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on June 7, 2013
I bought the Cambridge SoundWorks Ambiance 2 without the Bluetooth. I was never able figure out what if the difference was between this model and the Cambridge SoundWorks Ambiance (without the 2 and $50 cheaper). I had read all the reviews I could find and glossed over the complaints, thinking they were just some peoples unlucky models or the problems that would be fixed by firmware updates, but this radio really does have quite a few problems.

Pros
* Has a nice looking touch screen with on-screen keyboard
* Sounds OK with some fiddling with the sound adjustments
* Pandora part works quite well

Cons
* The FM radio tuner is quite bad, strong clear stations sound muddy and untuned. Weaker station won't be picked up at all.
* The internet radio works fairly well and has a big collection of stations to browse, but the browsing part is seriously flawed. A few minutes of switching and browsing through stations will result in the radio rebooting/resetting. You don't lose any settings, and it goes back to where it was, but it takes about 2 minutes to cycle through the Cambridge Soundworks logos. Very annoying and to me unacceptable. Some reviewers suggested it may be due to weak Wifi signal, but I connected it through a wired RJ-45 ethernet cable (with the wfi profile deleted), and had the same rebooting problem.
* The touchscreen, while looking nice, is at times unresponsive and finicky. Since it's a table radio, most likely sitting on on normal height table, the front facing screen can be awkward to access.
* Alarm setting allows choosing the audio source (FM radio, internet radio, Pandora, etc) but you can not choose a preset station, only the last thing playing in that mode. Probably because the remotes preset buttons only work for the FM radio.
* The remote lacks functions, and you can be moving from screen to screen where remote stops working because they forgot add the remote functions, so you have to go touch the selection on the screen. When using the remote, the selection color is white text on light green background, almost unreadable. You don't notice this when using the touchscreen because you just touch the selection and it only flashes this way for a second, but when navigating through menus with remote its almost unusable.
* I think the wifi radio was suppose to support a web-based way to add and manage stations, as there's a menu option for "My Added Stations" but as far as I can tell there is no way to do this.

I returned the Cambridge SoundWorks Ambiance 2 and bought the slightly more expensive Sangean DDR-63. They are very similar in many ways, but the Sangean works so much better. The FM radio tuner is about 10 times better. All around really good sound quality, has a CD player, can record anything to MP3 file on SDHC card/Thumbdrive. Remote works much better, much easier to do everything with remote. Alarms can choose a preset station. It does NOT crash and reboot every few minutes. Works with wifiradio-frontier site to manage and add internet radio stations. The mono-chrome, non-touchscreen display is not as pretty as the Cambridge SoundWorks Ambiance, and text entry is a pain, done by navigating to select letters, but this is mostly done during setup.
The Cambridge SoundWorks Ambiance seems to have a bigger better collection of internet radio stations, it's kind of nice to be able to do keyword search for stations using the touchscreen keyboard. But with wifiradio-frontier on the Sangean, I think you can pretty much add any station from anywhere.
37 people found this helpful
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on June 29, 2013
Here is my final update. We received our second unit, after returning the first one because it was defective. Everything works on this one, but I do have some serious reservations. Here is what I find:

Pros:
-Pandora works great. I set up a Pandora station for my 90 year old mother and she absolutely loves it. She is tech challenged, so I told her to only use the on/off button and the volume control, which is all she does and it works flawlessly. She loves the music and keeps the radio on all day long.
-The sound quality is fine. My Bose radio blows it away, but is also much more expensive. For the money the sound is fine.

Cons:
-The tuners, both FM and AM, are terrible. I put this radio in the exact same location as a 20 year old transistor radio (it cost me abut $20) and it just does not pull in any stations clearly in either AM or FM. I fiddled with the included antennas and got some stations to work, but it's clear you would need a much better antenna if you want to use the AM and/or FM tuner.
-I found the Internet radio to be difficult to use. I fiddled with it a while, found some stations and not others. When I tuned to a station it worked for a while and then would lose the station. Not sure if this is a problem with the Wifi in the house (except Pandora works flawlessly) or with the Internet station or with the radio.

Previous review:
This is an updated review. The radio just did not work out of the box so I returned it to Amazon and got a full refund with no problems. Today I received a phone call from the President of Cambridge Soundworks apologizing to me. He assured me that these units are thoroughly tested for 24 hours at the factory prior to shipment. He speculated that the radio probably was damaged in transit. He asked me if he could send an evaluation unit to me to re-evaluate the unit. However in the interim my brother purchased this unit and it is enroute, so I declined. We are giving this as a gift to my mother for her 90th birthday. The actions of the president of Cambridge speak volumes about the company and how much they care about their customers. I would certainly favor buying their products going forward knowing that they stand behind them.

I will update this again once I have a chance to test the new unit.

Original review excerpt: I was very excited when I received the radio. I plugged it in and the words Cambridge Soundworks lit up on the screen. 15 minutes later it still said Cambridge Soundworks and blinked on and off periodically. I tried every button on the unit and the remote control, but nothing changed. I unplugged the unit and tried again. Same results. Fortunately I purchased from Amazon, so returning it for a full credit was a breeze. Very disappointed in the quality control from Cambridge. Clearly this unit was not fully tested prior to shipment from the factory.
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on February 12, 2014
Radio does what is asked. The integration of internet radio and Pandora made this my choice when buying. Both are integrated really well and are fairly easy to use. I use this radio daily in my front room and feel it has a lot going for it in terms of features.

