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Cambridge Audio Azur 851C

Upsampling DAC, CD Player and Digital Pre-amplifier
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The heart of your digital music system

The new 851C is a staggeringly complex creation but one with a simple mission: to make your digitally stored music sound sublime. It’s a high-end CD player, a state-of-the-art DAC and digital preamp in one highly accomplished package. The 851C has been designed to operate at the very heart of your digital music system, offering incredible functionality and performance. As a high-end solution to the demands of today’s multi-format music lover, the 851C is truly capable of enhancing any digital audio that passes through its sophisticated electronics.

Central to the 851C’s exceptional performance is a mouth watering collection of advanced technologies, such as the high-specification digital-to-analogue convertors from respected digital processing experts Analog Devices. Together with its on-board ATF2 upsampling technology, the 851C has the ability to improve sound quality regardless of the input format. From MP3 to high res downloads, this player will showcase your music in its best possible light.

With a plethora of connectivity options, you can link up a world of digital source components to the 851C, including: TVs, streamers, digital iPhone/iPad docks and computers of all kinds to maximise their sound quality. The 851C is also capable of accepting the very highest quality music files currently available, via USB: 24-bit/96kHz (and 192kHz) for genuine studio master tape quality. So you really can get closer to the music than ever before.

For the serious audio enthusiast, the 851C also benefits from a number of ‘audiophile’ features. Everyone's ears are different and you can select from three filter options which each offer a slightly different presentation.

It’s this combination of the Cambridge Audio in-house technology, multi-function flexibility and high-end ‘audiophile’ components that make the 851C Cambridge Audio’s most advanced digital player to date. Its ability to transform the quality of your favourite music, regardless of format, means the 851C is destined to become the heart of your digital music system.

Particular attention has also been paid to the 851C’s casework, which combines massive structural rigidity, careful damping and control of acoustic resonance. Both inside and out, the 851C and matching 851A have all the hallmarks of high-end thoroughbreds.


A trio of talents…

The 851C as a high-end DAC
Perhaps its most significant additional function is that of a fully fledged, high-resolution, audiophile DAC. Used in this way, it’s capable of breathing new life into audio produced by everyday digital components by utilising its state-of-the-art internal convertors to bring sparkling clarity and detail to audio streams.

Rather than investing in a separate stand alone DAC, any gadget with a digital audio output - from TVs to computers and digitally docked iPod/iPhone/iPad devices – can benefit from 851C’s highly advanced digital audio processing technology.

A number of external devices can be attached to your 851C thanks to two S/PDIF (coaxial) inputs, two Toslink (optical) inputs and, for truly high-performance sound quality, a 24-bit USB input capable of up to 192kHz resolution. The latter enables you to experience true studio master quality from the highest resolution music files available.

The 851C as a high-end CD player
Quite simply, the 851C is an outstanding CD player in its own right. It incorporates numerous technologies, including the aforementioned Analog Devices DAC, the ATF2™ upsampling process and balanced outputs. But at a more fundamental level, the engineers have created a specific, custom-designed CD-only servo mechanism which has the ability to retrieve the maximum amount of information from 16-bit CD.

A Cambridge Audio-developed transport complements the servo electronics perfectly, adding an additional audiophile touch to this critical part of the reproduction chain.

The 851C as a digital pre-amplifier
Further adding to the flexibility of this hugely versatile source component, is its role as a digital pre-amp. With consumers increasingly using digital audio sources (computers, streamers and digital iPhone docks, etc.) the 851C can be used to control volume and balance levels when connected directly to a power amp or active speakers. This clever feature, processed completely using digital technology, facilitates the simplest of audio replay systems and offers amazing flexibility. The function is operated using Cambridge Audio’s proprietary DSP (Digital Signal Processor) and gives the highest quality of digital volume control, as opposed to analogue attenuation or digital bit reduction.

Raphael Eismann

We have a wide range of Cambridge Audio devices available for demonstration in our HiFi studios in Berlin-Kreuzberg. We look forward to your visit!

Digital to analogue converter Dual Analog Devices AD1955 24-bit DACs
Digital filter Analog Devices Black Fin ADSP-BF532 32 bit DSP performing 2nd Generation ATF2 upsampling to 24-bit/384kHz. Linear Phase, Minimum phase or Steep modes.
Analogue filter 2 Pole Fully Differential Linear Phase Bessel filter
Digital input 1 S/PDIF 75 Ohms or TosLink optical
Digital input 2 S/PDIF 75 Ohms or TosLink optical
AES/EBU input XLR balanced 110 Ohms per phase
USB audio input USB Type B conforming to Audio profile 1.0 or USB Audio profile 2.0 (user 1.0 or USB Audio profile 2.0 (user selectable)
Audio outputs Balanced XLR and unbalanced RCA analogue audio outputs
Compatibility USB 1.0 16-24 bit, 32-96kHz 
USB 2.0 16-24 bit, 32-192kHz 
TosLink 16-24 bit, 32-96kHz 
S/PDIF and AES/EBU 16-24 bits 32-192kHz 
CD playback is intrinsically limited to 16-bits 44.1kHz
THD (unweighted) @ 1kHhz 0dBFs < 0.0004%
THD (unweighted) @ 1kHz -10dBFs < 0.0004%
THD (unweighted) @ 20kHz 0dBFs < 0.0007%
IMD (19/20kHz) 0dBFs < 0.0002%
Linearity @ -90dBFs +/- 0.2dB
Linearity @ -120dBF +/- 0.4dB
Stop-band rejection (>24kHz) > 120dB
S/N ratio (ref 1w) > 113dB
Total correlated jitter < 60pS for all digital inputs, CD playback and USB 2.0 
< 180pS for USB 1.0
Crosstalk @1kHz < -130dB
Crosstalk @20kHz < -114dB
Output impedance < 50 Ohms
0dB Fs output 2.2Vrms (2.2Vrms each phase for the balanced output)
Max. power consumption 40W
Idle consumption 8W
Standby power consumption <0.5W
Colour Black or silver
Dimensions (WxHxD) 430 x 115 x 360mm (16.9 x 4.5 x 14.7”)
Weight 10.0Kg (22lbs)
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