Cambridge Audio Azur 651C CD-player

About 15 years ago, the budget hifi stadium was left by mainstream Japanese manufacturing companies, leaving smaller specialists to cater for cash strapped audiophiles. The cash no longer appeared to be in two channel, so they all rushed to the home entertainment side of the electronic equipment marketplace. Nevertheless, Cambridge Audio flourished, creating an assortment of budget separates that seemed brilliant at their various price points - even if they lacked some functional and aesthetic sophistication. These latter problems are addressed by this latest range, as well as the 651C feels quite shone in the cost, outside and in. The cd tray is not rough acting as well as the machine is not unpleasant to use.

Inside, there is a great-quality mechanism with master clock and custom servo, as well as a toroidal transformer supplies electricity. The unit has double-layer damped feet to minimise the ingress of it, plus shakings has an 'eco friendly' standby mode. The 651C has the common optical and coaxial digital output signals round the back, socketry plus remote control, and is obtainable in a selection of black and silver finishes.


Spending an additional £50 over the Teac CD-H750 purchases you a significant step up. Because of this, you get a player that sounds much more curved and richer, and drills down to the detail better, slotting the advice that is musical into location in a way the player that is more affordable can not.

For instance, the New Order track seems a lot more realistic and not as processed. The Cambridge begins to let you know what's actually going on, while the Teac's performance is absolutely pleasing. In the opening bars, the hihat sounds airbrushed and metallic; you sense you could hear the entire attack and sustain of the sound, and understand when it falls away entirely. Again the sustain of the keyboards that are lead is not worse and this gives an expression of the tune gliding the player that is more affordable simply can not gather.

The piano work sparkles beautifully; more immersive, as well as additional heft is gained by the bass guitar and the sound is lustrous. Vocals are carried - emotive and lively -and the tune becomes detaining to hear and more emotional. This instead overshadows the more subtle 'hifi' developments, but they are still there stereo imaging is much more concentrated and tighter as well as the soundstage is more grand.

The sole apparent disadvantage is a little looseness in the bass guitar compared with a number of the higher priced machines.

Cambridge Audio Azur 651C CD-player photo