When is a CD player more than a CD player? When it’s designed to be an outboard D/A converter complete with integral CD drive. This is Cambridge Audio’s Azur 851C, its best player to date and one that combines its most sophisticated DAC design with USB and legacy digital audio inputs. The partnering 851A amplifier is just as slick, employing the latest version of the company's proprietary Class XD technology to comfortably exceed its 120W specification. So while the 851C DAC/player brings a quiet composure to the party, the 851A is a wolf in sheep’s clothing, a muscular amp that grips the speakers and serves up tight, powerful and extended bass. In the 851C and 851A you’re getting cutting-edge technology for substantially less than high-end prices. Add the best speakers you can afford and this two-channel system will deliver a taste of hi-fi heaven.

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