What Hi Fi Sound and Vision
Thu, 8 Nov 2007, 3:00pm
Cambridge Audio Azur 340R
Cambridge Audio has achieved what it set out to with a fine, musical, simple 5.1 receiver
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- Smart design
- simple, intuitive controls
- crisp, fast, detailed
- good with music, too
- Lacks overall power, especially in terms of bot--tom-end grunt
Allow us to introduce Cambridge Audio's latest budget AV receiver, the 340R. And it's unmistakably
a Cambridge Audio product, isn't it? Check out that clear fascia with the huge control knob and the smart styling (though the remote is a little plasticky).
Unsurprisingly for a company with such strong stereo credentials, Cambridge has eschewed the flag-waving that a six- or seven-channel machine brings, and aimed instead to produce a fine, musical 5.1-channel receiver. And largely, it has succeeded.
No-compromise musical ability
Set-up is painless, and while it can't take audio from HDMI (though it offers HDMI switching), the optical and coaxial inputs are more than sufficient.
Listening to The Departed, the receiver sounds crisp, clear and dynamic. The necessary detail to convey tension and expression in dialogue is here and, while it won't knock-down doors like the Onkyo, it is capable of dredging up a fair amount of weight and punch.
As expected, it's adept with music, whether stereo or multichannel, thanks to a fleet-footed delivery and bags of insight. However, it'll take something very special to beat the Onkyo TX-SR505, and this isn't quite it. But if strong music performance, fast, dynamic movie sound and overall simplicity of use appeals to you, try the 340R.