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Cambridge Azur 640H Music Server

Discussion in 'Hi-Fi Stereo Systems & Separates' started by witters, Jun 4, 2005.

  1. witters

    witters
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    Does anyone know if this is avalaible to buy yet please?

    Looks interesting.

    Azur 640H
     
  2. tom_nieto

    tom_nieto
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    Now THAT looks nice. Hopefully it won't cost the earth like the Cyrus and Yamaha systems. Would be a very good addition to a hi-fi. I wonder if it supports WMA though... curse my silly encoding.
     
  3. witters

    witters
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    I believe it's £500 Tom.
     
  4. Ed Selley

    Ed Selley
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    Word from engineering is that provided beta testing goes ticketty boo, it should be in stores from August.
     
  5. tom_nieto

    tom_nieto
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    £500 isn't too bad considering the price of the 640C. Seems like a very complete package.
     
  6. witters

    witters
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    Tons,

    Is there any update on when the 640H is available please?
     
  7. Ed Selley

    Ed Selley
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    Erm, slipped a tiny bit but late August/Early September seems feasible.
     
  8. witters

    witters
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  9. witters

    witters
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    Any nearer Tons?
     
  10. akainth

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    I bought the 640H Music Server yesterday from Richer Sounds for £600. So I thought I would come online and share the experience.

    Took it out the box, and it looks like a serious and stylish bit of kit! Goes well with my 640A amp and 640T DAB tuner, although Cambridge Audio lack the attention to detail on the front facia by putting their logos in a different position to those on the amp and tuner (ok a small point, but attantion to detail is important when you pay a lot of money for a quality product). So anyway, I connected it up, and it was fairly easy to configure. Unfortunatly it doesnt come with built in wirless, so I had to wire my wireless router up to the back of the unit. Connecting to the internet was again straight forward... however, be warned, you cant configure this machine (or appreciate its functionality) without plugging a monitor into the back of it! Then we come to their so called AuidoFile GUI, which is again quite simple to navigate around, but this is where the problems start creeping out. I dont know what it is, but the unit became very slugish and slow, and the GUI hangs, so you are sitting there, trying to acess your music track quickly, instead you'r waiting 5 minutes for the thing to stop hanging.... I had to switch it on and off from the mains switch a couple of times too. I dont know, maybe it is the processor they have used? or maybe the GUI software they have developed?

    Needless to say the sound quailty from the CD player is quite amazing, as it uses the same Wolfson WM8740 24-bit/ 192kHz DAC as the 640C, the quaility of the internet radio obviously depends on the broadcast, but is generaly not of very good quality. The quaility of the audio files depends on which and how much compression has been applied. Also, it took a dogs age to update its library with 4Gb of iTunes from my PC, have no idea what its doing (downloading the whole file? downloading a link?). However, even if every aspect of the sound quality was outstanding, the unit is still let down by the constant crashes I mentioned. Which is why I will be returning mine to Richer Sounds for a refund, and will wait for the CA unit to mature, or look for a better quality product..
     
  11. Ed Selley

    Ed Selley
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    Hi akainth,

    As we have amassed quite a large amount of feedback I’d like to come back to you about some of your findings.
    Regarding the logo positioning, whilst developing the 640H and some of our other new products it became apparent that we needed to move the logos to the edge of the unit. This was due to the limitations of real estate on the front of this and other products. The v2 CD players and all future Cambridge products will have the logos here as well. On the wireless front we made a deliberate decision not to include wireless on-board. The danger to us was this would date the unit rather than just ask the unit to fit it into their own home network. If networking changes radically within the lifetime of the 640H it should ensure that it is not rendered obsolete by the change.

