CAMBRIDGE AUDIO: Azur 851A integrated amplifier test review

Stereophile write:  The more integrated amps I review, the more I want to tell manufacturers: Please, skip the DAC, omit the phono stage, lose the Bluetooth—just give me the best sound quality, and the most vivid, most transparent line stage and control center (with pre-out) you can design. Make sure this line stage has appropriate gain, and high input and low output impedances. Give me at least four balanced and single-ended inputs. Make sure the volume, balance, and tone controls are durable and degrade the sound as little as possible. That way, I can add a DAC, server, phono stage, or Bluetooth, of any quality level, any time I choose.

Provide a good solid-state amplifier of medium to high power, but don't go crazy with the cost. That way, I can take my time and figure out which speakers I'd like in my room. Then, when everything else is in place, I can choose a different amp—the one that makes the most magic with the speakers I've chosen. In short, I want a cornerstone on which I can build a high-quality high-end system that should retain its usefulness and resale value—and that I should enjoy—for decades to come.

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