Cambridge Audio Azur 640C CD-player

CD player Cambridge Audio Azur 640C is built on the Wolfson DAC. Many companies have already started using these advanced chips, but it's especially interesting to know what result Cambridge Audio got. After all, the engineers of this company are able to extract the maximum potential from literally every detail that they use in their equipment.

The player has a WM8740 DAC, originally created for expensive high-end audio equipment. It supports a data format from 16 to 24 bits with a sampling frequency from 8 to 192 kHz and performs filtering, processing and conversion with high accuracy. The more affordable 540C also uses the 24-bit Wolfson converter, but the simpler models - WM8716.

In an effort to lower the cost of a promising novelty to good limits, Cambridge Audio abandoned all that was unnecessary. Cambridge Audio Azur 640C does not have, for example, a headphone output, a compact LCD panel with violet-gray backlight is used instead of a VFD display, and only standard outputs are left - linear, optical and coaxial. The player has a relatively inexpensive Sony mechanism, but it is controlled by a specially developed in Cambridge Audio system for dynamical focus adjustment, tracking and the output level adjustment of the reading laser head. Thanks to it, as well as a high-precision quartz stabilizer, it was possible to reduce jitter when reading and converting data.

Listening. The test disc of Silence Technology immediately reveals the strengths of Cambridge Audio Azur 640C: a geometrically accurate soundstage, unusually high harmonic resolution, natural, almost like in expensive turntables, transmission of quiet sounds. We put the tracks where the piano and other instruments are recorded with a critically low level, and make sure that with the micro-dynamics in 640C is really good. Even at such levels where the distortion of the CD-format reaches tens of percent, the instruments continue to sound more or less natural, recognizable.

Bass is fast and flexible. It is slightly "dried" in the lowest area, but it correctly conveys the color of each instrument. The player literally lets you feel how leather vibrates on a giant Japanese drum or the wooden case of a double bass, how massively jazz kick emphasize it by its bottom. Playback of complex-spectrum instruments and combinations delights with integrity - not a hint of distortion.

The weak point of Cambridge Audio Azur 640C is not too confident and stable dynamics. When you listen to classical music or jazz, you catch yourself thinking that instruments with a high spectrum get skittish. But when you put rock music, the dynamic balance changes again: top is already sparkling, but the lower middle now seems to have a lack of mobility. How serious these errors are? We would not be particularly worried about this. After all, you perceive all this as a slight violation of the tonal balance, and therefore, soon you simply stop paying attention.

Cambridge Audio Azur 640C CD-player photo