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8.4 out of 10 based on 84 reviews

Cambridge Audio Azur 551R

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  • User Score (84)
    9.2 9.2 from 84 reviewers
  • Expert Score (1)
    7.0 7.0 from 1 reviewer
  • Value for money (13)
    8.5 8.5 from 13 reviewers
  • Sound quality (4)
    8.1 8.1 from 4 reviewers
  • Durability (2)
    1.9 1.9 from 2 reviewers
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  1. Testfreaks.33053966
    8 April 2013

    April 2013. Richer Sounds let me take a Cambridge Audio 551R home for a 14 day open box trial. I'm looking for an AVR which is good at playing music and films. I’ve listened to some Yamaha and Denon AVRs and they didn’t come close to this but they did have a lot more functionality.

    The 551R has good musicality, clear responsive base, plenty of mid range drive, separation and balanced dynamics. The very top end of the frequency spectrum is a bit too bright and shrill for me. High pitch voice and instruments almost hurt.

    The 551R has a pre-amp output which I hooked up to my old stereo amp and the high pitch edge went away but the output signal was very faint and I needed to have the 551R turned up quite high to get good output. In fact, played like this the AVR had a great sound and I was really impressed with the DAC.

    I could have lived with the audio but there where other more serious issues :-

    * selecting the on screen menu takes nearly a minute to load and kills the signal from what ever you are watching or listening to so making subtle adjustments like left/right balance takes ages and ages
    * The on screen menu was flaky at best. sometimes it appeared and sometimes it didn't unless you turned everything off and on again. If it didn’t appear you just had a black silent tv
    * I made the mistake of selecting the setup OSD option and couldn’t get the menu back even after I did a factory reset. Oddly though, It was back the next day
    * The auto setup was disappointing and flaky too. When I placed the microphone in the correct place it struggled to detect my front L/R speakers (B & W CM4’s) which is odd because the test tone nearly blew the windows out. I had to put the mike much closer to the speakers before it worked. It doesn’t do any kind of tone adjustment, which is a shame because I thought it might sort the high notes out. It doesn’t even give you a little “congratulations – set up complete” message, so given the other flakiness I was never quite sure if it worked or just crashed.
    * With all this flakiness the one thing I’ve been looking for is a firmware update mechanism. Yet again, nothing doing.

    So, despite Richer Sounds offering me a cheap 5 year extended warranty and my warranty money back if I don’t claim in 5 years – it is going back. I’ve got enough flaky things in my life already.

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