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Cambridge Audio S30

Bookshelf speakers (Noir)

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  • Cambridge Audio S30

    Front

  • Cambridge Audio S30

    Back (Dark Oak)

  • Cambridge Audio S30

    Noir (shown with grilles off)

Item #: 779S30N
 

Review Summary

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Our take on the Cambridge Audio S30

by Kristen Schaub
Cambridge Audio

Why choose bookshelf speakers?

Bookshelf speakers may be small in size, but they can deliver surprisingly big sound. Some ultra-compact models even fit on a desktop. Most are right at home in tight spaces like shelves, so they're usually good choices for your home theater's rear channels. For the best performance, try placing bookshelf speakers on solid speaker stands to help the sound really "open up." If you want full bass impact, add a powered subwoofer and enjoy punchy sound that's as deeply satisfying as that of floor-standing speakers.

Stylish looks, punchy sound

Experience the crisp treble, surprisingly deep bass, and extraordinary soundstage that Cambridge Audio's S30 speakers deliver. You'll be amazed that these compact bookshelf speakers have the power to make your favorite concerts, movies, and sports come to life. These monitors are ideal for home theater or stereo setups in small-to-medium-sized rooms, or as hi-fi desktop computer speakers. Just add the matching S90 powered subwoofer and listen to these babies really sing!


Designed and engineered with passion

All of Cambridge Audio's S-series speakers are carefully designed and tested at their London facility by a team of engineers fueled by a passion for incredible sound. Unlike some compact speakers which can sound shrill or fatiguing, each S30 uses a 1" soft dome tweeter for silky smooth highs. It features a state-of-the-art motor system with a neodymium magnet and critically selected voice coil assembly. The 4-1/2" woven composite mid/woofer delivers accurate midrange and powerful, yet controlled bass with minimal distortion.

A rigid phase plug at the center of the woofer cone improves the S30's off-axis response, so you can enjoy seamless audio even if you're not sitting directly in front of your TV or sound system. And the custom-designed first order crossover sends the right frequencies to the right drivers to keep your music and movie soundtracks sounding faithful to the studio original.

The solidly braced MDF cabinets helps prevent unwanted resonance from coloring the sound. Dual binding posts give you the option to bi-wire or bi-amp these speakers for the best sound possible with your setup. Plus, the pair is video shielded for safe placement next to older tube TVs or computer monitors.


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Highlights:

  • frequency response 55-20,000 Hz
  • handles 15-100 watts
  • sensitivity 90 dB
  • 8-ohm impedance
  • 1" soft dome tweeter
  • state-of-the-art motor system with neodymium magnet
  • 4-1/2" woven polyfibre woofer
  • rigid phase plug for improved off-axis response
  • magnetically shielded for safe placement next to tube TVs
  • rigid MDF cabinet with internal cross-bracing
  • dual 3-way gold-plated binding posts can be bi-amped or bi-wired
  • 6-3/8"W x 8-15/16"H x 9-7/16"D
  • weight: 8.3 lbs.
  • warranty: 5 years
  • Our 60-day money-back guarantee

Hands-on research from the Crutchfield Labs (what are the Labs?)

Features and Specs
Enclosure
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Bass Reflex
Video Shielded
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Yes
Tweeter Type
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Dome
Tweeter Size (inches)
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1
Midrange Size (inches)
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N/A
Woofer Size (inches)
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4.5
Woofer Composition
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Woven polyfibre
Woofer Surround
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Rubber
Power Range
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15-100
Sensitivity
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90 dB
Impedance (Ohms)
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8
Frequency Response
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55-20,000 Hz
Connector Type
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Post
Bi-amp Inputs
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Yes
Height (inches)
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8-15/16
Width (inches)
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6-3/8
Depth (inches)
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9-7/16
Weight (pounds)
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8.3
Mounting Bracket Included
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No
Recommended Stand Height (inches)
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22-26
Parts Warranty
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5 Years
Labor Warranty
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5 Years
Product Research
What's in the box?

Download owner's manual

  • 2 Black bookshelf speakers
  • 2 Black cloth grilles (attached)
  • 8 Self-adhesive foam pads
  • Installation Guide

Our Product Research Team

At Crutchfield, you'll get detailed, accurate information that's hard to find elsewhere. That's because we have our own in-house Product Research team — they open the box, verify contents, check the owner's manual, and record dimensions, features and specs. We stay on top of new products and technologies to help people make informed choices.

