Flagship Upsampling DAC, CD Player & Preamplifier
Our finest CD player and DAC, the 851C uses our extensive digital knowledge to become the cornerstone of your digital hub. No matter the source of your digital music, twin DACs in dual differential mode and 2nd generation Adaptive Time Filtering make the music sound as the original artist intended – extraordinary.
The 851C uses audiophile grade components throughout and incorporates our most advanced technologies to ensure it plays music perfectly. Your discs are spun on our own audio-only transport and coupled with our S3 servo to give error-free data retrieval and jitter minimisation. Our ultra-rigid metal construction also ensures components are isolated and free from vibration.
All data is then put through our 2nd generation Adaptive Time Filtering that upsamples everything to 24bit/384kHz hi-res quality, no matter the original source. As a result, jitter is almost completely absent, and the music sounds amazing. Read more on our proprietary ATF upsampling technology here.
The upsampled music then passes through Twin Analog Devices DACs (very high-end digital to analogue converters) which are implemented in a dual differential configuration meaning each channel has its own DAC to process data. The result is lifelike stereo imaging where instruments can be heard in specific parts of your room with uncanny accuracy.
All of these audiophile internals are powered by a large toroidal transformer for the best delivery of a high quality and consistent signal with low noise and buzz levels.
With premium XLR and RCA outputs you can then connect the 851C to the perfectly compatible 851A integrated amplifier with other sources. The 851C also has a digital volume stage built in so it can be used as a pure pre-amplifier – just connect it straight into our 851W power amplifier or a pair of active speakers for further sonic benefits.
We built the 851C with three selectable filters, linear, minimum and steep, this allows you to choose the type of sound that suits your ideal listening preferences.
CONNECTIONS AND FLEXIBILITY
The 851C isn’t just built for playback of CDs; we wanted to make the most of its ATF upsampling and superb DACs, so it’s a complete digital hub which can connect to almost anything digital. It’s got optical and co-axial digital in and outputs plus an asynchronous USB audio input. So you can connect up TVs, streamers, PCs, MACs and more, and everything will be upsampled to amazing hi-res quality.
"Frankly, the feature set of the 851C and 851A is the stuff of high-end audio dreams, but packaged in sensibly-priced components... As is so often the case with products from Cambridge Audio, what you're getting is cutting-edge technology for substantially less than high-end prices... This Azur combo took me to places I haven't been for a long time!"
"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."
"The Cambridge brand might have built its reputation on turning out high-quality budget kit, but the Azur 851C shows it’s more than capable of moving up a gear or three when the price goes up."
"They now compete with the very best in class when it comes to sound and are pretty much in a league of their own when it comes to features... This refined and revealing pair delivers a dynamic, clean and engaging result."
"The 851C truly lives up to all our expectations of being sweet, refined and simply musical. The amount of flexibility, in terms of usage, that imparts is very exciting and inviting. Be it as a CD player, a DAC or even the digital pre-amp. More importantly, the best part here is that irrespective of the mode/application that you decide to use it in, the sonic performance is absolutely consistent. Highly recommended!"Read the full review
"Cambridge Audio more than met my expectations... they’re both built incredibly well, they’re loaded with features, are customisable, versatile, easy to use and sound fabulous. The CD player is a knockout... The amp in particular is the best sounding unit of its type I’ve ever heard in this price range."Read the full review
Technology explainer videos
- Digital to analogue convertersDual Analog Devices AD1955 24-bit DACs
- Digital filterAnalog Devices Black Fin ADSP-BF532 32 bit DSP performing 2nd Generation ATF2 upsampling to 24-bit/384kHz. Linear Phase, Minimum phase or Steep modes.
- Analogue filter2 Pole Fully Differential Linear Phase Bessel filter
- Digital input 1S/PDIF 75 Ohms or TosLink optical
- Digital input 2S/PDIF 75 Ohms or TosLink optical
- AES/EBU input XLR balanced 110 Ohms per phase
- USB audio input USB Type B conforming to Audio profile 1.0 or 2.0 (user selectable)
- Audio outputsBalanced XLR and unbalanced RCA analogue audio outputs
- CompatibilityUSB 1.0 16-24 bit, 32-96kHz USB 2.0 16-24 bit, 32-192kHz TosLink 16-24 bit, 32-96kHz S/PDIF and AES/EBU 16-24 bits 32-192kHz CD playback is intrinsically limited to 16-bits 44.1kHz
- THD (unweighted) @ 1kHhz 0dBFs< 0.0004%
- THD (unweighted) @ 1kHz -10dBFs< 0.0004%
- THD (unweighted) @ 20kHz 0dBFs< 0.0007%
- IMD (19/20kHz) 0dBFs< 0.0002%
- Linearity @ -90dBFs+/- 0.2dB
- Linearity @ -120dBF+/- 0.4dB
- Stop-band rejection (>24kHz)> 120dB
- S/N ratio (ref 1w)> 113dB
- Total correlated jitter< 60pS for all digital inputs, CD playback and USB 2.0 < 180pS for USB 1.0
- Crosstalk @1kHz< -130dB
- Crosstalk @20 kHz < -114dB
- Output impedance< 50 Ohms
- 0dB Fs output2.2Vrms (2.2Vrms each phase for the balanced output)
- Max. power consumption40W
- Idle consumption8W
- Standby power consumption<0.5W
- ColourBlack or silver
- Dimensions (WxHxD)430 x 115 x 360mm (16.9 x 4.5 x 14.7”)
- Weight10.0Kg (22lbs)