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Cambridge Audio Azur 840E pre-amplifier

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CES Innovations Awards Honoree – Azur 840E pre-amplifier

Suggested retail price – $1299 ex sales tax; £750/€1299 inc VAT – Available Spring 2008

Cambridge Audio has taken the Azur 840 series to its peak with the introduction of two new models — the 840E pre-amplifier and 840W power amplifier. The 840E is a high-end pre-amplifier which uses Cambridge Audio’s new proprietary Terrapin™ modules for unprecedented audio fidelity forming the perfect partner for the accompanying 840W power amplifier. A customisable front panel display means tone controls can be selected and stored by nameable input. Volume, input and tone are also all controlled by highly sophisticated relay driven circuits.

Key features:

  • Terrapin™ amplifier modules designed and built by Cambridge Audio
  • Sophisticated resistor ladder and relay based attenuator for volume/balance control
  • Tone controls selected and individually stored by nameable input
  • Balanced output to 840W
  • Input gain trims
  • 8 inputs – two with balanced XLR connections in addition to single ended phono/RCA
  • Customisable front panel display
  • Trigger In/Out to automatically power up/down Azur 840W power amplifier(s)
  • RS232 port, IR emitter In and Control Bus In/Out for seamless integration with custom install systems
  • A-BUS / Incognito Ready connections compatible with Cambridge Audio’s Incognito multi-room keypads or other A-BUS compatible keypads allow the 840E to form the hub of a simple but highly effective 3 zone multi-room system
  • Fixed level inputs allow the 840E to provide the front channel amplification when integrated with home cinema systems that use an AV processor
  • Navigator style Azur remote which also controls
    • iPod track skip and volume functions
    • Cambridge Audio’s Incognito keypads
    • Discrete commands for custom install use

    Extruded aluminium side panels and substantial solid 7mm aluminium front panel plus an ultra rigid, acoustically dampened chassis

  • Available in silver or black

Rather than use common op-amps for the critical low level gain stages of the 840E (and 840W) Cambridge Audio instead decided to design its own audiophile amplifier modules. The subject of a separate research and development project these unique modules have been designed with single minded dedication to the very best audio performance possible. Two types exist, the TPA amplifier and TPB buffer module fully optimised for their respective roles. Nicknamed the Terrapins (because of their 10 pins) they add yet another dimension to Cambridge Audio’s commitment to audio excellence.

A sophisticated resistor ladder and relay based attenuator for volume (1dB steps) and balance controls allows remarkably accurate volume control with channel balance. Each channel has its own relays and ladder for superb stereo separation and imaging. This kind of feature is normally the preserve of exotic high-end equipment and is relatively unheard of at this price point

As the pre-amp has its own power supply, it operates in complete isolation to the power amplifier and does not suffer from any interference, something which is also aided by two balanced inputs.

The 840E features an extremely attractive and user friendly front panel display which is customisable to show which input is selected.

The Azur 840E makes room for eight inputs, two of which have both fully balanced (XLR) and unbalanced connections, ideal for use with the Azur 840C upsampling CD player. These inputs can be named as desired by the user on the custom-designed display to show CD, MP3, Phono etc.

Completing the rear panel is an RS232 control port, and multi-room outputs to connect the 840E to custom installations. This plethora of connections enables complete integration with multi-room entertainment systems including two way interface with touchscreen control panels. Alternatively, the 840E is Incognito Ready. This means that two additional rooms can access the source components connected to the 840E via Cambridge Audio’s Incognito system amplified keypads and passive speakers or active in-ceiling speakers. An independent Incognito power supply links to the 840E, enabling audio and low voltage power to be transmitted to each Incognito keypad using only one run of CAT5 cable.

As with all Azur products, the foundation of the 840E’s excellence is a bespoke chassis. This comprises an incredibly thick 7mm front panel and extruded side panels, both fashioned from aluminium, which combine with a 2mm formed steel base plate and specially designed vibration absorbing feet. The result is an ultra rigid, low resonance, acoustically dampened platform for the electronics to sit in.

The 840E is available in either silver or black and comes complete with the latest elegant, slim-line navigator style Azur remote handset offering full control of Azur CD players, Incognito keypads and discrete commands for custom install use. As an additional facet, all Cambridge Audio remotes feature iPod Command — which means that basic iPod controls such as volume and track select can be controlled from the comfort of the user’s armchair. This boon requires the use of an Apple or other universal dock.

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