Cambridge Azur 851A: Elevating Audio Excellence

Introduction

In the world of audio enthusiasts, high-quality sound amplification is crucial for delivering an immersive and captivating listening experience. Whether you are a music lover, a movie enthusiast, or an audiophile, the right amplifier can make all the difference in bringing your audio to life. Today, we will be diving into the world of amplifiers and exploring the exceptional capabilities of the Cambridge Azur 851A amplifier.

The Cambridge Azur 851A is an integrated stereo amplifier that has been designed to redefine the standards of power, elegance, and low distortion. As a flagship model from Cambridge Audio, it embodies their commitment to exceptional performance, user-friendly operation, and outstanding value. With its ability to deliver a staggering 120 watts of power per channel, this amplifier is equipped with top-of-the-line power transformers for both the pre-amplifier and power amplifier stages, resulting in an incredible output.

However, power alone is meaningless without precise control. The Azur 851A features a completely balanced volume control with silicon gates, ensuring accurate volume adjustment across the entire range and precise balance control between channels. In terms of connectivity options, the 851A offers both RCA inputs and fully balanced XLR inputs, allowing you to connect high-quality sources such as the award-winning Cambridge Audio 851C digital-to-analog converter or their acclaimed DacMagic Plus or Stream Magic 6.

The design and construction of the Cambridge Azur 851A are not just aesthetically pleasing but also engineered for optimal performance. Its fully metallic chassis incorporates acoustic damping for superior sonic characteristics while maintaining durability. To add to its versatility, the intuitive display allows you to customize the names of your connected components, eliminating the need to remember which device is connected to which input.

In this review, we will explore the technical specifications, design and construction, functionality, sound characteristics, sound performance, advantages, value for money, and ultimately provide a comprehensive conclusion on the Cambridge Azur 851A amplifier. So, let us delve into the world of high-fidelity sound amplification and discover the exceptional capabilities of this remarkable amplifier.

Technical Specifications

The Cambridge Azur 851A amplifier boasts impressive technical specifications that contribute to its exceptional audio performance. With a power output of 120 watts, this amplifier is capable of delivering a powerful and immersive sound experience.

In terms of class, the Azur 851A utilizes Class XD technology, which combines the best aspects of Class A and Class AB amplification. This innovative design ensures both efficiency and low distortion, resulting in a clean and accurate sound reproduction.

The signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) of 93 dB ensures that the amplifier produces minimal background noise, allowing the listener to fully appreciate the nuances and details in their music. Additionally, the total harmonic distortion (THD) of just 0.001% guarantees a faithful reproduction of the audio signal without any unwanted distortions or coloration.

The Cambridge Azur 851A provides a range of input options to accommodate various audio sources. It features eight RCA inputs, allowing for easy connectivity with devices such as CD players, turntables, or media streamers. In addition, there are four balanced XLR inputs available for high-quality audio sources.

For output options, the amplifier offers two sets of RCA line outputs for connecting to external devices or powered speakers. It also includes a dedicated headphone output on the front panel for private listening sessions.

In terms of compatibility, the Cambridge Azur 851A supports a wide range of audio formats, ensuring compatibility with most modern music sources. Whether you prefer streaming services, vinyl records, CDs, or digital files, this amplifier can handle them all with ease.

The frequency response ranges from 10 Hz to an impressive 50 kHz, ensuring that no detail is lost in the audio reproduction. This wide frequency range allows for an extended bass response and clear high-frequency reproduction. The amplifier is also designed to work seamlessly with speakers ranging from 4 ohms to 8 ohms impedance.

Overall, the technical specifications of the Cambridge Azur 851A amplifier demonstrate its ability to deliver exceptional sound quality and versatility. With its powerful output, low distortion, and wide range of input options, this amplifier is a reliable choice for audiophiles seeking a high-performance audio solution.

Design and Construction

The Cambridge Azur 851A amplifier boasts a sleek and sophisticated design that is sure to catch the eye of any audio enthusiast. With its clean lines and minimalist aesthetic, it exudes a sense of elegance and refinement. The amplifier is encased in a fully metal chassis, not only providing a visually appealing look but also ensuring durability and longevity.

The choice of materials used in the construction of the Cambridge Azur 851A further enhances its overall quality. The metal chassis not only adds to its sturdiness but also aids in reducing any unwanted vibrations or resonance that could potentially affect the sound performance. This attention to detail in construction highlights Cambridge Audio’s commitment to producing high-quality audio equipment.

Efficient cooling is crucial for maintaining optimal performance, especially for amplifiers that generate significant power. The Cambridge Azur 851A incorporates clever design features to facilitate efficient cooling, such as strategically placed heat sinks and ventilation slots. These design elements help dissipate heat effectively, ensuring the amplifier remains cool even during extended periods of use.

Additionally, the Cambridge Azur 851A utilizes high-quality connectors and switches, further enhancing its overall usability and reliability. The RCA inputs are thoughtfully designed, allowing for secure and stable connections with various audio sources. The switches feel solid and well-built, ensuring smooth operation without any unwanted noise or interference.

