"A premium music streamer with the performance to match" " 'What Hi-Fi? Award winner 2016'. 5-star review.
Putting sound quality first
As Cambridge's range-topping network music payer you'd expect the Azur 851N to be pretty special under the lid, and that's exactly what it is! The highest quality sound comes from the use of audiophile quality components and tireless research and testing. As an 8-series design, the 851N uses a substantial toroidal power transformer at its centre. This enables clean, effortless power to be supplied to the other components, allowing them to give their best. High quality Analogue Devices AD1955 DACs (Digital to Analogue Convertors) are configured in dual-mono mode, ensuring maximum channel separation and precise sound-staging.
Fully equipped for High Resolution Audio
At the heart of the 851N is a brand new Zander processor that facilitates 24-bit/192kHz file high resolution streaming from most methods - even Wi-Fi. On top of this, the 851N is compatible with a huge range of high resolution files, including ALAC, WAV, FLAC, AIFF, WMA, MP3, AAC, HE AAC, AAC+ and OGG Vorbis. The USB audio input also enables streaming of up to 24-bit/192kHz audio and even supports DSD streams from your computer. Originally designed for SACD players, DSD (Direct Stream Digital) encoded music files offer the same detailed, transparent sound as other high resolution file formats, giving you even greater choice of listening.
AFT2 Up-Sampling for the ultimate detail and least jitter
The Cambridge 851N improves sound quality still further with an Anagram Technologies AFT2 24 bit/384 kHz up-sampling circuit. ATF (Adaptive Time Filtering) up-sampling 'stretches' the music to give the highest resolution possible. Up-sampling sound gives a smoother, more relaxed sound quality with added detail. You'll also notice enhanced depth of sound and a more natural quality without the "edge" that can afflict digital music. You'll hear every detail, including every deep breath, squeaky chair and flutter of sheet music; in short, it's like being there for real! AFT2 even aids native 24-bit/192kHz recordings with a faster sampling rate for even less jitter.
What is ATF Upsampling Technology
Connect to Internet radio and Spotify Connect
In addition to supporting over 20,000, easy to access Internet radio stations, the Azur 851N is also compatible with the most popular music streaming services. Spotify is the world's most popular streaming service and the Azur 851N has Spotify Connect integrated into it. If you subscribe to Spotify Premium, you can control the Cambridge with the powerful Spotify Connect app on your phone or tablet. Should you prefer other music services, the 851N also supports Napster, BBC iPlayer for radio, Aupeo! Pandora and Rhapsody.
AirPlay and optional Bluetooth
In addition to comprehensive streaming capabilities over LAN, Wi-Fi and USB, the 851N is also compatible with Apple's AirPlay streaming. Use it with your iPhone, iPad PC or Mac and wireless stream your iTunes library or other compatible music services. Connect up the optional BT100 dongle and you'll be able to stream your music from any smartphone, tablet or other device with Bluetooth built-in.
Built-in digital pre-amp - just add active speakers!
If you're seeking quality hi-fi from a minimal system then the built-in digital pre-amp will appeal. Simply add active speakers via the digital or analogue outputs and you'll be able to control the volume and balance via the Azur 851N.
Fully connected, including XLR balanced sockets and 5 USBs
When it comes to connectivity the 851N lives up to its 8-series 'reference' billing. The highlight is the fitment of XLR balanced sockets. When used with a compatible amplifier, such as the matching Cambridge Audio 851A, these connections give the ultimate link possible, with greatly improved resistance to interference. There are also AES/EBU balanced digital input/output sockets for the ultimate digital connections. Added to this there are no fewer than five USB interfaces! The front-mounted socket is ideal for connecting temporary devices such as USB media sticks. At the back, three interfaces take care of more permanently connected media devices plus the optional Bluetooth dongle port. A Type B asynchronous USB input is provided for the direct connection of your PC or Mac. This makes the ideal connection for hooking up your computer as it will effectively 'control' the PC's output for the best sound quality possible. This greatly reduces jitter and gives the highest quality sound possible from your computer audio. Finally, both optical and coaxial digital sockets are provided for both inputs (x2) and outputs. This lets you connect up other digital components and take advantage of the quality DAC built into the 851N.
