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Cambridge 840a Azur Integrated Amp vs Nad c272

Luxman Amplifiers India

afj

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i currently have the nad c272 with a nad pre. am thinking of selling it and buying a cambridge 840 integrated. the improvement that im looking for is a more forward presentation, more neutral sound (the nad is a little warm) and tighter bass. would i get this from the cambridge. have got monitor audio rs6 speakers.
 

dinyaar

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Hi Afj,
Am not a fan of either component. Though having said that i think swapping the Nad C162/272 for the CA integrated would be a very very small step up in quality. Have heard your combo here at the local dealers and its fair sounding.
My suggestion is keep the Nad for now and buy only when u are really buying better. Small small steps lead to more confusion and loss of money. Had the Pre/power a while ago and though not the most detailed was a reliable performer. Actually if one wants a "forward sounding" set up a Rotel would fit. Problem is one gets tired of that sound in a very short while u can enjoy music longer and suffer less fatigue with a good old Nad amp.
Regards
 
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neo

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I agree with dinyaar. You must be sure if want to get a more revealing amp so i sugest you take long audition.
 

persiflage

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Hi Afj,

I've listened to both amps extensively, and both go decently well with the MA silver line. When Dinyaar says he's not a fan of either, you have to remember that he's used to Brystons which are in a different league altogether! :)

You haven't mentioned what your source component is - CA 840A is a very competent amp, but would not go well with overly analytical or bright sources - so pair carefully.

The NAD can certainly supply plenty good bass, esp. with those floorstanders, if it's not doing so I recommend taking a look at your source and/or speaker placement.

Compared to your NAD, the CA would sound more 'airy', the mid-range would sound a little thinner (perhaps that is what is meant by neutrality), while the bass would be tight and plentiful. Soundstage/ imaging would be better. Noise floor would be lower, especially if your system is fully balanced. You have to decide whether this is worth it for you. I guess the kind of music you listen to will also matter. Vocals are much, much better on NAD.

Having said that - both components being in the same category, it's still very much a sideways move, and IMHO you're better served saving up for a more substantial upgrade.

Hope this helps.

Regards
Persiflage
 
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afj

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am not going to lose any money on the deal. and i dont think that i'll be upgrading to the likes of bryston for a while now. even if its a minor increment i dont mind changing. more than it being an increment its a difference in sound - for the qualities i stated earlier. from what i've read and heard the cambridge is a more neutral amp compared to the nad. and the nads bass is slightly bloated. rotel is on the other end of the scale in terms of brightness and being forward. that certainly would make extended listening tiring
 

afj

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hi persiflage
right now im using a nad t524 dvd player. was going to buy the nad c542 cdp but then put it on hold till i decide on which amp im going with. if i buy the cambridge 840 amp i'll buy the cambridge 640 cdp. i really like the vocals on the nad - wouldnt want to give that up. i've tried the nad c515 cdp on my system and apart from the pace of music being better i didnt come across more more difference than that. perhaps it is the source thats an issue. though everyone does say that the cambridge is slightly ahead
 

persiflage

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Afj,

Your source is definitely a weak link, and I'm afraid entry level NAD CDPs won't be very different.

CA CDP will definitely provide the neutrality and the tight, tuneful bass you're looking for.

So here's a thought: before you decide to switch amps, why don't you hook up a CA 640C to your existing system and give it a whirl? It may be just the ticket for you.

CA CDPs paired with CA amps sound too clinical to me. Don't get me wrong, I like detail and neurality as much as anyone else, it's just that this particular pairing may be too much of the same thing. While a CA-NAD pairing may inject the attributes you're looking for, while preserving some of the warmth and mid-range magic.

Regards
Persiflage

PS: Try the CA 740C too, if your budget permits.
 

afj

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ok then will upgrade the source first. you did suggest the cambridge with my current set up. but i cant audition and no return policy. you still think i should go with the cambridge or play it safe and go with the nad.
 

venkatcr

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ok then will upgrade the source first. you did suggest the cambridge with my current set up. but i cant audition and no return policy. you still think i should go with the cambridge or play it safe and go with the nad.

Would the dealer not allow you to try the CDP at home for a few hours? I have had CA dealers in India demonstrating at home for half a day. You can try any of the CA CDPs from say 540C onwards. If you see (oops hear) a significant difference, then you should look at the 640C or so.

Cheers
 

neo

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Persiflage def has a point may be you can aslo try changing your cables, But not sure if it'll make a big diff esp as i do not of your cables.

Try to borrow a cd player for a few hrs.Before you decide.
Cheers
 
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afj

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like i said guys cant really audition it at home or anything. live in a different country to where the dealer is. i use pretty decent cables - supra interconnects and acoustic research for speaker cables - so i dont think those are the issue. IMO its not going to really be sooo much of a difference between the two considering the matching point of view. nothing ventured nothing gained so might as well go for the cambridge. my ears will survive:D
 

