The 740C is the latest in Cambridge Audio's Azur series of CD players, and it offers unprecedented bang, boom, shake, rattle, and roll for the buck. Along with its other attribute, you'll love what one reviewer calls its "rock-solid lower bass."
The 740C uses the same upsampling technology as the top-of-the-range 840C, now married to dual Wolfson WM8740 24-bit DACs with a newly developed Bessel implementation of Cambridge's proprietary virtual earth balanced filtering. The 740C incorporates the same 32-bit DSP as the 840C and upsamples to full 24-bit 384 kHz.
Although it surely doesn't matter to anyone who wihses to buy this device, I just coludn't resist not to mention the next: from all new CDP's I've bought trough last 15 years, taken off directly from the box, this one, undoubtedly, sounded the worst – compressed, flat, sharp. An old cat on her dying day probably sounds better.
Luckily, couple of months before I've decided to invest in this hefty machine, properly burned-in 740C was taken to serious audition in my appartment, so I had a chance to spend some time for serious audition.
And it fitted nicely into the rest of my former system, consist of AA Bellini preamp & Donizetti shoebox monoblocks, YBA Diamond cables and JM Lab Electra 905 loudspeakers. Fitted nicely, but after 250 hrs of burn-in. What was happening with sound during this period, I'll rather forget. If you wish to test your level of patience before you start to break some furniture in your appartment or so, this may be a good one.
But once this burn-in period was finally complete, 740C began to discover itself: not so detailed as best ones inside price range, but seemed quite energetic and agile.
Although it's more on neutral side, some excessive inotation in high tones towards the mid & bass was there – for my taste, it was just too bright and dominating. OK, Electra's tweeter with bad match sounds like stoned raven, but is it Electra or CD 740 to blame ?
Previous sound features were kept even after YBA Diamond cables were replaced with several others. I have also tried to affect on sound by replacing several power cables, price range within 200-800 $ - none of tested items impressed me with any significant changes, so the best solution was to stick to initial choice, IsoTek Optimum. Search goes on …
Finally, couple of months later, AA pre/power were replaced with BOW Wazoo, still one of my favorite integrated beasts, with fantastic ability to drag you into music, without listening details. As longer this CD was inside the system, it sounded better, revealing slowly all strenghts & weaknesses.
High tones are clear and open, but previous harshness dissapeared – together with transparent, but never dominating midband, listnenig to music and rediscovering some good CD's was a real pleasure. Definitely, it's worth of money asked, but give yourself and to this player some more time until it starts to sing its best.
But, for my taste, of course, one of his strenghts comes also as his major weakness: player is neutral, and if paired with neutral amplification, what may come as a result is uninteresting and too quiet soun, and I'm more on emotional presentation instead of analyzing every single detail.
Likewise, altough I didn't experience any problems which needed maintenance, some other folks I know were having minor or bigger problems with electronical parts inside, so Cambridge Audio's reliability is, as it seems, still questionable.
This is a very neutral if not warm sounding CD player that plays most anything well. Using transparent cables will reveal the best of this player. A burn-in of 150 hours is needed to hear its true colors. I would differ with other reviewers who describe the sound as thin or sharp. It wizely does not have mid-range bloom which would make the sound mushy. I think the Cambridge people are on to something with their upsampling technology. The sound is rather analog in nature and once and for all does away with considerations of using vinyl.
If you can swing a grand for a disk player this is the way to go. If the transport holds up this will be my last CD player before getting a server. I wish this technology had existed 10 years ago. It would have saved me a lot of ear bleed.
This is not so much a review but early impressions of the 740c. I have only had this player for a bout 2 weeks but have about 120-130 hours of burn in time. During the burn-in process the 740c sure has changed a lot, early on it sounds overly detailed with some edge and has a plasticy, cardboardy coloration with some grain thrown in and loose bass. But, it's not all bad, during the burn-in you can still hear some very good attributes, so many run of the mill CD players have a homogeneous sound, the 740c has wonderful layering/seperation of instruments and vocals with excellent speed.
After 120-130 hours the 740c has smoothed out with increased dynamics, excellent detail and tighter bass. The sound highlights the individual instruments instead of a more confused homogeneous mass presented by the majority of players in this price range. Vocals are very good, you can easily hear backup vocalists distinctly from the lead singer, other cd players tend to lump all the vocals together giving the impression that the lead singer sounds like the sum of all vocalists, the 740c seperates these vocalists to the point you can hear each and every one of them and what they contribute to the piece of music.
Even after 120 hours I am hearing changes for the better, let me say that this player may not be for all systems or listeners tastes, I would not put the 740c into a bright or lean system, if you are using a tube preamp the tubes can be changed to balance the sound of the 740c. Do not give up on this player, give it time to fully break in, the choice of interconnects and power cord are very important, in other words if the 740c doesn't automatically click in your system you will have to work to make it click. I didn't go into features or specs. but I must say that Cambridge deserves a lot of credit for making a player that doesn't sound the same as other players, give it a listen to see if it fits your tastes and your system. I'll give it a few more weeks and let you know how the 740c sounds in my system.
This review is for the Cambridge Audio Azur 740C CD player. This unit is the same as the 840C with the exception of the lack of XLR outputs. I've owned it for about 5 weeks, so I now feel I can submit an educated review.
I'm not going to get wrapped up in all the adjectives that reviewers use to describe a piece of equipment. But I will say that this CD player is excellent, very detailed but not edgy. It is built very well, and includes a very user friendly remote.
I find it more useful when a reviewer includes other brands that he has tested/owned as a comparison so I will do the same. I've owned a few nice CD players, Lexicon RT10, Consonance 120, Cary T308, and the Esound E5. All good CD players, I found the Lexicon to be disappointing with CD playback, music sounded a bit veiled to me. The ESound was detailed but could also be edgy depending on the associated equipment. I still own the Cary T308, which has a tube output. This is a great CD player, with a nice smooth tube sound. The 740 sounds closest to the Consonance, which also was an upsampling unit.
In my opinmion, the 740C is the best of the bunch. It is very detailed and clear, you can hear the nuances of the recording, especially with well recorded CD's. And you do not get any edge with all the detail.
If you do not need the XLR outputs, save the money and get the 740C, its an excellent CD player.