The Cambridge Audio Azur 751BD is a video and audio tour-de-force that delivers a much more potent punch than even the best lower-priced Blu-ray players. However, while it has superb video processing and audiophile-level sound, the Cambridge Audio Azur 751BD only offers modest Internet apps and streaming capabilities.
Outstanding Blu-ray and DVD scaling quality. Most of the guts of the Cambridge Audio Azur 751BD mirror those of the Best Reviewed Oppo BDP-95 (*Est. $1,000), right down to the Marvell Qdeo Processor for the main HDMI connection and step-down (but still high-class) Mediatek processor powering the other ports -- not a surprise since both are made in the same facility. Both Blu-ray discs and upscaled DVDs look flawless -- or, in the case of upscaled DVDs, as good as it can get.
A racehorse, plain and simple. Whether you're talking boot-up times, system options or menu navigation, the Cambridge Audio Azur 751BD has the fastest loading times around, tying the Oppo BDP-95.
A well-designed, racehorse, that is. Critics love the straightforward menus, as well as the similarly simple and stylishly slim remote. The limited number of Internet apps helps to keep down the clutter. The powerful audio components inside the Cambridge Audio Azur 751BD push its weight to a hefty 11 lbs., however. That is less than the Oppo, but significantly more than your average Blu-ray player.
An audiophile's delight. The Cambridge Audio Azur 751BD sports five enthusiast-level Wolfson digital-to-analog converters (DACs), support for more obscure audio formats like SACD and HDCD, and full 7.1-channel analog connections, all of which are pretty rare in Blu-ray players. Basically, the Azur 751BD delivers best-in-class sound no matter whether you're watching movies or listening to music.
Other than that, however, the feature lists is a bit bare. There's an Ethernet port, but Wi-Fi requires you to use an external dongle supplied with the player. The number of Internet apps available is limited to Picasa and YouTube. There is DLNA support, however, so you'll be able to play music and movies stored on your PC's hard drive. Onboard storage for BD-Live content tops out at 1 GB. There is also 3D video support.
Great for audio enthusiasts, but that's it. At $1,150, the Cambridge Audio Azur 751BD is value priced for a device that merges a reference level Blu-ray player with a reference level audio player. However, far cheaper Blu-ray players should suit non-enthusiasts just fine.
The Cambridge Audio Azur 751BD is as good as it gets with Blu-ray players. It goes toe-to-toe with the Best Reviewed Oppo BDP-95 across the board and if you prefer a fuller sound to a more natural sound, you may give the nod to the Cambridge, some reports say. But most reviewers give the Oppo the edge for its lower price and a few extras such as XLR analog audio connections, more robust streaming capabilities and larger onboard storage. If you don't need best-in-class audio, great Blu-ray players like the LG BP620 (*Est. $120) are available for a tenth of the cost of the Cambridge Audio Azur 751BD.
1. Secrets of Home Theater and High Fidelity
Chris Heinonen examines the Cambridge Audio Azur 751BD's build and tech specs, then hooks it up to compare its performance directly against the older Oppo BDP-83E; he found it superior to that former reference player. Extensive benchmark testing shows the Cambridge Audio Azur 751BD to be an impressive audio performer.
Review: Cambridge 751BD Universal 3D Blu-ray Player, Chris Heinonen, April 24, 2012
HomeTheaterReview.com's coverage of the Cambridge Audio Azur 751BD is just as in-depth, and though it lacks benchmark testing, it provides something that Secrets of Home Theater and High Fidelity does not: a direct comparison against the Oppo BDP-95. Andrew Robinson finds both to be spectacular, with the Azur 751BD delivering a more tonal sound than the Oppo BDP-95's natural, leaner audio.
Review: Cambridge Audio Azur 751BD Blu-ray Universal Player Reviewed, Andrew Robinson, March 19, 2012
This four-page review is full of analysis about the Cambridge Audio Azur 751BD's design, performance and everyday operation, complete with seven pictures of the Blu-ray player in action. Danny Phillips gives the unit a 9/10 score and a recommended award, with skimpy Internet options being the only major drawback cited. "The 751BD is a superlative performer in both the visual and sonic domains," he says.
Review: Cambridge Audio Azur 751BD review, Danny Phillips, Sept. 12, 2011
Like the Oppo BDP-95, the Cambridge Audio Azur 751BD earns a flawless 5-star rating from TechRadar.com. As with the other reviewers, Steve May finds the unit to be an outstanding performer, with the dearth of streaming apps being its only major negative.
Review: Cambridge Audio Azur 751BD review, Steve May, Aug. 23, 2011
5. What Hi-Fi? Sound and Vision
This review of the Cambridge Audio Azur 751BD isn't as long as the others, but rather than skimping on the information, it instead provides it in much more concise sentences, using (somewhat) mainstream language rather than complex technical terms. In the end, the Blu-ray player receives a flawless score.
Review: Cambridge Audio Azur 751BD, Editors of What Hi-Fi? magazine, Not dated