model name for the first version was "ATAC 3"/"ATAC3").

After check the images from the inside stuff (see attachments) the reason therefore is for me clear: Extremly cheap and bad capacitors for the power supply at both new versions of A1. Consequence is, that one hear mainly not the different amp topologies but the different quality standarts of the caps.

Now the question:
Who has heard all this versions by a compared listening test with high quality caps in the power supply?

Concerning this models there are follow threads here on diyaudio:
Cambridge Audio A1 Schematic
Cambridge Audio A1 V2 Amp Problem
Cambridge Audio A1 mk3 upgrade mods
Cambridge Audio A1 Gainclone Conversion
A broken cambridge audio A1 MK3
Cambridge A1 (mk2) Line-Amp Stage Power Suppy
Cambridge Audio A1 power amp section schematic?
Attached Images
File Type: jpg Cambridge Audio A1 front.jpg (98.8 KB, 303 views)
File Type: jpg Cambridge Audio A1 open.jpg (269.7 KB, 307 views)
File Type: jpg Cambridge Audio A1 rear.jpg (114.8 KB, 288 views)
File Type: jpg Cambridge Audio A1 MK-II rear.jpg (115.5 KB, 275 views)
File Type: jpg Cambridge Audio A1 MK-II open.jpg (88.3 KB, 278 views)
File Type: jpg Cambridge Audio A1 MK-II TDA1514A.jpg (125.4 KB, 116 views)
File Type: jpg Cambridge Audio A1 MK-II - mk3 front.jpg (30.1 KB, 95 views)
File Type: jpg Cambridge Audio A1 mk3 rear.jpg (116.3 KB, 55 views)
File Type: jpg Cambridge Audio A1 mk3 LM3875 open.jpg (91.2 KB, 113 views)
File Type: jpg Cambridge Audio A1 old+mk3 open.jpg (73.5 KB, 144 views)

Last edited by tiefbassuebertr; 9th April 2012 at 05:00 PM.
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Old 22nd January 2014, 02:08 PM   #2
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I just wondered if anyone knew of the difference between the 3 versions? It's looking very much like the original version is the one to look out for!

Would that be true?
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Old 24th January 2014, 10:13 AM   #3
a91gti is offline a91gti  United Kingdom
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I'd just like to figure out for sure which I have.
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Old 24th January 2014, 10:18 AM   #4
a91gti is offline a91gti  United Kingdom
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...and a look at the back panel (lol) reveals it to be a v2.
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Old 24th January 2014, 10:26 AM   #5
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Then it's possible the V2 is inferior to the V1 - who knows. Interesting that you own a Sony CDP-791, did you know that's also known as a Sony CDP-111ES? Is it a good sounding CD Player because there's one nearby in the charity shop which I have largely ignored.
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Old 24th January 2014, 10:27 AM   #6
AndrewT is offline AndrewT  Scotland
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which pic shows V2?

I can see a A1 mk3 SE V3 and an A1.
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Old 2nd March 2014, 10:56 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AndrewT View Post
which pic shows V2?

I can see a A1 mk3 SE V3 and an A1.
This are from a V2 (with the dual TDA configuration)
Click the image to open in full size. Click the image to open in full size.

What I realized so far is it seems one can usually tell from the front and the top case cut what is the power amp. technology fitted inside.

Version one has the volume at the right side of the case, were versions 2 and 3 have it at the centre.

v1 (volume at the right)
Click the image to open in full size.

other versions (volume at the centre)
Click the image to open in full size.

About the top cuts, with one like in the next pic, running from front to rear, it can be a 1st, 2nd or MK3 version
Click the image to open in full size.
1st has transistors in the audio power section, the 2nd have the TDAs (TDA1514 I think)

A rectangular area nearer the front, as the next picture shows, means that a single LM4766 is fitted inside, and it is version v3
Click the image to open in full size.


PS: MK3 can have, as far as know, versions 2 and 3. Just look at the top of the case to know if it has TDAs/LM3875 or a single LM4766

Last edited by Mortymore; 2nd March 2014 at 11:08 AM.
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Old 27th June 2014, 03:17 PM   #8
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Hi all, would anyone happen to have the schematic for a Cambridge Audio A1 Mk1 please?

Have just bought one of these and need to adjust the bias but have no idea where to measure it.

Thanks
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Old 28th June 2014, 07:46 AM   #9
AndrewT is offline AndrewT  Scotland
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Are you sure you need to measure and/or adjust the output bias?
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Old 28th June 2014, 08:12 AM   #10
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Hi Andrew,

Thanks for responding :-)

The left channel heatsink is remaining cold whilst the right is warm to the touch. I've used the schematic for the A3i to judge where to measure bias current and the right channel reading is 10mV whilst the left is 0.5mV.

I've noticed the left channel output transistors have been replaced at some point so assumed someone has forgotten to adjust the bias accordingly.

Really could do with the service manual to check for correct readings.
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