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Great Amp with Built-in USB Interface
Thanks to the explosion in digital music, the personal computer has become more important than a CD collection to many audiophiles. And Cambridge Audio has just come up with a way of making your digital music files sound better than ever, thanks to its new Azur 651A integrated amplifier. The 75-watt-per-channel amplifier is a completely discrete bipolar transistor-based circuit honed over many years and powered by a proprietary audiophile-grade toroidal transformer.
Instead of adopting the more common and simpler approach of including USB connectivity on a CD player, Cambridge developed a direct USB audio connection for the Azur 651A. So now you can simply plug your Mac or PC directly into the 651A and with the addition of your chosen speakers, you'll instantly enjoy a whole world of digital music stored or streamed from your computer.
"A Meaty, Powerful-Sounding Amp"
England's What Hi-fi? magazine calls the 651A "a meaty, powerful-sounding amp… "Low frequencies sound powerful, really driving home Alicia Key’s delivery of the chorus. Vocals sound expressive and confidently showcased, too, while the highest frequencies are smooth, informative and well-behaved."
Say Goodbye to Jitter
Computers are fast becoming a great addition to hi-fi system, but they're not without their faults. Poor quality soundcards plus jitter – a side effect of digital music stored on computer hard drives – means audio performance can be poor. But plug your PC into the 651A and you'll be amazed just how incredible it sounds. Cambridge's in-house engineers developed a USB audio processor that extracts audio data directly from your PC hard drive, bypassing your computer's soundcard. This nicely takes care of the critical digital to analog conversion process, bringing dull and lifeless MP3 files alive like you've never heard them before!
The built-in DAC uses a Burr-Brown chipset and is compatible with 16 bit, 32 kHz, 44.1 kHz, and 48 kHz data inputs.
Analog Connections, Too
Connection support for analog sources like CD players, iPod docks, and tuners is better than ever. The Azur includes five inputs suitable for any 'line level' source equipment such as BD/DVD players, FM/AM tuners, CD players, Network Players, iPod docks, MP3 players, etc. Two identical output jacks can be connected to a tape deck or to the analog 'Record In' jacks on a CD recorder or other component with an analog input. A subwoofer output is also provided.
The IR (Infrared) Emitter In allows modulated IR commands from multi-room systems or IR repeater systems to be received by the amplifier.
Premium Toroidal Transformer
Class-leading power of 75-watts-per-channel remains another massive advantage. Cambridge uses a premium toroidal transformer and substantial extruded heatsink, which are the keys to its unruffled performance with music of all types.
Adding to the audiophile specifications are separate transformer taps for left and right channels, twin rectifiers and separate PSUs for dual-mono operation of the left and right power amplifiers. Meanwhile a high-grade ALPs film type 'black box' volume control offers superb channel balance and stereo imaging even at low volume levels. Cambridge also uses low dissipation polypropylene signal capacitors and custom made electrolytic capacitors in critical positions.
Drives Any Speakers with Ease
Whatever hi-fi speaker you choose, the 651A is designed to drive almost any model with ease. Azur's retuned output stage featuring Sanken output transistors gives excellent bass response and dynamic control.
We all like to crank up the volume from time to time. So the 651A's proprietary CAP5 system ensures unrivalled peace of mind against overloads, faults, and clipping. Also featured is an environmentally friendly low power (<1W) standby circuit. This circuit completely powers down the amplifier circuits in Standby mode yet is itself totally isolated when the amplifier is on, thus having no effect on sound quality.