Overall, the design and construction of the Cambridge Azur 851A amplifier are truly commendable. Its sleek appearance, robust build quality, efficient cooling mechanisms, and high-quality connectors all contribute to an amplifier that not only looks impressive but also delivers exceptional performance.

Functionality

The Cambridge Azur 851A amplifier offers a wide range of functionality, making it a versatile choice for any audio enthusiast. It is designed to accommodate various audio sources, including CD players, computers, smartphones, and more.

One notable feature of the 851A is its multiple connectivity options. It provides eight RCA inputs, allowing you to connect multiple devices simultaneously. Additionally, it offers four balanced XLR inputs for high-quality sources such as the Cambridge Audio 851C digital-to-analog converter or the award-winning DacMagic Plus or Stream Magic 6.

In terms of control and customization, the amplifier includes a fully balanced volume control with silicon gate for precise adjustment of volume levels across the entire range. This ensures accurate balance control between channels. The intuitive display allows you to personalize the names of your connected components, eliminating the need to remember which device is connected to which input.

Furthermore, the 851A incorporates tone adjustments and other operating modes to enhance your listening experience. While it does not have a built-in phono stage for vinyl enthusiasts, it compensates for this by providing a stereo preamp output for connecting an external phono stage.

Overall, the functionality of the Cambridge Azur 851A amplifier is impressive. Its extensive connectivity options and customizable controls make it easy to integrate into any audio setup. Whether you’re a music lover or an audiophile, this amplifier offers the flexibility and convenience needed to enhance your listening pleasure.

Sound Characteristics

The Cambridge Azur 851A amplifier delivers an exceptional sound quality that is sure to captivate any audiophile. With its Class XD technology, this amplifier achieves a perfect balance between power, precision, and low distortion.

One of the standout features of the sound characteristics is its incredible detail and instrument separation. The amplifier effortlessly brings out the nuances in each instrument, allowing you to hear every subtle note and texture in your music. This level of detail creates a truly immersive listening experience.

The bass response of the Cambridge Azur 851A is nothing short of impressive. It delivers deep, punchy bass that adds a rich foundation to your music. Whether you’re listening to electronic dance music or classical orchestral pieces, the amplifier ensures that the bass is tight and well-defined.

In terms of treble clarity, the Cambridge Azur 851A truly shines. The high frequencies are crisp and clear, without any harshness or distortion. This allows for a smooth and enjoyable listening experience, especially when it comes to vocals and intricate guitar solos.

Overall, the sound presentation of the Cambridge Azur 851A is simply outstanding. It offers a wide soundstage, creating a sense of depth and dimensionality to your music. The imaging is precise, allowing you to pinpoint the location of each instrument within the virtual stage.

When it comes to different music genres, the Cambridge Azur 851A excels across the board. Whether you’re listening to rock, jazz, classical, or even hip-hop, this amplifier handles them all with finesse. It effortlessly adapts to each genre’s unique sonic characteristics, ensuring that every genre sounds its best.

In conclusion, the sound characteristics of the Cambridge Azur 851A are truly remarkable. Its attention to detail, powerful bass response, clear treble, and overall sound presentation make it an exceptional choice for any audiophile. Regardless of your musical preferences, this amplifier will elevate your listening experience to new heights.

Sound Performance

The Cambridge Azur 851A amplifier delivers an exceptional sound performance that will transport you into a world of immersive audio. With its advanced Class XD technology, this amplifier achieves a remarkable balance between power, finesse, and low distortion.

When it comes to faithfully reproducing audio signals, the Cambridge Azur 851A shines with its impeccable clarity and precision. Every instrument and vocal is rendered with stunning detail, allowing you to hear nuances in the music that you may have missed before. The amplifier’s ability to handle complex musical passages with ease is truly impressive, ensuring that no subtlety is lost in the mix.

One of the standout features of the Cambridge Azur 851A is its dynamic range. It effortlessly captures the full spectrum of sound, from the delicate whispers of a soft piano passage to the thunderous impact of a bass-heavy track. The amplifier’s ability to handle sudden changes in volume without any distortion or loss of control is a testament to its exceptional engineering.

The tonal balance provided by the Cambridge Azur 851A is nothing short of remarkable. It presents music in a natural and balanced way, allowing each instrument and vocal to occupy its rightful place in the soundstage. The highs are crisp and detailed, while the mids are rich and full-bodied. The bass response is tight and controlled, providing a solid foundation for the music without overpowering other frequencies.

Whether you’re listening to classical orchestral pieces or energetic rock tracks, the Cambridge Azur 851A ensures that every note is delivered with precision and finesse. It creates an immersive listening experience that draws you into the music, allowing you to fully appreciate the artistry and craftsmanship behind each recording.

In conclusion, the sound performance of the Cambridge Azur 851A is nothing short of outstanding. Its ability to faithfully reproduce audio signals with clarity, dynamics, and tonal balance across different frequency ranges sets it apart from other amplifiers in its class. If you’re a true audiophile looking for a captivating and immersive listening experience, the Cambridge Azur 851A is an amplifier that will exceed your expectations.

