Cambridge Audio serves up a treat

We've just come freshly wowed from the UK hands-on launch of the Cambridge Audio 640H. The 160GB server built from a hi-fi grade CD player has been on

We've just come freshly wowed from the UK hands-on launch of the Cambridge Audio 640H. The 160GB server built from a hi-fi grade CD player has been on our list of must-see kit since it was first announced in January. The good news is that it's been very well thought-out. In addition to ripping CDs to the hard drive as WAVs or MP3s, the box can network up to pretty much anything that has a hard drive - a PC, Mac, a second 640H or a hard-drive attached to your router - as it doesn't require any client software running the other end.
It works via Ethernet but you can add a Wi-Fi bridge (Camb Audio reckon 802.11G is enough for 16 640Hs streaming at the same time). One very neat feature we were shown was the way you can plug a flash memory MP3 player into the USB 2.0 port on the front of the 640H and play (and copy) music directly from it. It's a pretty cool way for a mate to play their music at your house - they just bring their Shuffle round and plug in. As to the player's audio performance, we've only had a listen for a few minutes, but it sounds great to us - at least as impressive as the much-loved 640C. We want one. It'll cost £500 and should be in Richer Sound and other UK stores from June.