    Some of the technical guys here are interested in finding out what was making your unit hang- and indeed for other owners as well. We’re not experiencing these problems in our day to day tests so would welcome further information- you can post here or email us or if you wish, my MSN tag is below my profile. The processor is amply fast for the purpose of running the Audiofile software. As a general rule, like all PCs, if you ask the 640H to do too much at once it will run slowly, so we always advise that you be patient. Thanks for the comments on the sound quality. Whilst there is still some stigma around compressed music it is possible to get some excellent results out of it with a little bit of effort. The feedback from all the users so far has been uncompressed music is comparable with our standard CD players and that compressing at 320kbps (or even 192k) gets some surprisingly good results. If you are transferring music across, have a stab at with variable bitrate WMA as I’ve had some very successful results myself.

    Internet radio – well I have to agree with you, the quality is not great due to the broadcast quality. Once we get wind of some high quality iRadio stations we will be keen to get them on the unit. We do of course still make “proper” radios for this very reason!


    In terms of speed of transfer from a PC, the 640H does 2 things. To set it up the 640H scans the file directory and then updates its own internal Music Library database. The reason the update takes a bit of time is it alphabetises all the music with all the other music it can see (ie: USB devices, hard drive etc). The benefit is one consolidated music library no matter where your music is stored. Once you’ve gone through this process there is no need to do it again (unless you want to update the list). Every time you switch your unit on your streaming files will be instantly accessible.

    We are sorry that you took your unit back; however we wanted to at least address some of your concerns. Since the unit is fully upgradeable we are gathering all user feedback that we can and are planning our first software revision. There is now also a survey on our home page www.cambridge-audio.com so you can leave feedback there as well.
     
  12. r21442

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    Ed,

    Its good to hear your comments as comms had kinda dried up on the other forum.

    For the sake of the rest of the board a new review has been posted at http://www.avreview.co.uk/news/article/mps/UAN/536/v/4/

    Seems to echo the feedback about the gremlins reported on the other thread http://www.avforums.com/forums/showthread.php?t=264867 - maybe you should talk to these guys too?

    I guess nobody on that thread ever got so far as reporting on the sound quality which is a shame.

    For me, I'm still hanging in there. Quality of sound is important to me. However, the more I read about Sonos the more appealing it appears. What turns me off that is its PC based. The web site is excellent. I just don't know I can face having to administer a whole bunch of new PC stuff to support the infrastructure just to listen to my collection but synching between zones, price per node and no fans or noisy local discs are attractions. I got 5000sq ft over 3 floors, goal of c. 8 zones eventually. Wife getting ******ed I can't come up with even the beginnings of a solution! Sonos would be great if they did receivers without the class D amp. Reduce the cost per node. There just isn't a manufacturere that ticks all my boxes.

    Anyway, again, good to hear the manufacturer on again.
     
  13. etaf

    etaf
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    akainth, i saw this unit at richer sounds today {wife in Marks and spencers :) } and I'm very interested in adding it to my system, or even going all the way and updating.

    Did you get the system working OK - or just return the unit and get a refund ??
    what are you thinking of replacing it with

    r21442 whats the Sonos do you have a link

    My current set up is
    NAD 3150 AMP
    NAD 4150 FM Tuner
    NAD 6050C cassette deck
    Marantz CD65MKII - CD player
    BOSE ACOUSTIMASS from 1986 {501 i think}

    the amp volume control is very noisy - the balance a bit iffy
    the tuner has lots of problems and seldom works :(

    so i was thinking of changing
    cambridge azur 640A
    the DAB/FM tuner
    the 640H
    to work with the bose and electrostatic headphones.....
     
  14. r21442

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    etaf - try http://www.sonos.com/

    Its a different beast and needs a PC but read the forums - I've not found a disappointed user yet - many wanting additional features but no returns reported other than the odd DOA as far as I see - and the US is a very fickle market.

    I've reported on the various 640H forums (3?) why I'm tending to the Sonos. Downloaded (£20) a CD ripping s/w tonight to set up a trial directory in lossless FLAC format before I buy the Sonos. Ultimately a NAS so I don't need the PC on. No servers in rooms with fans on, no hang ups, plenty support, no TVs per server......

    I've been doing some research on the Sonos sound quality - you'll probably see my moniker on the Sonos site! All seems good news.

    Good luck - let us know!
     

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