Advantages

The Cambridge Azur 851A amplifier offers several advantages that set it apart from its competitors in the market. Firstly, its Class XD technology provides exceptional power, ensuring both efficiency and low distortion levels. This feature allows for a detailed and well-balanced audio experience.

In terms of functionality, the 851A stands out with its fully balanced volume control, which enables precise adjustment of volume and balance across channels. This level of control ensures optimal sound reproduction and customization to suit individual preferences.

Another advantage of the 851A is its versatility in connectivity options. With both RCA and XLR inputs, users can easily connect various high-quality sources, including compatible models like the Cambridge Audio 851C digital-to-analog converter or award-winning DacMagic Plus or Stream Magic 6. This flexibility allows for seamless integration into existing audio setups.

Furthermore, the solid construction and design of the 851A contribute to its overall appeal. The all-metal chassis provides excellent acoustic damping, enhancing sound quality while also giving the amplifier a sleek and durable appearance.

When comparing the Cambridge Azur 851A to other models in its price range, it becomes evident that it offers exceptional value for money. With a power output of 120 watts and two high-grade power transformers, the amplifier delivers impressive performance that rivals more expensive options on the market.

Overall, the Cambridge Azur 851A amplifier stands out with its powerful performance, versatile connectivity options, precise control features, and solid construction. Its ability to compete with higher-priced models makes it an excellent choice for audiophiles seeking high-quality sound reproduction without breaking the bank.

Value for Money

The Cambridge Azur 851A amplifier offers exceptional value for money, combining top-notch performance, a wide range of features, and an attractive price point. When considering the amplifier’s performance, it delivers a powerful output of 120 watts with the ability to provide spine-tingling audio quality. The Class XD technology ensures minimal distortion and excellent time distribution, resulting in an immersive listening experience.

In terms of features, the Cambridge Azur 851A is equipped with two high-grade power transformers, one for the pre-amplifier and another for the power amplifier, ensuring a remarkable output. The fully balanced volume control with silicon gate provides precise volume adjustment and channel balance control. Additionally, it offers flexible connectivity options with RCA inputs and fully balanced XLR inputs, accommodating various high-quality audio sources.

The design and construction of the Cambridge Azur 851A further enhance its value proposition. The all-metal chassis with acoustic damping not only adds to its aesthetic appeal but also ensures durability and optimal performance. The intuitive display allows users to customize the names of their connected components, eliminating the need to remember which device is connected to which input. Furthermore, the amplifier can be controlled using the included remote or even an iPad or iPod when connected to the Cambridge Audio digital dock station.

Considering all these exceptional features and performance capabilities, the Cambridge Azur 851A offers great value for money. It provides audiophiles and music enthusiasts with a high-quality amplifier that delivers impressive power and clarity at a competitive price point. Whether you are a casual listener or a dedicated music lover, this amplifier offers a compelling value proposition that is hard to beat in its class.

In conclusion, the Cambridge Azur 851A amplifier stands out as a remarkable product that offers exceptional value for money. With its powerful performance, versatile features, and attractive price point, it is a worthy investment for anyone seeking an amplifier that delivers outstanding audio quality without breaking the bank.

Conclusion

In conclusion, the Cambridge Azur 851A amplifier is a powerhouse that delivers exceptional performance and versatility. With its Class XD technology and high-quality components, it offers a refined and detailed sound reproduction that will satisfy even the most discerning audiophiles.

The amplifier’s design and construction are top-notch, with a fully metal chassis that not only looks sleek but also provides acoustic dampening for optimal performance. The intuitive display allows for easy customization of input names, eliminating the need to remember which device is connected to which input.

Functionally, the Cambridge Azur 851A offers a wide range of connectivity options, including RCA and XLR inputs, allowing for seamless integration with various audio sources. The inclusion of a balanced volume control ensures precise adjustment of volume levels and channel balance.

When it comes to sound characteristics, the Cambridge Azur 851A excels in delivering a balanced and dynamic soundstage. The amplifier’s ability to provide 120 watts of power per channel ensures a powerful and immersive listening experience. The low distortion levels and high signal-to-noise ratio further enhance the audio quality, allowing for accurate reproduction of music across the frequency range.

In terms of sound performance, the Cambridge Azur 851A truly shines. It effortlessly handles both delicate nuances and complex musical passages with ease, providing clarity and depth to every note. Whether you’re listening to classical music or rocking out to your favorite rock band, this amplifier delivers an engaging and captivating experience.

One of the major advantages of the Cambridge Azur 851A is its value for money. While it may be considered a high-end amplifier, it offers exceptional performance at a relatively affordable price compared to other amplifiers in its class. The build quality, features, and audio performance make it a worthwhile investment for anyone looking to elevate their audio setup.

In conclusion, the Cambridge Azur 851A amplifier is an impressive piece of audio equipment that delivers outstanding performance and versatility. Its sleek design, advanced features, and exceptional sound characteristics make it a standout choice for audiophiles and music enthusiasts alike. Whether you’re a casual listener or a dedicated audio enthusiast, the Cambridge Azur 851A is sure to elevate your listening experience to new heights.

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