Cambridge Audio Azur 640A Integrated Amplifiers

Cambridge Audio Azur 640A Integrated Amplifiers 

DESCRIPTION

65W/channel into 8 Ohms, 100W/channel into 4 Ohms, protection system with no sound quality degrading active circuitry added into the signal path, THD <0.005% @ 1kHz, upgraded power supply, SNR 96dB ‘A’ weighted, Class ‘A’ follower driver stage, polypropylene bypass capacitors, second set of speaker outputs, optional MM phono, headphone output, standby function, bypassable tone controls, low-resonance and acoustically damped chassis, all-metal casework with a solid aluminium front panel, slim-line Azur remote control with aluminium top panel

USER REVIEWS

Showing 1-10 of 22  
[Aug 16, 2018]
audioman


Strength:

Simple to use, simple to hook everything up, no fancy stuff..

Weakness:

I didn't like the sound. i don't consider this an audiophile grade. A 7 times more expensive mcinstosh is probably 10 times better. I had also noticed very poor quality parts.. caps leak and blow up in no time. you will need to upgrade the parts but there are so many caps that it won't worth it. Also parts are exclusive so you can not buy them. Any cambridge products must be sent to an authorized service center.. So unless you have access to compatible parts you can't repair cambridge at home. Low resale value. this unit used to cost 600-700, as of 2018 you can find it around 100 on ebay... Mine lose its signal on the left channel from time to time.. regardless of the wires and speakers im using. I have a consumer grade Yamaha receiver and a Sony that both have a better sounding than this thing. Stay away from cambridge unless you like buying hidden low grade china parts.

Price Paid:
200
Purchased:
Used  
Model Year:
2013
OVERALL
RATING
2
[Dec 05, 2017]
Dougie
Casual Listener

Purchased new with CD player listened to the amplifier for over a week then packed it back up in the original carton's..where they remain...!
I suspect people who play with audio gear have a reasonable sense of power rating's.
The amplifier rating is deceitful and has created the problem with the unit and user's, who know there not..! getting the rated power when dialing the volume at 12 o'clock....!
Once you understand.... the amplifier is really only 32.5 watts per channel..! you become more satisfied with the performance and tend not push the Cambridge at the threshold of a protection trip...!

OVERALL
RATING
2
VALUE
RATING
2
[Nov 27, 2016]
Stephen
Audio Enthusiast

Had this amp for years. Had the cutout problems. But this was due to not running quality speakers. Not enough sensitivity in my opinion. So heat built up in the amp. Now running a set of tannoys, speakers cost circa £1000, no problems at all. Thumping clear bass. Very clear through out the spectrum. Have not had any heat issues. Truly a pleasure to listen to the setup.

OVERALL
RATING
4
VALUE
RATING
4
[Feb 24, 2014]
nomis3613
Audio Enthusiast

This review is based on pairing the amp with DB Dynamics Polaris 488F floorstanding loudspeakers and a Yamaha CDC-575 CD player. The 640A is a potential replacement for a NAD 712 integrated amp, so there will be many comparisons with the NAD. Musical styles included rock, funk and acoustic guitar with vocals.

The 640A was purchased second hand, upon unboxing the first thing I checked was that the amp does not go into Protection Mode when the volume is cranked (a problem mentioned in a few reviews here). Phew!

Now for the subjective comparison with the NAD. Keep in mind these observations are based on the DB Dynamics loudspeakers and my living area's (untreated) room acoustics. The 640A is significantly brighter in the vocals. There is also more punch to the mid-bass, the low frequency range doesn't go as deep as the NAD.

The observations about bass were confirmed by some measurements of playing pink noise through the system. The 640A dropped more than 8dB at 25 Hz (compared to 32 Hz), while the NAD only dropped 2dB. The measurements were less conclusive regarding the bright vocals- I was expecting to see more response around 2kHz for the 640A, but this was not the case. However, there was a 4dB dip for the 640A from 800-1600 Hz, perhaps this makes the vocals sound brighter than the NAD (which was pretty flat from 800 to 4k).

Stereo imaging is less clear on the 640A. Extremes of left and right are well defined, but the centred sounds seem to be smeared between the speakers without any definite location.

Although the NAD is the "winner" here, of course it depends on the rest of the system. I suspect that my speakers are quite bright, therefore the darker sound of the NAD works well to "tame" them. The brighter 640A took things too far in this case.

But with different speakers, the brightness of the 640A could be an asset. For the price they're available for second-hand these days, it's a good amp.

OVERALL
RATING
3
VALUE
RATING
4
[Jan 21, 2013]
Doug
Casual Listener

I don’t even remember when I both mine together with Azure CD. Never managed to push it up over the half. Protection kicks in and sound is OFF. If you have a party assume you will be kneeling trying to unplug and plug the amp while holding the power button. So if you need excuse to say Sorry for looking under you skirt but I was only trying to bring the music back on, this amp is for you . For me I am tired of unplugging and plugging it back on. The problem got worse I can not even go above say 1/3 and it will shut off for no reason.
I thought this protection is good it will protect my amp. I did have to repair it once by replacing the . Power transistors at the certified repair shop which BTW did not look much better than any other store. They charged me arm and leg and amp is still doing the same protection cut off.
If you think that is the only problem you are wrong. After a year remote stopped controlling the volume. One needs to get up press the remote and ‘help the value button a bit till it starts working again. Very fancy British design.. Pity I did not go for some consumer level cheapo piece of equipment. It would work today. Anything to declare? Yes, don’t buy it.. It is garbage.

