Cambridge Audio Azur 540D DVD Players

Azur 540D

PAL and NTSC Progressive Scan, Meridian Lossless Packing to deliver 24-bit/96kHz multi-channel DVD-Audio and 24-bit/192kHz stereo DVD-Audio, built in 5.1 decoder, DVD-Audio, component video, RGB on Scart, composite/S-Video, downmix stereo out, Crystal CS4360 24-bit/192kHz multi-DAC, six 12-bit/54MHz video DACs, 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 (12)

Showing 1-10 of 12  
hankclever   Audio Enthusiast [Oct 21, 2006]
Strength:

Made of solid metal, including remote. Gold rca jacks. FF and rev on tracks incredibly fast.

Weakness:

manual is too short, doesnt explain enough about it. It takes a bit longer than i had expected to play the dvd/cd, but once its playing it tracks fast.

This is a great dvd&cd player. I'm very impressed. Sounds and works and looks so much better than my old sony cdp-235 changer. The picture looks awesome, but I haven't had much time to compare it to other dvd players, i dont watch many movies. I mostly listen to cds on it and the sound is amazing. Great player for the price, better than anything esle under $1000. (I would love to own a accuphase dp 100 cdp &101 dac, will never have the money.)

Similar Products Used: pioneer sx-939 receiver
pioneer cs-99 speakers
pioneer ct-f9191
sanyo projector
sony cdp-235
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
Billo   Audio Enthusiast [Oct 08, 2006]
Strength:

Looks good

Weakness:

Problematic
Destroyes speakers, even exspenive ones
The manual is the worst ever.Like the unit itself, looks nice.

I must say I wished I would have paid more attention to negative reviews.
I am on my 2nd Cambridge Audio 540D.The 1st blew a bass driver in my Montor Audio GR-20's. Audio Advisor sent me anothe unit as it was within their 30 day trial period.
This unit, whenever stopping, playing, chapter skipping etc, on some movies would cause a very loud pop in speakers.
The second 540D played flawlessly for the 1st 3 months. After that it started popping again durring chapter changes.
I called Audio Advisor and they informed me to contact Audio Plus , they are the North American Dist. Audio Plus advised me to send in unit for waranty work. They also mentioned they have never heard of this problem before.
I sent the unit back. I recieved an E mail statting they found no problems with unit.They went on to say it could be a compatibility issue with my Harmon Kardon 635 reciever.
( W H A T !!!!!!!)
After replacing 2 bass driver that this CA 540D destroyed, I'm here to let everyone know, since they don't tell you, that if you own a HK reciever you may exsperence compatibility issues with Cambridge Audio products. For that matter anything Audio Plus carries may have those " compatability" isues.
Although I paid $349 for the 540D origionaly I have had to spend another $240 for replacement drivers in my speakers, plus a few bucks to send it to Audio Plus.
Oh yes, Audio Plus advised me to hook the CA 540D to another reciever brand to see if problem persists. (I will be asking them to send me a couple speakers to exsperiment with. ) I cant afford no new speakers till after Christmas.
Oh yes and please read all the other reviews on this unit, good or bad.

Customer Service

Read above

Similar Products Used: Marantz DV7600
HK 31
HK (?)
Sony's
Pioneer's
Panasonic's
OVERALL
RATING
1
VALUE
RATING
1
ti33er   Audio Enthusiast [Apr 13, 2006]
Strength:

Flawless Video and Audio

Weakness:

Remote control could be back-lit but most people buy a Universal Remote anway - the remote has to be line of sight to the IR receiver or it does not always respond to commands (nothing too serious)

I have owned the Cambridge Audio 540D for over 2 years and all I can say is that I have had none of the problems that anyone here has reported and it is a flawless performer in my opinion

Some reviewers have stated that piture quality on HDMI players is better but I cannot fault my picture quality, there is nothing that I can nit-pick or notice that looks out of place or looks irregular (I have an Infocus 5700 Projector on a 7 foot screen and sit 8 foot away so I can just see the pixels, no problems whatsoever)

The CD Audio is brilliant, I had this attached a ROTEL 1066 and TagMcLaren 250Rx3 amplifier (which I have sold and am very sorry that I did) and all my music came to life and had my girlfriend begging to listen to more Dave Matthews over and over again!

This is the budget player of choice for me - I can hardly even say it is a budget player because it performs like a champ!