dinyaar

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Hi again,
Afj if u were to believe magazine reviews its a no contest really. The CA would be considered far superior to the ageing NAD pre/power.(CA and CYRUS are always 5 star products in the UK mags and i advise u to take that with a pinch of salt) But to me thats only half the truth. I have owned Nad gear for almost a decade and the last components were the C542/C162/C272 and i was pretty safisfied. Its not the most revealing but there is a warmth in the music and the vocals are beautiful. I had bought all the 3 components for about 65K new and i think thats great VFM.
As Persi said look at the cdps from the CA brand. Supra makes some good ICS. The EFF range is good and can be got pretty cheap anywhere outside our country. Acoustic research speaker cables i am not too sure of. Actually a supra is tin coated copper and is claimed to bring out a tad more detail from the Nads so u can experiment with a Supra loudspeaker cable that fits in ur budget and see if the sound alters positively to suit your needs.
Regards
 

afj

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i dont think i'll change to cambridge if i have to give up on the mids. am sure the presentation of sound on a whole will change when i buy a dedicated cdp - which will be soon. have pretty much decided to go with the cambridge 640c cdp. and will try testing out the cables. thanks a lot for all of your help
 

dinyaar

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Hi Again,
Great. Am sure u will be happy.
Afj i do have the bryston combo now and i like it but i also liked all the budget gear i have owned in the last two decades. I always enjoyed the music and tried to tweak my gear to derive the maximum i could. A while ago Nad was considered a very decent amp for the money but modern audiophiles scoff at its shortcomings while brands like CA are now claimed to be budget kings.
A dedicated CDP will offer great benefits. Please keep us posted.
Regards
 

persiflage

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Hi Afj,

Sorry didn't check back on this thread till now.

I'd say looking at your constraints and since you're in the market for a CDP anyway, the 640c would be hard to beat in the price range. Even on subjective parameters, it provides the attributes that (I think) you favour. So here's wishing you all the best with the source swap. Keep us posted on how it goes! :)

Additionally, it just occurred to me that those RS6 floorstanders are surely contributing to the bass bloat effect, especially in a smallish room. Am sure that plugging the ports and better placement will add value here.

Hi again,
Afj if u were to believe magazine reviews its a no contest really. The CA would be considered far superior to the ageing NAD pre/power.(CA and CYRUS are always 5 star products in the UK mags and i advise u to take that with a pinch of salt) But to me thats only half the truth. I have owned Nad gear for almost a decade and the last components were the C542/C162/C272 and i was pretty safisfied. Its not the most revealing but there is a warmth in the music and the vocals are beautiful. I had bought all the 3 components for about 65K new and i think thats great VFM.

Dinyaar: I couldn't agree more reg. recent mag ratings! Just goes to underline the importance of listening for yourself. I personally have a soft spot for these NAD components, I think they really excel where it matters - i.e. conveying the emotional content of the music. Understandably, at this price point there will be flaws, but none that can't be lived with.
 

afj

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Hi Afj,



Additionally, it just occurred to me that those RS6 floorstanders are surely contributing to the bass bloat effect, especially in a smallish room. Am sure that plugging the ports and better placement will add value here.

the rooms not too small. its about 700 sq ft. but open plan lounge / dining etc so a lot of stuff for for sound waves to bounce off. i did try blocking the rear ports and though the bass was tighter i found the rest of the range thinner.
 

dinyaar

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Hi Persi,
Hope u are enjoying ur music on a bright sunday morning!!!
I totally agree with u on the current quality of reviews. They actually cloud your mind. The superlatives used to describe average sounding gear is incredible. The new cyrus cd 6se is now one of the best cdps regardless of price if they are to be believed, god help the Regas! People are now suddenly very interested in bryston amps after the fantastic results of the amp shoot outs in the mags. Bryston has been one of the most reluctant to change and apart from a few silly changes + improved cosmetics the amp basically remains the same but the SST is brilliantly reviewed and i personally prefer my old 4BST to the new 4BSST in every way.
A friend of mine was upgrading his amp to drive his new B&W 683. Auditioning all the highly reviewed amps only!!! This amp is slow/this is detailed/this is warm and all the regular mumbo jumbo. I was to go over when he had organised a few dealers to come with their great amps for a home audition. I too took my old 20 yr old Harman Integrated (given to a cousin but back for some cleaning) to the party and believe me it drove his speakers wonderfully!!! In my opinion sounded better than most of the amps on display there but there were not too many believers.
Point i am making is that we are all( me included) so taken in by some joker in US/UK and his description of what he hears as great sound that we give it more weight than our own ears which is downright dumb.
Regards
 
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persiflage

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Dinyaar,

I'm very well bro, playing with my Squeezebox this Sunday morning. Lemme tell you, the convenience is addictive! All It needs now is a decent external DAC..

I guess mags and equipment manufacturers need each other to survive. Mags also need to find new flavours of the moment (FOTM) in order to drive sales.

I hope that as the market matures, dealers will become more amenable to home demos/ trial periods with no questions asked refunds.

Which speakers do you use with the Bryston?

Regards,
Persiflage
 

dinyaar

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Hi again,
Currently the B&W 805s. Musical taste and variety has shrunk and so have the size of the speakers. These seem to work 4 now! These replaced the 704s and i had the 603s for a while too. At my old place we are using the older Bryston ST with B&W 804s and a 601 driven by a Rotel integrated in the 2nd set up in the bedroom. I know it seems i have blinkers on and cant look beyond B&W but i have enjoyed their speakers for ages now. Growing up my parents had an all Quad set up. ESLs with the monos which are now beyond repair and just rotting.
Regards
 
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