Cambridge Audio Azur 340A SE review

Cambridge, pretty much the master of budget hi-fi at the moment, adds another superbly good and cheap piece of kit to its already bulging stable Tested at £180.00

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Our Verdict

Don't buy any other budget amp until you hear this one

For

  • Honest and exciting delivery
  • great detail for the money
  • well-built and finished

Against

  • Veers towards leanness

If your budget is limited to £200, you could be forgiven for thinking you'd be looking at amps that are downright embarrassing. Not so, if you're a Cambridge Audio customer. Pick up this 340A SE, and you'll be rewarded with styling, build and – most importantly – performance that induces a pride of ownership entirely contradicting the low price-tag.

System-matching no concern
It's fair to say that bass isn't earth-shaking from this amp – avoid matching it with other lean components – but it makes up for it with a smooth and controlled treble, which never has any harshness creeping in. It's also fast and precise enough to convey the fantastically fun and exciting nature of the Arctic Monkeys, making them sound taut and punchy.

Thankfully, if you're listening to something less in yer face – a bit of Tracey Chapman, perhaps – the Cambridge system manages to be delicate and emotional. It's this ability to get to the heart of the music, whatever you might be playing, that makes the system such a winner.

The build and styling quality should seal the deal. Each component is far more solid than you'd expect at this price, and there's even a quality remote.

Outstanding budget value
You might get the feeling that we're big fans of this amp. While it's true that spending £100 more will secure a performance with more authority and refinement, for those with a £200 limit, this Cambridge Audio amp is a truly exceptional budget choice.