Cambridge Audio Alva TT V2

2 weeks ago 14

The Cambridge Audio Alva TT V2 finesses the conception to present a turntable that’s mode much convenient than the norm, and 1 that’s capable to clasp its caput precocious successful axenic show presumption too.

Pros

  • +

    Thorough and worthwhile specification

  • +

    Balanced, insightful and engaging sound

  • +

    Built to past astir disasters

Cons

  • -

    Not perfectly dynamic oregon nonstop dependable

  • -

    Performs champion erstwhile hard-wired

  • -

    Price is creeping up

Cambridge Audio Alva TT V2: one-minute review

The Cambridge Audio Alva TT V2 is the updated mentation of a turntable that caused a spot of a disturbance erstwhile it launched – here, astatine last, was a premium turntable that wanted to connection much convenience than is normal. Specifically, wireless streaming – and hi-res wireless streaming astatine that. Acclaim was contiguous and more-or-less universal.

So Cambridge is backmost with a new, much costly and mildly updated Alva TT: the V2. Its integrated phono signifier is present switchable. It has a caller tonearm and cartridge. The terms has risen a little. But V2 retains the original’s bank-vault physique quality, aptX HD hi-res wireless streaming smarts, and wide aerial of profound solidity that made it 1 of the best turntables around.

It besides retains a batch of the original’s sonic emphases. The Alva TT V2 is simply a deft, creaseless and insightful listen, a small abbreviated of dynamic headroom but precise agelong so connected item retrieval, tonal equilibrium and generously engaging sound. 

Yes, this benignant of wealth tin bargain a much rigorous sonic cognition and much dynamic headroom astatine the aforesaid time. What it won’t bargain is amended physique quality, greater midrange fidelity, thing similar arsenic overmuch convenience, oregon the quality to perceive straight connected the best wireless headphones. So, adjacent much truthful than is accustomed connected these pages, you request to marque a worth judgement.

Cambridge Audio Alva TT V2: terms and merchandise date

  • $1,999 / £1,699 / AU$3,699
  • Release successful May 2022

The Cambridge Audio Alva TT V2 turntable was released successful outpouring 2022, and it's officially priced astatine $1,999 / £1,699 / AU$3,699. Don't expect to find it with overmuch of a discount, either.

That’s superior wealth for a grounds subordinate – and it’s the benignant of wealth that brings rather a fewer high-profile alternatives into view. Everyone from Clearaudio and Rega successful Europe, Technics successful Japan and VPI successful the United States volition happily merchantability you a turntable for this benignant of wealth with high-end audio credentials – though they won’t beryllium rather truthful extensively specified, admittedly. In fact, let's instrumentality a look astatine the features now.

Cambridge Audio Alva TT V2 connected  woody  surface

Naturally, you tin usage the Cambridge Audio Alva TT V2 with particulate screen oregon without. (Image credit: Future)

Cambridge Audio Alva TT V2: plan and features

  • 24bit/48kHz aptX HD wireless streaming
  • Integrated, switchable phono stage
  • Direct-drive operation

As acold arsenic existent ‘design’ is concerned, thing astir the Cambridge Audio Alva TT v2 is going to astonishment oregon startle you. This turntable is designed to look similar a turntable, albeit a nicely constructed and finished one, and arsenic specified is ne'er going to beryllium an interior decorator’s favourite item.

That’s not to accidental it doesn’t look good, oregon a batch similar the outgoing Alva TT, though. A hefty, smoothly finished chassis is topped by a tactile aluminium plinth with the ‘Cambridge’ logo punched into 1 country and 3 buttons (‘power on/off’, ‘33.3’ and ‘45’) nicely recessed into another. The full happening is covered by a hinged, smoked-plastic dust-cover.

On apical of the plinth there’s an highly hefty polyoxymethylene platter, and disconnected to 1 broadside an wholly caller plan of tonearm. For this V2 model, the tonearm present features anti-skate arsenic good arsenic counter-weight accommodation and has a detachable headshell for easiness of cartridge-replacement. It’s pre-fitted with a cartridge, of people – a high-output Cambridge Audio moving coil enactment with a replacement outgo (according to the brand’s website) of £499.

On the inside, the Alva TT v2 uses a direct-drive mechanics to crook that chunky platter – but this is nary DJ-centric turntable for hooking into a mixer. Cambridge Audio asserts the champion mode to warrant rotational stableness is to specify a medium-torque direct-drive centrifugal successful conjunction with a high-density platter. That’s what this turntable has, and portion it takes a crook oregon 2 longer than you mightiness beryllium expecting to travel up to speed, erstwhile it’s determination it’s unshakeable.

On the rear of the chassis are a fig of items of interest. There’s powerfulness input and a brace of stereo RCA analogue outputs for transportation to an amplifier, which are some beauteous overmuch par for the course. 

There’s besides a power for the integrated phono signifier – this circuitry is based intimately connected the well-received Alva Duo stand-alone phono signifier Cambridge Audio introduced a portion backmost and, dissimilar the archetypal Alva TT, it’s optional. Turn it connected and the V2 outputs astatine a line-level immoderate amplifier tin handle; crook it disconnected and the awesome volition request to beryllium boosted by pre-amp circuitry connected committee an amplifier oregon by an outer phono stage. 

So if the owner’s strategy already includes capable amplification, it’s imaginable to comparison the V2’s onboard amplification with that of the strategy into which it’s playing and marque a determination based connected perceived dependable quality. This is an betterment connected the archetypal Alva TT, the ‘always on’ phono signifier of which seemed a small unhelpful.

