Reviewer: Arvind Kohli - TNT USA
Reviewed: March, 2015
|MANUFACTURER'S PUBLISHED DATA|
|MSRP - US market(USD)||$1199|
|Disc formats||Blu-ray including BD-3D, DVD, DVD-A, AVCHD, SACD, CD, HDCD Kodak Picture CD, CD-R/RW, DVD+-R/RW, DVD+-R DL, BD-R/RE|
|DAC chipset||WolfsonWM8740 24 bit|
|Audio upsampler||Analog Devices ADSP-21261 32 bit SHARC DSP running Anagram Technologies Q5 upsampling to 24-bit/192kHz (All 10 channels)|
|THD+N||<0.001% @ 1kHz|
|S/N ratio< -108dB||<0.001% @ 1kHz|
|Crosstalk @ 1 kHz||< -100dB|
|Power consumption||35W max, 0.5W standby|
|Dimensions||16.9 x 12.3 x 3.3 inches (430mm x 312mm x 85mm)|
|Weight||11 lbs, 5.0 kgs|
Following up on my review of the Oppo BD-105 universal audio network player, I wanted to compare my new found standard to other candidates from the same product family. As a brand, Cambridge Audio has impressed me since I reviewed their 640P Phono preamp many moons ago. My impression of Cambridge Audio is that of an outfit who focuses first on sonic performance, but also maintains a very affordable price point by avoiding ridiculous cosmetics or excessive componentry. I somehow feel shorted by not having spent time with more of their products. Seeing as they do have a universal audio network player, I thought this would be a worthwhile contender for a comparison to the Oppo.
Like the Oppo BD-105, the Cambridge Audio 752BD also seems to have take the audio section very seriously and the player is aimed at the serious audio hobbyist as well as home theater. Since we are a music only publication, I will forgo coverage of the video aspects of this player and focus only on the two channel audio performance. All audio signals are upsampled to 24-bit/192kHz, and a system buffer stages audio data in memory before conversion to analog, in an effort to reduce jitter. While it does lack XLR analog outputs, it does have a host of digital inputs to play DAC to a variety of digital devices and an ethernet input to connect to streaming services and your home network.
Like the Oppo BD-105, this player also does not have built in wi-fi, but a flash drive sized USB dongle is included that is a wi-fi transmitter/receiver. I did not have much luck using the wi-fi connection, for some reason the signal strength did not seem strong enough for a reliable and consistent connnection. So I connected the Cambridge Audio player to my internet router with an ethernet cable, and had a steady connection there on out. One of my favourite features of these new network enabled players is that they can read audio files from an external hard drive or network, and be controlled by a smart phone or tablet. This player can be controlled by any app that runs on the UPnP protocol, BubbleUPnP is a popular version that I tried and had good luck with. I connected a 1TB hard drive with all of my CD's ripped in uncompressed WAV, and was able to use Bubble UPnP to browse and manage the entire catalog with great convenience and ease.
This was a new way for me to experience listening to music in my main rig - no physical medium to load, no liner notes to browse and no jewel cases or jackets to manage. It is not that this is the first time I have listened to music that was not contained in a physical form, various radio formats have served me the longest in my life to date. But when I sit in the temple that I regard my music room, and follow the rituals of my religion by selecting an album and placing a disc on the turntable or disc player - there is a level of effort that has become part of that experience. With this new technology, there is that even one less thing to do. You simply plop in your chair and gorge on music. I love it, and I hate it.
On to the listening.
All comparisons were done directly to the Oppo BD-105. The following examples best summarize my comparison experiences.
"Summertime" (Lesly Olsher; Stereophile Test CD1;Stereophile; STPH002-2 )
This is an acapella recording of a female vocal solo, with a huge dynamic range and quite a bit of micro detail too.
This track was emblematic of my entire experience with this player and it's comparisons to the Oppo. I could not micro analyze this track enough to find any differences. No matter how minutely and repeatedly I scrutinized the smallest segment, I could not find any reliable differences between the two players. Sometime it takes a much higher resolution recording or a passage that focuses on a different sonic attribute, to realize differences between components.
"All or nothing at all" (Diana Krall; Love Scenes; Impulse; IMPD-233)
This track features female vocals with a pretty wide dynamic range and a prominent double bass.
Unfortunately for my allegedly discerning ears, the two players were neck and neck again. The Cambridge Audio may have inched out with deeper bass, and the Oppo may have had the upper hand with quieter backgound and hence more micro detail. But the scale of differences were so small that I cannot say with great confidence that there were significant differences. At this small magnitude, my perception of the differences may have been a figment of my imagination.
"Mo better blues" (The Branford Marsalis Quartet; Mo' better blues; Columbia; 46792; CD)
This track has quite a bit going on at the same time, though it is not very bombastic or have massive dynamics.
Sigh ... once again the results were a photo finish. There are virtually no differences for all the sonic aspects that I look for on this track. With all the hyper focus I could muster, and at very loud volumes, and at a very low magnitude I'd say the Oppo was a bit better at seperation of instruments. In this case, if I tried to focus on what the drummer was doing in the background, it was a hair easier with the Oppo to focus just on the drums. But for all practical resons this is also a draw.
It would seem like a solid case for reviewer seppuku has been made. I have disgraced my clan by not being able to discern substantially between two audio components.
But sillyness aside, I have never in memory compared two components that were this close in sonic performance. I'd be happy living with either component and give them both the highest commendation for making such excellence products without breaking the bank. Since the prices are exactly the same as well, maybe make your decision could be based on features or even looks.
|Gear||Manufacturer and Model|
|Digital Disc Players||
•Denon DVD-3910 with Underwood mods (level2 + masterclock)
•Audio Technica OC9 MLII(MC)
• Technics/KAB SL1200 MkII, with tonearm damper|
• Cambridge Audio 640P Azur|
|Pre Amplifier||• Promitheus Audio Reference TVC|
• Monarchy Audio SM-70 Pro, in monoblock configuration.|
|Integrated Amplifier||• TBI Millenia|
• Quad ESL 988
• Dynaudio Contour 1.3 MkII
• Triangle Electroacoustique Titus 202
• ACI Force
• Velodyne F1500R
• Practical Devices XM3|
• Stax SR-40, with SRD-4 adaptor
• AKG K701
© Copyright 2015 Arvind Kohli - firstname.lastname@example.org - www.tnt-audio.com