Skip Navigation

Cambridge Audio Azur 551P

Phono preamplifier for moving magnet cartridges (Silver)

26 Reviews | 1 question - 1 answer

Item #: 779551PS

This item is no longer available.

Original Price: $99.99

Shop all Phono Preamps

Overview

Our take on the Cambridge Audio Azur 551P

The simple answer is, of course, if your turntable or stereo system doesn't already have one built in. But even if does, and you're currently plugging your turntable directly into your receiver or amp's phono input, you could still be missing out on a lot of sonic goodness. That's because many manufacturers use low-cost, low-fi circuitry that sounds flat and lifeless. The Cambridge Audio Azur 551P solves that problem. It boosts and equalizes the tiny voltages coming from your 'table's moving magnet phono cartridge to deliver a robust, line-level signal infused with rich, dynamic sound — revealing layers of musical detail hidden in the grooves of your favorite vinyl records.

back_panel

The Azur 551P adds excitement and life to the sound of your vinyl records.

"Do I really need a separate phono preamplifier?"

The simple answer is, of course, if your turntable or stereo system doesn't already have one built in. But even if does, and you're currently plugging your turntable directly into your receiver or amp's phono input, you could still be missing out on a lot of sonic goodness. That's because many manufacturers use low-cost, low-fi circuitry that sounds flat and lifeless. The Cambridge Audio Azur 551P solves that problem. It boosts and equalizes the tiny voltages coming from your 'table's moving magnet phono cartridge to deliver a robust, line-level signal infused with rich, dynamic sound — revealing layers of musical detail hidden in the grooves of your favorite vinyl records.

The Cambridge Audio difference

Cambridge Audio has a passion for creating high-value audio gear that captures every last drop of detail and emotion from your music. The 551P has been carefully designed to offer plenty of foot-tapping performance at a price that won't break the bank. Its advanced electronics include high-quality 'Class A' amplification circuits and hand-picked components housed in an all-metal outer casing featuring a thick brushed aluminum front panel. The 551P isn't expensive, it only sounds and looks that way.

Excellent with nice, warm sound. Truly like the ability to turn it off with button. Many cheaper units have no on/off switch and are always on.

Martin D, Kalamazoo, MI

What's in the Box:

  • MM phono pre-amplifier
  • AC power supply (with attached 6' DC cord)
  • Quick Start Guide
  • Important Safety Instructions
  • Caution note

Product Highlights:

  • compatible with moving magnet phono cartridges
  • external power supply for reduced noise and interference
  • acoustically damped full-metal chassis with thick, brushed aluminum front panel
  • discrete transistor input stages instead of integrated circuits for greater dynamics and lower noise
  • single-ended 'Class A' gain stage with audiophile-grade passive RIAA equalization
  • gain: 39dB (at 1 kHz)
  • signal-to-noise ratio: greater than 85dB
  • THD: less than 0.009% (20-20,000 Hz)
  • RIAA response accuracy: ±0.65dB (25-20,000 Hz)
  • crosstalk at 20 kHz: greater than 76dB
  • 8-1/2"W x 1-7/8"H x 6-3/4"D
  • warranty: 1 year
  • Our 60-day money-back guarantee
Reviews

Cambridge Audio Azur 551P Reviews

Average Customer Review:

26 Reviews

Nice, warm sound.

Written by: Martin D from Kalamazoo, MI on April 9, 2016

2014 Subaru Forester
Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

Excellent with nice, warm sound. Truly like the ability to turn it off with button. Many cheaper units have no on/off switch and are always on.

Pros: Sound, on off button.

Cons: Bigger footprint than some.

Cambridge 551p

Written by: MikeB from las vegas, NV on February 8, 2016

Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

I picked this up while on special to replace the garbage built in preamp in my turntable. Separation and overall audio quality are far better now. I'm very pleased with this product.

Pros: Solid build quality. Excellent separation and overall sound quality.

Cons: A little bulky compared to other external phono preamps on the market.

Excellent overall

Written by: Pmo75 from New york on January 24, 2016

Both the Cambridge phono stage and the Crutchfield experience were super positive. The Alu finish was not available unfortunately, so had to default to black, but the finish is just beautiful.

Pros:

Cons:

Surprised and very pleased

Written by: Bill D from Pacific Northwest on January 7, 2016

Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

I took a chance on a new cartridge and rediscovered my vinyl--- I've purchased a number of new ones. I wondered just how much difference a better preamp would make, but I didn't want to spend a huge amount of money. I have a Cambridge amp, so it seemed like this preamp would make a good fit. It did . The difference between it and my old cheapo preamp is--- night and day. Quiet, increased depth and clarity--- This Cambridge preamp works so far beyond its "pricepoint" --- I'm just amazed. I'd pretty much given up on vinyl, and had sold most of my LPs 30 years ago. Now I wish I had them back. By the way, I'm a classical music listener.

