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Cambridge Audio Azur 651C

Single-disc CD player (Black)

11 Reviews

Item # 779651CB

This item is no longer available.

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Our take on the Cambridge Audio Azur 651C

If you're looking for a player that can handle all kinds of discs, there are plenty of good utility players out there to meet your needs. But if you want to experience your music CDs with ear-grabbing clarity and toe-tapping rhythm, Cambridge Audio created the Azur 651C just for you. Its singular purpose: extracting the best sound possible from your CD library. It combines the latest in circuit design, carefully selected internal components, and precision construction to deliver superlative performance that's sure to please the most discerning listeners.

A true CD specialist

If you're looking for a player that can handle all kinds of discs, there are plenty of good utility players out there to meet your needs. But if you want to experience your music CDs with ear-grabbing clarity and toe-tapping rhythm, Cambridge Audio created the Azur 651C just for you. Its singular purpose: extracting the best sound possible from your CD library. It combines the latest in circuit design, carefully selected internal components, and precision construction to deliver superlative performance that's sure to please the most discerning listeners.

Cambridge Audio Azur 651C front view

Thoughtfully engineered for music lovers

From its dual-layer damped feet to its thick, brushed-aluminum faceplate, the 651C's sturdy chassis was designed from the ground up to resist vibrations that can adversely affect sound. A high-quality toroidal transformer delivers a constant stream of clean, low-distortion current. You also get a precision, custom-designed CD transport and laser pickup with the ability to pull every last detail from your discs. Cambridge even included two of the latest Wolfson WM8742 DACs (one for each channel) in a dual-differential configuration that rejects noise to provide stunningly lifelike music reproduction. Words can't adequately describe how the 651C sounds, but one quick listen will tell you everything you need to know!

Product Highlights:

  • plays CDs, CD-Rs and CD-RWs
  • twin Wolfson WM8742 DACs in a dual differential configuration to reject noise and distortion
  • proprietary Cambridge Audio S3 Custom CD Servo™ drive mechanism provides maximum data retrieval with minimal jitter
  • all printed circuit boards use double-sided, surface mounted components for ultra-short signal paths and optimum sound quality
  • audiophile-grade toroidal transformer for ultra-low noise and distortion
  • selectable digital filter with three settings to suit personal listening preferences
  • wraparound casework design with thick brushed aluminum front panel and dual layer damped feet for enhanced resonance control
  • 1 pair RCA analog audio outputs
  • 1 coaxial digital audio output
  • 1 optical digital audio output
  • remote control
  • detachable power cable
  • weight: 10.6 lbs.
  • 16-15/16"W x 3-3/8"H x 14"D
  • warranty: 2 years
  • Our 60-day money-back guarantee

What's in the Box:

  • Single-disc CD player
  • 6' AC power cord
  • IR remote control (RC-651A/C)
  • 3 "AAA" batteries
  • User Manual (Eng/Fre/Spa)
  • Quick Start Guide (Eng/Fre/Spa)

No bells or whistles on this CD player (except the two DACs), but it produces really great sound. I am driving it with a Glow One headphone amp through Pioneer SE A1000 headphones. I can hear more depth in my music than I ever have. I am very happy with this purchase.

riggs, Mountain View, CA


Cambridge Audio Azur 651C Reviews

Average Customer Review(s):

(11 Reviews)

Great sound & quality build

Doug E from Washington on 4/10/2015

Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

I received my new 651C about a week ago, and have totally enjoyed listening to my CD collection. In many cases, it is almost like hearing a different version of the many details that were never present before are now clearly audible. This finish and quality of this item is very nice, and it was just exactly what I was looking for: A great CD player!

Pros: Very nice finish and build quality, and exceptional sound quality.

Cons: One small is impossible to set this up without the manual, which is only available online. At this price point I would think that Cambridge could include a printed manual.....especially since they instruct you to "keep the manual handy"!

So good, I bought two.

RJSchumac from The 'Ville, Kentucky on 3/23/2015

Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

I am in the process of a complete tech systems overhaul. Originally bought one for a back up system using ML 40's (primarily television/movies), plenty of power for the 4 Ohm load. Sound was so very good, and sufficient usable power for the SPL I listen at, bought a second for use with main system's KEF R700's rather than going with the 851.

Pros: Usable power, stays cool, works well with bi-wiring, dirt cheap.

Cons: Real basic. Not much different than a Pioneer IA I bought 38 years ago.

Cambridge Audio Azur 651C

Jack D. from Illinois on 3/21/2015

Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

The Cambridge 651C produces excellent sound Clarity compared to the Phillips CD 80 player, hooked up to two Audio Alchemy DTI's and then to an Assemblage DAC that had been upgraded. Therefore, the Phillips, CD 80 Player was being used as only a transport. My amplifier is a Bryston 9BST and a B&K 20 Processor with Monitor Audio front speakers and M&K Monitor rear speakers.

