Cambridge Audio BD751 vs BD650 personal review
Now that the BD751 is available in the shops, I thought I would start a new thread with feedback on its performance.
Today, I had the chance to compare the new 751 against my existing BD650, courtesy of Damian at RS in Maidstone, which has a great demo room.
Armed with a challenging set of discs, Damian and I spent an hour and a half doing a head-to-head of the two machines, with DVD, Blu-Ray, SACD, Blu-ray audio and then stereo. The rest of the setup was a Pioneer LX-83 a/v receiver (though all settings on the CA were set to PCM/LPCM so that the 751 was doing the digital to analogue conversion part), an LG LCD screen (42" I think) plus a KEF 5005 surround system for film and Tannoy Revolution floorstanders for stereo.
First , we hooked up my BD650 - RS don't have any left (although, intriguingly, the remote control for the 751 also has "BD651" on it, so expect a replacement soon for the 650?)
The discs we then used were:
- Wayne's World DVD (Region 1 NTSC version) - to check multi-region and upscaling ability
- The Dark Knight Blu-ray
- Moody Blues SACD (On the Threshold of a Dream)
- Audio Blu-ray: (Ole Bull - one of Andrew's favourites, and one he used to test the 650 when it first came out, I think)
- CD: Cee Lo Green and Elton John/Leon Russell
After running them through the 650, so that we had a benchmark, we then repeated the exercise with the new 751...
DVD - yes, it automatically played the region 1 disc, but the image/upscaling was very similar to the 650 - no discernable difference (but was good to start with)
Blu-ray - Wow!!! The picture with the 751 was much sharper, almost 3-d like in terms of the depth of the image and the sharpness of the characters. Also, there was no judder, as the camera panned across, such as in the opening zipwire parts. The images and blacks of the buildings at the start were better. The difference between the two machines was, in our eyes, very significant.
Multichannel Audio (SACD, Blu-ray audio and soundtrack)
Multichannel - definite improvements across all the formats. Whilst the Tannoy speakers were quite bassy (compared with my usual CM8s) there was significantly better definition of the different levels and instruments
As RS had a separate set-up for the stereo side of things, we hadn't had a chance to put the 650 through the system first. Therefore, the 751 was demo'ed by itself. It was difficult for me to judge, as the speakers and rest of system was very different to my own at home. Damian noticed that it seemed better from his experience than demos with other machines.
So we called it a day. The verdict of us both was that (compared to the 650) the 751 produced significant improvement in picture quality for blu-ray, although we couldn't see it with the DVD I'd used. For multichannel audio - again, a significant improvement over the 650.
Finally, the presentation of the 751 is very similar to the 650, but with a more upmarket feel, a better aluminium front (I think?) and the loading mechanism is much smoother. All menu screens seemed the same as the 650, so I felt completely at home with the new model.
Oh, I bought the 751! Just started playing it at home, and it is excellent. I will experiment with the stereo side of things over the next couple of days.
Thanks to Damian at RS - an educational and enjoyable a/b test for us both !!