May 2012 Issue - page 4

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I was delighted to read the review of the Fidelity Audio upgraded Cambridge CD player. As a huge believer in ‘turbo charging’ existing equipment it was great to read about the benefits and improvements that this course of action can bring about. Also congratulations to Hi-Fi World for having the guts to undertake this type of review – brilliant stuff!!

I have over the past five years had huge upgrades that are tangible, real and clear leaps forward via the route of component upgrades. First was a re-clocking and power supply upgrade (Trichord Clock 4 and Never connected power supply) to an ageing TEAC T1 transport. This was brilliant and up until the laser gave up late last year was my regular front end. At the time this was feeding a Musical Fidelity Tri Vista 21 DAC that I thought was wonderful ... until JS Audio got hold of it and as with the TEAC took it to an altogether different level through upgrades. When I got the Tri Vista back I really saw what it was capable of.

The demise of the Teac had me searching for a replacement. I called some contacts that I had known for many years and via CPT acoustics came across a Cambridge Azur 840C CD player. A bit of brand snobbery crept in and I said that I was looking more towards Naim, second hand Wadia etc. Colin at CPT acoustics laughed and explained that it was a massively upgraded Cambridge and not a ‘stock’ player.

A visit to CPT with a handful of discs soon had me blown away ... it was simply stunning! But Colin advised me to take it away and demo it against other machines before I make any decision. So that’s what I did...and he was right, it really is something very special. I compared it at various dealers to some Naim players including a CDX2 (honestly!), the Audiolab 8200 (not a prayer in getting remotely close), a 1500 Micromega, Cyrus CDXt2 transport and DAC ... good but not good enough, and more that I can’t remember. The funniest thing happened at a reputable dealer who said to myself and the wife towards the end of the dems “ I have an Esoteric for 9k that may do the trick...I’m sure you’d like it”....we declined his suggestion although I was tempted but didn’t fancy the divorce!!!

So the upgraded Cambridge 840C was purchased for a ridiculous price that was well below £1000 and not far north of £500!! And the sound, well to be honest it is staggering: the detail is brilliant, soundstage nailed, space and air around instruments nailed, top-end smooth but highly detailed, bass tight as a drum and deep enough with no boom or overhang.

So reading the review was really relevant and totally mirrored my own experiences. I really would suggest hI-fI owners consider this route. There is a risk involved in so much as it’s hard to return a product if you don’t like it after it’s been messed with. But choose a reputable company such as Fidelity Audio as featured in Hi-Fi World, CPT Acoustics or JS Audio (from personal experience) who could work with you in achieving the type of sound that you are searching for and can explain what potential lies within your current equipment.

As a side issue the Tri Vista has been moved on as the Cambridge going through it didn’t work, it simply sounded better as a standalone player. I have also dropped on a pair of ATM SCM40 loudspeakers to replace my brilliant and trusty Linn Kabers that have given 10 years sterling service.

Dave Mayer




The Fidelity Audio upgraded Cambridge CD player was a brilliant review says Dave Mayer. Turbo charging hi-fi gives "upgrades that are tangible, real and clear leaps forward" he says.


I would like some advice. I’m thinking of changing my CD and amp. I would like something very smooth sounding for a budget of £600 for the pair. I recently upgraded my speakers so I want something to do them justice.

Many thanks,

Chris Close,





For a smooth sounding budget amplifier try a NAD 326BEE we suggest.


The smoothest sound you will get for that price comes from NAD in the form of their 326BEE amplifier. An alternative is an Onkyo like the A9377. Both NAD and Onkyo produce good quality amplifiers having a smooth sound and good bass. I think it best if you then choose a matching CD player.


Comments (1)
Cheap Audio Streamer
1Thursday, 21 February 2013 11:00
John Meerman
This is a response to the post of Andrew McBride about a cheap audio streamer suggestion. I use a Squeezebox Touch that has been upgraded by installing an App to provide a digital signal on its USB bus. Although it is limited to 96kHz 24 bit, it provides the best digital out option in combination with an Arcam rDAC that has an asynchronous USB input. I compared some 192Khz 24 bit files played over the spdif output with the same music files downsampled to 96kHz 24 bit over the USB bus. I preferred the latter. A good upgrade to the Arcam rDAC is a better power supply e.g. a linear BOTW power supply, or even better, a Teddy Pardo rDacPS. The combination Squeezebox + Arcam rDAC + rDacPS plays is a very high quality playback system, better than my Naim CDX2 player, and even outperforms at some aspects my Linn LP12 (Valhalla, Akito 2, AT OC9/MLII, Naim Stageline).
I have also upgraded the Squeszebox with a BOTW power supply, but as I use its USB output it did not change much in sound quality, but I do not want a noisy wall wart in my system.

Best regards,

John Meerman

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