The audiophile world is slowly deviating to a combined world where movies and music are meant to go hand-in-hand, and one famous category of product called the AV receiver, is now under pressure to do justice to both the worlds. Both these worlds which are far apart. When it comes to movies, the output has to be large, loud, must have speed and the spice to push you off your seats, while music simply goes the opposite direction. Musical devices command and deliver class, resolution, smoothness in sound, and a pleasing tonality that is true to the music. Cambridge Audio has mashed up these characteristics into its AV receivers, and what we have for review is the Azur 551R a unit that is claimed to be a master of both the ‘M’ worlds.
OUT OF THE BOX
In terms of looks, little has changed in the Cambridge Audio camp. The AV receivers still bears the same boxy look that they used to from time immortal. However, this look is not getting onto us and we see it more of a way of keeping things simple. We would obviously love to see more of an aesthetic side, curved edges, larger displays or anything that makes the AV receiver look more attractive and appealing. The Azur 551R is an all metal chassis, and it rightfully should be, after all it is an AV receiver that can last you for decades or so.
Let’s start with the basics; the AV receiver is a 7.1 channel unit. It can dish out 60watts of power into seven 8Ω loudspeakers all driven at the same time. There is a low-flux toroidal transformer that is separated from the input stages. Because of such isolation, there is an improvement in the overall sound of the AV receiver.
The Azur 551R also boasts of an amazing frequency response. It starts off at 10Hz and goes up to the 20kHz. We have tested the frequency response of the AV receiver with sine waves; the 10Hz mark is not only on paper but it also is capable of reaching that low in reality. When it comes to audio processing, the Azur 551R is equipped with Cirrus Logic DACs for all the channels of audio. The Cirrus Logic DAC also kicks in when you are using the HDMI cable from your Blu-ray player to playback music so much of the AV receiver’s tonality is reflected by the DAC. Now with AV receivers, the one thing that stuns a first time user is the number of inputs and outputs that one is bombarded with at the rear of the receiver. The Azur 551R is no exception, there are 7.1 channel loudspeaker outs, along with pre-amp outs, optical and coaxial outs, and line level analogue outs too. There are six audio line level inputs that can make sure the Azur 551R can take signals from a number of devices out there. Don’t be daunted by these many connections, it is for all these connections that an AV receiver is called the hub of any home-theatre.