Cambridge Audio Azur 650C review

The classy 650C impresses in so many ways – it's £330 well spent Tested at £330.00

What Hi-Fi? Verdict

It's still a worthy addition to your kit, but it's been ousted from the top slot by its peers


  • +

    Impressive build and finish

  • +

    organised and informative sound


  • -

    Hint of treble brightness

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Having picked up a well-deserved five-star review in previous tests, the Azur 650C now finds itself with one star missing – and it's not due to a shortage of red ink.

Why? Well, the Azur 650C hasn't become a bad player overnight. The problem stems from the fact that its peers have now raised the benchmark at this price point. Time to give you the low down on the Azur 650C.

Opt for the Cambridge machine and you'll be buying the most eager and determined player out there.

Whatever track you spin, the 650C seems determined for you to enjoy it thanks to its pacey, driven delivery.

Feed it the John Williams' Flight to Neverland track, taken from the film Hook, and the player runs with it, creating a hugely entertaining and lively sound, packed with detail and bursting with energy.

At times, you wish that the player could show a little more composure and finesse, but if it's enthusiasm and a large-scale sound at you crave, then the 650C doesn't hold back.

Weighty bass with fine rhythm
Switch to a track that's equipped with a more demanding beat, such as Notorious BIG's I Love The Dough, and the Cambridge player fires out weighty, deep bass.

Low frequencies maintain a fine sense of rhythm while focused, expressive vocals come at you from the expansive soundstage.

Matching the 650C's outgoing sonic personality is its compliment-attracting appearance. The wrap-around lid and sophisticated display put rival machines to shame.

The loading drawer's smooth action is a reassuring touch and adds to the sense of occasion every time you want to change disc.

See our CD player Best Buys

Even the remote control feels like a quality item and is much more substantial than anything you'll find supplied by other manufacturers.

The only criticism of it that we can come up with is the sheer number of buttons your thumb has to flit between.

The 650C is still a fine player, but when it comes to outright ability, it can now be bettered by the likes of the Marantz CD6003.

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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.

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