Cambridge Audio Azur 350C
Fine value but spend a little more for a more accomplished all-rounderWrite your own review
- Simple, solid styling
- detailed, upfront sound
- decent bass
- Lacks dynamic subtlety
- doesn’t time as well as the best
You don't get many CD players selling for under £200. In fact, there was just the one in our Buyer's Guide, the Cambridge Audio 340C, this model's predecessor.
Changes in costs and currencies mean the company's entry level model now weighs in at £230 but it's still one of the cheapest around.
You get a surprisingly sturdy, weighty machine for your cash. Cambridge Audio's kit remains instantly recognisable but there's a new wrap-around case design, complete with a thicker brushed-aluminium front panel.
Inside is the noticeable addition of a Wolfson WM8728 DAC. And this player gets the Energy Star approval – proof that the machine consumes less than one Watt in standby.
Connectivity is simple: one set of analogue audio outputs and both digital coaxial and digital optical outputs.
Precise, punchy sound
And the 350C is certainly on the front foot sonically. Listening to Plan B's Stay Too Long, there's plenty of action in the top end. For this money we have few complaints with the level of insight; vocals are given texture and space to breathe.
It's a precise, punchy sound, too. The Chemical Brothers' Swoon sounds crisp and clean, while bass notes are controlled, though it could perhaps skip along a little more fluidly.
But we're not quite smitten. Ask for some real dynamics – we turn to our classical favourites – and it sounds one-dimensional, avoiding the peaks and troughs that help to engage the listener, while also belying player's occasional lack of subtlety.
This is undeniably a capable machine at a competitive price, but if your budget can stretch a little more, there's a more dynamic, involving listen to be had.