Overview: The Cambridge Audio S30 Bookshelf Loudspeakers feature a two-way design with a 1" soft-dome tweeter and 4.5" mid-bass woofer loaded in a bass reflex enclosure. The S30 bookshelf loudspeakers deliver smooth highs and detailed lows. You can also add a Cambridge Audio S-series powered subwoofer (779S90B, sold separately). The S30 bookshelf loudspeakers are ideal for a stereo or home theater application. These speakers can be table-top or wall mounted (using optional wall-mount bracket, sold separately).

Driver Technology
Enclosure Design
Connections
Mounting Options

Driver Technology

Two-Way Drivers: The Cambridge Audio S30 bookshelf loudspeakers employ a two-way speaker design.

  • 1" Soft-Dome Tweeter: The S30 bookshelf loudspeakers feature a 1" soft-dome tweeter for smooth, accurate highs. The tweeters use high flux density, self shielding neodymium magnet assemblies for improved sensitivity and better dynamics.
  • 4.5" Mid-Bass Woofer: The S30 bookshelf loudspeakers utilize a 4.5" woven polyfiber cone mid-bass woofer for dynamic mid & bass response. Each mid-bass woofer uses a rigid phase plug for improved off-axis integration. The 4.5" mid-bass woofers also feature a high-quality rubber surround edge for reliable cone termination. In addition, an optimized magnet motor-assembly is used for extended lower frequencies.

Two-Way Crossover: The S30 bookshelf loudspeakers utilize a 1st order, 2-way crossover to deliver high-frequencies to the tweeters and mid-/low-frequencies to the mid-bass drivers. High-quality laminate core inductors give cleaner bass with improved dynamics, while polypropylene film capacitors in critical path areas give a high-resolution high frequency response.

Frequency Response: The S30 bookshelf loudspeakers have a frequency response rating of 55 to 20,000 Hz.

Power Handling: The Cambridge Audio S30 bookshelf loudspeakers can handle between 15 to 100 watts (RMS).

Enclosure Design

Bass Reflex Enclosure: The Cambridge Audio S30 bookshelf loudspeakers  utilize a bass reflex enclosure with a rear-firing port for greater efficiency and bigger bass response.

MDF Cabinet: The S30 bookshelf loudspeakers feature a rigid MDF cabinet with internal cross-bracing to prevent any unwanted distortion caused by vibration and resonance.

Wood Veneer Finish: The S30 bookshelf loudspeakers are available in a black or dark oak wood veneer finish.

Removable Grille: The Cambridge Audio S30 bookshelf loudspeakers include removable black cloth grilles.

Magnetically Shielded: The enclosures have been magnetically shielded, so you can safely place the speakers next to your television or computer monitor.

Connections

Dual Binding Posts: The speaker has two sets of gold-plated binding posts connected by gold-plated jumpers. Using the dual binding posts, you can bi-amp or bi-wire the speakers. The binding post terminals will accept bare-wire, pin-connectors, spade-connectors, and banana-plugs (single only).

Color Coded: The terminals are color-coded (black/red) to distinguish between positive and negative.

Mounting Options

Applications: The Cambridge Audio S30 bookshelf loudspeakers are ideal for stereo and home theater applications. You can even add a Cambridge Audio S-series powered subwoofer (779S90B, sold separately).

Placement: Ideally, the bookshelf speakers and listening position should be positioned equal distances apart.

Table-Top Mounting: The Cambridge Audio S30 bookshelf loudspeakers include 8 self-adhesive foam-feet (4 each) to simply place the speakers securely on a desk, table, shelf, or speaker stand securely and safely.

Wall Mounting: The optional PinPoint heavy duty side-grip wall-mounting bracket (121AM40B, sold separately) can be used to wall mount the speakers.

