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Features and Operation

By Danny Phillips



  • Recommended by TR
Cambridge Audio NP30


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Naturally for a device dedicated to playing digital music, format support is wide-ranging. It plays studio-quality (24-bit/96kHz) FLAC and WAV files - with Cambridge Audio keen to stress their ‘better than CD’ sound quality - as well as lower bitrate versions of these files. Also on the list is MP3 (CBR and VBR), AAC, HE AAC and AAC , Ogg Vorbis, AIFF and WMA.

Under the bonnet is an array of premium components designed to keep those audio signals sounding as clean as possible, including a Wolfson digital-to-analogue converter (DAC). The player’s internal workings are all geared up to keep jitter at bay, an excess of which can harm sound quality.

Download the free UuVol remote app and you can control the NP30 with an iPhone, as well as simplifying setup and managing streaming services and internet radio.

Cambridge Audio NP30

The current line-up of streaming services comprises Aupeo, Live365, MP3tunes and BBC iPlayer Radio, but not Napster or Spotify – their inclusion would have made it an even more formidable selection.

With UPnP devices, setup is blissfully simple. The NP30 connects to your network quickly and easily. It automatically determines whether you’re using a wired or wireless connection and searches for Wi-Fi access points when you first fire it up, displaying them clearly in a list. The unit supports WEP, WPA and WPA2 Wi-Fi encryption, and entering the password using front panel’s alphanumeric grid is simple enough.

Accessing the music you want couldn’t be simpler. Hit the Home button on the remote and you get a list of four options – UuVol Radio, Streaming Services, Media and Podcasts. Select media streaming and it finds any uPnP servers such as laptops, PCs or NAS drives without hesitation and again displays their names in a list ready for selection.

Cambridge Audio NP30

Once you’ve found the relevant server, your music can be displayed using all the usual metadata (genre, album, artist etc) but there’s also an alphanumeric keyword search that saves you the hassle of scrolling through pages and pages to find a particular song. When scrolling down lists, the NP30 hesitates briefly when it loads each page (and only four items are shown at once).

Cambridge Audio NP30

Armchair navigation is made possible by the supplied remote, which boasts classy build quality. It’s weighty, styled in an attractive silver finish and sports tidily arranged rubber buttons. It’s a treat to use, although some of the labelling is a little small.


November 28, 2011, 4:04 pm

The Squeezebox touch manages more or less the same functionality including 24-bit/96kHz FLAC in a much smaller physical footprint for about 60% of the cost. And supports Spotify.


November 29, 2011, 8:26 pm

Completely agree with above - Squeezebox is the way to go. I tried using UPnP and it's a total fail with anything but the smallest of music libraries.


December 1, 2011, 5:44 pm

Looking at the unit I'm guessing they're going for a more techphobic crowd and selling on the sound quality. To me the pixel display is unnecessay as is the remote as I'd much rather use a smartphone app as the controller.

I would imagine this would have an edge over squeezebox in terms of sound quality as the components are first rate but no napster/spotify is a deal breaker for me.


December 1, 2011, 7:06 pm

Yeah, this ^. The Squeezebox has traditionally been aimed at a more techy, less audiophiliac crowd.

That's not to say that it produces a bad sound. The Squeezebox Touch features the same Wolfson DAC as found in many high-end CD players and streamers. It may not sound as good as the NP30, but I'd wager it's not far off, and a bargain at the price.

Peter de Bock

July 12, 2015, 7:29 pm

There is great news: The RECENT new firmware release supports SPOTIFY !! Tested this week and it works perfect using an IPad with the spotify app. Great!
Regards, Peter

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