Cambridge Audio 651P review

Fine sense of timing and plenty of excitement makes this a fine buy Tested at £120

What Hi-Fi? Verdict

Fine sense of timing and plenty of excitement makes this a fine buy


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    Solidly built, looks smart

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    Good timing


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    Slight brightness at times

Why you can trust What Hi-Fi? Our expert team reviews products in dedicated test rooms, to help you make the best choice for your budget. Find out more about how we test.

Budget brilliance is what Cambridge Audio does best, and previous phono stages from the company have delivered just that: this Cambridge Audio Azur 651P has Award-winning heritage.

Cambridge Audio 651p

Cambridge Audio 651p

The 651P phono stage supports MM and MC cartridges, with dedicated twin inputs and a set of phono outputs.

There’s a subsonic filter, too, which promises to remove inaudible but potentially harmful low frequencies (we found it hard to hear much difference). The 651P comes in a slightly larger-than-average package, but it looks smart and feels solidly put together.

Listening to Michael Jackson’s fantastically produced Bad, timing is excellent using the Cambridge Audio. The tight bass-lines roll along nicely, sat beneath treble notes that brim with attack and excitement. This energy can veer in to brightness at times, though, so partner with some care.

Cambridge Audio 651P: verdict

Detail is good, though class rivals such as the Graham Slee Gram Amp 2 Communicator can offer a wider soundstage. All told, this is an exciting, musical listen – but watch that treble.

See all our phono stage Best Buys

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What Hi-Fi?

What Hi-Fi?, founded in 1976, is the world's leading independent guide to buying and owning hi-fi and home entertainment products. Our comprehensive tests help you buy the very best for your money, with our advice sections giving you step-by-step information on how to get even more from your music and movies. Everything is tested by our dedicated team of in-house reviewers in our custom-built test rooms in London, Reading and Bath. Our coveted five-star rating and Awards are recognised all over the world as the ultimate seal of approval, so you can buy with absolute confidence.

Read more about how we test