Cambridge Audio Azur 540C CD-player

The front panel gives Azur 540C a simple clean appearance - a flat plate without any slits and ornaments, which has only a window for the main control buttons and display (there is no even a headphone jack). The display itself, however, is unusual. The information is displayed on the simplest lcd-display, which, though, does not shine as brightly as the luminescent one, but it does not induce any noise in the sound circuits.

The developers used the same Sony mechanism in the 540-th model and the same system of dynamic adjustment of focus, tracking and adjustment of the output level of the reading laser head (self-design development), as in the 640th.

Differences between the devices are generally minimized, but they are fundamental. Cambridge Audio Azur 540C uses a modern 24-bit WM8716 chip from Wolfson Microelectronics, which includes both a digital filter and a converter. Its characteristics are slightly more modest than in WM8740, which is used in Azur 640C. This is, we can say, the first difference. The second is that this element of the digital path is fed not from a single circuit, but from a common one. Now, there is nothing to do but check how this affected the sound.

In the sound of Azur 540C you can find the same advantages as in the more expensive model: perfectly localized sound stage, the same high level of details and confident full-scale dynamics. The bass area slightly lacks precision and flexibility, but the quality of transmission of the middle and especially the high-frequency ranges is beyond praise. Listening to vocals and acoustic music, you will never think that the disc is played at an affordable device. It encourages by a clear voice picture, pure and balanced discants.

The combination of excellent dynamics and a few formalized bass can surprise fans of rock too - especially those who are fond of the old hard. Modern Metallica, for example, or Blur sound energetic, expressively, with extremely clear and full basses. But when we tried Led Zeppelin, then it seemed that something went wrong in the sound of Cambridge Audio Azur 540C - the device failed to play vividly a "dry", characteristic for those times bass. It as if showed the drive, but at the same time it overloaded with music information. Although sometimes, I must admit, it was even very appropriate. Have you ever heard how Plant plays the harmonica? Consider that you have never heard it before, if you did not listen to it through a good Azur 540C.

Cambridge Audio Azur 540C CD-player photo