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Cambridge Azur 540D vs 540C vs 640C

Discussion in 'Blu-ray & DVD Players & Recorders' started by Zuerst, Mar 4, 2005.

  1. Zuerst

    Zuerst
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    I'm mostly interested in CD playback; the ability to play DVD is a bonus. With that in mind, how does 540D compare to 540C for CD playback? Are 640C's improvements at CD playback worth the extra cash over the 540s?

    Thanks,
     
  2. GFS AV

    GFS AV
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    If you are only interested in CD playback, the 640C is obviously the best choice. Having said that, I was told by Cambridge Audio that the 540D was close. I would therefore leave the 540C out of the equation.
     
  3. Zuerst

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    So the 540D close to 640C's performance or 540D is close enough to the 540C performance so that it's extra DVD...etc playback ability outweights the slight improvement in CD playback over the 540C?

    I understand that the 640C would probably be the best of the three but at the same time it cost a lot more than the other two. I'm just wondering if it's improvements warrants the premium price.

    Thanks,
     
  4. GFS AV

    GFS AV
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    The only real way to find out is to demo them yourself.

    The 640C is only another £50. If I was going to buy any of the Cambridge Audio CD players, I would go for the 640C.

    Personally, if I was after a budget CD player, i'd go for something like the NAD C321BEE (or whatever it's called). I had a 540D and wasnt that impressed.
     
  5. Ovation

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    I did a lengthy head to head of the 540C vs 540D for CD playback (already had a universal for hi-res duties). I couldn't afford the 640C, so I didn't audition it. The 540D won, hands down, for me. I have a lengthy post in here somewhere describing my experience. If I can find, I'll post it.
     
  6. slashedzero

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    I found your post regarding the 540D:

    Ovation
    05-01-07, 10:32 PM
    Did you choose the 540 because of the DVD capability?I started out comparing the 640 (version 1) and the NAD 542, but my budget changed as I bought a universal hi-res player (a Marantz DV6400) and wanted a dedicated CD player, but at a lower price point. I then compared a NAD 541i and the Cambridge 540C. I preferred the Cambridge. However, someone told me that I should give the 540D a listen (even if all I wanted it for was for CDs) as it might be surprising. As it cost exactly the same as the 540C, I got the store to hook up a 540C and 540D to the same receiver (a 540R). I then level matched the two players, and the receiver (using the digital output to test against the receiver's DACs) and inserted two copies of the same CD so switching from one player to the other (and the receiver) would be seamless. After about 30 mins, I found the 540D to best of the three. I then made the owner do a blind test and he concluded the same thing (there was NO way for him to know which machine was playing). He was stunned (as he'd steered me to the 540C). So I bought the 540D. Since then, I've grown rather fond of it as, beyond being a great CD player for the money, I can configure it in 2.1 internally so I keep my sub in play without extra A/D/A conversions. Also, it is region-free and does PAL<>NTSC quite well (as well as natively output each one) and its PQ is equal to my Marantz (which was to be my movie player as well as my hi-res audio player) with a faster layer change. The Marantz has a better error correction system and deals with scratched rental discs more effectively than the Cambridge, so it sees (very) occasional movie duties.

    In the end, though, I like the 540D's CD playback so much that when the day comes for me to upgrade the movie player (a hi-def player of some kind or other), I will keep using it for CD playback. It even has a built-in pre-amp so it can be paired with an amp and speakers for a minimalist set up. All things being equal, if I were looking for a CD player today in your price range and the 540D was still around, I would likely buy it again even if I had no intention of using its video capability (and it plays DVD-A to boot).
     
  7. slashedzero

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    Sorry for reviving such an old thread, but I am about to purchase a Cambridge Audio CD or DVD player. Will be used almost exclusively for CD playback. Should I get 540D or 640C? The 540D goes nicely with my 540R(V2). If the sound quality difference is only marginal, I'd rather take the 540D, but if the 640C really is a better player (better DACs?) and has faster loading times, I may take the latter.

    Anyone compared 540D with 640C for stereo CD playback?
     
  8. slashedzero

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    Late follow-up. I have had a 540D V2 for some time now and just ordered a 640C V2 for my dad. Connected them both to my 540R V2 receiver with CA Arctic interconnects. I was always happy with the sound of the 540D, but I must admit that the 640C kind of blows it out of the water. I was really surprised by this, as I did not think that there could be such a difference between (already quite good) CD players.

    On more classic rock-ish CDs the difference is less pronounced, but Brain Damage by Pink Floyd really reveals the very good instrument separation of the 640C. The 540D sounds muffled in comparison. The 640C does sound more trebly, but also throws a very punchy bass, whereas on the 540D all these frequencies tend to be packed together, and not in a good way (the sound is not more coherent, just less detailed). On the Pink Floyd CDs, the sound of the 640C is simply much more engaging and has far better imaging. Sounds like I've just upgraded to much better speakers, but surprisingly it's simply the CD player!

    Another benefit of the 640C is quicker and more sleek CD-loading. I find the tray of the 540D to be noisy (does not seem very high-quality) and loading times for a CD are typically long a a DVD-player (10 seconds against 2 seconds on the 640C).

    I presume it is the difference in DAC that is responsible for the superior sound. Mind you that I always use the 540D's internal DAC for stereo-listening, as that too sounds better than the internal DAC of my 540R (i.e. when going through digital connection). But I think the difference between 640C and 540D is more pronounced than that between the DAC of 540D and 540R.

    So, I'm in the market for a 640C now...! One thing that I don't like is that visually the screens of my 540R and 540D match (dark screen with green LED lighting), whereas the 640C has the typical CA backlit LCD screen. Both nice, but definitely not matching. For this reason, I'm thinking about getting a separate DACMagic, which combined with the 540D should yeild results similar to those of the 640C (I think). Plus it has the added benefit of having a USB-in to hook up a PC and play FLACs from it.
     

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