Cambridge 650 BD (850 euro) offers the first Blu-ray player with the Azur, which digital SACD signals can pass. Sound profit or gimmick?
- Blu-ray player Cambridge Azur 650 BD
- Data sheet
Who long can interest in fine high bit recordings, who had in the overloaded format digital world to the present day a problem: players who play all Blu-ray over DVD-audio and SACD, were to be found only in the upper price regions. Usually, there were also restrictions on SACD. Either one had to analog to play them back, or take a buying signal down relied on CD quality (44.1 kHz, 16-bit). It’s so regrettable than the larger models of current surround sound amplifier also directly handle the DSD stream of the SACD quality via HDMI 1.3 interface. And only this way – just quite meaningful – signal processing can be bass management, room correction and other amenities without quality control going use.
With the new Azur 650 BD Cambridge solves this problem. A player who not only all current and former audiophile formats of HDCD about DVD-audio and SACD plays up to Blu-ray, but passes all signals in the raw form – as it is actually always allowed since HDMI 1.3 already. In addition, he has all important decoder himself on board and can pass all formats ready decoded as high-resolution PCM. Of course he plays analog also up to 7.1 channels. The British build based on the Mediatek chipset and an OEM-basis of the California specialist oppo, so that you are by no means obvious a fine high-end player with impressive facilities and some audiophile Extras, such as a passive cooling without a noisy fan.
Already at the first time, a smile on the faces of the tester provoked the concept and the user-friendliness of the player: the player boots in seconds, faster than many a DVD player. Immediately after switching on the load can be opened. He copes also read at a brisk pace: after 10 seconds run CD or DVD, Blu-ray display after 20 seconds. And also in the programme he navigates exceptionally responsive. Ingenious: The configuration menu can be used in the play mode, without having you everytime must pause for adjustment work. The menu is simple, but vividly and clearly organized and allows for very flexible and detailed settings. This one can always optimally adapt the Azur 650 BD to his teammate. In some situations, you should know but already more, consult what you are doing and, if necessary, its hopefully specialized dealers.
Less nice, but acceptable is that the Player menu speaks only English. Also German can be disk menu, audio and subtitle language directly from the short list selected. To look up the appropriate code from the table in the thankfully German instructions. And you should take a look in the manual in one other thing: convenient functions behind the four color buttons, toggle the photo list on the slide overview hide for many media. The Setup boasts an excellent graphically illustrated and flexible bass management. For audio and video signal types and bandwidth can be in addition to the HDMI automatisms manually to the maximum currently allowed by the standard unlock or set specific limits. Digital 4:4:4 component video and 36 bit color depth of up to 192 kHz sampling rate and DSD output.
Setup: Extensive set of all signals
But back to the SACD processing. In addition to the bit stream output of the DSD track, the player offers the possibility to convert the signal to highendiges PCM 24 bit, 88.2 kHz. Unlike Denon – and Marantz player, frustrating 16 bit and 44.1 kHz squeezes the SACDs. Cambridge must first convert lack private DSD-a-bit converter the SACD also for the analog output in PCM. More flexible there, because as analog amplifiers and all HDMI devices can be with the high bit signals provide and understand not only the latest models, the DSD direct. In the stereoplay listening room, the player had to then show how well he carried out the conversion.
First, the Azur 650 BD should prove its excellent compatibility to all specified standards. Its video signal processing offers a good, fast de-interlacing and a comparatively easy knitted, but good filtered scaler. It produces slight overshoot while DVD – crisp sharp images shows visible double outlines – but with good bandwidth.
About DSD, the SACD sounds really good
In terms of audio, the testers initially classified the sound quality of the analog outputs. With 57 and 47 points for surround and stereo playback, he reached Cambridge solid values for this price class. But it quickly became clear that its developers had used their ingenuity rather for the HDMI signals. With various standard Dolby and DTS recordings, fine HD formats of PCM of up to 192 kHz, TrueHD, and DTS-HD Master Audio cemented the player in DVD-audio, DVD-video and Blu-ray its position with 64 points.
Now came the case of Knaxus: how has proved the direct digital DSD output compared to PCM conversion and the analogue output. First attempts with an Onkyo PR-SC5507 and extensive testing with a Denon AVR 4310 in the listening room confirmed winning the large sound of HDMI compared to the analogue detour. The difference between DSD and PCM included around turned out to be comparatively low, costs but barely a sound point. The comparison was again exciting with a “real” player, in this case a Marantz SA 7001 (test 6/06), which connected to the analog, was compared with the HDMI-DSD signal. Apart from the fact that the Denon analog fed something something darker sound brighter and his DSD converter, was quickly realized, the winner was called Cambridge.
A thicker player of Marantz SA 15 S 1 (test 9/05) had to be found. It was amazing: the barely half as expensive Blu-ray player held loosely the level of analog connected SACD player. He sounded only slightly less dynamic, painted but richer timbres and cared for deeper space. In addition to stereo, he plays in addition at the same quality multi-channel SACDs Cambridge and trumps loose so the special player. Better still: He holds with only in the “direct” mode. Want you digital spice up its analog signal, losing it to the Cambridge further ground, limit its sound quality but the then intermediate A/D-converter.
Congratulations to Cambridge. With the Azur 650 BD deliver the first Blu-ray player for audiophile listeners who have arrived in the digital age and want to enjoy their “old” high bit discs also today fully. Especially since it because not a few unique multichannel versions are available. Just think of Pink Floyd’s SACD “Dark Side of The Moon”. This is the audiophile player for the HDMI age.
Cambridge Azur 650 BD
Technical data and test results
|Video digital HDMI (version)||1.3a|
|Max resolution of HDMI|
|Decoder Dolby True HD / DTS HD Master||/|
|Decoder DD / DTS||/|
|Remote control for TV / Adaptive||/|
|Predefined picture settings / adjustable|
|Memory card reader|
|Ethernet for update / interactive content||/|
|Headphone output / adjustable||/|
|BD – time DVD / Blu-ray (in seconds)||10 / 22.0 s|
|JPEG / JPEG HD||/|
|Analog output stereo / 5.1 / 7.1||/|
|DVD + R / RW||/|
|CD-R / RW||/|
|BD-R / RE||/|
|optical / HDMI||/|
|Hosiden / 3-comp.||/|
|Signal to noise ratio (A weighted)||105 dB|
|Output resistance||328 ohm|
|Error correction ability info layer CD / DVD||3,0 / 4,5 mm|
|Error correction surface CD / DVD||3,04,5 mm|
|Power consumption standby / operating||0.6 / 16.3 W|
|Short conclusion||Blu-ray universal player, mastering and DVD-audio and SACD. Quick navigation. Clearly laid out and optimized for HDMI, he dominated also the DSD output of SACD.|
(maximum 70 points)
(maximum 70 points)
(maximum 10 points)
(max. 15 points)
(maximum 10 points)
|Picture Blu ray / DVD||16 / 9|
|Overall rating (max. 120 points)||outstanding 106|
|tested in issue:||5 / 10|