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Cambridge Audio Azur 851D Digital Preamplifier/DAC/Headphone Amp

post #1 of 18
Thread Starter 

So Cambridge has a new device coming out. A Digital Preamplifier, DAC, Headphone Amp and Bluetooth streaming device called Cambridge Audio Azur 851D. Lots of digital inputs + USB and Bluetooth.


• 2x Analog Devices AD1955 DAC
• 24/192 USB input

• Upsampling to 24-bit/384kHz resolution
• XLR / RCA output

• Remote
• Silver or Black

• Bluetooth seems to be optional with BT100


Price $1649





Some nice internals over here with a great picture of the headphone amp PCB:




Edited by HiFiRobot - 11/3/13 at 2:28pm
post #2 of 18
Any experieces yet with headphones?
post #3 of 18
Originally Posted by jt25741 View Post

Any experieces yet with headphones?

Well I am early on this unit....but it seemed to have the right combination of price, features, and promising sonics --- so I took a plunge knowing I could return if not to my liking.


I purchased this as my first somewhat serious headphone/DAC rig.   I am a loudspeaker long-time audiophile :Sim Audio/Magnepan 3.6R with Cullen PS DLIII --- and do most of my listening there.    But I wanted something for private listening in the bedroom.


I was immediately impressed by the apparent build-quality, packaging care --- and overall feel of everything.    It feels quite high-end.


I paired it with AKG K550s.     I found linear filter choice the best for this combo.   The AKGs are notoriously hot with some recordings -- and the linear setting produced the smoothest and most coherent treble.   I may take the 851D downstairs and pump it through the Sim P-5 via XLR Cardas GR ICs, to see what it can do compared to my Cullen DLIII which I like quite a bit.    But for now, I am very happy using it as a headphone preamp/DAC.


I am not an experienced headfier, so I cannot impart significant comparative perspectives.    But with these benign 32ohm cans, the head amp in the 851D produced very clean, detailed and harmonically rich sounds through the DAC/Pre.      I was worried about the digital volume control eating detail, but alas it sounds really good at normal listening levels. The remote works great for everything too.   As to how this digital volume can work without reducing bit-depth, I really do not understand.   But CA claims as such in their marketting.     I listened to standard redbook FLAC files, and 24/48, 24/96 and 24/192 hi-res recordings (all through Triode's Applet/SB Touch), via Coax.   851D effortlessly handled everything I could throw at it without a hiccup or glitch.              


I am eager to read reviews from other new owners of the 851D to understand how it does with 300Ohm HD600/HD650s and other popular reasonably priced headphones of more challenging loading.   I am curious if it has the power available to perform with those.


I haven't opened the unit, but am also very curious what CA is using for their headphone circuit.....is it discrete, or IC Opamp driven?     Anyways..it does sound quite good, and I will not be getting an external headphone amp for now, which increases the value of this setup for me even more.


I have not listened to the 851D through main outputs yet.....as I do not have a setup worthy of it in my bedroom (just an Onkyo AVR that would just resample on the analog inputs as AVRs do).      So for now......I will have to just leave my baiting first impressions to see what others think, hopefully with much more experience than I.

Edited by jt25741 - 2/12/14 at 8:18pm
post #4 of 18

I've been very curious about the 851D, since it has the same AD1955 chips run in dual differential mode as my Emotiva DC1.....
post #5 of 18
Originally Posted by boatheelmusic View Post


I've been very curious about the 851D, since it has the same AD1955 chips run in dual differential mode as my Emotiva DC1.....

Your welcome, I would like to know how these compare.  After just reading the DC-1 review, I should have given it a try as it is 1/3 the price of the 851D.  If it is just as good sounding, or even better -- it would be a steal.    I did consider the Emotiva DC-1 briefly before purchasing the 851D, but discounted the idea based on the fact that the XDA-2 was not to my liking -- and I assumed it was cut from the same cloth.  Also the async/sync DC-1 oversampling settings seems interesting -- would like to get a characterization of each settings performance.   For me in particular the XDA-2 Headphone output sounded quite thin, hifi-like and lacking warmth.     It was based on this performance that I returned the unit shortly after it was launched.    In reading the review I get the impression that the headphone circuit is perhaps better in the DC-1, but that is unclear as the same publication reviewed the XDA-2 and didn't really reflect much on the headphone section sound quality.       I do wonder why they provide only 1/8" headphone outputs ---- I know this doesn't necessarily mean much....but people generally expect 1/4" on something intended to drive anything but smaller portable headphones.     

post #6 of 18

Agree - I don't listen much to headphones, so not so focused on that.


