Enjoy a Real Taste of Audiophile Purism
With the massive popularity of computer-based music, it’s too easy to overlook the pleasures of an exceptionally built CD player. The Cambridge 351C is just such a beast, and its performance will remind you why compact discs are still the perfect medium for high fidelity music.
Although an off-the-shelf CD/DVD-ROM drive might be fine for your computer, if you're really serious about extracting every last detail from your discs, you need a CD player that's been designed to do one thing only and do it perfectly: to play audio CDs. The Cambridge Audio Azur 351C is just that player. It offers a real taste of audiophile purism, but without the high-end price tag to go with it.
"Digs Up Plenty of Detail"
"The 351C's sound character mirrors that of its partnering amplifier. There's the same overt clarity, and the ability to dig up plenty of detail. The leading and trail edges of notes are rendered with precision and there's no shortage of speed or articulation," notes the November 2012 issue of England's What Hi-fi? magazine.
"This is a rather special combination from Cambridge Audio and all credit is due to its designers for delivering so much music at so reasonable a price," reports the December 2012 issue of England's Gramophone magazine.
The 351C features a host of top grade components, including the company's house-designed, audio-only CD transport which is coupled to Cambridge Audio's third generation proprietary S3 servo solution. Explaining how it works is akin to rocket science. But anyone who loves music, cannot fail to be moved by the way it sucks data from discs, processes it with incredibly low distortion and most importantly, delivers amazingly dynamic sound to your ears.
Warm, Yet Incredibly Detailed
The 351C carries over the latest Wolfson WM8728 DAC from its award-winning predecessor. But the whole design has been subtly retuned for an even richer performance and sensational levels of detail from music of all types.
The Wolfson WM8728 DAC is coupled to a two-pole Sallen-Key Butterworth filter topology. This complex sounding component selection is key to the 351C's warm, fluid performance and its measurable purity and detail. Furthermore, a highly accurate master clock oscillator and impedance-matched clock buffering schemes further contribute to the amount of data it is possible to extract from a CD.
All PCBs and DAC stages feature double-sided surface mount technology, eliminating wire links and giving ultra short signal paths. And like its integrated amplifier partner, the Azur 351A, this amazing CD player also benefits from a superior toroidal transformer, which offers much less noise and distortion than the lower cost laminate transformers that are commonplace among the competition. Standby power consumption is an eco-friendly <1W.
The wrap-around casework design incorporates a substantially thick brushed aluminum front panel and dual layer damped feet, giving enhanced resonance control. The 351C is supplied with an Azur remote handset, which also controls Azur amplifiers and iPod/iPhone docks, including Cambridge Audio iD100, iD50 and iD10.
"The 351C's sound character mirrors that of its partnering amplifier. There's the same overt clarity, and the ability to dig up plenty of detail. The leading and trail edges of notes are rendered with precision and there's no shortage of speed or articulation."
"With each recording the Cambridge respects the music's needs and conveys it with sympathy. Want fire and passion? This CD player will do that as well as anything at this price level, but it can change down gears and chill out too, when required."
- What Hi-fi? magazine, November 2012
"This is a rather special combination from Cambridge Audio and all credit is due to its designers for delivering so much music at so reasonable a price."
- Gramophone magazine, December2012
|Product Reviews Click here to review this item|
|Giant slayer, at this price point....|
Got this CDP for a bedroom system I have put together. I will say at the beginning-I would have given this player 5 stars, because it is truly outstanding, except that the remote doesnt work. This is a simple QC issue that should not have gotten by Cambridge. I opted to keep it as is because this is not a deal breaker for me, and I had already sent back a DAC that could not read the digital output of the DVD player this unit is replacing. I just wanted to be done. For $50.00 more than the Topaz, you get altogether a better piece of kit. To wit: You get their custom designed CD-only transport, not an off the shelf one as in the Topaz. You also get their proprietary S3 servo controller for the transport, AND their proprietary toroidal transformer, AND their proprietary clock oscillator, AND an upgraded DAC chip. Cut to the chase....the DVD player made sounds, this one makes MUSIC. Massed strings are finessed and silky, woodwinds sound like real wood instruments, and it is now easy to hear into the venue. It sounds like music, not a computer interpretation of music. Truth be told, I think I would have a hard time hearing much difference between this player and the 12 year old $3,000 Sony SACD player I have upstairs... things have advanced that much in 12 years. Remote issues aside, this thing is well made, looks the business, and sounds exceedingly natural. If you get one definitely get the silver! I also have the Topaz in black, exact same casing. It looks OK, but ordinary. The same metal work in silver looks as elegant as this player sounds. If you need something that will play MP3 or WMA definitely go for the Topaz. Its a good player, and it can deal with those issues without any fuss. But the 351C gives you a LOT more, so if you are just wanting to do red book CD, I suggest you find that extra $50.00 and get this one instead. This one looks and sounds good enough to be worthy of consideration for your big rig, and it is built like a tank. Highly recommended.
|- Marc B, NM|