Bravo CA!

Customer Service

Richer Sounds are brilliant, buy it from them if you are in the UK!

Similar Products Used: NAD/ROTEL/TagMcLaren
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
YU2874   Audio Enthusiast [Jan 19, 2006]
Strength:

Sharp image.

Weakness:

No complaint with this price.

Nice video & sound quality. I own this player for 2 years. No problem at all.

Similar Products Used: NAD, SONY, DENON,&PIONEER.
OVERALL
RATING
4
VALUE
RATING
5
tye1138   Audio Enthusiast [Dec 02, 2005]
Strength:

Multi-Region Excellent Picture Quality Ease of Operation PAL/NTSC switchable Interlaced/Progressive switchable Good D/A converters For $349 you can't get a better DVD player OR CD player!

Weakness:

Remote control WORKS, but button layout and IR needs to be thought out better. I wish it were made in the US or UK!

I've had SOO many DVD players. Started with Sony, moved to Pioneer Elite, migrated back to Sony again until I fell upon the Marantz DV-18Mk2. The Marantz in late 1997 was THE BEST DVD player for $1000! I was impressed with the Marantz in all conditions, especially with my old Sony XBR CRT 36inch monitor! Recently I got into video Projectors and DLP technology. The Marantz was just not keeping up. The interlaced component video output and chip set were old for the time. I finally decided to "bite the bullet" and get a NEW DVD player. What I was looking for in a player was one that was unique, had a great chip set, good D/A converters + I needed Multi-Region decoding! So instead of buying 2 machines, one HIGH-END unit and one cheap POS for Multi-region, I decided to get the 540D. I know it does not have THE BEST MPEG motion decoder. I know it has a plain and simple mechanic block, but in reality does my $1400 doller projector need a better source? The 540D is an impressive little unit. Made entirely over-seas, the little unit immediatly pleases me with the $349 retail price tag and kool box! The packaging is great for such a cheap unit and the initial setup was simple and the unit just works out of the box! - Positive Features: The immediate feature set is astounding! On-Remote Progressive/Interlaced switch. On-Remote PAL/NTSC switch. I can watch NTSC Disks in PAL 25fps in Progressive scan! I can also watch Region 2 DVD's in NTSC upconversion from 25fps! So the unit is pretty darn kool! I also love how FAST the unit is, chapter searches and scans are VERY fast and super clean. Very huge difference over any DVD player I've ever used. - PICTURE The picture quality is BETTER, but not THE BEST. I've used tru High Def sources on my Projector before and this DVD player lacks some of the luster of a TRU HD source because of course its 480p and not 720p or 1080p. BUT on DVD's like "The Incrediables" the picture quality really shows out. Rich deep blacks, correct colors and NO interlacing lines! Motion is extremely smooth and I've yet to see ANY artifacts after watching 200+ movies since I've owned it. I'd rate the picture quality 1 - 100 at around 75, which is VERY good for a $349 unit! - Audio The Analog audio quality is very good. They are using excellent 192/24bit D/A converters on the audio side. You can't get a better CD player under $349 then what this unit does! Of course the Dolby Digital and DTS audio is perfectly fine. I've not heard any issues. - Daily Use The player does not allow you to bypass any initial dvd menu's like my Marantz did. You have to hit the next chapter button a bunch to get into the main menu on most disks. This is a bit annoying since my marantz would skip past all of Hardware locked sections of ANY DVD! The other annoying thing is the remote control. It feels good in you hand, the buttons are in ok position, BUT you can't use the dam thing when its dark! Every button has the same feel, same look, so unless you memorize where the buttons are in relationship too each other, your kinda screwed. Also, the IR system they are using is bogus. New batteries and all, the remote needs to be directly pointed at the DVD player for it to work. This is a problem when the DVD player is behind you! My theory is simple though, the $3000 Denon DVD Player with all the bells and whistles does not do multi-region decoding OR PAL/NTSC! So, I can deal with some minor issues with such a cheap unit. The DVD player menu's are fine, easy to get around, nothing really there to select. The DVD player automatically does 99% of what you need to do and everything else is on the remote control as a button. Its fantastic to not use the DVD players system menu to select PAL/NTSC! - Final Thoughts For $349, go get one NOW! Don't think, don't call anybody, just go get one! I have been 100% happy with this player, even despite its issues, its performance is excellent for a budget! If this unit were available at Best Buy, it would sell 1000's a month and nobody would complain! Because its a HIGH-END unit, there are complaints. Sure the early units had problems, but my unit has served me for almost a year and I love it! BUT: If somebody were to come out with a Multi-Region DVD player for around $1000 that had EVERYTHING the 540D has + a 90%+ picture quality and better audio quality, I'd jump the boat and get one. Sadly, nobody make such unit. You have to spend OVER $2000 to get such a great unit!