The 851D does look spectacular, too!!

post #7 of 18
Here is an early review in polish. Appears headphone amp is class-a using bipolar push-pull config.

post #8 of 18

Translated to English via Google Translate:


I studied the history of Cambridge Audio and glanced at the date of entering its products. The fact that it was the first company in the world offering a two-part player Compact Disc knew . Launched in 1983, CD1 system introduced into circulation not only the concept of a two-part player , but also a DAC , previously understood as an integral part of the player itself . It was a novel concept, the impact of which is difficult to overestimate today . The more that the temporary disappearance in the late 90s gained a new face and became an iconic product across the industry. It's the countless " daki " and headphone amplifiers enters these areas a large group of young people.
I knew perfectly well some of the latest devices , Cambridge Audio , the top-ranked unit in a series of 840 - 840A integrated amplifier , CD player and amplifier split 840C 840E + W. That's what I miss is the fact that since their introduction into the production had been four years. And this is a company producing a device with the base and mid-priced very long


At that time we had after the digital " revolution , in the form of " Dacians " and headphone amplifiers . Belonging to the Audio Partnership Plc , the owner of the brand , which included the audio retail chain , has responded to this demand first D / A Dac Magic , and then his modernized version of DacMagic Plus , then cheaper DAC100 . Step towards the users PC and other digital devices to equip file player Stream Magic 6 in the digital inputs. The first sign that you should expect the DAC as a complement to the top line was the presence of inputs in the CD player 851A . It's the debut of the systems, which will see the 851D - both devices have exactly the same basic plate with the upsampling and D / A converter (with power supply) . The external transmitter used a completely different plate with USB input , much better , and also much greater power transformer. And added to this bountiful headphone amplifier operating in Class A.
The key word here is " upsampling " . Along with other digital filters found himself , in the form of an algorithm ( program ) in 32 -bit DSP system Analog Devices Black Fin ADSP- BF532 2.generacji . Originally designed by the Swiss company Anagram Technologies , now has an improved formula , invented by engineers at Cambridge Audio . Therefore, the company says about upsamplerze ATF2 ( Adaptive Time Filtering v2), second-generation algorithm , and that is the work of the joint - Swiss and English. The system converts the input signal to form 24 bits and 384 kHz. Only the signal is decoded in two , one per channel , Analog Devices AD1955 converters .

About Cambridge Audio wrote

The recordings used in the test (selection)

Bill Evans Trio Moon Beams , Riverside / Victor Entertainment , VICJ - 61325 , K2HD CD (1962 /2005) .
Chet Baker, It could happen to you , Riverside / ZYX Music OJC20 303-2 , "Original Jazz Classics ", Super Bit Mapping CD ( 1958/1987 ) .
David Podsiadło , Comfort and Happiness , Sony Music Poland 88430 07182 7 , " Special Edition " CD + DVD (2013) .
Eddie Vedder , Into The Wild , Soundtrack , Sony Music 88698-18240 2, CD (2007 ) .
Grigori , Sinas , Naim Edge Records 97537 11922 , EP CD (2013) .
John Coltrane Quartet Ballads , Impulse ! / Universal Music LLC ( Japan) UCCU - 40001 Platinum SHM -CD (2013) .
Kraftwerk Live on Radio Bremen , Philips 2561971 , Bootleg CD (2006 ) .
Peggy Lee Black Coffee , " Jazz The Best No . 17 ", Decca / Universal Music KK , UCCU - 9517 ," Jazz The Best No . 43 ", gold- CD (1956 /2004).
Portishead, Dummy , Go! Disc Limited / Universal Music Company [ Japan] , uicy - 20164 , SHM -CD (1994 /2011).
Vangelis Blade Runner soundtrack , dir . Ridley Scott , Atlantic Records / Audio Fidelity AFZ 154, " Limited Numbered Edition No . 2398 ", SACD / CD ( 1982/2013 ) .
Hi-res files
Dead Can Dance , Anastasis , [ PIAS ] Entertainment Group , PIASR311CDX , " Special Edition Hardbound Box Set" CD + USB Drive 24/44 , 1 WAV (2012 ) review HERE .
Depeche Mode , Delta Machine, Columbia Records / Sony Music Japan SICPA - 3783 -4 , FLAC 24/44 , 1, source: HDTracks (2013) ; review HERE .
Miles Davis , Kind of Blue , Columbia / Legacy / Sony Music Entertainment , FLAC 24/192 , mono and stereo [source : HDTracks ] ( 1959/2013 ) .
Japanese versions of the discs available on