Pros: Huge bang for the buck---

Cons: none whatsoever.

Not bad, not great

Written by: ElDub from Texas on November 23, 2015

Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

I bought this for a U-Turn Orbit, as the maker of that TT recommended it. I also chose it because I liked that it has an on/off button (many do not). At first I thought the sound quality was good. But the more I switched back and forth between my Onkyo's phono input and this, the more I preferred the Onkyo. I had to turn the volume up a little bit more on the Onkyo than this preamp, but the Onkyo seemed to have more separation of sound, and was less muddy than the Cambridge. Here's to hoping the Rotel integrated amplifier I have on the way is better than both. This preamp surely does the job, but I can't give it 5 stars if it can't beat a budget receiver's phono stage.

Pros: We'll made, nice looking, power button.

Cons: A bit muddy sound with Onkyo receiver, U-Turn Orbit TT, and Andrew Jones Pioneer speakers.

extra icing on the cake

Written by: Fritz F. from Brooklyn on October 16, 2015

Adds an elegant touch over the built in phono amp of my Onkyo integrated. Really low surface noise on quiet passages while adding nice dynamics to the louder sequences. I am not sure how this compares to the likes if Music Hall, Pro Ject, NAD etc, but I am quite happy with it.

Pros: easy to set up

Cons: None that I can think of.

excellent

Written by: stephanie from Texas on August 9, 2015

Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

Like the other reviews - this is a solid component in my 3-piece turntable set up. After reading the reviews, I bought this pre-amp as the go-between for my Uturn turntable and a set of Polk speakers. Once it was up and running, I could not believe the sound. I've never had this wide, velvety, detailed, warm music in my home. Ecstatic and drunk on the sound, I played records until I fell asleep that night. Then, again, as soon as I got up the next morning, of course. :)

Pros: simple, small, svelte, lightweight

Cons: none, so far - I've had it set up for about two weeks.

Great phono preamp

Written by: Anonymous from Pennsylvania on July 6, 2015

Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

The phono preamp works great with my late 70s integrated yamaha amp. This little extra power Im getting through the line-level aux line after the record player runs through the preamp is very good. Better clarity and deeper bass. The ground wire goes straight to my amp and I have absolutely no feedback. For those of you worrying about losing the original phono amp power or sound, this only enhances it and still allows you to control the treb/bass/loud/balance through your original amp.

Pros: great size, cool look to match retro amps and turntables,power, sounds

Cons: none

Perfect Phono Amp

Written by: Matthew L. from Portland, OR on April 12, 2015

Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

I've been playing and apriciating the sound of vinyl for over 20 years. My receiver has a phono input, but the internal amp just did not have the volume and bass response I was looking for. This amp works perfectly and now the sound is incredible.

Pros: Easy set up. Cost effective.

Cons: None.

Great Addition

Written by: K.Zaine from St Clr Shores, MI on February 1, 2015

Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

Nice quality-budget addition to my current setup. No issues at all and is an upgrade from the $50 and under category.

Pros: On/off switch is nice

Cons:

Impressive

Written by: Ken from Texas on December 13, 2014

I have been searching for a phono amp fro my marantz sr5008 and boy howdy did I find one. The rich full bodied sound was more than I thought was capable.

Pros: crisp clear highs coupled with deep rich base. You will be amazed what you will hear from your vinyl records that you never caught before

Cons: None

Fantastic.

Written by: ElCid from NC on November 19, 2014

Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

I have used this CA Azur 551P for over a year now. I have zero complaints. I am running a Marantz TT-15S1 through it. If you intend to ONLY use Moving Magent Cartridges through it you can not go wrong.

Pros: Fantastic Value. ABSOLUTELY SILENT.

Cons: MM only, but its part of the design.

Cambridge Audio Azur 551P

Written by: Bob K. from Arizona on August 31, 2014

Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

Recently upgraded my system with a used turntable and a cheap phono amp. Decided the amp was not up to my standards, and since I already had a Cambridge Azur system, I decided to at least check out their phono amp for an MM cartridge. Just no comparison with the other unit!!!!! Absolutely love how this amp makes the records sound. Even at low volume the details are incredible!!!!! Definitely would recommend this unit if you are looking to upgrade your turntable with a MM cartridge.

Pros:

Cons:

Fantastic Sound

Written by: Flachboard from La Crosse, WI on August 4, 2014

Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

My entry-mid level turntable has never sounded better!

Pros: Great sound for a great price

Cons: None thus far

A conversational piece

Written by: Colin H. from Maine on June 7, 2014

Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

I imagined that it would take a period of intense and devoted listening to hear how this pre-amp differs from the built-in amps of the earlier AVRs, but no, its brilliance revealed itself just seconds into 'Yankee Hotel Foxtrot'. It picks up every nuance in a controlled and balance way. Truly something I will brag about to my other analog loving friends!

