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User Review......... CA Azur 540D

 

Silver Member
Username: Rick_b

New york Usa

Post Number: 199
Registered: Dec-03
Hi All,

Just wanted to give a very brief review on this unit. Some of you expressed interest so here goes.
Keep in mind I have had it for 48 hours, so a detailed evaluation is not warranted.

Build Quality: Excellent for a unit at this price point. I have seen $800-$1000 units with lesser quality. It also has a detachable power cord. Almost unheard of at this price.

DVD-V 5.1: Both video and audio quality is every bit as good as my old Toshiba SD3108. Please keep in mind, this was Toshiba's flagship player at the time @ $800. Deep blacks,clean whites,good fleshtones, and rich colors. Absolutely no artifacts or dot crawl. Audio DD and DTS processing first rate.

DVD-Audio:This is completely new to me. I decided on this player mainly for movies/cinema. My first love has always been 2 channel stereo reproduction. I looked on the new DVD-A format as as added bonus to the player, and see what it was all about. My fist impression is it is interesting. Remember I just heard it for the first time, and can't give a long term evaluation at this time. Do I think it is the be all, end all audio truth we all seek? Only time will tell for me.............

CD Audio:I rate it as good as any $300-$400 CD player. It can't compete with a dedicated high end player or transport. In this respect it falls far short of my California Audio Labs CL20. But then, most do. It is certainly competent at it's price point.

SUMMARY:This is an excellent unit overall, and deserving of the favorable reviews it is getting. It exceeds all it's expectations for a sub $400 machine and then some. I feel CA could have priced this unit at $550-$600 and still had great success. At $379 it is a true value/bargain, and can compete with anything on the market to $600.

Cheers!
 

Silver Member
Username: Rick_b

New york Usa

Post Number: 200
Registered: Dec-03
almost forgot...............the remote control for the CA is fabulous! It indeed warranted it's own post.
 

Silver Member
Username: John_a

Post Number: 951
Registered: Dec-03
Great, Rick! Many thanks!

Remember you can get two-channel stereo in DVD-Audio format. That will probably be the acid test for the audio connoisseur. How will that compare with CD from the California Audio Labs CL20....? However, read the DVD-A disc label carefully: some discs don't have DVD-A two-channel, hoping you won't mind a 5.1 downmix.

You write "..interesting...". That is interesting!

"Audio truth". No such thing. Except being there.

Great report. A strong recommendation from a man who knows his stuff. More, please, in due course!
 

Unregistered guest
Thanks Rick.
I look forward to any further comments you may have especially with regard to DVD-A. In fact a comparison between the CA Azur and your hi-end CD player would be very interesting to point out to ordinary people like myself how spending little money on DVD-A can bring you closer to real HIFI as compared to the past where larger budgets were required.
 

Silver Member
Username: John_a

Post Number: 973
Registered: Dec-03
michael,

Hear, hear! I have a definite opinion on your last question, and I look forward very much to Rick's further posts, just to check my own judgement, apart from anything else, such as Rick's comments being informative and a pleasure to read.

There is a possible twist to the plot, which I discovered only last night: see PCM Stereo.

Best wishes to all.
 

New member
Username: Michael_roche

Italy

Post Number: 1
Registered: May-04
Rick,
I've seen here in Italy the 540D has a universal power supply. Does your model accept 220V as well as usa 110?
FYI ... I will be giving the 540D a proper 'listen' next time at the shop as last time there were too many people and I had no DVD-A disc.
John A, a colleague has bought a pioneer dvd-a player a few months back and swears by the sound quality. Curiosity is getting the better of me ...

Thanks to you both for your info/inputs.
 

Gold Member
Username: John_a

Post Number: 1056
Registered: Dec-03
michael,

I will do more than swear by it! That's three bitten now: your colleague, me, and Mike Jasper, who posted yesterday on Twilight of the Compact Disc.

Although you have posted there, so I know you know about it, others reading here might also wish to consider my NAD T533 DVD/CD player user's review, and DVD-Audio.

BTW I think universal 110/240 V, 50/60 Hz supplies are not uncommon these days; most computers made the transition a few years ago, too, I think.
 

Silver Member
Username: Rick_b

New york Usa

Post Number: 210
Registered: Dec-03
michael,

I believe it is universal, I'll double check when I get home this evening.
 

