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Cambridge Audio 751BD Universal 3D Blu-ray Player Preview

Cambridge Audio azur 751BD BD Player

Cambridge Audio azur 751BD BD Player


  • Product Name: 751BD 3D Blu-ray Player
  • Manufacturer: Cambridge Audio
  • Review Date: June 17, 2011 03:00
  • MSRP: $1,249
  • First Impression: Mildly Interesting
  • Universal media support – Blu-ray discs (including those with 3D content),CD, HDCD, DVD-Video, DVD-Audio, Super Audio CD
  • Marvell QDEO video processor

  • Anagram Technologies Q5 192 kHZ upsampling – as featured in Cambridge Audio DacMagic

  • On-board decoding of lossless Dolby True HD, Dolby Digital Plus, DTS-HD Master Audio and DTS-HD High Resolution Audio in Stereo, 5.1 or 7.1 CODECs.

  • 7.1 multi channel and dedicated Stereo analogue outputs

  • 5 x Wolfson WM8740 24bit/192kHz DACs for superior audio performance

  • Choice of digital filters – linear phase/minimum phase/steep filter

  • Pure Audio Mode prevents any audio signal interference or degradation

  • 1GB internal storage plus 2 x USB 2.0 and 1 x eSATA sockets for external drive connection

  • New simple-to-operate color OSD (On Screen Display) and set-up menus

  • Lightning quick power-up and loading speed

  • New, low energy standby circuit – consumes <0.5Watt in Standby

  • Supports Profile 2.0 – (BD-Live and BonusView) – Ethernet or wireless connection (supplied with 802.11 b/g/n wireless dongle)

  • Navigator style Azur remote which also controls:

    • All current, forthcoming and most legacy Cambridge Audio AVRs and Amplifiers

    • Discrete commands for custom install use

  • All metal wrap-around casework with substantially thicker front panel and an ultra rigid, acoustically dampened chassis

  • Fully controllable over RS232

  • Clear Vacuum Fluorescent Display (VFD)

  • Available in black or silver

  • 3.3 x 16.9 x 12.3’’ with feet
  • 11.0lbs

I've seen a lot of products come to market over my time in the AV world. Let's be honest, at this point, "jaded" might be a bit of an understatement when it comes to my attitude. Sure, I'm surprised from time to time. Those are magical moments. But they are few and far between. So, when a company releases yet another Blu-ray player, I can't help but yawn in response.

But Cambridge Audio has gotten my attention with the 751BD. This Blu-ray player seems to have many of the bells and whistles that people worried about video and audio quality are concerned with. First, let's talk about video. The 751BD has the requisite HDMI 1.4 compatible outputs and can play 3D discs. It has dual HDMI outputs to support either a display and audio separately (convenient if your receiver and projector are located far apart) or dual displays (perfect for when you have a projector for night viewing with a flatscreen for daytime). The Cambridge Audio 751BD sports Marvell QDEO (DE2750) video processing to upconvert your non-HD video to 1080p.


On the audio side, there are both 7.1 channel analogue outputs for integration with legacy receivers and stereo output for those that are just looking for a high quality stereo experience. Of course, the 751BD can decode all the latest HD audio codecs but also it is compatible with both SACD and DVD-A. There are five Wolfson WM8740 24 bit/192kHz DACs and Anagram Technologies Q5 192kHz upsampling to all ten channels. Outputs include component and composite video, optical and coaxial digital audio, and, if you believe the marketing material, an S-video output, but we believe that's a typo. I'm not seeing it on the back panel, nor is there any indication that it is on the front.

You can't do Blu-ray properly without a connection to the Internet for Profile 2.0 (BD-Live and BonusView) features. What caught my eye is not only the Ethernet connection (which everyone has) but the included wireless dongle. This 802.11 b/g/n dongle allows the 751BD to connect to your network wirelessly for not only BD features but also to stream content from any UPnP server (PC with Media 7, Apple with Twonky, EyE Connect, or NAS Drive). The player also has two USB ports (front and back) plus a e-SATA external hard-drive connection to augment its own one gigabyte internal memory. This player is clearly based on the BDP-93 (just look at the back panel) but this is most certainly not a clone. I repeat, this is NOT an Oppo BDP-93. How do we know? Well, Cambridge Audio has made some significant changes, both internally and externally. Take a look at the insides:

Cambridge Audio BD751 internals

this (the BD751 above) is not this:

BDP-93 internals

BDP-93 (note the differences in the power supply, the audio board, even the chassis)

Kudos to Cambridge Audio for modifying a decent platform and making improvements. The company is catering to its core users and appears to have really tweaked the heck out of the BDP-93 to bend it to their will. The improvements certainly LOOK impressive, and we'd bet the target demographic will claim plenty of sonic benefits as well.

What you are not seeing with the Cambridge Audio 751BD is any of the myriad of streaming services that seem to be popping up these days. They've included the Marvell QDEO scaler, as mentioned, but only on the main HDMI output (not uncommon). Whenever a new Blu-ray player comes out, they are inevitably compared to Oppo's offerings. Unlike many of the others, the Cambridge Audio holds up pretty well and differentiates itself, even though it uses the same basic platform as a starting point (and honestly, why reinvent the wheel?) It has a feature set (minus the streaming services) somewhere between the Oppo BDP-95 ($1k) and the BDP-93 ($500). The price of the Cambridge, however, is $1250, an amount that the company is undoubtedly better will be perceived as a reasonable exchange for the Cambridge name, and their particular engineering tweaks. Cambridge has a reputation for knowing its stuff - and their engineering efforts into this product should result in some tasty audio results.


We're sure this player is going to find an audience. While it does share some technology with players less than half its MSRP, there do seem to be plenty of upgrades (mostly on the audio, chassis, and power supply side) from the competition. The price may seem a little high for some but, since their target clients are unlikely to buy from an online-only manufacturer, that probably won't matter - and dealers will find this product a great solution to match other offerings from Cambridge. Compared to some of the "high end" universal Blu-ray players that have hit the market, the Cambridge Audio 751BD is a solid offering.

For more information, please visit www.cambridgeaudio.com.

Unless otherwise indicated, this is a preview article for the featured product. A formal review may or may not follow in the future.

About the author:
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As Associate Editor at Audioholics, Tom promises to the best of his ability to give each review the same amount of attention, consideration, and thoughtfulness as possible and keep his writings free from undue bias and preconceptions. Any indication, either internally or from another, that bias has entered into his review will be immediately investigated. Substantiation of mistakes or bias will be immediately corrected regardless of personal stake, feelings, or ego.

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