CAMBRIDGE Azur 840A V2

MJ17.10.2008

Integrated amplifiers

The 840A V2 have made quite a significant progress from the original model. The V2 is not just a marginal improvement, it is a completely new amplifier. Considering the budget limitations they mined as much as possible from it in Cambridge Audio.

Function and form

87%
Ease of use
36%
Sound
84%
Appearance

The Azur 840A V2 builds once again on the Cambridge's proprietary Class XD technology. In fact, the Cambridge Audio's XD concept lets the amp run in the Class A for a few first watts and then it switches into Class B (unlike competitors that usually feature A to AB transition).

Like with the original model there is a massive shielded toroid in the 840A V2 (120W into 8 ohms, 200W into 4 ohms) for the amp's power section. There is another toroid, however, that provides the supply for the preamplfier section. The output stage was completely redesigned for the V2 to improve the amplifier's perfromance in balanced loads. The XLR input has one unusual feature - it can be switched off from the rear panel. The Azur 840A V2 can be also used as a preamplfier as both the sections can be separated.

Bass management

Weight
68
Slam
44
Articulation
39

The V2's predecessor, the Cambridge Audio Azur 840A, introduced extremely open and transparent sound into the world of 'mid-end' audio. It is not a surprise that the V2 continues to deliver fast, detailed and open sound. This results into a kind "lighter" colour of the sound, which is by no means thin, however. The microdynamics are amazing for the asking price and the level of detail can challenge much pricier amps too.

Clarity & delicacy

Detail
45
Air
40
Transparency
45

The highs are extended, controlled and clean, the bass may seem shy but when called to action it can be very convincing. I liked that the bass did not try to mask the slight absence of weight by blurring transient edges  - such amps may sound mighty but soon a listener finds the bass to be boomy and smeared. The V2's bass is quite articulated, though it should not be driven into punishing levels.

Tonal accuracy

Timbre
38
Dynamics
32
Temporal resolution
32

The monochrome display of the Azur 840A V2 provides all the information on the status of the amplifier. As the unit is controlled by a microprocessor chip it offers remarkable flexibility - naming the inputs, setting loudness levels for each input separately (in 1dB steps) etc. The only dislikable thing that the relay control brings along presents itself at night - at low volumes one can hear clearly relays switching. Also the tone controls are something that I could do without. They can be switched off by the DIRECT button but their existence is useless.

Spatial resolution

Holography
65
Soundstage width
65
Soundstage depth
65

I did not like the depth of image of the original 840A - the sound was way too flat and two dimensional. It is not anymore with the V2! Not only that the depth has improved but it can challenge the best amps now. It was like the front wall in my room had dissappeared and the amp had built its own stage in front off me.

Price as reviewed:40 000,- Kč

Recommended resellers

Excelia HiFi, Chrudim, tel. +420 724 00 77 44

Associated components

  • Sources: NAD Masters M3
  • Amplifiers: Xindak XA-6950, NAD Masters M5
  • Interconnects and speaker cables: Nordost Heimdall and Nordost Valhalla
  • Loudspeakers: Dynaudio Confidence C1

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