CAMBRIDGE AUDIO (CA) has announced the release of two new home theatre components, the entry-level Azur 351R AV receiver and the range-topping Azur 752BD Blu-ray universal player.
Azur 351R AV Receiver
The 351R embodies CA’s “Sound First” design principles, so the 351R emphasises audio quality and avoids anything that adds unnecessary clutter or audio distortion. CA’s London-based research and development team were able to use this principle to specify better components by concentrating on the parts that matter. In the case of the 351R, that meant by matching the vast majority of living room surround sound setups – 5.1 channels and dropping support for unnecessary extra channels. It also meant that premium components like a toroidal transformer and an all-metal chassis could be specified.
The Azur 351R is still feature packed – it has 50W per channel in surround mode and 80W in stereo, plenty of inputs including four 3D-ready HDMI 1.4, and an automatic setup system called CAMCAS (Cambridge Audio Microphone Controlled Auto Set-up).
The 351R has dual Cirrus Logic 32-bit digital signal processors that support the latest audio codecs and formats including Dolby TrueHD, Dolby Digital Plus, Dolby Pro Logic II, DTS-HD and DTS Neo:6 96/24. The all-metal case is designed to be resonance free and is supported by CA’s X-Tract cooling – a near-silent cooling system that combines funneling heat through a heatsink and a thermostatically controlled fan.
Azur 752BD Blu-ray Universal Player
The Azur 752BD is the follow up to CA’s 751BD, which was the company’s best-selling product to date (and a highly regarded unit according to the international reviews). According to CA, the 752BD improves on the 751BD in just about every way.
The 752BD has more inputs and outputs to improve connectivity. There are three USB ports to allow plenty of opportunity to use flash drives and portable hard drives. Two HDMI inputs (one front-mounted) give greater scope for connecting games consoles, satellite boxes and MHL (Mobile High-definition Link) compatible smartphones and tablets, to make the most of the 752BD’s video processing and audio upsampling. Two HDMI video outputs allow users to connect to a TV and projector at the same time.
The 752BD’s improved digital and networking support extends to superior connectivity like accessing video and photos stored on computers or uPnP NAS drives over the network, and improved music performance – external audio sources can now be run through the 752BD’s upsampling DACs (digital-to-analogue convertors). The 752BD also serves as a digital hub – with Internet streamed content from services such as YouTube and Picasa available directly through the 752BD’s wired or wi-fi connection. UPnP and network playback can be controlled by Android and iOS apps, the 752BD uses a standard IP control protocol so owners can use well known control apps such as PlugPlayer and BubbleUPnP.
The 752BD will play a huge range of disk formats including: Blu-ray (also BD-3D), SACD, DVD, CD, DVD-A, AVCHD, HDCD, Kodak Picture CD, CD-R/RW, DVD±R/RW, DVD±R DL, BD-R/RE. It will also support the following digital formats: MP3, AAC, WMA, FLAC and WAV
Attention has been paid to the playback side as well, with a Marvell Qdeo video processor and no less than five Wolfson DACs delivering a host of playback performance enhancements. All audio, whether surround or pure stereo, is now upsampled to 24-bit/192kHz automatically, with CA’s proprietary ATF Adaptive Time Filtering system ensuring that the upsampling is jitter-free. At the same time, a wide range of video and audio file formats are supported, with the Qdeo processor providing live upscaling, no matter what the source. On top of upscaling and full 3D support, the Qdeo processor can also perform live 2D-to-3D conversion on any video source. The 752BD is also future-proofed with upscaling up to 4K resolution supported – so it will work with the next generation of compatible ultra-high-definition TVs and projectors. The 752BD is supplied with a backlit remote.
351R – RRP $1,099 – available March
752BD – RRP $1,699 – available now