Pros: A definite improvement in sound clarity as compared to the original system, and eliminated, considerable equipment and interconnects, still producing superior sound, over the equipment I initially had!

Cons: No manual for operating the Cambridge 651C Player. The front display, even in the bright mode, is still hard to read. You cannot store different CD tracks and then have the CD player play just those tracks. The remote is not functioning at all, after it initially did, but only for a short while. Most of the remote keys are not for the CD player, but for the Cambridge Amplifier. I did make a copy of the Manual I found on the internet, but it was still somewhat confusing.

CA 651C

Max from Florida on 2/23/2015

Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

I have only owned this player for a few days, but have used it many hours each day. It is paired with B&K pre and Marantz power amps, Klipsch Kg4's and AQ cables. Mine is being replaced due to a random fast fwd of the music (has happened to some older Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath, and Metallica cd's). It is probably a faulty player, but the remote is absolutely useless as it sometimes works and mostly does not. After reading many reviews of the 651, Crutchfield is confident mine may have been mishandled by the carrier. Why 5 stars then? Simply put, I can tell after owning several great cd players over the past couple decades that this presents the music much nicer than any other I have owned or still own. The list includes a Pioneer CLD-D704 which still runs perfectly, and a failed Sony C97ES. It outperforms both in every way, and puts my Panny BDP-210 to shame. I have never spent money on a standalone DAC, but what I can say is that this 651C really smooths out most of the harsh notes and presents an atmosphere of information that seems to emanate from a room devoid of noise. Every system has some distortion and noise, but silent passages and spaces between tracks are completely noise free to my ears. My Klipsch's have always been great and vocals are awesome with these 24 year old speakers, but they are even better with this player . Tonality is superb. Sound-stage is spacious and instruments are organized. Recovers all details. I'm pulling out all my favorite music!

Pros: Detail, Sound-stage, Vocal presentation, Clarity, Warm and musical,

Cons: No manual provided to explain operation.


Bob A from Madison, AL on 9/4/2014

Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

I have been listening to this outstanding unit for two weeks now and it seems to sound better every day as it gets burned in. I am so impressed that when it's time to upgrade my receiver I am going with Cambridge Audio via Crutchfield. First thing you will notice is the detail and clarity of your music across the entire band.

Pros: Twin DACs provide an enveloping wide AND deep sound stage, almost 3D like Accurate, tight, deep bass Natural defined vocals Noise & Distortion undetectable Classy silver audiophile remote

Cons: Display is too dim.

Cambridge Azur 651C

larrybewary from Greenfield, WI on 5/14/2014

Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

I've waited a few weeks before giving this review in order to test a variety of albums on the 651. I'm running it through an Adcom pre&power amp into a set of Klipsch RF-35's (with bi-wired Audio Quest cables). Whether it's Pearl Jam, Pat Metheney, Wes Montgomery, or Stokowski's Transcriptions of J.S. Bach the clarity and detail is much improved over my Yamaha Natural Sound compact disc player. The more I play it the better it sounds.

Pros: Immediate recognition of improved sound stage due to greater channel separation. Better clarity and definition of all musical material. You may hear the gentle brush work on cymbals that you never heard before. Everything has better punch, balance, and presence. Subtle yet pronounced. I suspect this has to do with the separate D/A converters for each channel. I am currently using the "steep filter" since Klipsch tend to be a bit on the bright side. Very good, Maynard.

Cons: The unit does not come with an owner's manual. Simply go to the Cambridge site and print one out. You'll need this to access the menu and sub-menu.

Cambridge Azur 651C

J. W from Bridgeport,Michigan on 1/7/2014

Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

I purchased this high end model CD player from Crutchfield a few weeks ago. The same day that I ordered it, Crutchfield had it shipped. What more could you ask for when it comes to service? I had already purchased the Cambridge "Topaz" CD player for my bedroom stereo system a few months ago. My Onkyo CD player finally died after more than twenty years of dependable service; so, moving up to this "Azur" by Cambridge for my main stereo system was a "no-brainer". The Topaz model is very good. The Azur model is very,very good. I highly recommend it.

Pros: Clarity. Unsurpassed.

Cons: There is a conflict of information on the Crutchfield web site when it comes to playing burned CDs. Most of the information on the website says that you can. One specific paragraph says that you are limited to a particular form of burned CD. However, I just play the original CD in the player. So, this is a non-issue for me.

Great CD player

riggs from Mountain View, CA on 10/25/2013

Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

No bells or whistles on this CD player (except the two DACs), but it produces really great sound. I am driving it with a Glow One headphone amp through Pioneer SE A1000 headphones. I can hear more depth in my music than I ever have. I am very happy with this purchase.