Pros: Great grounding / power circuit isolation No noise to speak of

Cons:

Cambridge Audio Azur 551P

Written by: dennis from shedd, oregon on April 17, 2014

Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

Sweet, warm beautiful sound. Pressing the power button is like pressing a 1970's button.

Pros: Sweet sound Nice looks

Cons: Nothing

Cambridge audio azur 551p

Written by: JAMES H. from Kannapolis,NC on March 14, 2014

Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

Good Phono Pre-Amplifier easy to hook up.

Pros:

Cons:

Solid Pre Amp

Written by: E from WI on February 21, 2014

Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

This is a solid pre amp for the cost. My Onkyo receiver did not have a phono connection and after deciding to get back into vinyl I went looking for a solid pre amp option for my new turntable. Good sound quality and perfect size for my setup, I have just off to the side on my cabinet. There are less expensive pre amps available but after reading reviews, researching options and talking with a Crutchfield rep and a a few other dealers I went with this pre amp and felt it was a good balance of price/quality. For those just starting out in vinyl note that this pre amp does not come with RCA cables.

Pros: Easy setup, good size for space. good feel/components.

Cons: Lack of RCA cables for some.

What an Improvement!

Written by: Paul from Boston on February 8, 2014

Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

I love vinyl and this preamp really brings out the depth, clarity and warmth of that analog sound. I recently upgraded my Technics SL 5 with a Prestige Green cartridge by Grado and was amazed at the improvement. I decided not to stop there and decided to upgrade my $50 TCC 750 pre amp as well. After much research, the Cambridge Azur kept rising above the rest. With Crutchfields generous policies, I had nothing to lose and gave it a go. So glad I did! This upgrade, paired with my Marantz SR 5007 has been a revelation. I was really missing out on a ton of detail and a really great soundstage with this pre. My vinyl sounds even more amazing than ever! If you are considering this, I suggest going for it. I would be surprised if any one would be disappointed with this quality unit.

Pros: Easy setup, great sound, solid build, grounding wire attachment, on/off switch, light on indicator, gold plated audio in/outs

Cons: Odd size-too big to set up on top of my tower next to turntable, too small to stack on top of

Cambridge Audio Azur 551P

Written by: Joe Z from Waynesboro. VA on February 7, 2014

Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

My ONKYO didn't have a phono jack, so I contacted Crutchfield online and chatted with a service tech. He suggested the Cambridge Audio Azur 551P phono preampliphier. Although it is expensive at $157, it was worth it. It arrived in two days and was easy to hook up. I was skeptical of all the great reviews but when I listened to my first record it was crystal clear. I was amazed at how much better my old albums sounded. I kept trying different types of music from classical to heavy metal and all sounded great. I even tried my old 45 record collection and again the sound was so clear. I take care very good care of my records, so I can't comment on any scratched or damaged records. Thank you Crutchfield for helping me find the right item.

Pros: Well made and has a power switch so it does not use electricity when not in use. Excellent sound reproduction. Easy to hook up. Use good patch cords and phono jacks.

Cons: The cost is high but well worth it. You get what you pay for is the old expression.

Excellent

Written by: pressurewelder from West Virginia on September 11, 2013

Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

Very impressed. . It's obvious that Cambridge knows what vinyl is supposed to sound like, and they build the 551P with quality components. Makes my modern amp sound as warm and crisp as my vintage recapped SX950. But this Cambridge preamp is more sensitive to nuance and detail, with better resolution.

Pros: Modern vinyl playback at it's finest for the money, Sounds more expensive than it is.

Cons: A set of patch cords and ground wire included would be nice. But would obviously raise the price, and some folks wont need them.

Good Product

Written by: Rick from Charleston, SC on July 2, 2013

Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

Had a lot of trouble with the inexpensive $20 pre-amps that are largely touted on the online shopping services. Bought one and it didn't work at all, so I couldn't even complain about excessive noise that I read about in many reviews. Threw in the towel and upgraded with the help of a Crutchfield support person (Rocky) that both educated and directed me towards the Cambridge 551P. It was more than I wanted to spend but guess what? It works just fine and my albums sound just like they did on my older JVC receiver. So far I'm happy.

Pros:

Cons:

Cambridge Audio Azur 551P

Written by: JoeR from Pittsburgh,PA on May 25, 2013

Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

Unit performs as advertised without any problems to date.

Pros: Unit performs as stated.

