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Foto © Cambridge Audio | Cambridge Audio Alva TT V2 and Cambridge Audio Alva ST
Foto © Cambridge Audio | Cambridge Audio Alva TT V2 and Cambridge Audio Alva ST

Cambridge Audio Alva TT V2 and Cambridge Audio Alva ST

Not only does Cambridge Audio present the new Cambridge Audio Alva TT V2, the successor to its first record player, but the English hi-fi manufacturer now also presents the little brother Cambridge Audio Alva ST alongside this new model.

Cambridge Audio Alva TT V2, the successor to the Cambridge Audio Alva TT presented by Cambridge Audio in 2019, the first record player ever from the English hi-fi company Cambridge Audio.

But that’s not all: at the same time as the Cambridge Audio Alva TT V2, the company is presenting another turntable, the new Cambridge Audio Alva ST, which will join the top model as its little brother.

First record player for the 50th birthday

Even though the official 50th birthday of Cambridge Audio was actually in 2018, the presentation of the Cambridge Audio Alva TT at the beginning of 2019 was nevertheless marked by this event.

Cambridge Audio celebrates half a century of “Great British Sound” and takes this as an occasion to honour a very special medium, namely the vinyl record. For this reason, the Cambridge Audio Alva TT, the first record player from the English company, was presented with the intention of bringing the record into the digital age.

It is therefore obvious that the Cambridge Audio Alva TT should be a particularly ambitious turntable, whereby the decision was made to actually design a “complete package”. The record player was equipped in such a way that it is immediately ready to play, so it was given a matching cartridge in the form of the Cambridge Audio Alva TT MC Cartridge, equipped with an integrated phono preamplifier, and even relied on flexible connectivity via Bluetooth.

Cambridge Audio Alva TT V2 and Cambridge Audio Alva ST – Consistent further development and first-class entry into the world of vinyl

After Cambridge Audio had already designed a very ambitious turntable with the Cambridge Audio Alva TT, which proved to be extremely successful, there was of course no reason to change the basic concept. The new Cambridge Audio Alva TT V2 presents itself as a solution in which details have been refined and thus a consistent further development has been carried out.

The Cambridge Audio Alva ST is also based on the Cambridge Audio Alva TT, but designed in such a way that a lower price point could be achieved. This turntable should therefore have a somewhat simpler housing finish, is not designed as a direct drive like its big brother, but rather as a belt drive, and has a simpler turntable design. However, in many other sound-defining components, the turntable is almost identical to the new Cambridge Audio Alva TT V2 and thus, according to Cambridge Audio, a first-class entry into the fascinating world of vinyl sound in the style of the English hi-fi forge.

Vinyl at the cutting edge

Of course, Cambridge Audio is aware that streaming is the market leader in the hi-fi sector; after all, the company is one of the pioneers in the industry with its Cambridge Audio StreamMagic platform.

Nevertheless, many users appreciate the special charm of vinyl, even if it is only because of the special handling of the sound carrier, where listening to music is virtually celebrated.

It is remarkable that Cambridge Audio dedicates itself to this trend in such a way that they do not rely on a puristic analogue solution, but rather try to combine analogue with “digital”. The two new turntables are thus also designed as complete solutions that are ready to play immediately and whose possibilities extend to “wireless” integration into a modern hi-fi chain.

Optimised for the best sound from vinyl

Both the Cambridge Audio Alva TT V2 and the new Cambridge Audio Alva ST entry-level drive are optimised for the best sound, according to Cambridge Audio’s promise, but also for the simplest operation.

As already mentioned, the new Cambridge Audio Alva TT V2 is designed in the proven manner as a direct drive, whereas the Cambridge Audio Alva ST relies on a belt drive.

While the Cambridge Audio Alva TT V2 has a turntable made of POM, i.e. polyoxymethylene and thus a material with optimal properties for this task, the Cambridge Audio Alva ST relies on a turntable made of die-cast aluminium, which is absolutely flat and perfectly balanced due to CNC production.

Both turntables use the same tonearm, a solution that was largely adopted from the Cambridge Audio Alva TT, but with improvements in one crucial detail. The company speaks of a tonearm with the highest stability but very low mass, which now has a further improved tonearm bearing.

At its end, the tonearm has a bayonet lock for an aluminium headshell, so that in principle it is very easy to change the pick-up system, but more on that in a moment.

Whether direct drive on the Cambridge Audio Alva TT V2 or belt drive on the new Cambridge Audio Alva ST, the speed is electronically controlled and can be selected between 33 1/3 and 45 revolutions per minute at the touch of a button.