Similar Products Used: Marantz DV-18MK2 Pioneer Elite 05 and 45 Sony ES series DVD players 9000 ect... Pioneer Elite laserdisk players
OVERALL
RATING
4
VALUE
RATING
5
RENES7S   Audio Enthusiast [Jan 24, 2005]
Strength:

Excellent CD playback, super-fast transport, excellent video playback (video intereference notwithstanding), attractive case and remote control design, reasonable money for what it does

Weakness:

Noisy transport, video interference problems, limited remote control operating range, build quality issues, limited detail about features in the instruction manual

I bought the Cambridge Audio Azur 540D DVD player based on the numerous glowing reviews found on the web and in various magazines, and based on a recommendation by my trusted salesman and on the performance of a demo unit (see below). It was intended to be a budget-priced 'stop gap' replacement for my ailing AMC CD-9 CD player and an upgrade over my ageing Toshiba SD-1208 DVD player. Unit #0 All was well while I had the use of Sound & Vision Studio's 540D demo unit until my player arrived. There were no problems to speak of although I cannot vouch for the ability or lack thereof to play DVD-As... Unit #1 Two weeks passed before my brand-new 540D arrived and was pressed into service after a weekend of running-in. I immediately noticed a couple of differences to the demo unit. The transport made a distinct 'ticking' noise whenever I played CD-Rs and the remote control was bordering on useless. Unless you moved from the listening position and pointed the remote directly at the unit (90 degrees) it refused to acknowledge the remote's IR emitter (this was not an issue with the demo unit). And yes I tried fresh batteries, checking for obstructions, reflections etc. I had previously programmed my Yamaha receiver learning remote with the demo one and it actually did a much better job. So I lived with that. A few months in though and this unit started to exhibit the video horizontal 'noise banding' interference that Hypnotoad so accurately described, clearly visible on my Toshiba 48" 4:3 RPTV via s-video and NEC 68cm CTV via composite (RCA). This was followed by disc skipping and even refusal to play DVDs and CDs that my friends 7yr old Onkyo would play without complaint. Oh yeah, then the screen saver logo decided it would stay on the screen when I resumed playback of a paused/stopped DVD! Back to the factory with you... Unit #2 The first time I played a DVD on this machine it exhibited the video 'noise banding' from unit #1, plus the ticking transport noise whilst playing CDs and suffered from even more useless remote control operation (how could that be?!??). Even my Yamaha learning remote couldn't operate this unit. I tried to reprogram it with this units remote but to no avail. What was even worse (despite learning all this within ten minutes of powering up the unit) was that a new video interference had joined the horizontal 'noise banding' in ruining my day. This time it was a diagonal 'hatch' pattern that plagued the screen, rending actors faces almost unreadable on my eagerly purchased (R4) copy of Donnie Darko: Director's Cut. Goodbye, old chum... I was quite annoyed about all this as the demo unit (#0) exhibited none of these faults, which lends me to agree (yet again) with Hypnotoad's theories about build quality issues on Cambridge Audio's assembly line, as each player I took into my care exhibited more problems than the preceding unit. The distributors of Cambridge Audio (in Australia) offered no reason for these faults. Basically all I got was a 'no comment'. However, I was refunded the full purchase price and after much deliberation and back-to-back comparisons of a few higher priced DVD/DVD-A/SACD players I settled on the wonderful Denon 2910 for AU$1170… Buyer beware. Enough said.

Similar Products Used: Denon 2910, Rotel RDV-1060
OVERALL
RATING
1
VALUE
RATING
3
Hypnotoad   Audio Enthusiast [Oct 02, 2004]
Strength:

Decent CD sound, DVD-A, very nice picture when you look past the noise.