In a schizophrenic life was reviewed , including audio reviewer , the most important is the mental hygiene . Schizophrenia is simultaneously being a "consumer " and " critic " , or listening to music for their own pleasure and listening for a sound assessment , it must be kept in check by total detachment from the situation of reviewers . In the life of criticism periods of work must , or at least should be , separated by periods of " suspension " when he is not on the shoulders of the jacket "guru" , and only a loose T -shirt. Be Without exaggeration , one can not rozleniwiać because you have then worked to rebuild their 'tools' cognitive , but without it can not do .
This is best done while listening to music using devices without pomposity , no inflated ego. For me, relaxation is just such a Tivoli Radio Two , my music system and , from time to time , products that come to the test. The latter must, however, meet several prerequisites , including : they can not do anything wrong and should be similar to the corresponding reference system character. Price in all of this is irrelevant . Sometimes , as in the case of the tested Cambridge'a , so that brings the most satisfaction device for a reasonable price , having no relation to the price component reference . In their case, what they do well is particularly worth emphasizing , and what less - negligible.
It can not be otherwise explained the situation in which for several days in a row I sit in the evening with headphones computers in the Azura 851D , well aware of the fact that being a reference headphone amplifier Bakoon HPA -21 , the signal sent from the player Lektor Air V -edition , plays better , in every respect , and it is much better .

The transducer was referred to me in a dual role - once as part of a complete system masthead Cambridge Audio , along with a preamplifier and power amplifier 851E 851W , and two as a standalone component ( system test will be published in the magazine " Audio") . So I had the opportunity to trace their role in shaping the sound in various combinations. At the end of the listening conclusion was the same as what I thought, listening to the first disc : you have a lot more money to offer something significantly better . I think that only such a sophisticated transmitter , as Auralic Vega could be the next step (read HERE). Everything below - at best a step sideways , and frequently leap backward. But richer the experience gained during this time , I can point out a few important , in my opinion , things.

The transducer behaves as racial device from one of the small specialists. There is no doubt that each side was " hackneyed " . In addition to this are its outstanding performance measure. In this case, they had to serve only as a starting point , not the handle. You can not otherwise get so satisfying sound. Good, polished , worthy of respect - like most . But not necessarily " for me."
Its tonal balance is far better positioned than the most expensive players, Compact Disc of the manufacturer, including the 840C and even 851C . Also DacMagic Plus , after a very successful device , this is not too much to say. I still hear quite a high energy high mountain . This is not a subdued tone , not even dark . That is a little bit is - sorry for these contortions - but you do not hear this as " closing " of the sound , its limitations. The sound of tape recordings in which it is clear , for example, In a Silent Way Miles Davis , or Moon Beams Bill Evans Trio The will simply clear . You can hear him harder than the reference player , the transmitter Stratos Ayon Audio and Vega said the company Auralic . But I do not like hissing . This is one of the most important advantages of the device under test : does not emphasize the attack up , does not distinguish her ​​from the rest , or even does not move up the accent band . Energy located there elements is large, but just energy - sheets have proper weight , density, not sreberkiem of chocolate. The more expensive devices reaches even deeper into the lump and a better texture . Achieved 851D effect , however, is good enough so smoothly fits into the whole sound that no direct comparison of A / B with something better pay attention to it will be quite difficult .