Adam Styblinski
Unregistered guest
Hey Rick,
Nice review. :-)
Does the 540D have bass managment for DVD-Audio and such?
Thanks,
Adam
 

Silver Member
Username: Rick_b

New york Usa

Post Number: 219
Registered: Dec-03
Adam,

Thanks for the kind words. Yes the 540D has bass management in the set up menu.
 

Adam Styblinski
Unregistered guest
Thanks Rick.

Well, I was thinking of either getting the 540D or the NAD 533 (altough it reminds me of those Nads hair removal commercials and.... other things :-) Any impressions on which one is better? Also, the 533 has built in AC3 decoding. Does this make a huge difference? Im probably going to be pairing this up with a Onyko HT-S770 HTIB.

Thanks for the help,
Adam
 

Silver Member
Username: Rick_b

New york Usa

Post Number: 220
Registered: Dec-03
Adam,

I don't think you can go wrong with either unit. My choice came down to those two. I went with the Azur because of the build quality, and AC3 and DTS processing, was not an issue with me. I prefer to let my Proceed AVP take care of those chores. Don't get me wrong, I'm not knocking the build quality of NAD, I have used plenty of their gear over the years, and always found it first rate. I just thought the Azur had the build and price edge this time around. But like I said, flip a coin. Cheers!
 

Gold Member
Username: John_a

Post Number: 1204
Registered: Dec-03
Adam,

Just to say I have an NAD T533 (see May 14, above) and agree with Rick on all points, there. I can attest that my T533 does a much better job at AC-3 processing than does the T760 receiver it is attached to, for some reason; it brought a total upgrade to Dolby Digital 5.1.

But as far as my understanding goes, with other receivers, you could choose which player on the basis of appearance; the name ("other things"?); or, yes, flip a coin.
 

Adam Styblinski
Unregistered guest
Thanks for the replies.

John, I've read your review of the NAD. Good work!

I'm kind of leaning toward the Azur because of the lower price (it can be had for about $330 online, the cheapest I have found the NAD for is $500. You guys know of any place that sells them cheaper?)
A bit off topic, but how do think these players will match up with the Onyko 770?
And what do you think of the 770 setup anyways?
And then there's always the question of SACD vs DVD-A (I just don't want to always feel like I'm missing out on something.)
Of course, I mostly listen to techno, metal, and gothic, so neither of those do much for me right now (there is one techno cd mixed in surround on DVD-A right now, can't wait to listen to it, as electronica seems the best fit for surround audio). I am very open to new music, though, and like everything from Johnny Cash to Tom Petty to Bela Fleck to celtic to classical, and I think ANY music would sound good in DVD-A or SACD.

(sigh) I guess you can't have everything (Damn you sony!!!).

Again, Thanks a bunch for your help. :-)

Cheers,
Adam
 

Gold Member
Username: John_a

Post Number: 1206
Registered: Dec-03
Adam,

"I'm kind of leaning toward the Azur because of the lower price (it can be had for about $330 online, the cheapest I have found the NAD for is $500.....)"

This goes the the heart of the whole transition in the industry and distribution, marketing, sales, service etc. Where I am, the Azur is about 15 % more than the T533, not yet available, and, anyway, from the same dealer, when it arrives. So my choices were not like yours.

I'll just have to "pass" on this. Also on the Onkyo 770, where I could recycle some things read here, but you would be better reading yourself, listening, and making up your own mind. I can say I have no regrets getting the T533. Rick knows his stuff and seems to have none with the Azur 540D.

"(sigh) I guess you can't have everything (Damn you sony!!!)"

Like it!

The bottom line: You pays your money and your takes your choice. Whatever you do I am sure you will not be disappointed with DVD-A.
 

starbuck
Unregistered guest
Hi,
I just bought a new 540R but have a problem:
it doesn't stop telling me "Loading..." when inserting any type of disks, CD or DVD.
And it seems to me that the drive is not turning ; it makes just a little "toc" and nothing happen! Any idea on this?
(head parking or so?)
 

