Cambridge Azur 650
There's a new hi-fi range from Cambridge Audio in the shape of the Azur 550 and 650 CD players and amplifiers, from £280-£350

It was back in 2003 that Cambridge Audio launched its first Azur hi-fi range, and it became something of a benchmark in the budget sector. Now there's a brand-new range in the guise of the 550 and 650 amplifiers and CD players, available now.

These are completely new designs and replace the 540 and 640 series. There are two new integrated amplifiers – the £300 550A and £350 650A – joined by two CD players, the £280 550C and £330 650C.

A new DAB+/FM/AM tuner will follow later this year.

Designed from the ground up at Cambridge Audio's London-based research and development facility, the company says these new models "adhere to our legendary combination of outstanding performance, innovative design, meticulous construction and immense value for money".

More after the break

Low power consumption in standbyWhat's more, the new Azur range has a stamp of approval from Energy Star thanks to each component's power consumption of less than one watt in standby mode.

To further enhance its green credentials, CA has used recyclable packaging throughout the range which is manufactured from 90 per cent recycled pulp and uses soy-based environmentally-friendly inks.

There's a new look to the exterior casework of both amps and CD players, with new displays and controls, a thicker brushed aluminium front panel, seamless wrap-over lid assembly and dual-layer damped feet. This contributes to better resonance control, claims CA.

But there's more to these new models than a fresh set of clothes. Cambridge Audio has taken an 'audio first' approach to musical reproduction and made improvements beneath the skin, as listed below:

Cambridge Audio 550Aand 650A amplifers

550A - 60 Watts RMS into 8 Ohms

650A - 75 Watts RMS into 8 Ohms

6 inputs, 2 outputs and Tape In

Revised output stage using new Sanken output transistors with external emitter resistors for reduced thermal modulation and increased current delivery

New ALPs film type 'black box' volume pot for improved low-level channel balance and stereo imaging

Audiophile grade toroidal transformer and substantial extruded heatsink

Updated and re-tuned CAP5 protection technology to enhance performance at high volumes 

New low dissipation polypropylene signal capacitors and custom made electrolytic capacitors in critical positions

Buffered input circuits for low crosstalk and improved stereo imaging 

Control Bus and IR Emitter In connections for simple multi-room integration

Pre-out for connection to external power amp or active sub 

EnergyStar certified ultra low power (<1W) standby circuits

Front-mounted iPod / MP3 player connection 

Gold plated low-loss hi-fi speaker terminals

LED indicator shows which speakers (A, B or A+B) are selected

Supplied with new Navigator remote – also controls Azur CD players and docked iPods

 

Cambridge Audio 550C and 650C CD players

New proprietary Cambridge Audio S3 servo solution 

Wolfson WM8740 DACs (Digital to Analogue Converters)

550C Three-Pole Double Virtual Earth Balanced filter topology 

650C Four-Pole Dual Differential Double Virtual Earth Balanced filter topology

All PCBs and DAC stages now feature double-sided surface mount technology to eliminate wire links and giving shortest possible signal paths

Highly accurate master clock oscillator and carefully designed impedance-matched clock buffering schemes 

CD-Text display for suitable discs

New low inductance Metal Electrode Face resistors to further improve performance 

Audiophile grade toroidal transformer

New selectable choice of sharp roll off or slow roll off filters

EnergyStar certified ultra low power (<1W) standby circuits  

New high contrast reverse black DFSTN (Double Film Super Twisted Nematic) display

Supplied with new Navigator remote - also controls Azur amplifiers and docked iPods

 

All models are available in silver and black. We'll be receiving our first review samples on May 29th.