The method of putting noise analog tape where the recording was made , may seem a weak argument in the test sound , because ultimately we listen to music , not recording errors ( noise is one of them). It's true. But since it is part of the sound you get , it is impossible to describe and evaluate . Besides the broadband noise , with a little experience , immediately indicates the deviation in the frequency range . Here showed only that the mountain is shown clearly, but without brightening.
What confirmed hearing so many different plates, as It could happen to you Chet Baker 1958 , Kraftwerk concert Live on Radio Bremen with material recorded in 1971 and the latest proposal , EP Sinas Grigori group , issued by Naim Label . For none of them noticed problems with the accentuation of details, with sybilantami . It was for that depth , density, and totally unexpected color differentiation .
And this is another thing that should be at the center of attention of potential owners. The transmitter has a tendency to bold range of 100-200 Hz, where the bass is not as well controlled as above. But it is precisely this difference that makes the sound is so well filled and palpable . The expensive devices saturation results from the definition and differentiation. Here both of these elements have their place , shaping it follows the right way, good . It's just that they are not sophisticated enough to give your action a deeper meaning. Some things , even though we like to try , do not jump . Therefore, what the equipment for 15 000 zł and more would infirmity , can not precluding such a device , but still visible here works to the benefit .
It also helps in shaping the vote. So warm place in my heart, what 851D with me is due precisely how pleasantly and comfortably listen to the vocals. This is a rich , well- differentiated message, in which there is room for individual characteristics of the recording , as well as on the overall look without excessive pointing out the differences. Since the same can be said about the way of shaping space , it is difficult to put off things differently than " good job " . I smile warmly.

Digital volume control

Azur 851D is not only a DAC , but preamp with digital volume control and headphone amplifier . Company materials manufacturer put emphasis primarily on the first function , showing the pictures (please throw on the first image ) standing on the transmitter power amplifier 851W . It's sensible combination . I made some comparisons with the 851E pre-amplifier circuit , and without it, as well as directly controlling the power amplifier Soulution 710, comparing the digital adjustment of the preamplifier Ayon Audio Polaris III. They show that in most cases, save money on your preamp does not distort media so that such a motion has stopped " pay " . Active analog preamp gives more more colorful sound with high volume. Digital control dries sound, which by that tarnishes . Despite this, I think it better to buy a complete kit than with preamplifier , but cheaper. It will be appropriate preparation to the target system , the preamplifier 851E . There will be suffering and zagryzionych lips , because the 851D with 851W play well enough that buying such a system does not even blink an eye. Ultimately , however, I see the tested transmitter sends a signal to an analog external preamplifier.

headphone Amplifier

In turn, the headphone amplifier in Cambridge'u is something surprising . All the good qualities of the transducer are repeated. Minus emphasizing the bass part . The depth of sound , rich coloration , great soundstage , the elements headphone amplifiers seen not as often as you would expect. A amplifiers built into the device is a sensation .
Among several calls most appealed to me is the Sennheiser HD800 and HE -6 HiFiMANa . This last was a surprise , because it is extremely difficult to drive the construction of extremely low efficiency . An expression of what I say was a very high level on the dipstick Cambridge'a what you had to " remove " - most listened to CDs in position -3 dB , and some ( classic ) at 0 dB. I had no problem with it , as the volume control in the 851D is BEFORE headphone amplifier . It was a very satisfying sound , with good resolution , great bass and a nice top. The drawback was killed while dynamics - you could hear that the device is not as efficient to deal with it . So let's listen to the lower models of this American company - such as the HE -400 . But the coolest played Sennheiser . The sound was not as selective and accurate as of HiFiMANami , but it was more relaxed , while retaining the good descent bass and really nice vividness . That's good enough headphone amp that I see no need to buy a standalone .


6000 zł for this product is a misunderstanding. Costing 10 000 zł , I say this without exaltation, after thinking whether he is articulate , he would be worth every cent . A headphone amplifier and it would get for free. If someone przepakuje it in high quality , the way housing can for him to scream even 20 000 zł . Functionality is exemplary and scorch can only lack of support DSD (though probably not all ) . But it does not change the fact that the prize RED Fingerprint in this case will have a deep , deep color.



