From the horse’s mouth
Another product appears that bridges the home network with high-quality sound, this time in the form a network media receiver that can connect to a set of high-quality speakers.
Cambridge Audio have released the Minx Xi which is a network media receiver that has an integrated 40-watt amplifier that can drive most good-quality bookshelf speakers. This is similar to equipment like the Denon CEOL Piccolo music system that I previously reviewed or the Linn DS network media players.
This unit has been engineered for high-quality digital sound reproduction and can serve as a digital amplifier for most digital-audio sources. Like most of these devices, the Minx Xi can pick up the “new shortwave” that is the Internet radio as well as access to BBC iPlayer or Pandora.
You can play the file-based digital music content from your UPnP AV/DLNA network-attached storage device and have the best-case sound coming from the content. This includes the content that is prepared for high-quality sound reproduction such as 192khz/24-bit master files or files delivered using FLAC or AAC. This content can also be held on a USB hard disk or memory key; or you could stream content from any Bluetooth-capable smartphone or portable device.
You could set this system up to work with a pair of bookshelf or freestanding speakers and choose to augment the bass for those speakers that are “thin” in that regard using an active subwoofer.
Like most of this equipment, this unit supports control from smartphones or tablets using a manufacturer-supplied app which can lead to quicker access to desired content. Of course, you can control the Minx Xi from its front panel or remote control, which comes in handy if you quickly want to skip tracks, pause the music to take a phone call or “wind the wick up” for your favourite song.
It represents a trend to provide network-capable audio equipment that can be the heart of a high-quality three-piece music system suitable for those small apartments that are part of the downsizing culture.