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History of the manufacturer  

Cambridge Audio (Laboratories, Research, Partnership) Ltd.; St. Ives, Huntingdon (later London)

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Name: Cambridge Audio (Laboratories, Research, Partnership) Ltd.; St. Ives, Huntingdon (later London)    (GB)  
Abbreviation: cambridgea
Products: Model types

Cambridge Audio Laboratories Ltd.
The River Mill, St. Ives, Huntington PE17 4EP (1968-1971)

Cambridge Audio Ltd.
The River Mill, St. Ives, Huntington PE17 4EP (1971-1975)
Byfleet, Surrey. (1975-1980)

Cambridge Audio Research Ltd.
The River Mill, St. Ives, Huntington PE17 4EP (1980-1990)

Cambridge Audio
Wharfedale Factory, Leeds, Yorkshire (1990-1994)

Audio Partnership Plc.
Gallery Court, Hankey Place, London SE1 4BB

Brand: Cambridge Audio, Mordaunt-Short, Opus Technologies

Cambridge Audio is a British manufacturer of high-end audio equipment from 1968 and its name is still a champion of the unmistakable ‘British Sound’ that so many audiophiles around the world have grown to love and appreciate. Cambridge Audio is known and respected for its high standards and its dedicated engineering teams that design and develop each product in-house. In 1994 they were acquired by Audio Partnership Plc and manufacture a range of Hi-Fi, home cinema and multi-room products.

Founded: 1968
Production: 1968 -

Cambridge Audio was formed as a division of Cambridge Consultants in 1968.

Their first product the P40 amplifier was designed by a team that included Gordon Edge and Peter Lee. The slim line case was designed by Roy Grey from Woodhuysen Design.

Cambridge Audio became a standalone business when a new company, Cambridge Audio Laboratories Ltd., was formed, operating from extensive premises alongside the old Enderby's Mill in St. Ives, Cambridge. The P40 was an immediate success, but would prove difficult to manufacture in any volume, a problem that would be resolved in 1970 with the introduction of the new 2 × 25W P50 model, which was a very similar product with regards to both circuit design and appearance, but had been engineered for mass production. Despite strong sales and rapid growth, the company required increased investment and so was sold in 1971 to Colin Hammond of CE Hammond & Co Ltd.  then a successful distributor of Revox tape recorders and other audio products in the UK, Canada and the USA.

A new company, Cambridge Audio Ltd, was formed, with leading UK electrical engineer Stan Curtis joining as the organisation's technical director. The St. Ives factory was extensive and at its peak employed more than 300 people. Most of the required components were made under one roof including the circuit boards and the aluminium cases. All transistors were made to CA's specification and even carried the company's own part numbers. Every product was extensively tested after manufacture and a printed certificate was produced for every individual unit detailing the actual measured performance results.

In 1971 they introduced their first loudspeaker R50, an acoustic transmission line speaker, designed by Bert Webb. This was soon followed by the P100 and P50 Mk II integrated amplifiers.

They introduced the P110 integrated amplifier and their first turntable in 1973.

In 1975 with the launch of the Classic One 2 × 25W integrated amplifier, one of the first to feature a new circuit design from Cambridge Audio and with much of the circuitry contained in custom-made integrated circuits, a world's first, along with the use of multi-layer printed circuit boards for the first time. This was soon followed by the Classic Two, 100-watt per channel amplifier.

The company suffered staff loses and production issues which resulted in the complex Classic Series being replaced with an updated version of the P60 called the P80. Sales declined and in 1980 the company was sold to Vince Adams, a hi-fi entrepreneur.

Cambridge Audio Research Ltd. was formed in 1980, and Stan Curtis was the chief design engineer. The new range of products similar to the original Cambridge products but were physically larger. In 1984 the parent company ran into financial difficulties and the company was taken over by Stan and Angie Curtis and moved back to St. Ives in Cambridge. They renamed the company to Cambridge Audio International.

Business expanded rapidly over the next four years and they established markets in over 28 countries around the world. Their products received excellent reviews in hi-fi magazines.