Silver Member
Username: Rick_b

New york Usa

Post Number: 233
Registered: Dec-03
starbuck,

I am assuming you mean a 540D. A 540R is a receiver. If the unit just flashes loading.... and nothing happens the unit is faulty. I purchased my unit from Audio Advisor ( a nice place to do business BTW, have done so a lot over the years), and it has performed flawlessly so far. Return it for a replacement.
 

starbuck
Unregistered guest
Thank you Rick for this advice.
I will do that on tuesday.
You are wright about the 540D. It was a mistake.
I 've bought both of them and I must say that I am totaly satisfied so far with the receiver. Great audio!
Many thanks for you answer.
Michel (Belgium).
 

Silver Member
Username: Rick_b

New york Usa

Post Number: 234
Registered: Dec-03
starbuck,

I am sorry to hear you had a problem with your unit. Please post back with your impressions, after the replacement arrives. Cheers!
 

New member
Username: Savvas0711

Post Number: 2
Registered: Dec-03
I know a lot of you have been waiting for a Review regarding the Cambridge Audio 540D Dvd player so here is one I hope many of you can benefit from. I too, for the longest time wanted to know what everyone was saying about this DVD and could really not find too much information about it, so I decided to buy with what little I knew.
My former DVD player was a Denon DVD-1600 and it served me well, I go the upgrade itch however as it was been phased out. I will base my comparisons to this Denon, as its performance was fresh in my mind.
I purchased the unit for $329.00 plus shipping via telephone order from Spirit Sound. Their expertise and advice was very thorough and I am glad to have done business with them. My player arrived 3 days after I had ordered.
The first thing that struck me about this 540D (Black by the way) was they way it was packaged from the factory, it was wrapped in a gorgeous almost neon blue material and so was the remote. The attention to detail of the packing was very attractive and thorough, you could have sworn just from the packing you were buying a way way more expensive product. Once unpacked there were still more surprises waiting, the remote is slim, well laid out and made of an aluminum type material. Again this kit oozes style and quality. Once removed from its blue packing wrapper the DVD player itself was another hit. First you will notice its heft (10lbs), which again in comparison to other DVD players out there it's a cut above. It's not uncommon to have a DVD player weigh 5 lbs or less and made of cheap plastic nowadays. Additionally the player itself is made of a very attractive METAL casing, it's astonishing the build quality at this price. Honestly this player was shockingly well built.

As compared to my older Denon the Cambridge weighed more, was better built and more aesthetically pleasing. The remote was also a clear winner.

I hooked up the Cambridge and played some movies without any sound so I as I could concentrate on just the picture quality. Here the Cambridge fell short to the older Denon. Mind you, not by a big margin but a noticeable one. The Denon had a smoother less grainy picture richer colors and deeper blacks. The Denon has a faroudja chip and its performance is stellar.
Once done with the picture tests I moved onto audio, specifically DVD-audio. I put on a familiar DVD-audio disc that I played on a regular basis, again to compare to my latter player. The Cambridge on this test trounced the Denon. The music was so much clearer and less electronic, it was no contest. Onto movie sound, once again the Cambridge showed up the Denon. It had more separation, better bass and overall faster dynamics.
I of course wished that the Cambridge had just as good picture quality as my older Denon, but the trade-off to get this much better sound is worth the sacrifice.
My opinion is that the Cambridge is indeed a fantastic DVD player and worth a lot more than the asking price.

Hope some of you can benefit from this review and if someone has a question your welcome to e-mail me.

Thanks...
 

Gold Member
Username: John_a

Post Number: 1307
Registered: Dec-03
That is good to know savvas. Thank you. In the specifications, I noticed the big weight difference between the CA Azur 540D and the NAD T533. I had no opportunity to try the Azur 540D, so went the NAD route. CA does plug its video performance and video DACs in the sales literature, so it is surprising that it does not shape up in comparison with the Denon DVD-1600. This is a very useful review, especially for new model. I am sure Rick and others will welcome any more thoughts you have. Some magazine should do a side-by-side review of the CA and the NAD.
 

New member
Username: Michael_roche

Italy

Post Number: 2
Registered: May-04
Rick,
any futher updates on your 540D? I have heard some DVD-A discs with the 540D in the shop alongside a more expensive Rotel and it seems to me that the AZUR has it nailed - for the price it seems a great deal. I've just bought an SACD player hence my delay in getting a DVD-A player but probably i'll be taking the 540D. A final opinion from an experienced user without negetives would get me 'over the line' ....
thanks in advance for any comments you may have at this stage.