 
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Cambridge Audio S30 Reviews

Average Customer Review:

11 people say:

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4 out of 5

They sneak up on you

Written By JanL, Yuma. AZ on Sunday, October 20, 2013
Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)
 
These little guys sneek up as far as performance, overall tonal reproduction and accuracy. They come from a long company line of making speakers that are neutral, yet still colorful and entertaining. I would not hesitate to recommend them to someone on a budget, because they sound like budget loudspeakers.
Pros:
A different enough sound to make them stand out as a good little speaker to consider. They Don't sound like little boxes either. They sound like well-designed, well-put-together, high quality bookshelf speakers.
Cons:
There is a certain pitch or tone that the speaker reaches in the bass level that sounds, a little different than many other speakers, however that just may mean that they haven't broken in yet. Other than that, they are an excellent consideration for a small to medium size system.
1 out of 1 people found this helpful
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5 out of 5

Great set of speakers

Written By MC, Denver, CO on Monday, July 08, 2013
Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)
 
These speakers sound great. I highly recommend them.
Pros:
Good bass, mid and treble. Image quite well. These compliment my Polk towers for a very nice, room-filling sound.
Cons:
None
1 out of 1 people found this helpful
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5 out of 5

Best Bookshelf Speakers Under $400?

Written By Rhfactor1, Tucson, Az. on Sunday, June 02, 2013
Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)
 
First of all I must say Crutchfield shipping is great, ordered on Friday before shipping deadline and received the next week on Thursday with standard free shipping.

I have used my last speakers for over 10 years now which are B & W DM-303 which were very highly regarded (purchased from local dealer on sale for under $300.00 MSRP), (European Speaker of Year), etc.

Now to the Cambridge Audio Sirocco S-30. I wanted to buy another speaker that may be a little bit different flavor from what I already had. The S-30's a very small speakers, the dimensions are smaller in every way except for the depth of the B & W's. The speaker themselves seem to be build very well and hold up to the rap-knuckle test very well, they only weight about 8 lbs. each but they seem to have to no strange resonances. The speakers appearance are pretty ugly.

Now to the Sound: In on word Fantastic. Probably the most natural midrange I've ever heard of any speaker at any price. These are very close to ribbon speakers in the midrange. The later being said; the highend may be a little rolled off but still very detailed and the low-end goes deep for this size speaker (very tight and natural, no unnatural low end bumps). The B & W's are a little bit more extended on frequency extremes. The S-30 are always natural sounding-never constrained. Also the soundstage is fantastic-excellent. Also biwireable-hardly see on speakers this inexpensive. Probably the way a true BBC Monitor is supposed to Sound (Natural).
Pros:
Build Quality Midrange Excellence Soundstaging Overall Naturalness Great Size-Essentially Disappear in Room Well Controlled Frequency Extreme Great Bargain for $220.00
Cons:
Ugly-But with Size they can Virtually Disappear Could be a little Better in Resolving High-End and Low-End WILL lose Bass Response if placed out in Room-Try from 4" to 7" from Back Wall to reenforce Bass Response
3 out of 3 people found this helpful
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5 out of 5

Great Value, Great Speaker

Written By DavidKM, Medford, OR on Thursday, May 09, 2013
Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)
 
I bought this speaker pair to replace a pair of PSB original Alpha speakers which were serving as rears in my surround system and which my son had taken off to college with him. I had read a couple of very good reviews, so my expectations were high. I didn't set them up as rears to test them. I set them up on top of my current main speakers, a pair of rather large (in comparison) Energy c-3 bookshelf speakers. I am very pleased! The sound is pleasing and full, with just a hint of veil over the human voice. I am willing to accept this minor flaw when I consider the speakers otherwise exceptional sonic attributes. It is a far better built than the Alphas with a much fuller sound. The S30 only gives in to the Energys at the very lowest end and at very high volumes. In fact, I never missed the sound of the Energy speakers when I had the S30 wired up in front, and I kind of miss the little speakers presence now that I've moved them to surround duties. Highly recommended!
Pros:
Excellent build quality, sound quality and aesthetics (leave the grills off).
Cons:
None
1 out of 2 people found this helpful
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5 out of 5

Amazing little speakers

Written By Andy, Los Angeles, CA on Monday, March 04, 2013
Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)
 
I bought these because I knew how good these are for vocals, clarity, and presence. What I didn't know is how good the mid bass is. This is useful when used alone or mated so a subwoofer.
Pros:
Size, sound, and build
Cons:
Speaker terminals are bit hard to get to.
3 out of 3 people found this helpful
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4 out of 5

speakers

Written By matt, onset,ma on Sunday, January 27, 2013
Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)
 
Good clear sound from small speakers.I hooked these up to my Yamaha 75 watt reciever and they sound real nice,goes louder than I need it to.
Pros:
small,loud,well made
Cons:
none really,I wish they were wireless
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5 out of 5

presence!

