Cambridge Audio Azur 752bd (£800)

The 752BD boasts a feast of features and top-flight video performance, while the sound has an even-handed balance and spirited presentation
The 752BD is an evolution of Cambridge’s successful 751BD [HFN Aug ’11]. There’s now an HDMI input on the front and the legends have gone from bright white to subtle grey, but they are otherwise identical twins. The 752BD is based on the popular MediaTek platform whose current incarnation includes the latest Marvell Qdeo video processor, giving the 752BD 4K upscaling, 2D to 3D conversion and 24fps conversion for DVDs and Blu-ray movies.

Sonically too, much of the new machine is a direct port over from its predecessor. It has the same Cambridge Audio-designed switch-mode power supply, the five-strong line-up of Wolfson WM8740 DACs and second-gen Adaptive Time Filtering (ATF2) upsampling technology. ATF2 upsamples all incoming digital audio signals to 24-bit/192kHz with three selectable digital filters.

The new remote (with stand) is nicely weighted and very well finished. The back-light perfectly illuminates the legends on the keys.

Its various inputs and (variable) analogue outputs turn a humble disc spinner into a digital media hub and preamp. Alongside analogue and coaxial S/PDIF ins and outs, you get two HDMI inputs, one with MHL compatibility for direct video streaming from a mobile device. There are two HDMI outputs both capable of handling your TV’s sound via HDMI’s Audio Return Channel (ARC) and three standard USB inputs, with one on the fascia.

Although the 752BD lacks an asynchronous USB input for direct connection to your PC, you can stream pretty much any audio format via UPnP or DNLA networks over its hardwire Ethernet connection or the supplied USB Wi-Fi dongle. All of the analogue connections can be set to fixed line-level or via a 100-step variable output. In fact the only significant omission is a balanced XLR out. Setup is pretty logical while CA’s instruction manual is unquestionably the best in class.

Marvell-ous picture

There is not a great deal to say about the 752BD’s stunning picture performance except it’s up there with the very best, largely thanks to Marvell’s latest video processor. Tough diagonal pans are seamlessly smooth and colour rendition is deeply saturated but not cartoonish.

Foot-tapping player

Unsurprisingly the 752BD has a very similar sonic balance to the 751BD: rich, expressive and detailed. It is a very balanced and even-handed sound and, with CD playback in particular, perhaps a little more taut and focused than its predecessor.

The top end is a particular strength, the player easily eking out the texture of the brush-struck cymbals throughout Beverly Craven’s eponymous first album, for example. And with SACD playback. The 752BD handles the format’s resolution and the wanton HF of some SACDs with a balanced musicality throughout. This is a foot-tapping player, one that ‘disappears into the music’ rather than preening itself with its own hi-fi-ness.


Another winner from CA, the 752BD boasts a feast of features and top-flight video performance. The sound has an even-handed balance and spirited presentation. The 752BD will take some beating!

Originally published in the 2013 Yearbook