Review There’s a renaissance in audiophile grade Blu-ray players happening at the moment. Arcam’s exotic BDP100 got the ball rolling, and now the Oppo BDP-95EU, Marantz UD7006 and this here Cambridge Audio Azur 751BD are hot on its heels. I must confess to being excited. While I like cheap-as-chips electronics as much as the next guy, nothing stokes my system-lust quite as much as a black tie disc spinner.
One player, spins all: Cambridge Audio Azur 751BD
Tipping the scales at 5kg, the 751BD appears hewn from solid metal. A good sign as rigidity usually begets fidelity. Equally reassuring is the provision of two HDMI outputs. Owners of non-3D compatible AV receivers can use the second output to decode DTS HD MA and Dolby TrueHD lossless audio, while 3D video squirts out of the first to a compatible display.
Other connections include a couple of USB ports (one front, one back), an eSATA interface, Ethernet, optical and coaxial digital audio outputs, plus 7.1 analogue audio outs, principally provided to deliver hi-res music playback. There’s even RS232 for CI professionals to play with.
In short, this player can interface with pretty much any combination of kit available. While the deck does not have integrated Wi-Fi, a wireless dongle is provided in the box for those that need it. Rounding off the package is a shiny, metal remote. This lacks backlighting but has a satisfying weight and finish.
The user interface is chunky and fun. Large graphics denote Music, Photo, Movie, Network and Internet silos. Insert a USB storage device and you’ll be able to play tunes from the Music tab, play a disc and it’ll be available under the Video heading and so on. Currently, net connected content is limited to Picasa, which frankly isn’t very exciting. At the very least someone should be trying to ink a deal with VTuner or Shoutcast.