Pros: Sound quality. Simplicity.

Cons: Price, but I feel now that it was worth it.

Audiophile's Delight!

KenL from Shorewood, IL on 7/19/2013

Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

I bought this CD player for the sole purpose of hooking it up to my recently Jim Showaker-restored Sansui QRX-9001 receiver. I needed an analog input to my QRX-9001 and this CD player provided the best DAC's for the price. The QRX-9001 is connected to 4 vintage restored EPI M-150 speakers. This CD player has surpassed all my expectations. My favorite CD so far is "The Best of WAR" ! It blows people away!

Pros: Quality built and Wolfson DAC's. Crutchfield low price and customer service!

Cons: None that I could ever imagine.

cambridge audio azur 651c cd player

don z. from st. louis mo. on 11/13/2012

Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

after reading nothing but positive reviews of this unit, i chose it to replace my rotel cd player. the cambridge player has more than exceeded my expectations. rich sound and great looks!


Cons: none so far

Everything A CD Player Needs To Be

J.F. Trem from Wilmington, NC on 2/3/2012

Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

With its Dual Wolfson WM8742 DACs, top notch build quality and flexible remote, this is really all the CD Player any audiophile needs. Certainly you can score a lesser transport and then add an outboard DAC, but what's the point? That type of system takes up more space, requires the added expense of a Toslink or Coaxial cable and probably will boast 'better' specs, but it probably won't offer better sound. CD players are funny things, like most audiophile components that nick you with over-the-top specifications, but the proof is in how a piece of gear sounds. I've had other Cambridge players, Arcams, Jolidas, Roksans and a host of others, but none of them sound any better, or dare I say even as good, as this one. The price is very realistic, in keeping with the Cambridge Audio philosophy, Crutchfield (as always) performed excellently and this audiophile is completely pleased with this purchase.

Pros: Sonics, sonics, sonics.

Cons: If you want to add dampening material on the inside, the cover is practically impossible to remove.


Hands-on research

Product Research

Disc Compatibility
Audio Features

Disc Compatibility

Single Disc CD Player: The Cambridge Audio Azur 651C single disc compact disc player has been designed to play CD-Audio, CD-Text, recordable CD (CD-R) and re-writable CD (CD-RW) type discs.

CD-DA Format Only: The Cambridge Audio Azur 651C CD player can play only discs recorded in the CD-DA format designed for music reproduction. Do not attempt to play a disc containing other data, such as MP3, WMA, or AAC on this unit.

Audio Features

CD Transport: The Azur 651C uses Cambridge Audio's legendary custom made audio-only, dedicated CD transport that has been tweaked even further using techniques derived from the 740 series. This well-proven transport guarantees incredible rigidity and the CD drawer itself has been designed to offer a smooth, high-end feel.

S3 Custom CD Servo Drive: Cambridge Audio's CD-only S3 Custom CD Servo employs a custom designed chipset and the latest double-sided surface-mount technology for ultra short signal paths with freedom from wire links. Circuits and software have been meticulously designed, so the S3 can dynamically adjust focusing, tracking, and output level of the laser in real-time, allowing for maximum retrieval of the digital information and jitter minimization. This is all made possible by the implementation of a powerful ARM7 processor and complemented by a highly accurate master clock oscillator and carefully designed impedance-matched clock buffering scheme.

Twin Wolfson WM8742 DACs (Digital to Analogue Converters): Twin Wolfson WM8742 DACs (24-bit/192kHz) deliver a significant performance upgrade over the 651C's award-winning predecessor and are implemented in a dual differential configuration (each channel has its own DAC to process information). A sophisticated Two-Pole Dual Differential Double Virtual Earth Balanced Bessel filter configuration rejects virtually all noise and distortion present in the DACs and filters them to produce an unprecedented level of performance.

Twin Digital-to-Analog Conversion System: The all-new twin digital-to-analog conversion system feature a selectable digital filter with 3 settings to suit your own listening preferences and of course your own system.

  • Steep Roll-Off Filter: The Steep roll-off filter exhibits strong attenuation of aliasing images outside the pass band (i.e. above 22.05kHz) at the expense of a little pre and post-ringing in the time domain.
  • Linear Phase Filter: The Linear phase filter uniquely features 'constant group delay' which delays all audio signals at all frequencies by the same amount meaning all audio is fully time-coherent at the output.
  • Minimum Phase Filter: Minimum phase meanwhile does not feature constant group delay but rather the coefficients have been optimized without feed-forward so that the impulse response exhibits no pre-ringing in the time domain.