Grigori Sinas EP
Naim Edge Records 97537 11922 , EP CD


EP , I wanted you to recommend the work of one man , who grew up in South East England Grigoriego . It was written , recorded, composed and produced in 2012-2013 in , as the artist writes on its website , " dormitories , hotels and salons. Mixed by mastering it and gave Peter Beckmann in Technologyworkz . This is a typical example of the artist's " self-made ", which in the polishing work helped a man from mastering.
EP Grigoriego contains only four songs and lasts a bit less than 13 minutes. This is electronic music , drawing from different subspecies , but within the general framework resembling what does Thom York . It's not the same, but well illustrated areas in which we move . Page artist tosses are other comparisons , such as Bon Iver and Jamie Woon .
Naim Audio , the parent company Publishing Naim Label , a perfectionist audio world , for whom sound quality is sacred . Developed by Ken Christiansen , court records Naima contractor , is in the recording material using a single stereo microphone. The results are dazzling . Not all discs of this release , however, are recorded in controlled conditions by them - among them are exceptions, such as Sinas . The more that we are talking about plate was issued by a sub -label Naim Edge Records . The media company says that it " courageous journey towards a fresh contemporary music ."


Reading that the recordings were completed independently, in hotels and private homes , had in mind what on his last two albums , Surround Us and Here is why shows Pieter Nooten , formerly associated with the band Clan of Xymox . He also recorded most of the sounds at once on a Mac at home . Their sound is quite good , but I take the amendment that I have a weakness for this artist . If he had to evaluate the implementation of both albums cold (maybe even sober - who knows ? ) , I would give them 5 /10.
Against this background, Grigoriego recordings can be heard, as if they were made ​​in wypasionym studio . The deep sound , well- set color, very low, but well positioned descent bass , for example, in the song What You Want , You Always Steal - all this makes you listen to it very comfortably. Added to this cool , cool music . If you like modern electronics , you should listen to her . Waiting for a full-length album , and I hope it will not be too long - it is a plague of the modern music market . About 40-45 minutes of that music it would be a nice gift that you can make yourself . For now, we have an EP , which only whets the appetite .


Sound Quality: 8/10

The CD was purchased in the online store NaimLabel.pl

Azur 851D is a digital-to- analog converter , in which there is the possibility of a digital volume control , integrated into the headphone amplifier . Up to six digital inputs send digital signal to 24 bits (all zones ) and sampling frequencies up to 96 kHz ( TOSLINK inputs and USB USB Audio1.0 ) or 192 kHz (all other inputs , including USB Audio 2.0). The device is equipped with plugs on the back of the Bluetooth A2DP plus aptX ( bits 16-24 , 32-96 kHz). All of the input signal is within upsamplowany to 24 bits and 384 kHz. The user can select one of three digital filters : Linear Phase , Minimum Phase and Steep . From listening clearly shows that the best results Minimum Phase filter . The transmitter does not accept DSD signals or PCM values ​​of 32 bits and 384 kHz. The signal is outputted to the outside in the form of a balanced (XLR , hot = 2 ) or unbalanced (RCA) . In the menu you can select the digital filter , the absolute phase , assign a name to each input individually.

Unification housing a reality and the audio , which was a success , has brought tangible benefits. Able to offer affordable devices for mechanical design known to those expensive . In the case of the Cambridge Audio comes about in the whole twisted aluminum housing with several elements . The front wall of the transducer is for the company a very characteristic - flat, aluminum window with a large TFT display in the middle and lower -left corner. Volume knob looks a bit like an inexpensive AV receiver , such as Onkyo or Yamaha , but it must be included in the unit "costs" .
Unification of housing is one , the other is a natural evolution of the devices. All new devices with the 851 series have very similar front walls and only purpose of each button is different. Others are also indications on the large display . This took a large part of the front wall . We read on the selected input sampling frequency of the input signal and the volume administered in two ways: large numbers and on a semi-circular bar graph . We find there also that we can choose one of eight digital inputs.
On the right side of the display provided a classic , large knob , you change the output level - is the distinguishing DAC Cambridge'a most other transmitters. It was designed for the DAC and digital preamp . Indication relating to the preamplifier are switched off in the menu if you disable the " pre -amp " . This same change knob on the headphone output level . After plugging in the headphone outputs a signal line is turned off .


