Cambridge Audio Azur 752BD Blu-ray player

The genetic Cambridge Audio appearance, honed over three generations of universal cd player that goes back to the DVD of 2008 based DVD89 is continued by the 752BD. With its brushed aluminium faceplate, all-metal chassis and centre-loading disc tray, the 752BD is a reassuringly well-built player, with front panel controls that are fine and rattle-free casework.

Heritage video output signals have gone the way of the dodo as is the trend, HDMI is the primary format. One RCA/composite video output signal exists for "diagnostic" goals, including when you muck up the HDMI settings and need to be able to determine the menu to correct matters, ha-ha.

Sound is upsampled to 24-bit/192kHz having an Analog Devices DSP; the upsampled signal is then fed to your package of five Wolfson DACs (basically an onboard Cambridge Audio DacMagic). This mix of high tech allows the 752BD to playback nearly every digital format below the sun, on disk that is physical or as an electronic file.

Using the choice of fixed or variable audio output, the 752BD can perform as an electronic hub for direct connection to a multichannel amplifier in a digital media system that is simplified. The only apparent missing feature is an asynchronous USB input to allow direct connection of a computer. Not an important omission say Cambridge Audio as the fitting 751R receiver comes with an asynchronous input that is USB and you also can stream audio.

All this wizardry is controlled by among the most effective stock distant handsets in the business. It's a slimline remote with pleasant tactile rubberised buttons brushed metal top plate and also a non slip rubber coating on the underside that is curved. There are a number of problems like the overly close layout of the transport keys with the navigation keypad and the lack of automatic illumination (the remote only lights up when manually prompted) but with acquaintance it works good also it feels great in the hand. There is even a bit stand to allow the remote to sit proudly erect in your table.

Setup and use

In spite of the complex feature set, setup was straightforward with a complete but clear onscreen menu along with a well written user guide to fall back on. Of the two HDMI outputs, HDMI1 is advocated as it is fed from the Marvell video chip, HDMI2 is best and a not left maybe or for secondary use as a dedicated sound feed in a split HDMI arrangement for ideal video/audio. The set up menu may be adjusted on the fly, unlike many BDPs that necessitate before the alternatives might be obtained, the disk be stopped. Disks are cradled in a quiet and smooth transport that loads discs immediately. Even my bete noir, wireless streaming, was managed with aplomb. Setting up the wireless access was absolutely painless, within minutes I 'd access to all shared drives, a first in my expertise.

Video performance

There is not much to say here apart from the 752BD (into various Pioneer, Sony, Samsung and Panasonic screens), along with the OPPO BDP-105, made the most effective BD images I've seen at home. Sharpness, detail, contrast and colour were all top-notch. Graphics had a realism to them that makes one wonder why you would waste time with gimmicks like 3D. Using a single case of cd incompatibility being the sole bug a short dalliance with 3D playback revealed the 752BD to perform as well as expected. Most Bluray players are capable of good results with BD but many do not do such a fantastic job with standard definition DVD. This is an area where the Marvell processing continues to shine. Graphics are smooth and sound free with loads of "pop".

Audio functionality

This is the very best seeming BDP I have ever used. Rare enough qualities in affordable CD players let alone video-established players.

Music flowed with good natural beat, unconstrained by bandwidth, with great detail, good soundstaging and imaging, and realistic dynamics. All the hi-fi benchmarks met within an airy, well-balanced demo that draws you to the acoustic, for fatigue -free listening. The flexible digital filters I found to be a waste of time and left in the default Linear place. Steep decreased adding a little congestion and reigned in the highs. Minimum seemed very much like Linear with perhaps a touch of HF sweetening. All of these filters were rather subtle and somewhat content dependent. But why bother? Simply get the sign off the disc as accurately as feasible leave the fiddling to people who have other aspirations. There was a little diminution of scale and dynamic impact but music was not obvious in movie soundtracks than that.

The 752BD was hooked up -1550 using multichannel analogue and HDMI and auditioned with a smattering of music and also multichannel films. Movie soundtracks played with exactly the same aspects shown in music listening; smoothness, clarity, detail and space. As with music, films were lacking a little force. Switching to HDMI (bitstream or decoded to PCM), traded refinement for a little rawness and extra impact that suited picture replay.

Cambridge Audio 752BD vs. OPPO BDP-105.

First up these aren't, despite what you may have read the exact same machines, on some web sites. Though they share the same Mediatek disk transportation, operating system and video processing, the sound end of each machine is very different. OPPO feeds its audio direct to its ESS Sabre DACs; the Cambridge upsampling before sending the sound to its Wolfson DACs. The result is the fact that both players have leading video performance, much above other BD players, with audio demonstrations that are different. The Cambridge is an excellent music player, participating and natural. The OPPO excels with the technical aspects that audiophiles adore - soundstaging, detail and visceral impact; amazing for movies but refinement for music and misses out on some of the Cambridge's heat.


Yes it's not cheap but it's worth every cent. Using its broad variety of capabilities, there isn't a disc or digital file that it can't play and it plays them all superbly.

Cambridge Audio Azur 752BD Blu-ray player photo