Cambridge Audio Azur 751R - Review

04 Sep, 2013, 3:41 pm IST | by Sumit Bhosle | AV Receivers

AV Receivers







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There are some names that you always associate to certain product categories and when it comes to electronics and to be precise the AV Receiver in home-theatre, Cambridge Audio (CA) is one such name that definitely rings a bell. Since three decades, the manufacturer has produced extremely cost effective products that have been an instant hit. And while we are doing an 'Home-Theatre’ special issue, what better time than this for Cambridge Audio to launch their new product—the 751R. 



Being a flagship product, we expected the 751R to be huge and bulky—something that would easily intimidate a beginner. But surprisingly, the 751R has a rather miniature footprint. We really liked the absolutely approachable and easily manageable form factor of the 751R—compact and sturdy. Visually, it is definitely different from all the predecessors of the 751R that we have seen from CA. It looks like the engineers at CA made the AV receiver lineup go on a crash diet and the outcome of it was the 751R. Expectedly, both the front panel and the back panel are as busy as it could get, but somehow you don’t get the feel of it being too jarry and wired you would definitely get in some hi-end AV receivers.



As we have mentioned, the 751R is surprisingly less bulky and the main reason because of which they could achieve this minimal and almost size zero (by AV receiver standards) is a technology developed by Cambridge audio called ‘X Tract’. It is a combination of radiator and fan cooling that keeps the large power supply (with its massive toroidal transformer) and Class AB amplifiers running cool inside a relatively short and tightly packed space. With this trick at hand, we don’t see any of the CA AV receivers being bulky any more.


What we also liked a lot about the 751R is the optimum way in which it has used the reduced real estate and yet provide with most features and functions that you would expect from any top-of-the-line AV receiver—complete connectivity and possibly utmost usability. It has six HDMI inputs and two outputs (both ARC compliant). There are also three high-def-capable component video-ins and one out, one for second-zone use. The regulars like S-video and composite video also find a space in the design—we wonder who would be using it anyway.  There is also a set of 7.1 outputs (with the option to run twin subs) to feed a separate amp. There is no Ethernet connection, but it is compensated by a back-panel USB Type B jack. It allows you to connect a Windows computer or Mac and play audio files with resolution of up to 24bits and 96kHz through an onboard digital-to-analogue converter (up to 192kHz with a downloadable driver). Not many AV receivers that we have seen manage to offer this feature but looking at the trends, very soon it will be a mandatory function on all AV receivers and it is good to see CA tap the future in time. And, lastly, for some speaker compatibility options, the 751R is rated at 120watts into 8Ω with all seven channels driven, 170 into 8Ω with two channels driven, and 200watts into 6Ω with two channels driven.

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How We Test

The Tech2 Labs receives many products every single week and each of them is tested with the utmost care and highest level of objectivity. There’s a constant effort to reduce and totally eliminate subjectivity. Each product is tested according to set test processes so the same test scenario is used.

The ratings awarded to a product are derived from a number of tests and calculations, keeping certain important factors in mind. These factors consist of features, performance, quality and value for money. In case of software and some other categories, build quality might be replaced with ease of use or ease of installation. Products are compared with other products in a similar price range or product category.

The features component of the score is rated based on the kind of features present on a particular product. Features are a big part of what people look for when they’re buying a new product such as a phone or a camera.

The performance score is derived from the benchmarks and tests run on the product. In case of the subjective scores, an average of the scores given by the group of reviewers is considered.

Build Quality
The build quality of a product is important so that it doesn’t fall apart after some use. The build quality scores from the way the product is designed and the kind of materials used in the product.

Value for money comes from the fact that a cheap product is able to provide most of the performance of a higher priced product. Once again, value for money is judged by comparing pricing and performance of products in a particular price range or category. 

There are many other aspects of the product that are looked at such as the bundled software and accessories. All of these scores are aggregated together to form the final score.

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Ratings are simple - higher the score, the better the product. A brief listing of the features and what they mean are given below.

1 - 3

The product is bad in almost every aspect. We strongly advise against purchasing this product.

4 - 6

An average product that isn't the best you can buy, but isn't the worst either.

7 - 8

Product with this rating is highly recommended because it's priced sensibly, has a good set of features and performs well.

9 - 10

Exceptionally excellent product with features and performance unlike any we've seen in the past. A must-have for everyone!

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