Cambridge Audio has a well-deserved reputation for sonic class-leaders, often beating Marantz, NAD and Pioneer. But it's lost its way somewhat with the Azur 640C V2.
Don't get us wrong, it's still a very good CD player - but just not up to the standard we're used to from the London-based firm.
When it comes to transparency, detail resolution and dynamics, rivals like the Marantz CD600 and Pioneer PD-D6-J are edging ahead. The Azur still provides power and attitude while the basslines are taut and tuneful, but a certain precision is lacking in the treble and high mids.
And call us shallow, but the design is a long way off elegant, bearing a more supermarket-shelf look. In short, cheap. Even the remote isn't as good as Marantz's.
Roll on V3
But all audio products are in a continual game of catch-up. Just as Marantz and Pioneer have leapfrogged Cambridge, we expect a Version 3 model of the Azur 640C will take pole position.
The Azur isn't a bad CD player - in fact it's cheaper than its rivals and a good all-rounder. But when we expect the best, good isn't good enough.