Azur 851C

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.

"Sweet, refined and simply musical... the sonic performance is absolutely consistent. Highly recommended!"

- AV MAX, JULY 2014


    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.


    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.

  • Press reviews

    • Witchdoctor

      New Zealand, January 2013

      PRODUCT OF THE YEAR "They seem to be the absolute class leaders at their respective price points. The build quality that just shouldn’t be possible for the money, and the huge feature sets are impressive enough, but with sound quality that is out of all proportion to their price tags, these components are on another level when it comes to value for money."
    • Hi-Fi Choice

      United Kingdom, November 2012

      CD PLAYER OF THE YEAR "Impeccably engineered and with sonics the match of most machines at twice the price, what's not to like? Smooth and svelte sounding yet commanding and incisive, only its rivals will regret the advent of this sparkling talented new CD player."
    • Audio Video Magazine

      Brazil, July 2014

      "Com excelente construção e design sóbrio, porém moderno, o Cambridge Audio 851C é um player honesto e um bom DAC cheio de recursos e entradas para satisfazer sonora e tecnicamente uma boa parte da legião crescente de usuários de media centers, music servers e computadores dedicados à reprodução musical de arquivos de alta definição da era da comercialização de músicas via internet."
    • AV Max

      United Kingdom, July 2014

      "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!"
    • Witchdoctor

      New Zealand, November 2012

      "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."
    • What Hi-Fi? Sound and Vision

      United Kingdom, October 2012

      "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."  
    • HD Fever

      France, October 2012

      "Musical, dynamic, pleasurable and sophisticated listening, enormous power, impeccable build quality, great design and ease of use - who could ask for more?"
    • European Imaging and Sound Association

      Portugal, August 2012

      "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."
    • Hi-Fi News

      United Kingdom, August 2012

      "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!"

      Customer Reviews

    • The details

      Digital to analogue converters Dual Analog Devices AD1955 24-bit DACs
      Digital filter Analog 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 filter 2 Pole Fully Differential Linear Phase Bessel filter
      Digital input 1 S/PDIF 75 Ohms or TosLink optical
      Digital input 2 S/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 outputs Balanced XLR and unbalanced RCA analogue audio outputs
      Compatibility USB 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
      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 output 2.2Vrms (2.2Vrms each phase for the balanced output)
      Max. power consumption 40W
      Idle consumption 8W
      Standby power consumption <0.5W
      Colour Black or silver
      Dimensions (WxHxD) 430 x 115 x 360mm (16.9 x 4.5 x 14.7”)
      Weight 10.0Kg (22lbs)
      Gapless Playback? Yes
      In the box Azur 851C Upsampling DAC, CD Player & Preamplifier, Power Cable, 3 x AAA Batteries, Remote Control