There’s besides a power to crook Bluetooth connectivity connected oregon off, positive a fastener to initiate Bluetooth pairing. Unlike the bulk of Bluetooth-equipped turntables, which are mostly entry-level devices that prioritise convenience implicit each else, the Alva TT V2 is deadly superior astir wireless streaming. So it’s specified to enactment the aptX HD Bluetooth codec, and tin watercourse astatine an authentically high-resolution 24bit/48kHz. 

Which means that if you privation a turntable that tin beryllium wherever you privation it to, alternatively than wherever it insists connected being, and present the audio goods wirelessly, well… Cambridge Audio continues to beryllium the lone crippled successful town.

Cambridge Audio Alva TT V2 tonearm

You get a precise high-quality (and pricey) cartridge included successful the container with the Cambridge Audio Alva TT V2. (Image credit: Future)

Cambridge Audio Alva TT V2: audio performance

  • Articulate and awesome wireless performance
  • Very susceptible integrated phono stage
  • Lacks a small dynamism and positivity  

Unlike the bulk of turntables, determination are 3 ways of listening to the Alva TT V2: Hard-wired to an amplifier with phono amplification turned on; the aforesaid but with the phono signifier turned off; and wirelessly via Bluetooth. 

And portion determination are beauteous evident differences successful the mode the Cambridge presents your vinyl, its cardinal cognition doesn’t change nary substance the mode you determine to perceive to it. In each circumstances, it’s a poised, perceptive and engaging perceive – and arsenic agelong arsenic you (and your music) aren’t permanently successful ‘party on!’ mode, it’s a satisfying listen.

That it sounds amended erstwhile hard-wired than erstwhile streaming wirelessly shouldn’t travel arsenic a astonishment to anyone. What is rather startling, though, is conscionable however accomplished the Alva TT V2 sounds erstwhile streaming via Bluetooth. 

With a dense reissue of Miles Davis’ Kind of Blue spinning and the turntable streaming to a Naim Uniti Star streamer/amplifier portion physically connected lone to power, the Cambridge sounds full, elaborate and rather eloquent. There is much than capable item retained to marque the nuances of the musicians’ techniques apparent, and capable power of the full frequence scope to marque the signaling dependable authentically similar a performance. Bass is heavy and agile, the apical extremity is acceptably crisp, and the midrange communicates successful unambiguous fashion.

The soundstage is reasonably good organised and rather expansive, and there’s ne'er immoderate anticipation of 1 constituent of the signaling intruding into the abstraction of another. Low-level dynamic penetration is bully excessively – a signaling similar this is live with insignificant harmonic variations, and the Alva TT V2 is beauteous alert to them. 

It’s not rather arsenic palmy wherever the broader dynamic peaks and troughs of a signaling are concerned, though – it’s not arsenic if the Cambridge sounds level oregon operates astatine a azygous level, but the dynamic ebb and travel of a signaling isn’t expressed arsenic afloat arsenic it mightiness be.

Our Naim doesn’t person immoderate phono amplification, truthful the Cambridge is archetypal hard-wired with its interior amplification switched on, and past via a Chord Huei stand-alone phono signifier with the Alva TT V2’s amplification switched off. The differences successful performance, it has to beryllium said, are rather predictable.

Using its ain on-board amplification, the Cambridge gains a grade of positivity compared to its wireless sound. It’s inactive a creaseless and elaborate listen, but debased frequencies summation a small alacrity wherever onslaught and decay are acrophobic portion the apical extremity is simply a small much assertive too. It’s conscionable a much businesslike mode to listen, adjacent though the wide TT V2 sonic signature is overmuch the same. When hard-wired, it’s conscionable somewhat snappier.

The interior amplification is so comparable to the Alva Duo phono signifier connected which it’s intimately based, which is unequivocally a bully thing. Unsurprisingly, though, it’s nary lucifer for the pricier Chord Huei phono signifier – and portion the Chord is disproportionately costly successful the discourse of the remainder of this system, it does let the Cambridge to afloat show some what it’s susceptible of and what its limitations are.

The shaping of debased frequencies steps up again erstwhile listening this way. Rhythmic look becomes much certain, transient item retrieval improves and the unity, the togetherness of the idiosyncratic elements of a signaling seems much earthy and instinctive than before. Even an over-specified phono signifier can’t assistance the Alva TT V2’s flimsy deficiency of dynamic potency, though, nor coax greater directness from its wide performance.

Cambridge Audio Alva TT V2 connections

The Cambridge Audio Alva TT V2's transportation labelling is upside down, for erstwhile you're leaning implicit the top, see? (Image credit: Future)

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Simon Lucas

Simon Lucas is simply a elder editorial nonrecreational with heavy acquisition of print/digital publishing and the user electronics landscape. Based successful Brighton, Simon worked astatine TechRadar's sister tract What HiFi? for a fig of years, arsenic some a features exertion and a integer editor, earlier embarking connected a vocation successful freelance consultancy, contented creation, and journalism for immoderate of the biggest brands and publications successful the world. 

With tremendous expertise successful each things location entertainment, Simon reviews everything from turntables to soundbars for TechRadar, and besides likes to dip his toes into longform features and buying guides. His bylines include GQ, The Guardian, Hi-Fi+, Metro, The Observer, Pocket Lint, Shortlist, Stuff T3, Tom's Guide, Trusted Reviews, and more.

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