Cambridge Audio Azur
All-in-one music on a budget
Like the competition, Cambridge Audio's Azur gives its owner the chance to stuff all of their old jewel CD cases into the attic once and for all. The Azur is Cambridge Audio's way of bringing music to every room in the home, while at the same time reducing the clutter that typically accompanies a powerful home-theater system.
Under the hood, the Azur sports a 160GB hard disk, giving its user the ability to store up to 30,000 songs. That's a whole lot of music! As well, it uses a 1 GHz processor to keep the tunes running on time. This is a powerful machine, which, upon first inspection, can be hard to believe because of the size of the device. For many, the Azur might initially look like just a premium CD player, but underneath it possesses the muscle to satisfy the most fanatic music lover.
is an affordable media center
However, there are some issues to keep in mind with the Azur. For one, many sticklers have been annoyed by the fact that the Azur doesn't actually include a Wi-Fi adapter, despite Cambridge Audio's proud inclusion of wireless internet functionality.
Secondly, noise is an issue. We're not talking about the latest Rammstein CD – although that could certainly qualify as noise – but the Azur has been compared to a vacuum cleaner when ripping discs. Considering the importance of this function to any media center built around specialized digital audio features, it seems particularly annoying that a basic function like this should be left in the final product.
Cambridge Audio's Azur is on the budget end of the media center lineup, and for that reason it can be excused for many of these (relatively) small issues.
The Azur retails for about $1,300, depending on your vendor of choice.