In 1985 they introduced the world’s first two-box CD player. It featured DAC stages in separate boxes and the transport was mounted on a lead beam suspension to reduce disc reading errors and an audio stage offered 6 alternative playback filters. It was soon updated into a 3-box version with the addition of a monitoring module that monitored disc errors and quantified those that could not be corrected. The player was extremely popular with Audiophiles. They introduced the C50 pre-amplifier and the A50 power amplifier on the success of the CD2.

The continued expansion of the company put a strain on both its physical and financial resources and at the end of 1988 Cambridge Audio became part of the Hi-Fi Markets Group. The product range underwent another significant change in appearance with the low profile black cases giving way to full height cases finished in a neutral grey colour. Internally though, the existing Stan Curtis circuit designs were retained with key new product launches for the DAC2 and DAC3 digital-to-analogue converters and the T40 FM tuner.

Within two years Cambridge Audio was purchased by the Wharfedale company, best known for its loudspeakers, which set up a production line at its large facility in Leeds, Yorkshire.

Wharfedale was undergoing major re-organisation by a team that included Stan Curtis. Despite his sentimental attachment to Cambridge Audio, he realised the company needed a new home that could focus on the electronics and so the decision was made to divest Cambridge Audio and in 1994 the company would be sold.

It was purchased by Audio Partnership by two businessmen, Julian Richer and James Johnson Flint.

A key element in the purchase of Cambridge Audio by Audio Partnership was the determination that the brand would continue as a true creator, developer, and manufacturer of its own dedicated products. From the start of this new era the company was committed to the idea that Cambridge Audio should continue to create ground-breaking, original, and proprietary technologies.

Audio Partnership set up production facilities in China, with Cambridge Audio products manufactured in the country from 1994.

The company established an office in Hong Kong in 2001 and an office in mainland China in 2011, allowing Cambridge Audio to have its own production and QC engineers on site. Sales offices and teams were established in Germany and Hong Kong in 2015.

Investment in new products continues and the company now employs 91 people including an in-house engineering team of 24, based at the Cambridge Audio HQ in London, SE1 and at the company's Cambridge base.

From Wikipedia, accessed June 2020.

This manufacturer was suggested by Michael Watterson.

Some models:
Country Year Name 1st Tube Notes
GB  71 P50 BC461  Output 2 x 25 watts (nearly 35 watts both channels driven with little distortion). Two ... 
GB  69 Amplifier P40 2N4286  Vollverstärker mit zwei Phono-Eingänge, Rekorder Ein- und Ausgang, Tuner- und Aux-Einga... 
GB  04 Integrated Amplifier Azur 340a   Power output: 40 watts per channel into 8 Ohms (stereo)   Frequency respon... 
GB  05 Compact Disc Player azur 640C    
GB  72 Monitor Loudspeaker with Acoustic Transmission Line R50   The R50 Monitor Loudspeaker features the KEF B139, low frequency driver, active from appro... 
GB  87 Compact Disc Player CD2   The Cambridge Audio CD2 Compact Disc player was a later, more compact version of the CD1. ... 
GB  90 Compact Disc Player CD3   Cambridge Audio, CD3 Compact Disc player, designed by Stan Curtis. Incorporates. 16x... 
GB  15 Integrated Amplifier CXA80   CXA80 features a dual-mono, class AB amplifier, rated at 80 Watts RMS per channel. The ... 
GB  15 Integrated Amplifier CXA60   CXA60 features a dual-mono, class AB amplifier, rated at 60 Watts RMS per channel. The ... 
GB  85 Compact Disc Player CD1   Cambridge Audio, CD1 Compact Disc player designed by Stan Curtis was the most elaborate an... 
GB  74 Integrated Amplifier P60   The Cambridge P60 brought radical changes to stereo amplifier design and operational conce... 
GB  72 AM/FM Stereo Tuner R501   AM/FM Stereo Tuner. The IF stages use two high quality ceramic filters, plus discrete a... 


Further details for this manufacturer by the members (rmfiorg):

Cambridge Audio US advert for the CD1 with Stan Curtis. Audio Nov 1988 Page 174tbn_gb_cambridgea_audio_nov_1988_page_174.jpg