OVERALL
RATING
1
VALUE
RATING
1
[Jul 07, 2012]
manolo
AudioPhile

This amplifier is shockingly bad, when I bought it I did not like the sound, gave it a good break in, and nothing happened. I eventually lent it to my cousin, and got it back a few days ago. I clearly understand why I lent it, it is veiled to a great degree, no detail in the music, something is wrong with the volume as it starts clipping just over half power. I decided to open it up, and no wonder it is full of cheap chinese parts, cheap Xunda caps, the power supply is worthy of a phono stage, not an amplifier, it should be beefy and up to the requirements of a decently powered (on specs) amplifier, but it´s very substandard. It is dull, it sounds as if there was a curtain covering the speakers. I have a pair of sonus faber grand piano, which I run using a unison research s6 30W tube amp, and use an accupahse CD player, the combination is superb. When I connect the CA Azur, everything just degrades completely, admittedly it is a cheap amplifier, but it also sounds very cheap too. I have a very old Marantz SR-2385 which simply wipes the floor with the CA, there is no comparison whatsoever. It is much better to buy an old, higher quality amplifier than one of these cheap new amps. Do not buy, there are better options out there. I am very disappointed by CA, I also bought a 640P Phono Stage and it is equally bad. I will never buy CA equipment again.

OVERALL
RATING
1
VALUE
RATING
3
[Mar 23, 2010]
JeffG53
Audio Enthusiast

I have the Cambridge Audio 640A v2 75-watt amp, coupled with the 640C CD player and a pair of Monitor Audio GS10 speakers. When it works it sounds fine but it rarely works. There is a protection mechanism in the amp that turnsthe unit off when I have the volume above half (i.e. 12 o'clock). The clowns at the shop where I bought it have had it in for testing twice and declared it to be OK. Now they are trying to tell me that running the amp louder than half is pushing it too hard and the problem is all of my making. I would be interested in hearing if anyone else out there has had a similar experience with this brand of equipment.

OVERALL
RATING
1
VALUE
RATING
1
[Mar 22, 2010]
Audiosoof
Audio Enthusiast

The short version: Good neutral sound with probably the worst build quality ever.

The longer version:
I bought this unit back in 2005 together witj the 640C CD player and combined it with a pair of tannoy R2 speakers. The sound it produced is very neutral and laid back but involving at the same time. Later I replaced the Tannoy with the Audiovector K3 speakers and that was a perfect match. Clear, vivid sound. However it does lack a bit of commanding presence. The sound stage is a bit small and the depth too is a bit small. My current Marantz puts up a more realistic sound stage.

Sound is well balanced with an ever so slight tendency to the higher tones and a bit lacking in bass punch.

No other issues there. The only thing they should have done, is lower the output of the CD player or decrease the amplification of the amp. You cannot put the volume control pass the 9 o'clock position without playing too loud. A pair of attenuators took care of that problem.

The biggest problem is its build quailty. The build quality of the unit (and also CD player) is very poor. The CD player failed after just 1 year. After having it repaired a couple of months later the control buttons on the unit failed.

The amplifier damaged its left channel twice over the period I owned it. I never play loud (I live in an appartment) and the speakers a very amplifier friendly.

Enough miseryfor me to not recommend this unit.

OVERALL
RATING
3
VALUE
RATING
3
[Nov 02, 2007]
Jim
AudioPhile

Strength:

Sound quality.

Weakness:

Overall build quality.

Great sound. Poor build quality. The unit sounded great with my KEF speakers, very open and natural. Unfortunately, the left channel went bad at about 10 hours. After shutting off power for 10 minutes or so both channels came back but heavily distorted. The unit was returned to Audio Advisor. In all fairness, this was a "demo" unit but still should not have shut down and failed.

Customer Service

Good from Audio Advisor in taking the unit back but I had to pay return shipping.

Similar Products Used:

Denon MosFet amplifier, Samsung CD player, KEF speakers, Yamaha A/V receiver.

OVERALL
RATING
2
VALUE
RATING
2
[Sep 11, 2007]
Steve62
Audio Enthusiast

Strength:

An overachiever, delivering ultra-smooth and almost tube-like liquidity from a budget solid-state integrated amplifier.

Weakness:

Could be underpowered for some speaker systems. Careful speaker matching is important.

The Cambridge Audio Azur 640A is a heck of good amp. An overachiever, delivering ultra-smooth and almost tube-like liquidity from a budget solid-state integrated amplifier is a rare find. The 640A sounds more powerful than its 75Wpc rating and the 640A’s build-quality, features, and remote control make this amp a tremendous bargain. I paired the 640A with Cambridge Audio's Azur 640C CD player. The two have a synergy that is hard to fault and for the price, are incredible values.

