The 840C embraces a raft of proprietary technologies including ATF™ (Adaptive Time Filtering) asynchronous up-sampling technology which has been developed in conjunction with Anagram Technologies of Switzerland. This system intelligently interpolates 16-bit/44.1kHz CD data to 24-bit/384kHz data, through the use of a 32-bit Analog Devices Black Fin DSP (digital signal processor). This in turn feeds two 24-bit/384kHz DACs from the same company in dual differential formation.
Each DAC handles just one channel for excellent stereo imaging, operating fully in differential mode for exceptionally low distortion and noise.
Both unbalanced RCA and balanced XLR outputs are fitted. Two digital inputs are also provided which even allow the up-sampling and playback of other sources such as a DVD player via the Azur 840C. In addition, a recording digital output can even allow bit-for-bit data or upsampled data at 48, 96 or 192 kHz to be recorded by a suitable device.
The other Steve below who posted 3 stars in his April 29, 2012 review probably works for a store selling competitor's gear, but no Cambridge. Well, I also happen to own the Teac PD-H600 (for my office system) and frankly, as good as the TEAC is, it is NOWHERE of the same caliber as the 840C - not comparable by any stretch of the imagination.
The 840C is one refined, amazing cd player. The newest Cambridge flagship 851C (which I auditioned recently) is marginally better, at least to my ears and you must really own mega-dollar equipement to hear the difference, and even then, your room will probably have a greater effect on the sound than the difference between the two players. Mind you, the reviewers have perfect conditions and can spot differences better. I have 7K speakers and could not hear much difference - so I did not upgrade to the 851C, to me, it was not worth it - besides, the new machine is close to 2K !!! This makes the 840C (if you can find a recent one) a STEAL on the used market, if you can get it for around $800.
Now, the dead giveaway that the other review is bogus - he put a 2004 model year for his 840C, just a slight problem. That player did not exist then, it came out in 2007 !
Great player in balanced connection with Cambridge Audio 840A but both machines have proven highly unreliable and needed repairs. It's a real hassle having equipment and not knowing whether or not it will work properly. Frankly, I would never buy their products again and have settled now for a nice little TEAC PD-H600 that produces a similar bright but neutral sound and gives just as large an ambience if you have a subwoofer, probably better in fact.
I think a machine that costs almost $1000 should come without basic defects like the CD tray not responding properly and slowly getting worse until it fails to accept and CD.
Took my 840C in for repairs today, second time since new. This is a good sounding unit when working, I use the digital input for a Squeezbox, server system and sounds very good.4 stars for sound and flexability, 3 stars for quality issues.
This is an excellent player that does some things really well. It has great drive, a big tuneful bass, big staging, and excellent all around dynamics. What it doesn't give me is lushness and delicacy that I hear from more expensive players such as the Denon DCD A100 (which I also own), Krell S350 and Marantz KI Pearl (players owned by friends). There is also, at least in the two systems the 840C was used in, a mechanical dryness that got in the way of music being fully enjoyable. In this respect I consider the 840C inferior to both Krell and Denon and even less expensive players such as the Emotiva ERC2 (best cd player I've heard under $500) and Marantz 8001. Both of these players were smoother and more musically natural than the Cambridge, though neither had the 840's bass slam and the Marantz was brighter on top.
I can understand why the Cambridge would be comparable to players costing up to 10K 5 years ago. But times change, and in today's market I believe the 840C is probably comparable only to players in its price class, so I'm giving it 4 stars.
I was sold on the 840 C when I originally auditioned it over 15 months ago. A good way to audition a source is to bring your speakers and amps to the store (if you are not permitted to take the source home, to test it yourself).
About 13 hours ago I unpacked the 840 C from it's box, and connecting it all up. I put in some of my favourite CDs, and as expected, I couldn't get off my seat to do anything else. I didn't have to adjust my bass, treble, the listening experience was as if the singers were performing better. The imaging was incredible.
There is a saying in the hi fi world,
"Garbage in, garbage out".
Well the converse is true, when you upgrade your speakers, find out that you need a decent amp to feed it the power they need, you soon find that improving the source is the next logical upgrade choice.
Since my system is set up where no headphone can out perform my speakers, it's 1:34am now and I'm still listening to my CDs.
Music/listening fatigue is a thing of the past now. If I feel like I am in 7th heaven now, the 840 C hasn't even warmed in yet. After 150 to 200 hours I'd be interested to find out how much more it can improve.
I connected my Playstion 3 via optical cable to the 840 C, and there was a great sound improvement.
Since 90% of my music are on CD, I will be able to take a good advantage through this player. It is true what they say, not all recordings on CD are equal. If the recording is at least semi decent, the singing voices will shine through the 840 C. I noticed quite a few of my recordings after playing on the 840 C present more of a bass kicker. Nice refreshing change, even though I prefer treble myself.
The remote control is heavy for it's size and I guess as most other CD players, not all buttons on the remote are on the front panel of the player. I am not fussed about that. It is great to note that you can change the LCD on the front panel to a dimmer setting, or off. That is a great feature.
The 840 C has a repeat (1 and all), and random track features, which I feel should be compulsory for all CD players. This player also has a intro (so it will play a little of the track). I purchased the silver unit (not black). The surface is very solid, it's reasonably heavy for it's size. Heavy for it's size is a good thing, meaning more components. It does asthetically look quite nice, but not over the top, no nonsense, it does what it's supposed to do as a play back unit, and it does it very well.
I need to get a pre-amp to complete a fully balanced system. Until then I am using Monster higher qualitity ranged cables to hook every up. So far it's very good, but from what I have read the balanced set up makes a noticable difference. I cannot wait.
I realise that there are many people who are stats and specification driven, sure it's a good place to start looking, but I implore anyone who is either inexperienced in purchasing hi fi equipment or does not have local resources to trust, you have to go to the store and audition the components yourself. Don't go on a busy day for you or the shop keeper. It's an important investment, return for a second audition with your favourite CDs if you have to. I auditioned this player four times, once with the stores set up, one with the rest of my equipment, and twice with my headphones. The last two times was to remove the 5% doubt, then the 1% doubt.
I cannot see myself playing my music on my PC, PS3, headphones unless I lost a bet. I'd still have to listen to music in my car or iPod, only if we could bring our hi fi system to work.
I'm listening now to two favourite tracks of mine from the Blade Runner Soundtrack, Wait for me, and Rachels Song. Both are quite relaxing and chilling. Best to lie back, relax, and if you have seen the film, let the music take you away... The 840 C just makes it so easy to program it to repeat, and listen to those tracks for hours without music fatigue. It's a huge plus that is well worth the money.
the 840 C with it's built in DAC makes this CD player a no brainer, and an excellent candidate if you wish to pursue a fully balanced system in the future. The incognito option if you choose to add more Cambridge Audio equipment to your system, will allow you to play the CD source in more than 1 room in the house.
For what it can do and what you will pay for, you will find it extremelly difficult to get better. If you find a much better player ? expect to pay more than double.
I guess at the end of the day it all depends on your budget, but I encourage anyone to audition the 840 C with your favourite CDs, compare it to your player, and whatever else you may consider. I am confident you will agree it's an excellent player.