Weakness:

Video noise resulting from ground loops and RF pickup from the stepper motor; assembly and fabrication quality problems

Beware this player, and even Cambridge Audio in general. In principle, it's an excellent unit, but I had to go through three of them in six weeks to be convinced that Cambridge has design and quality control problems. Player #1: Purchased mid-August. Outstanding video quality, excellent CD sound, but DVD-A was a bust. It wouldn't play the format due to a software problem. Before it was determined to be a software issue affecting several hundred units, my dealer (Audio Vision in San Francisco; excellent people, I highly recommend them) provided me with a replacement, which, naturally was... Player #2: DVD-Audio, at last. Same CD playback. Video riddled with noise. Yup, this thing had a ground loop problem with my digital cable feed like you wouldn't believe. Lifting the cable ground took care of this, but without the lovely purples and greens from the ground loop obscuring the picture, I now got treated to some other kind of interference. Faint, thin horizontal bands of alternating image intensity (not different color, just intensity) ran from top to bottom of the image. Pausing playback, however, stopped the noise. Immediately I thought: stepper motor drive signal interference. A quick and dirty calculation of the apparent square wave frequency based on the number of bands on screen gave 15 to 20 Hz. And what is the usual square wave drive frequency for a DVD player? About 10 to 30 Hz, depending on the head location. This, of course, takes me to... Player #3. Surely, the noise artifacts were a fluke. After all, the first of these players had completely clean video. Nope, not a chance. Identical noise problems and the same unusually low black level. This unit, however, had the added bonus of a transport so noisy I could keep time with the clicking of the stepper motor during soft passages of music while seated 10 feet away. So, is it poor design, or poor quality control? I'm guessing both. I decided to have a look inside the second unit. Two things struck me: first the SCART connector housing was badly corroded, as were the solder pins from the connector to the board; second, there was a version sticker on the logic board (containing the DACS and stepper timing circuitry, among other things) that was printed as "2.2" but which had been altered with a pen to "2.3". Since the serial number of the third unit was one number removed from the serial number of the second, the third one was certainly a "version 2.3". My take is that Cambridge made a circuit design that resulted in the stepper drive signal crosstalk and susceptibility to ground loops. Add in some shoddy workmanship, and there you have it. For me, since I didn't want to shell out twice as much for another multi-format (DVD-V, DVD-A, and CD) player, I found it worked better to forget about having a multi-format player for the time being in favor of a decent CD player (the Cambridge 540C, believe it or not) and a separate DVD-V player. There were also a couple of non-performance issues that arose. On the second and third 540D's, the screen-printed logo and button labels were much, much darker than what was on the amp, making the pairing look conspicuously cheap. Further, on the second 540D and on the 540C were white information stickers about 1.5 x 2.0 inches, that had been placed on the top front surfaces of the units. Instead of using an appropriate low-tack adhesive, they cheaped out and used a semi-permanent adhesive that was so stuck on that I had to remove the top covers and soak them in warm water with a little alcohol for several hours to remove the stickers. The 540D came out fine, but the on the 540C the adhesive had deteriorated the paint underneath, leaving a really noticeable stain. I'm giving this thing low value and overall ratings because it failed in it's primary purpose: video playback. I know this is supposed to be bargain equipment, but I don't think expecting things like basic functionality and undamaged casework is unreasonable at any price short of free. Overall, if you're thinking about going Cambridge, think twice. Look carefully at their website, and compare their Azur line, which they say is a ground up re-design, to their older stuff. There is virtually no difference between them, and what differences are there tend to favor the older line. I cannot recommend that anyone purchase their products.

Similar Products Used: NAD C521
OVERALL
RATING
1
VALUE
RATING
2
Brett   Audio Enthusiast [Jun 27, 2004]
Strength:

excellent picture quality great sound for a dvd player very solid construction plays DVD-R, DVD+R, NTSC and PAL discs

Weakness:

doesn't retain movie position when turned off

my trusty old Panasonic died about two weeks ago, so I was suddenly required to brush up on dvd technology in order to find a good replacement.. it turns out the death of my 6 year old Panasonic was probably a very good thing so I shopped around a bit, and bought the 540D and the matching 540R receiver (you might want to read that review on here, since it ties in with this unit, too) I already own a Cambridge Audio D500 cd player and C500 preamp, so I knew what to expect as far as sound and build quality.. but I had no idea how much better the video would be compared to my aging Panasonic.. I was (and still am) wowed by the contrast.. blacks are actually black.. with excellent gradation and tonal qualities throughout the spectrum.. my tv is an old Trinitron, and it suddenly got the idea that it's HDTV (or as close as it's going to get).. and I'm just using S-video, since the tv doesn't have component video inputs also, my old Panasonic was very touchy about playing DVD-R discs that I record on my Macintosh.. about half my discs would regularly show video 'jitter' at specific points.. I assumed the problem was a bad batch of discs.. but the 540D plays every single one with zero problems plus, it even plays PAL discs (I had a few sitting around the house that I ordered from european websites because they weren't available on dvd in the states).. I never got to watch them until this weekend.. and the CA player plays them just like they were NTSC.. very cool! the remote control is very nice.. well balanced and easy to figure out.. but here's something odd.. the remote has a button labeled "LOGO" that when you press it while a disc is playing, it takes a digital snapshot of the image on screen and makes that the permanent startup image for the player.. is this necessary on a remote? weird the transport seems very solid and fast.. you don't have to stand there for 10 seconds after pushing the 'open' button while it decides to give you access to the tray.. this one operates with concise authority.. and doesn't seem flimsy to the touch sound quality is excellent, as least as far as a dvd player goes.. I'm tempted to hook it up in place of my D500 cd player in my audio-only system to give it head to head comparison.. but that might stir up trouble in my audio racks, so maybe not one quick word about the owners manual.. WORTHLESS.. it's a nice marketing piece.. telling you what the features of the unit are.. but don't expect it to explain what they do or why you should use them one noticeable complaint.. the dvd player doesn't remember where it left off in a movie when turning it off.. how did this get past CA engineering? otherwise, I love this unit and would definitely choose it again over everything else I looked at

Similar Products Used: Panasonic A310
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
PVB   Casual Listener [Jun 25, 2004]
Strength:

Looks, feel, remote, price, picture and SOUND, SOUND, SOUND...

Weakness:

Manual not very clear No direct track or scene selection on remote

As I do not have enough space to accomodate both a DVD player and a CD player, I was looking for a DVD player that would be great at spinning CD's as well. I used to have a cheap Philips 634 DVD player which was quite useless with CD's. Dynamics were very poor and it was not 'musical'. This new Cambridge Audio really fulfills its promises. It looks and feels great, and it sounds very, very good with both DVD's and CD's. I had the opportunity to compare it to the Azur 640 CD player, which is regarded as a new industry's standard at the price, and I feel that it comes farely close. I don't have the feeling that I should have a separate CD Player. The 540 D sounds open and detailed. Bass and dynamics are very nice. It does not sound as warm as e.g. NAD, but you get more details and 'openess'. I tried a DVD-audio, and that sounds terrific too. Unfortunately it is very hard to find DVD-audio's in Belgium.Picture quality is also outstanding. I use the RGB scart and colours are very vivid and warm. On the downside, I find the owner's manual not complete enough. For example it does not mention language codes. If you are not very technical, as I am, it is also hard to understand which settings should be used. Therefore I downloaded an NAD manual which explains things better. The remote is fantastic as well, although a little bit long. Unfortunately it is not possible to select tracks or scenes. The player picks up tracks quick enough and the mechanism is very silent as well. Overall, I think it is difficult to find better value for your money right now. I am so impressed that I am thinking of getting rid of my surround receiver and speakers, and buying the Azur 640 A amplifier instead. Together with my Monitor Audio Bronze front speakers and MJ acoustics Pro 50 subwoofer, I think that would make a super combination, even for movies.

Similar Products Used: NAD 513
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
Frank F.   AudioPhile [May 11, 2004]
Strength:

Sonics,DVD-Audio/Video A dedicated CD Spinner Winner Build Price CS4360 dac

Weakness:

None At This Price

The Cambridge 540D is an A/V winner in all all respects. Using the latest Crystal CS4360 192/khz dac(also featured in the new $$$ Naim DVD5) it is at home spinning CDs & DVD-Audio Discs. Sonics abound with excellent transparency & dynamics... Many DVD players lose sight when playing cds but not the 540D which never brings out listener fatigue. DVD-Audio discs Sound Incredible & better Far Costly Machines... Also a winner in the DVD-Video world with it's superb picture quality & grain free presentation, excellent build quality & ergonomic design. At $379 dollar retail there is no better in it's class... !

Similar Products Used: NAD T533 Elite DV-38A Denon DVD-2900
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
Showing 1-10 of 12  

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