Written By resipiscent, San Francisco, CA on Tuesday, December 11, 2012
Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)
 
Lively, present, and deep. They can't be beat at this price. Highs are neither brittle nor tiresome. Full bass will shake your shirt, iso-foam stands like "speaker buddy" highly recommended. Open and natural sound for cello, brass, oboe, operatic voice, but also very capable with the most challenging (shredding and transient) avant-garde and noise music.

Note, these cabinets are quite a bit deeper than they are tall.

Pros:
great presence
Cons:
May be tricky to position these as "computer speakers" ; that is, you'll want to be at least 4 feet away from them.
4 out of 4 people found this helpful
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5 out of 5

Lively, big sound in a small speaker

Written By Troy, Arkansas on Sunday, August 19, 2012
Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)
 
I purchased the S30s to pair with an old Marantz 2220 receiver. Since this receiver is a vintage low powered, two channel model, without a subwoofer output, I needed an efficient speaker with good range. From the reviews on whathifi and stereophile, I expected these speakers to be pretty good and I was still surprised at how good they were. These speakers are lively and they bring out the detail of complex instrumentals with surprising clarity. For a common comparison I would say they remind me of Klipsch speakers in their clarity and forward sound. These speakers have a darker sound than Klipsch though and are very smooth and rich. The bass is surprisingly deep and tight and overall has a nice punchy character. I like the way these speakers project the sound into the room, even at low volume and throw a nice wide soundstage. Highly recommended. They also work very well for home theatre use.
Pros:
Good build quality, lively, punchy sound. Good bass response. I like these speakers for both music listening and home theatre use. These speakers could justify a larger price tag and stack up very well against their competition, considering these speakers are the same price essentially as Polk Tsi100s. You have to spend more money to find better speakers than these S30s.
Cons:
No real cons, but every reasonably priced speaker trades off one quality for another. These speakers can't be placed with the rear port right against a shelf or wall. You need at least a little, even if only a few inches, to create the best sound. For this price range the detail and clarity are second to none. If you are willing to spend around $500 you can get better detail. I don't think these speakers are the most neutral sounding. I do think they color the music, but I like the soun
10 out of 10 people found this helpful
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5 out of 5

Pleasantly surprised

Written By Rex H, Bellingham, WA on Wednesday, July 25, 2012
 
I bought these because I have purchased other Cambridge Audio products and been very satisfied - and at the same time was looking for a step up from the mainstream POLK and Boston A type speakers.. No regrets at all - superb sound, smooth and full bodied - plus attractive design and excellent price / value. But to clarify - they are designed in England and made in China - keeping in mind that China makes rockets and aircraft - so they are more than capable of a quality product - and I can vouch for this - as a QA manager by trade...I can recognize first rate quality products and I have no qualms about anything I've seen with the Cambridge Audio label on it
Pros:
great sound quality, attractive design, good price / value
Cons:
none
3 out of 3 people found this helpful
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5 out of 5

amazing, perfect budget bookshelf

Written By jham, rochester, ny on Sunday, April 15, 2012
 
i really dont know what the other reviewer was saying. lets go over his two cons: sound and price. The sound is amazing, great bass for the size and a very smooth mid range. They have a terrific soundstage, you feel like you are at a live performance. And 220 for speakers is a bargain, anyone who has looked around for speakers knows that. He also commented about how they are made oversees. Ya, they are made in the UK. they are not Chinese crap. Bottom line- disregard the other reviewer, he has no idea what he is talking about.

Dont take my word for it... http://www.techradar.com/reviews/audio-visual/hi-fi-and-audio/hi-fi-and-av-speakers/cambridge-audio-s30-956254/review http://www.whathifi.com/review/cambridge-audio-s30 They are frequently recommended on AVS fourm, ect as the best around $200
Pros:
price, bass, soundstage, imaging
Cons:
deep with a rear port, not really a con just a heads up that they are not made for a bookcase.
18 out of 18 people found this helpful
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2 out of 5

Cambridge Audio S30 Boodshelf speakers

Written By Dr. C., Tampa on Saturday, January 21, 2012
Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)
 
Totally unimpressed with the sound. Why is it that speakers are so expensive today, yet most of them are made overseas.
Pros:
Size
Cons:
Sound, price.
8 out of 70 people found this helpful
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For a more in-depth review and enhanced detailed information on the Cambridge Audio S30, please visit the Crutchfield website product page (/ISEO-rccbcspd/p_779S30N/Cambridge-Audio-S30-Noir.html ).