BTW: SACD is really great, what 'saddens' me is that I spent almost 500 euro on a cd player which is noticeably inferior to a 350 euro SACD player .... after listening to the 540D i'd say it's roughly similar to SACD for quality/price but you get DVD as well!
 

Silver Member
Username: Rick_b

New york Usa

Post Number: 294
Registered: Dec-03
michael,

I think you said it well.......for the price it can't be beat. The audio quality is very good indeed, and because DVD-A is a high-res format, I will admit it even surpasses my CAL-20 with redbook CD's, for pure audio quality. I know the last statement will make my friend JOHNA. very happy indeed. I still think I enjoy 2 channel stereo for my music listening, but can't deny the superior audio quality of DVD-A. My Azur 540D has supassed all my expectations for a player at this price point. It has performed flawlessly, so I stand by my original review. I recommend it without reservation. Good luck!
 

New member
Username: Michael_roche

Italy

Post Number: 3
Registered: May-04
Thanks Rick for your reply.
 

Gold Member
Username: John_a

Post Number: 1503
Registered: Dec-03
Rick,

Thanks. I have just made the point again on Oversampling. It seems to me there is only so much even the best player can get out of a CD, and this falls far short of DVD-A, on a much cheaper player.

Do you agree?

It is a great pleasure to know you are pleased with that purchase. It would be fun to put the Azur 540D and the NAD T533 side by side. I doubt there is much difference, and, with DVD-A, the sound of either will be greatly superior to CD.
 

Silver Member
Username: Rick_b

New york Usa

Post Number: 295
Registered: Dec-03
michael,

You are very welcome.

JohnA.,

I agree on both, and as always , are most welcome.
 

New member
Username: Cambridge

Post Number: 2
Registered: Jun-04
Did anone read any review on the 540V?
I purchased one and it makes a sound, like a fast beat in the background. Was told that it was the way it was...I just cant belive it!
 

Silver Member
Username: Kegger

MICHIGAN

Post Number: 516
Registered: Dec-03
i'm just curious if anyone has done any comparisions

between the Azur 540D/NAD T533 and the denon 2200.

in my area they are very simular in price $500

i have the 2200 and both the video and dd/dts are
better than my toshiba sd-3109 not to mention the
dvd-audio and sacd playback are a very nice upgrade
from cd.
 

JoeFriday
Unregistered guest
I purchased the 540D dvd player and a 540R receiver about a month ago.. so far I'm very pleased.. the sound quality is outstanding, and the picture quality of the 540D trounces my old Panasonic A310

but I'm about to send the dvd player back for repairs or replacement.. here's the rundown on my problems and/or complaints about the 540D

a) the unit doesn't turn on when the ON button is pressed, either on the faceplate or remote, even tho the 'standby' light is clearly on.. if I unplug the unit and plug it back in, it will work again, but clearly it's having a problem that needs to be fixed

b) certain discs will cause a 'ticking' sound to eminate from the player as the disc spins

c) it recently has started to cut off the first half second or so of most songs when skipping tracks or starting the disc

d) when a movie disc is loaded and I stop the movie halfway through and turn the power off, the player doesn't retain the position at which it left off and resume playing from there.. it goes back to the beginning every time.. is this happening for anyone else?

overall, I love the dvd player.. the construction quality is outstanding, and the sound quality is liquid smooth.. assuming CA takes care of my problems without a hassle, I'll continue to endorse them fully
 

New member
Username: Fred_g_unn

Post Number: 1
Registered: Oct-04
Hello,

Does anyone know if the 540D can play DVD+R discs? Cambridge Audio's web site doesn't make this claim but Audio Advisor's does. Also, NAD claims that the T533 can play them but has anyone tested this? I'm trying to decide between the 540D and the T533 and the inclusion of this feature could help tilt the scales one way or the other.
Thanks,
Fred
 

dgs
Unregistered guest
Try this link - looks like it does support Dvd+R

http://www.videohelp.com/dvdplayers.php?DVDnameid=4027&Search=Search&#comments
 

Bronze Member
Username: Agimat

Post Number: 64
Registered: Aug-04
Rick,

Did you try some Pioneer elite DVD audio players before choosing the CA 540D?I'm planning to get one and only these two, Elite 45A and CA 540D, fit my budget.Thanks in advance.
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