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Bookshelf Speakers

Cambridge Audio Evo S Loudspeakers: Review

At $799/pair, the Cambridge Audio Evo S bookshelf speakers complement the Evo series components rather well.

Cambridge Audio Evo S Bookshelf Speakers lifestyle as complete hi-fi audio system
Cambridge Audio Evo S loudspeakers with Evo CD and Evo 150

When Cambridge Audio launched its Evo lineup in 2021, very few members of the press made mention of the Evo S bookshelf loudspeakers that were displayed in the marketing materials.

The Evo 150 ($2,999), Evo 75 ($1,799) and Evo CD ($999, read our recent review here) stole all of the headlines and almost 3 years later — that needs to be rectified.

Cambridge Audio make loudspeakers? Rather excellent ones as we discovered only recently.

Our review of the Evo S ($799/pair) is part of a series on the entire Evo range, but we were rather surprised by just how authoritative and detailed these somewhat chunky bookshelf loudspeakers actually sound. 

Cambridge Audio Evo S Bookshelf Speaker with Evo 150
Cambridge Audio Evo S Bookshelf Speaker with Evo 150

Not only are they rather easy to drive (88dB, 8 ohms), but the silk dome tweeter is smooth, detailed, and one of the best performing of all the models on our “Best Budget Bookshelf Speakers of 2023” list.

The rear ported cabinet is built like a tank and better suited for a pair of 24″ stands to really maximize its superb imaging and strong mid bass output.

You can certainly place these on a credenza or media unit, but placement too close to the wall behind them will create too much bass impact and take away from the very open and clear sounding upper bass and lower midrange.

Cambridge Audio Evo CD Transport with EVO 150 DAC/Streamer/Amplifier in Black
Cambridge Audio Evo CD Transport with EVO 150 DAC/Streamer/Amplifier in Black

A real sleeper product that works extremely well with the Evo 150 network amplifier and many other integrated amplifiers. 

Having spent more than three months listening to the Evo S and Q Acoustics 5040 with the Evo 150/Evo CD combination — it behooves me to let people know that one could do far worse than this system.

$5,000 for this system, which still requires a turntable, is money very well spent.

The Evo 150 (review forthcoming) is my “Editor’s Choice” for best all-around component of 2023 and it has finally taken the throne from the Naim Uniti Atom as the network amplifier to buy below $4,000 in 2024.

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None of that diminishes the Uniti Atom which is still one of the best components of the past decade in high-end audio and well worth auditioning next to the Evo 150.

Evo S

Cambridge offers the Evo S in only one finish (Black Matte) and that’s too bad because the opportunity was there to match the removable wood side panels of the Evo components with something similar as an accent piece.

Cambridge Audio Evo S Bookshelf Speakers Black No Grille

The two-way bookshelf speakers are on the heftier side at almost 16 pounds apiece and measure 7.87″ x 11″ x 8.5″ (W x H x D).

Cambridge includes magnetic speaker grilles, two bass plugs, and a set of 10 foot loudspeaker cables in the packaging.

The aforementioned 88dB sensitivity rating (8 ohms) makes them a rather easy load and we had no issues driving them with less powerful amplifiers like the Cambridge Audio AXA35 and NAD C 316BEE V2 which are in the 40 watts/channel range.

The 1-inch silk dome tweeter is protected by a metal mesh cap and the 6.5-inch aluminium cone midrange/woofer is finished with a black outer ring.

A single pair of binding posts and a bass port finish the rear panel.

Cambridge Audio Evo S Bookshelf Speaker Black Rear


My thought process setting up the Evo S was that they would work rather well on a pair of 24-inch iron stands from GHA (Gig Harbor Audio) that I purchased years ago and have worked with a wide range of loudspeakers.

The combined 36 inch height (including the spikes) mattered a great deal for a taller listener like myself; the treble is exceptionally smooth and detailed but it loses some of its sparkle off-axis or when one stands up.

My dining room credenza placed the tweeter almost 48 inches off the floor and that created the ideal height when seated and working at the table. The 72 inch width created a rather wide soundstage across the room.

Amy Winehouse’s “Valerie” from the BBC Radio 1 Live Lounge (TIDAL, 16-bit/44.1kHz) performance has a slightly hot top end and whilst the performance is wonderfully engaging, it often exposes a bright sounding tweeter.

The Evo S barely flinched driven by the Evo 150 network amplifier and it became apparent listening to the rest of the album that the tweeter is remarkably well behaved whilst delivering a lot of energy and detail.

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When the treble began to roll-off, it was so high up in the range that one could not possibly feel that there was a real loss of extension or airiness.

It’s not smooth like sour cream on latkes on a cold Chanukah morning but very close.

The midrange does not exhibit any kind of additional emphasis that favors male or female vocals at either end; Sam Cooke and Nick Cave were delivered rather cleanly with just enough tonal weight to stand out somewhat from the instrumentation, whilst Natalie Merchant, Ella Fitzgerald, and Sinéad O’Connor were reproduced accurately without any additional coloration that might have homogenised their respective styles.

Cambridge Audio Evo S Bookshelf Speaker with grilles

The late singer’s “Last Day of Our Acquaintance” (TIDAL, 16-bit/44.1kHz) builds to a rather powerful climax and her ethereal delivery filled the air in the darkened room and demonstrated that the upper midrange and lower treble of the Evo S is rather competitive with some of the best bookshelf loudspeakers in the category.

The Q Acoustics 5020 and Evo S are rather similar in that regard; both deliver a lot of detail and top end presence without going over the line and that’s rather important when one thinks about system synergy and what kind of amplifier one is likely to match with them.

The 5020 deliver a much wider soundstage that extends across the entire width of the room; the Evo S pushes the sound out in front of the loudspeaker but only marginally to the side of each cabinet.

In a smaller room, it works quite well and the imaging is rock solid.

The bass range is tight, quick and well defined but it will not deliver a knock-out punch in your room; experimentation with the distance between the back of the cabinet and wall did not create that much of a difference in the dining room because we were only talking about an additional 4 or 5 inches.

Moving the stands closer to the wall in the den added slightly more impact in the mid bass and upper bass, but the sub bass range did not change dramatically.

Cambridge Audio Evo S Bookshelf Speaker Black No Grille with Evo 75 with CD selected

Final Thoughts

The Cambridge Audio Evo S Loudspeakers will not hit you over the head with a wall of sound or seduce you with a glossy hardwood finish.

What they do is reproduce music with authority, a high level of resolution, and a very open and detailed treble range that never gets out of hand.

Never fatiguing, boring, or unable to handle complex dynamic shifts when the music demands it.

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The tonal balance is on the more neutral side but that is easily remedied with a warmer sounding amplifier.

Combined with the Evo 150 and Evo CD, the Cambridge Evo S are a surprisingly great pair of loudspeakers at a rather agreeable price.

Where to buy$799/pair at Audio Advice | Cambridge Audio

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