This new Cambridge Audio Solo MM phono preamplifier is an upgrade of the CP1 phono preamp.
CAMBRIDGE AUDIO SOLO: FRONT AND BACK PANEL
This preamplifier has the same casing as the previous version but the brushed finish is a little different. The front panel has the brand logo engraved in it and a power on/off button equipped with a LED.
The back panel includes two sets of RCA (inputs and outputs) as well as a ground screw. There is also an interesting balance control! The manufacturer is trying to convince us that this balance control has a purpose... but honestly I am still looking for one…
The external DC power supply of the CP1 has disappeared and instead there is an IEC plug.
CAMBRIDGE AUDIO SOLO: POWER SUPPLY
However, when opening the device, we can clearly notice that unlike some manufacturers, Cambridge Audio has not opted for a traditional (but efficient!) power supply with transformer, diode bridge, and capacitance. The manufacturer has instead integrated a switched-mode power supply! Strange…
CAMBRIDGE AUDIO SOLO: ELECTRONICS
Regarding the audio scheme, Cambridge Audio has made several improvements. The audio signal has been shortened (use of CMS), the quality of the components has been improved, and the energy consumption reduced. Indeed, we can notice that the Cambridge Audio Solo automatically powers down if no input signal is present for more than 20 minutes.
This entry level model is only compatible with phono cartridges that have an output level superior to 3mV, which means exclusively MM cartridges (moving magnet) and a few high output MC cartridges (moving coil).
The data announced by Cambridge Audio are flattering: the signal-to-noise ratio is -90 dB, the bandwidth is 30 Hz - 20 kHz, and the total harmonic distortion is inferior to 0.0025%!
CAMBRIDGE AUDIO SOLO: TESTING AND LISTENING
The listening experience is faithful to the sound signature of the manufacturer. The sound restitution is very analogue and particularly “soft” and “warm”. The sound is neither aggressive nor harsh. The unison is however defined and precise.
This Cambridge Audio Solo MM phono preamp will not please everyone due to its relatively typical restitution and its lack in versatility (only MM, no settings, and limited gain). It will however please enthusiasts of the brand who are looking for a more traditional restitution…
Compatibility: MM cartridge superior to 3mV
Gain at 1KHZ: 39 dB
RIAA curve accuracy: +/- 0,65 dB 30 Hz-20 kHz
Signal-to-noise ratio (20 HZ-20 KHZ): > 90 dB
Distortion: < 0,0025 %
Input impedance: 47 kOhms
Input capacitance: 100 pF
Nominal output: 300 mV
Output sensitivity: 3.35 mV
Crosstalk at 10 KHZ: >85 dB
Consumption: 10 W
Dimensions: 48 x 176 x 132 mm
Weight: 0.68 kg