Cambridge Audio Azur 851A (Silver) Integrated Amplifiers

5/5 (1 Reviews) MSRP : $1849.99


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Product Description

24/384 DAC/CD Upsampling with digital in plays audio CDs, CD-Rs, & CD-RWs, plus functions as stand-alone digital-to-analog converter and digital preamp,three digital audio inputs, including AES/EBU balanced XLR connection for high-end source components


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User Reviews

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Delt a Audio Enthusiast

Date Reviewed: February 1, 2013

Bottom Line:   
The amplifier 851A is the highest end of the British Cambridge Audio. Made in China, it is a machine with a halfway concept of high-end audiophile consumer electronics and high-end. Its size and appearance are striking but continuistas previous model and the rest of the Azur range.
This is a very powerful amplifier (almost 150 W as measured) with a versatile and broad connectivity. He is called to be the central engine of any audio system more or less complex. The first feature that strikes us is its enormous weight, which goes far beyond its rotund appearance. Your heart is a huge toroidal transformer supplying the system responsible for current high doses. A series of calls protections CAP5 preserve both the amplifier and boxes of possible failures, surges, heating, etc.. Moreover, they emphasize its configurable multifunction display and the tone controls half hidden. At this point comes the first point of controversy: should incorporate these controls a device in this class and supposedly audiophile? My opinion is clear: Clearly yes. But let's not anticipate events and to experience the sensations that gives us the Cambridge connected to a CD of the same brand and associated with a pair of columns Italian Sigma Acoustics T-11 with transducers Scan-speak.
Miles Davis recorded in 1959 his masterpiece, Kind of Blue. The 851A separated instruments with clarity making us forget the technical deficiencies of a recording of the time. The sound surrounds us and getting some nice sense of three-dimensionality. We spent the most modern Jecyll Dr. Jose Luis Gamez: uncompromisingly pure jazz. This time, the best recording shows depth cleaning and acoustic bass sound. The watts supplied by the amplifier move with absolute solvency Sigma harsh making show the best of themselves: deep bass and never smudge fluids other frequencies. In recent cds my reference vocalists Stacey Kent and Patricia Barber also verified that the voices are transferred clean, transparent and without strange resonances. The upper-middle area is not prominent and this prevents the boxes to get to "scream". At this point, we will hear the guitar virtuoso Stanley Jordan State of Nature (2008) that combines electric instruments, acoustic and all sorts of percussion. Apart from the above features there is one quality that stands out in the Cambridge Audio 851A far above all others: the ability to draw with surgical precision the smallest details of each recording. Indeed, the English amplifier is more analytical than musical. If you also associate it with a good cd player and also boxes analytical, the end result is a precision that seems to go beyond the high-resolution audio. The separation of channels and the stereo effect is multiply giving more air, if possible, to the sound. This character is very well known retailer in the higher range of frequencies: whispering voices, guitars, cymbals and other percussion. So here comes into play the issue noted at the beginning of the tone controls. In certain recordings clearly emphasizing treble equalized, thanks to the corresponding control allows smooth attenuate or that feature. But watch out, 851A designers, to please audiophiles not too fundamentalists have "hidden" small removable rotary dials making: a complete detail that illustrates that philosophy to encompass large segments of the public from the classical purists and acoustic up electrified rockers to the teeth: the Cambridge Audio behaves as a potent guzzling SUV undeterred everything you throw. But we go for the ultimate test: "Communique" from Dire Straits. I must admit that after my time with the Opera Audio Consonance transistors also, I can not say I've noticed a big difference in the fidelity of the original sound restitution: both amps interpret reality honestly and without excessive colorings . The big improvement is that the show is able to offer Cambridge. The Dire Straits is exit stage forcefully invading our room: the guitars we get immediate and sharp, the bass line does not hesitate to push amplitude while the battery drums resonate loudly, realism and authenticity. Ultimately and, above all, this is a solid and powerful machine capable of generating a great show with all kinds of music.
Certainly, to overcome the quality and power of this integrated amplifier, should rise several or many steps in the budget. The 851A is positioned in between the high fidelity democratic and more elite high end that doubles or triples the cost. In view of the results of this review, it is questionable whether it is worth investing several thousand in other audio gurus manufacturers ignoring the option offered by the British brand. Especially, when you consider the Cambridge Audio is capable of moving high-level boxes, and more expensive, as is the case with Sigma T-11 which has made this assessment.

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Used product for:   1 to 3 months

Duration Product Used:   Audio Enthusiast

Product model year:   2010




Reviews 1 - 1 (1 Reviews Total)

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