Cambridge Audio Azur 751BD 3D Blu-ray player
Anglophile audiophile attraction
Review There’s a renaissance in audiophile grade Blu-ray players happening at the moment. Arcam’s exotic BDP100 got the ball rolling, and now the Oppo BDP-95EU, Marantz UD7006 and this here Cambridge Audio Azur 751BD are hot on its heels. I must confess to being excited. While I like cheap-as-chips electronics as much as the next guy, nothing stokes my system-lust quite as much as a black tie disc spinner.
One player, spins all: Cambridge Audio Azur 751BD
Tipping the scales at 5kg, the 751BD appears hewn from solid metal. A good sign as rigidity usually begets fidelity. Equally reassuring is the provision of two HDMI outputs. Owners of non-3D compatible AV receivers can use the second output to decode DTS HD MA and Dolby TrueHD lossless audio, while 3D video squirts out of the first to a compatible display.
Other connections include a couple of USB ports (one front, one back), an eSATA interface, Ethernet, optical and coaxial digital audio outputs, plus 7.1 analogue audio outs, principally provided to deliver hi-res music playback. There’s even RS232 for CI professionals to play with.
In short, this player can interface with pretty much any combination of kit available. While the deck does not have integrated Wi-Fi, a wireless dongle is provided in the box for those that need it. Rounding off the package is a shiny, metal remote. This lacks backlighting but has a satisfying weight and finish.
The user interface is chunky and fun. Large graphics denote Music, Photo, Movie, Network and Internet silos. Insert a USB storage device and you’ll be able to play tunes from the Music tab, play a disc and it’ll be available under the Video heading and so on. Currently, net connected content is limited to Picasa, which frankly isn’t very exciting. At the very least someone should be trying to ink a deal with VTuner or Shoutcast.
Next page: Self serving
...it's the gold-plated DIRECTIONAL audio phono cables that really make the difference between audiophile hi-fi and ordinary hi-fi.
"A good sign as rigidity usually begets fidelity."
I bet you can "hear the difference" when you use gold plated phono leads too.
On a realistic note, £800 for a blu-ray player? Sorry El Reg but we aren't all cashing in our Apple or facebook shares this week.
And it might disappoint you to learn that there are quite a lot of rich people who are also savvy enough to understand that precisely 87.64% of audiophilia is medicine show homeopathic hogwash. There's no obligation to waste money on unnecessary audiobling just because one's coin is weighing heavy in the purse. And there's nothing wrong with scoffing at unnecessary audiobling whether one can afford it or not.
(Of course, you probably won't notice that 0.64% unless you are using palladium-coated wifis to connect to the interweb.)
Found it - it does do DVD-A
So it does both HD music formats
As to speaker cable I can hear the differences between cheap and decent, but my decent cable was not that expensive, just decent quality.
£800 seems a fair price to me - remember the first DVD players were £500 and up.
This is full of good quality stuff.
Re: Golden ears
There's no easy answer to that one.
I have a completely seperate aging Arcam / KEF Coda HiFi system to my Cambridge Audio / KEF 2005 surround system for a variety of reasons. The most important being that the only surround system I have heard in demo that sounded as good as the seperate HiFi setup when playing Vinyl or CD cost considerably north of 6 grand.....(!) I can replace 'em both with better kit for less than that.
Of course I am told that having idle speakers in the same room as those doing the work is a terrible thing, but take 'em all out and I can't hear the difference, which is what's important. It's like the old speaker cable debate. I can hear the difference between "bog" 530 strand copper and my old QED Qudos stuff, but I cannot hear any difference between that and something costing 5 or 6 times as much per metre.
So at the end of the day it's all about whether you can hear a difference. In that case I suspect that the only important factor in this case is the acreage of glass on the front acting as an unwanted reflector. However, outside of a demo room's careful acoustic construction, you'd be pushed to spot it IMHO, as that cabinet, nice wood floor or badly placed armchair in your living room will be far more of an issue. I doubt whether it's switched on or not would make an audible difference, despite what the types who dwell on the number of carats in the gold plating of their digital interconnects may tell you.