Intuitive app interface and colour display
With a free Apple/Android app you have effortless control over the radio stations with the comfort of your iPhone/iPod Touch/iPad or Android device. The app also seamlessly manages all your streaming content and is, in effect, a very user friendly way of bringing together and controlling all your digital sources. Boasting a new colour screen, it's now possible to display album art on the player. This makes it a pleasure to browse for albums and artists by whichever control system you use.
Full metal casing with extensive damping
Using a full metal casing, with rounded edges, doesn't just look and feel good, it helps the sound, too. The case is rigid and well damped, meaning that it won't resonate unhelpfully. The thick aluminium front panel looks the part and also acts as a shield against electrical interference from sources such as dimmers and RF devices. All these details combine to create a network player that not only looks stylish but also offers exceptional resistance to both mechanical and electrical interference.
A first-rate performer in every respect, the flagship Cambridge Azur 851N network player is the audiophile's choice of streamer.
USBNumber of USB sockets fitted. These can be used for connection of media players, wi-fi dongles and other accessories5
Optical Digital OutputDoes it feature a digital optical output for connection to digital amp/AVR or upgraded DAC (Digital to Analogue Convertor)?Yes
Coaxial Digital OutputDoes it feature a coaxial digital output for connection to digital amp/AVR or upgraded DAC (Digital to Analogue Convertor)?Yes
XLR Balanced OuputsBalanced XLR outputs offer a professional grade connection with minimal interferenceYes
Coaxial Digital InputDoes it have a coaxial digital input? This allows the unit to also be used as DAC (Digital to Analogue Convertor) for other componentsYes
Optical Digital InputDoes it have an optical digital input? This allows the unit to also be used as a DAC (Digital to Analogue Convertor) for other componentsYes
Apple AirPlayDoes the unit support Apple AirPlay? Apple AirPlay lets you listen to your entire iTunes music library from a suitable iOS device such as iPod Touch, iPhone or iPad. Best of all, the system is wireless and so is ideal for building up a wireless multi-room system.Yes
BluetoothDoes the unit support Bluetooth? A built-in Bluetooth receiver lets you stream music from a suitably equipped device such as a smartphone, tablet, laptop or PC.Optional - BT100
Wireless ConnectionWhether a wireless or, Wi-Fi, connection is included as standard or optional (via dongle). This allows for wireless connection to your home network hub.Yes
Internet Radio & ServicesDoes it have access to Internet radio and other online music services?Yes
High Resolution AudioHigh Resolution Audio provides exception sound quality from High Resolution music files. Typically these are DSD, WAV, AIFF, FLAC or ALAC files at 24bit/96kHz or 24bit/192kHz ratesYes
Smartphone RemoteCan you use a Smartphone (iPhone or Android) to control the unit?Yes
DLNA CompliantDLNA stands for Digital Living Network Alliance. It is an alliance of interested bodies that help standardise streaming content. If a product is DLNA compliant you can be assured it will stream music from your PC, laptop etc to the unitNo
UPNPUPnP (Universal Plug n' Play) lets compatible devices stream data to one another within the same network. For example, it could let you stream music from a NAS drive to a music streamer.Yes
Green CredentialsEco Friendly Featuresclose
Power Consumption - StandbyThis is the power used in watts when the unit is switched off but still powered at the mains and ready to be turned back on0.5
Power Consumption - Normal UseThis is the power used in watts when the unit is on, using standard settings. Note, different manufacturers use different methods to arrive at this figure. In some cases only the maximum power consumption is quotedNA
DimensionsDimensions of unit (W x D x H) mm.430 x 360 x 115
WeightWeight of unit, unboxed, in KG.8.1