On the opposite side of the display have LEDs indicating the selected digital filter and change the absolute phase . This item just know from DacMagic and Stream Magic. There is also a button used to activate the menu , headphone jack (6.35 mm) and the standby button . Only the rear wall realizes, as the company has passed a long way from the cheaper " Dacians " to the full device. There are ten digital inputs , but can result in a signal at the same time to eight. Two inputs are in fact doubled - the one button placed in them TOSLINK optical input and electrical RCA . There are also two optical inputs , electrical BNC and AES / EBU , USB type B and type A USB latter is usually used to connect pendrajwów , hard drives (if the player files ) or Apple player . Here - not . Cambridge has developed its own way of signal transmission Bluetooth , such as mobile phones. In order to connect with their devices , you need a small receiver BT100 ( included in the kit ) plugs into a USB port . In addition to the dedicated inputs for audio signals on the rear of the 851E are also the mini -jack type of trigger and the external sensor. RCA jacks with orange means allow the circuit system of the company into one functional unit .

Used by the CA name " digital-to- analog preamp " to describe 851D is enriched by the addition of company materials " and digital preamplifier " - you can adjust the output level in the digital domain . Nowhere , however, I found information on the headphone amplifier , as if it was a skill outlier of the device. Only that plate of the module occupies a lot of space and even has its own written on her name : "High Performance Headphone Amplifier " . It may be that in the future the company plans to sell stand-alone headphone amplifiers . The system is fairly simple , but nicely done . At the entrance of each channel we NE5534 integrated circuit , operating as a buffer and a voltage amplifier . The signal is then amplified in two bipolar transistors per channel , bolted to the small heatsinks . Output transistors operate in a parallel push-pull ( MJE340E + MJE350E ) . The second row radiators are integrated voltage stabilizers - it seems that is also stabilized voltage for the output transistors .

The digital inputs are supported by different receivers . The most important seems to be that the USB input . They put it on a separate plate, the motherboard. This section has been applied also in the player 851C , but there plate with USB is much simpler , with poor decoding circuit and a much weaker clocks taktującymi . It is interesting that there are two , not one - a separate one for each family sample (44.1 and 48 kHz). Here USB input supports , known from many other " Dacians ", an extremely popular system XMOS . It looks great and is a BNC socket to him wysyłałbym signal from an external player .
Signal processing takes place on the plate below described : " Series 851 24 KHz upsampling DAC Bit/384 ." Its most important element is well- known to us , 32 -bit DSP from Analog Devices Black Fin ADSP- BF532 2 generation . Placed next to the beautiful, thermally compensated master clock . Thus prepared, the signal goes to two, one for each channel , systems AD1955 from Analog Devices , appropriate converters D / A. The signal is then converted , amplified and filtered in integrated circuits Burr-Brown OPA2134 . This balanced track . It uses a separate output circuits for XLR and RCA jacks , separating them in this way .
Installation of the entire plate surface is beyond polypropylene capacitors in the output circuits and voltage stabilizers for this section. Leaded are also filtering capacitors voltage . Mention you still need a large toroidal transformer with multiple secondary windings , zaekranowanym and placed away from the system . XLR jack , USB and BNC are gold plated , but the RCA is not.

The device is controlled by a remote control system , which we find also in all other devices of this manufacturer . We have the separate buttons for volume up the analog output and headphone output . After plugging in headphones XLR and RCA outputs are muted.