In comparison with my NAD 372, I found this amp - especially when paired with Cambridge Audio's Azur 640C CD player, to be superior to the NAD in almost every way. Even though the NAD's superior power rating (150 wpc vs. the Cambridge Audio's 75 wpc) may work better for your speakers, I found the 640a to be an excellent match for the Definitive Technology BP7006s. Of course the Definitive Technology BP7006 Bipolar SuperTowers have two 8" infrasonic bass radiators driven by a built in 300-watt amp relieving the 640A from having to power the woofers. That leaves 75wpc for the mids and highs in my system so you may experience different results with your speakers in your room.

As for me, the Azur 640A and 640C have transformed my room into a refuge where I immerse myself in whatever music I play. "Immerse" is the right word, for this system as it provides marvelous soundstaging, pinpoint imaging, and virtually holographic presentations of musical events. It's incredible-and addicting. The spatial aspects of recordings - depth, height, and width are exemplary. The system also presents a very good sense of the recording venue with a sense of air over and around performers. The combination produces a seamless, wall-to-wall soundstage with excellent depth and precise image focus. On the best program material, the speakers fade, letting the performers and music take over. Not at all aggressive or forward in its presentation, the amp is neutral, non-fatiguing and easy to listen to. You'll probably hear things on your favorite recordings you haven't heard before. And because the darn thing is so musical, you'll spend a lot more time being immersed in music than wondering if you are hearing every little detail contained in recordings.

That's not to say you'll be missing anything, you'll hear it but with this amp it won't matter - you'll be enjoying the music. On one of my favorites for spatial information, detail and soundstaging is the Cowboy Junkies "Trinity Session." While this is old news, on the first track "Mining For Gold" as the tape rolls, a HUGE soundstage is presented. You can hear the air surrounding the musicians in the church where the tracks were recorded. It also sounds like an air vent is flapping in the background as Margo Timmins starts to sing the first track. And Margo Timmins is RIGHT THERE in the room!

For a more contemporary example, on the Various Artists album, Dirty
Martini, the Afrolicious track by The Dining Rooms. The music literally surrounds me. Front, behind, sides, depth, layering (you get the idea) - and from only two speakers! Imagine that only TWO speakers!! Imaging, detail, dynamics - it's all there and then some!

For something completely different, I put on Telarc's recording of Erich Kunzel/Cincinnati Pops Orchestra, Mancini's Greatest Hits. This is a great recording for choral vocals and a great test for how well your system handles imaging and detail. The 640A excelled as and is especially evident on the Moon River and Days of Wine and Roses tracks. Each person's voice in the chorus is easily identifiable. What is heard on lesser systems as voices singing in a chorus, you hear individual voices singing in unison.

Some say the Azur 640A's power capabilities at 75 wpc are a drawback. I haven’t found this to be true. I’ve played a lot of material that demands to be played at fairly loud volume levels. Unless the volume level became insanely loud, I never got the sense the amp was close to meltdown. Even on "Money for Nothing" by Dire Straits, the guitar solos and drums were driven well. As I turn up the volume knob on recordings, the amp/speaker combination was plenty loud and loud enough for me. I never felt like I needed more as the amp allows me to "dial in" the appropriate amount of volume for each recording.

Bass is tight and defined too. Better than I have heard from my Definitive
Technology speakers when paired with other amps and receivers including the NAD 372 and a SONY STR-DG710 AV Receiver. In deed, several DVDs like War of The Worlds and the Star War movies produced room shaking bass. Indeed music was no different with the bass drum featured on the "Dances with Wolves" soundtrack well defined, deep (for these speakers) and controlled. Not sure why this is since the speakers have a built in amp. Go figure!

The midrange was also very good. It’s neutral and extremely easy to listen to. No fatigue here! If I had to say whether the amp errs on the analytical vs. sweet side, I’d definitely say the sweet side. This amp would never be confused with a tube amp but it does deliver ultra-smooth and almost tube-like liquidity. The amp simply doesn't call attention to itself in the all important midrange. Music lovers know what I mean. There are times when you are playing a recording and you find yourself thinking "wow" – music. Not “wow” - my equipment sounds good! (Although it is fun to say both - let's face it!) Once such recording for me is on Chris Botti's album "To Love Again: The Duets." Paula Cole's voice on "My One and Only Love" is superb. Her voice hangs between the speakers – smooth and liquid. Imaging is excellent as you can hear every breath she takes as she sings this song and in three dimensions. Vocals, especially female vocals are always difficult to get right and this amp does it extremely well.

The highs are silky-smooth and somewhat extended. I can't say that the
BP7006's are the last word in extended highs but the music was consistently smooth with an appropriate amount of sheen and sparkle. Way better than the NAD which I find to be rolled off. The 640 was extended without any hint of harshness.

Similar Products Used:

NAD 372 Integrated Amplifier

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
Showing 1-10 of 22  

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