Cartridge system fitted ex works

Both turntables are equipped with cartridge systems ex works, whereby the Cambridge Audio Alva TT V2 uses the proven Cambridge Audio Alva TT MC cartridge. This is characterised by a very dynamic, fine-drawing reproduction.

The Cambridge Audio Alva ST, on the other hand, is equipped with an MM pick-up system, whereby Cambridge Audio uses an Audio-Technica AT-VM95e from the specialist Audio-Technica Ltd. and thus a proven entry-level model at a very reasonable price. In principle, you can get by with this, but you can always upgrade to higher-quality models; the aforementioned design with exchangeable headshell of the tonearm makes this possible without any problems, even for beginners.

Integrated phono preamplifier

Both the Cambridge Audio Alva TT V2 and the Cambridge Audio Alva ST are equipped with an integrated phono preamplifier, which the manufacturer describes as a high-quality design with RIAA equalisation at a deviation of only 0.3 decibels and which is said to have an impedance of over 90 decibels, so that it need not fear comparison with external solutions. Nevertheless, and this is new, this phono preamplifier can now be deactivated, so that an upgrade is possible at any time.

Bluetooth with aptX HD

A Bluetooth module in a record player is a feature that is always the subject of discussion in the relevant circles. Of course, signal transmission via Bluetooth contradicts the idea of a purely analogue chain, which is what many vinyl lovers want, but these are probably not the target group of these Cambridge Audio turntables. Rather, they are aimed at customers who want a simple, yet high-quality playback of records, and Bluetooth is a relevant feature in this respect.

Especially if you solve it the way Cambridge Audio has done with the new Cambridge Audio Alva TT V2 and Cambridge Audio Alva ST turntables by using a Bluetooth module with support for aptX and even aptX HD. This enables signal transmission at 24 bit and 48 kHz, so there is no need to worry about any significant loss of quality.

And besides, there is also the possibility to connect the drives to the hi-fi chain via cable…

Small differences in design

Even though the two new drives look quite similar at first glance, there are differences in detail.

For example, the Cambridge Audio Alva TT V2 has a brushed aluminium top plate with the manufacturer’s logo engraved on it. The chassis of the Cambridge Audio Alva ST has to do without this additional cover plate made of aluminium, this is also painted in silver on the top and the logo of the manufacturer is applied by screen printing.

“The original Alva TT was the world’s first aptX HD Bluetooth turntable – and the response to it exceeded all our expectations. The new Alva TT V2 continues to combine the convenience of modern streaming with the rich listening experience of vinyl, taking into account the feedback from listeners of the first turntable. The all-new Alva ST brings this experience to even more audio enthusiasts with its affordable price.” Stuart George, Managing Director, Cambridge Audio

Prices and availability

The new record players from Cambridge Audio have now been unveiled at CES 2022 and are expected to be in stores in spring 2022, according to the manufacturer. The company states a recommended retail price of € 1,999 for the Cambridge Audio Alva TT V2 and € 999 for the Cambridge Audio Alva ST.

Getting to the point

The fact that Cambridge Audio approaches the subject of vinyl with high ambitions was already shown by the Cambridge Audio Alva TT, which the Englishmen presented in 2019. Now this successful model is being used as the basis for the second generation, which has been improved in some crucial details and is being presented in the form of the new Cambridge Audio Alva TT V2. But that’s not all: the fine drive is accompanied by an equally fine new entry-level model, the Cambridge Audio Alva ST. Both drives are designed to appeal to a wide range of customers who want an impeccably equipped drive that is ready to play straight away and, with Bluetooth in hi-res audio quality, also allows flexible integration into modern hi-fi chains.

PRODUCTCAMBRIDGE AUDIO ALVA TT V2 UND CAMBRIDGE AUDIO ALVA ST
PriceCambridge Audio Alva TT V2 € 1.999,-
Cambridge Audio Alva ST € 999,-
BrandCAMBRIDGE AUDIO
ManufacturerCambridge Audio
Distribution AustriaAudio Tuning Vertriebs GmbH
Distribution GermanyCambridge Audio
Distribution SwitzerlandLakeside Audio SA
More about this manufacturer at HIFI BLOG

About Michael Holzinger

Michael Holzinger, founder and editor-in-chief of HiFi BLOG and sempre-audio.com, has been working for years as a journalist in the fields of IT, photography, telecommunications and consumer electronics.

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