Cambridge Audio S30 review

This budget speaker is a lively performer with class-leading bass

Cambridge Audio S30
This speaker is at its best with energetic, rhythmic music

TechRadar Verdict


  • +

    Good bass definition

  • +

    Lively and energetic

  • +

    Good imaging


  • -

    Detail is slightly lacking

  • -

    Lowest depths of bass lacking (but to be expected, really)

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We know Cambridge Audio as a manufacturer of electronics, with some tasty mid-range offerings; but speakers? We'd missed that one, principally because the available models are all deeply budget offerings and as such are unlikely to appear in our normal Tests.

In this environment, though, the S30 fits perfectly. It's on the larger side for a miniature at 160mm wide (the S20 is a little smaller) but still dinky enough and features the usual two drivers, the bass one being of woven-fibre construction with a central phase plug, while the tweeter has a soft dome.

Internally there's a simple three-component crossover fed from bi-wireable (!) terminals, while acoustic damping is restricted to low-density foam on the cabinet walls. The speaker is quite deep and has a reflex port at the rear.

In a group of all-round high-achievers, this model made its mark as the most confident in the bass. There is a combination of extension, kick and tunefulness in the bass that comes as a surprise – obviously a pleasant one – from such a small enclosure and makes this a speaker well suited to material like rock.

Of course, the lowest depths are still a touch on the light side, but most of the time this is well hidden and the bass that is present is of consistently high quality.

The slight downside is detail, which we felt doesn't quite reach the highest standards achieved among these four, but it's still good and is accompanied by good imaging with decent depth. Midrange and treble tonality is very good and there's no sense of strain in handling dynamic extremes.

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