The main issues I have are:

1. Poorly thought out menu system. Trying to find internet radio stations that I knew existed took way longer than I would expect. The menu names I think were the biggest obstacle in this. Once favorites are set everything is much quicker, but getting there takes a while.

2. AM radio is worthless on this radio. There is a sports station locally I like to listen to. I can pull FM stations no problem, but AM stations that I have never had a problem getting locally on any other radio I can't get any reception on this device. It could be something with the AM antenna that was included as well but it is of little use to me as delivered.

3. Sound quality is good but lacking in the low range. If you like your music very bright then this is probably a radio you would like.
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on August 10, 2013
We live in an area that can be considered a "Black Hole" for radio signals, especially FM signals.
Our favorite "going to sleep" radio station had just moved their transmitter. The results, white noise!
I began researching radios. I found in talking with neighbors with Bose Wave radios ( an early consideration), they too were having reception problems.
I discovered that the Ambiance 2 could also receive Internet radio and Pandora. I wouldn't have to live in the whims of atmospheric conditions!
I purchased the Ambiance 2 ( based on 20 years of Cambridge Soundworks speaker ownership). Hooked it up, it found my wireless network and we were off and running ( or so I thought). It would play very well then suddenly lose the wireless signal. By the way, I tried both FM and AM, the result, mostly white noise!
I almost returned the Ambiance 2. Thought That I'd give it one more try, this time with an either net cable.
It works GREAT!!
So, if you're going to position the radio "far away" from your router and depend on your wireless signal ( mine had to go through several walls) you may be disappointed; however if you're willing to deal with the obstacles, you'll find that The Ambiance 2 can be a worthwhile purchase.
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on March 10, 2014
I was looking for a standalone piece of equipment to listen to Pandora on, and I cam across this radio as one of the few options available. Some of the mixed reviews had me concerned about spending this much money on a radio, but I am glad I did.

I own a Bose waveradio and the sound is comparable. Right out of the box the Bose sounds great, but once you adjust the settings on this radio (which can take a little while, be patient) the sound is great. At louder volumes the sound does not get distorted.

Connecting to my home wifi was a snap and setup only took a few minutes. There was also a software update which took a few minutes, too. I like the fact that you can use the color touch screen if you are close to the radio or you can use the remote control. I don't have an iPhone or iPod so I don't use the dock feature. The radio does have an aux input so that you can connect another source. I use the radio primarily for Pandora, but I like the fact that there are so many radio stations available through the internet available on this radio.

Overall, the sound is rich and full. The feature set is excellent. And aesthetically the radio is very pleasing. I really couldn't be happier with this purchase.
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on January 13, 2015
A few years back, we purchased an older "non-internet" version of this (Model 88CD). We purchased this new “Ambiance 2” model for our vacation home. We made the purchase based on our positive experience with the older version – what a mistake. The 88 has a subwoofer in the bottom of the unit that faces down onto the countertop: it sounds great. I’m still impressed today. The Ambiance 2 has no subwoofer, and has no bass. It’s sound is cheap & tinny. All the advertising hype is just a scam, it definitely is NOT Soundworks’ “best sounding, most amazing stereo system ever”. Do not buy this product: you will be disappointed!
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on May 5, 2014
I own a Cambridge Soundworks model 740 along with a couple other CS products and have been very pleased with the quality, both in build and sound. However, the 740 is complicated to operate, and I have been looking for something with internet radio, so I decided to upgrade.

The Ambiance 2 is a winner. The build quality is a bit less, with a plastic case, but other than that, the features are abundant. The color touch screen is extremely easy to use, and the sound quality is phenomenal.

Overall, I'm very pleased with this product.
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on July 20, 2013
I was a little nervous with ordering due to ratings. I am glad I did decide to order it. I did have to exchange the first one I got, due to sellers suggestion. I had a "fuzzy" sound like it wasn't on the station. Since it is internet radio, that shouldn't have been the cause.
I have to say I had excellent customer service. Elena has excellent customer service skills. We exchanged e-mails and talked via phone. Their service department walked me through some steps to see if I could fix the issue. I don't remember his name, but said to ship it back.
They paid for return shipping and within 7 days had my new radio. I have had it a couple months and have not had any problems what so ever. Once in a great while, it will "reboot" and appear to shut off. Be patient, within about a minute, it resets itself. I am guessing, since I am streaming from the internet, that is the reason. It is not at all annoying.
As far as cleaning, no problems. A micro fiber cloth is your friend. Keep one handy and it is easy to wipe dust and finger prints. I find it classy looking with the finish. I already have all black kitchen appliances, so I use micro fiber clothes all the time.
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on July 25, 2013
My previous Cambridge Soundworks (CD240 was very good - a great sound from a small unit. The Ambiance sound is not quite as good. The big downgrade, however, is in the fm tuner sensitivity. I couldn't get any stations even with a powered antenna and had to return it. On a second query, customer service acknowledged that over the air radio is a "secondary" feature and this unit is designed for Internet radio. That may be why it doesn't sound as good as I hoped. Unfortunately the manufacturer's product description doesn't mention this.
3 people found this helpful
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on January 18, 2014
Bought the unit after much research. My wife say's singers voices sound flat. Sound has a lot of bass. After tweaking equalizer, still not satisfied with sound. Could unit be defective, should I exchange for another unit, or is this where Bose beats out Cambridge? Should I return and buy Bose? Hmmmm.
One person found this helpful
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