Technical Specifications (according to manufacturer )

S / N Ratio : > 113 dB
THD : < 0.0004 %
Output level : 2.2 V
Output impedance : <50 Ω
Jitter (all zones ) : <60 ps
DAC : 2 x Analog Devices AD1955
Upsampling Analog Devices Black Fin ADSP- BF532 32- bit DSP 2 generacji/ATF2 upsampling to 24 - bit , 384 kHz
Digital filters : Linear Phase , Minimum Phase and Steep
Digital Inputs : S / PDIF , Toslink , BNC , AES / EBU, BT100 Bluetooth
USB Input : Type B / Audio Profile 1.0 or USB 2.0 audio profiles (selectable in menu )
Analog Outputs : XLR + RCA
Headphone Output : 6,35 mm ( to 600 Ω , 300 Ω recommended for )
Sampling frequency of the input signal :
USB Audio1.0 - bits 16-24 , 32-96 kHz
USB Audio 2.0 - bits 16-24 , 32-192 kHz
Toslink - bits 16-24 , 32-96 kHz
S / PDIF - bits 16-24 , 32-192 kHz BNC - bits 16-24 , 32-192 kHz
AES / EBU - bits 16-24 , 32-192 kHz
BT100 Bluetooth A2DP plus aptX
Maximum power consumption: 40 W ( Standby : <0.5 W )
Dimensions ( H x W x D) : 115 x 430 x 360 mm
Weight: 7.5 kg

Distribution in Poland :


ul. Malborska 56 , 30-646 Krakow
tel : 12 265 02 85 | 12 265 02 86

E- mail: audiocenter@audiocenter.pl


post #9 of 18

Interesting! Does anybody know if 851C and 851D are differend sound-wise? Is it a mere inclusion of a CD drive that makes 851C different from 851D or is 851D more advanced in some way, apart from greater number of digital inputs?

post #10 of 18
Specs online, but I think it may just be the CD drive. The 851D is 1,500 at Crutchfield with a 60 day return policy.

OP, still happy?

Try on main rig yet?

post #11 of 18

well the 851c is well worth the money. if I was getting this I would probably just go for the cd transport since it is very good and you get the same dac. unless you just don't play cd's. their stuff is really well built. albeit in china. that does not matter. the 840av2 was killing $5,000 amps. in fact it is a lot better than the new one. they had problems with the volume control which was what made it so good in the first place. I know someone that has had it powered on non stop for several thousand hours by now. makes a great heater too. if the preamp in the 851d is like the other 8xx preamps it should be very good. this is more than just a dac. I guess it depends what you need between the 851c and 851d.

post #12 of 18

Not sure the 851c has a headphone out, for those that roll that way......

post #13 of 18
Originally Posted by boatheelmusic View Post

Specs online, but I think it may just be the CD drive. The 851D is 1,500 at Crutchfield with a 60 day return policy.

OP, still happy?

Try on main rig yet?


Hi Bill,


I am enjoying my purchase, unit is quite good.    I did try it on the main rig, and it isn't my ideal component of choice there, but still very good.     I have have wrote more about my experience on the first Amazon review of the unit (I purchased through one of those Amazon marketplace fulfilled by Amazon).


Here is the link if interested in reading more on that....the last part of the review is mostly based on listening through mains.     But the overall character is more similar than different through the headphones and mains.




Good listening



post #14 of 18
Originally Posted by R Giskard View Post

Interesting! Does anybody know if 851C and 851D are differend sound-wise? Is it a mere inclusion of a CD drive that makes 851C different from 851D or is 851D more advanced in some way, apart from greater number of digital inputs?

Well...based on the polish review that another member posted above via google translate, it appears that the 851D takes the digital section beyond the 851C.    It mentions what appears to be a difference in the clocks used, and possibly some USB related logic ?    Regardless, if any of this translates to a different sound I do not know as I have not heard them both (or the 851C at all).    But from a feature standpoint, if you need the headphone output the 851D is the only way to go, which is why I didn't consider the 851C.   Other than this, both units are based on the same fundamental design and chassis -- so I would imagine they are more similar than different.


I'd be interested in hearing from someone who has heard them both side by side in the same system.

Edited by jt25741 - 3/2/14 at 9:18am
post #15 of 18
Thanks, Jim.

I increasingly think the AD1955 chips used here and in the Emo DC1 are largely responsible for the great sound.

I just evaluated the Emo against the vaunted NAD M 51, and prefer the Emo DC1 in my system, at a quarter of the cost.

I may just try out the 851 D to confirm this.

Stay tuned!
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