Audiophile Grade Toroidal Transformer: Unlike most CD players, who use cheap laminate type transformers, the Cambridge Audio Azur 651C uses an audiophile grade toroidal transformer offering minimal electro magnetic interference and delivering superior audio performance.

Double-Sided Surface Mount Technology: All PCBs and DAC stages feature double sided surface mount technology, eliminating wire links and giving ultra short signal paths.

Polypropylene Capacitors: Low inductance resistors and polypropylene signal capacitors are used for superior audio performance.

Wrap-Around Casework Design: A wrap-around casework design with substantially thick brushed aluminum front panel, and dual layer damped feet, gives enhanced resonance control.

Standby Circuit: This innovative new circuitry design allows compact disc player to consume less than 1 watt of power when in Standby, but itself remains totally isolated and non-detrimental to the sound quality when the CD player is in operation. 


DFSTN Display: To ensure simple operation, a high contrast reverse black DFSTN (Double Film Super Twisted Nematic) display offers excellent feedback of the 651C's playback features, which now include CD-text support. On inserting a disc, the CD player will take a few seconds to read the Table of Contents (TOC) information from the disc. The display will then show the number of tracks on the CD and the total length of the CD. If the CD incorporates CD-text, the name of the album will scroll once (the number of tracks remains stationary throughout). Once playback of an individual track begins, the track number, total number of tracks, and playtime will be displayed. On a CD containing CD-text, the track name will scroll once.

Power On/Off: The 651C compact disc player's main power on/off switch is located on the rear-panel. Once the CD player's rear-panel main power switch has been turned On, you can switch the 651C on/off using the front-panel Standby/On button.

Front-Panel Controls: The Azur 651C uses Cambridge Audio compact disc player offers the following front-panel controls - Standby/On, Open/Close tray, Play/Pause, Stop, and Skip/Scan.

Auto Play Setting: The Cambridge Audio Azur 651C can automatically start playback of a disc inserted into its drawer without the unit's "Play" button being pressed.

Playback Functions: The 651C compact disc player offers Repeat, Random, and Program playback controls.

  • Repeat: You can repeat a specific track or an entire disc.
  • Random: You can play all the tracks on a disc in random order.
  • Program: You can program up to 30 tracks on a disc to play in a specific order.

IR Remote Control: The 651C compact disc player is supplied with an Azur Navigator remote control that operates both this CD player and Cambridge Audio Azur-series amplifiers. The Azur 651AC Navigator remote control can also control the basic functions of Apple devices, such as Apple TV and Apple's iPod/iPhone/iPad when docked in a Cambridge Audio or Apple dock (sold separately).

Note: The remote operates off of three "AAA" batteries (supplied).

Auto Power Down: If desired, the 651C can shut itself down if not used for a period of time. Power down after an inactive period (no disk playback or any functions of the player used) of 5, 10 or 15 minutes can be selected.


Analog Audio Outputs: The Cambridge Audio Azur 651C single disc compact disc player is fitted with gold-plated stereo analog audio outputs (RCA) to connect to your analog stereo receiver.

Digital Audio Outputs: The Cambridge Audio Azur 651C CD player is also fitted with two digital audio outputs. One optical (toslink) digital audio output and one coaxial (RCA) digital audio output. These digital outputs let you connect the player to your digital receiver.

IR Emitter Input: The 651C features a IR Emitter input (3.5mm) which allows modulated IR commands from multi-room systems or IR repeater system to be received by the CD player.

Control Bus Input/Output: The 651C features a Control Bus Input & Output (RCA), which allows un-modulated commands from multi-room systems or other components to be received by the player and loop out to another unit.

Detachable AC Power Cord: The Cambridge Audio 651C operates off of standard household AC current using the supplied detachable 6' AC power cord.


D/A Converters: Dual Wolfson WM8742 24-bit/192kHz DACs

Analog Filter: 2-Pole Dual Differential Bessel Double Virtual Earth Balanced

Frequency Response: 20 Hz to 20,000 Hz (+/- 0.1 dB)

Total Harmonic Distortion:

  • @ 1 kHz (0 dbBFs): < 0.003%
  • @ 1 kHz (-10 dBFs): < 0.005%
  • @ 20 kHz (0 dBFs): < 0.002%

IMD (19/20kHz) 0 dBFs: < 0.005%

Linearity @ -90dBFs: +/- 9.5 dB

Clock Deviation: +/- 20 ppm

Stopband Rejection (>24kHz): >90dB

Signal-to-Noise Ratio: 115 dB

Total Correlated Jitter: < 140 pS


  • @ 1 kHz: < -100 dB
  • @ 20 kHz: < -99 dB

Output Impedance: < 50 ohms

Power Consumption:

  • Max Power: 25 watts
  • Standby Power: <1W

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.