Cons: None

First pre amp

Written by: DonE. from Hilo Hawaii on May 1, 2013

Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

I haven't used a pre amp before , so take this w/ a grain of salt. I had a hum in my system when using this device , so I upgraded the in/out audio cables per Crutchfield tech support. That cured everything . Sound is clearer than I remember my LPs from years ago ( some from 1963 ) I have traveled & toted about 300 LPs for all of my adult life. Getting this with the Pro-ject Carbon turntable was a little pricey for me , but hearing those cuts on my LPs that NO ONE plays anymore was worth it. (Thanks , Honey),my wife , not Crutchfield... P.S. went with Monster gold cables..

Pros: works & looks great

Cons: they should put really high quality cables with it , or none at all

Superb upgrade in SOUND!!

Written by: R. Proudfoot from Oak Park, MI on January 13, 2013

Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

I decided some months back to renew my interest in vinyl. I dug out my old Technics SL-Q2 turntable, installed a new Audio Technica stylus and purchased this product. As with the previous reviewer I could not plug into the phono jack in my Sony receiver but instead plugged into an auxiliary jack. What an improvement in the SOUND!!!! Remarkable improvement compared to listening to my old albums without this phono pre-amp. Highly recommended!!!

Pros: Much improved sound quality. Really makes my entire unit sound totally different (amazingly different). Simple to set up/install.

Cons: None

Excellent Product

Written by: David D from Clayton, North Carolina on December 1, 2012

Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

Excellent product, I was skeptical of this product at first, my turntable has a built-in amp, and also my amplifier has a phono jack. I went in through a line on my amp, and turned off the switch to the preamp on the turntable. I was amazed at how much better the sound of my old albums produced using this product. I don't have high dollar audio equipment, but I feel like I do now! The sound is louder, more pure, and crisp, not as dull and flat as it use to be. I'm not saying this is a miracle product, but it did help out my stereo system. I don't think I'll go out and buy one of those $500 plus turntables, I'll stick with my cheap $200 table for now. I'm a satisfied customer, and I recommend this product... made in England, not China, so it should last for more than a couple of days, but what do I know, it's probably made in China too.

Pros: Does improve the sound of your turntable (mine anyway), Not a bad looking peice of equipment

Cons: none

Details

Hands-on research

What's in the box?

Download the Cambridge Audio Azur 551P manual

  • MM phono pre-amplifier
  • AC power supply (with attached 6' DC cord)
  • Quick Start Guide
  • Important Safety Instructions
  • Caution note

Product Research

Features

Overview: The Cambridge Audio 551P MM phono pre-amplifier has been designed to complement a wide range of entry-level MM (moving magnet) turntables. This high-quality pre-amplifier contains the amplification required to enable you to connect your MM turntable to your stereo amplifier or home theater receiver. Some amplifiers are already able to support turntable connections, but these built-in phono pre-amplifiers are out-performed by the Cambridge Audio 551P. Connected using a stereo audio interconnect cable, the 551P is set-up in minutes allowing you to appreciate stunning clarity, musicality, and resolution from all your vinyl recordings.

All Metal Chassis: The Cambridge Audio 551P MM phono pre-amplifier features an acoustically damped full metal chassis with a thick brushed aluminum front-panel.

Moving Magnet (MM) Compatible: The Cambridge Audio 551P is a Moving-Magnet-type (MM) phono stage; which describes the commonly used type of cartridge (sometimes referred to as a "needle" or "stylus") configuration typically supplied with affordable modern turntables.

Class A Amplification: The 551P MM phono pre-amplifier utilizes a single-ended "Class A" gain stage with audiophile passive RIAA equalization for excellent sound quality.

Discrete Transistors: The Cambridge Audio MM phono pre-amplifier uses discrete transistors for the input stages, instead of the more common integrated circuits which can cause interference and distortion.

MM Phono Input: The Cambridge Audio 551P MM phono pre-amplifier is fitted with a set of stereo RCA inputs to connect your MM (moving magnet) cartridge turntable.

Audio Output: The Cambridge Audio 551P MM is fitted with a set of stereo RCA outputs to connect your turntable and the pre-amplifier to the line-level inputs on your home receiver. Do not connect the 551P to a "Phono Input" on a receiver or amplifier.

Ground Terminal: The 551P has a turntable ground, in case your turntable has a separate ground lead. This provides shielding to the tone-arm and the sensitive circuitry in the turntable.

Power Switch: The Cambridge Audio 551P features a front-panel power switch to turn the unit On/Off; this allow energy consumption to be zeroed when not in use.

External AC Adapter: The Cambridge Audio 551P MM phono pre-amplifier includes an external AC power supply.

  • Input: 120V AC, 60Hz
  • Output: 12V - 500mA

Our Product Research Team

At Crutchfield, you'll get detailed, accurate information that's hard to find elsewhere. That's because we have our own in-house Product Research team. They verify what’s in the box, check the owner's manual, and record dimensions, features and specs. We stay on top of new products and technologies to help people make informed choices.

Accessories
Q & A

Customer Q&A

1 question already asked

Library