Author Topic: Review - NEW Cambridge Audio 640R 7.1 AVR  (Read 23236 times)

Offline SiriuslyCold

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Re: Review - NEW Cambridge Audio 640R 7.1 AVR
« Reply #15 on: February 27, 2007, 15:57 »
Shame about the lack of HDMI audio. PS3 owners will have to look elsewhere.

or wait till mid next year, I'm sure they will catch up sometime

Offline 1AngMoh

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Re: Review - NEW Cambridge Audio 640R 7.1 AVR
« Reply #16 on: February 27, 2007, 22:29 »
Where are the pictures? ;D

Edited and included for your viewing pleasure.

Suggestion: Add a section that talks about how the 640R sounds on movie and music DVDs. Doesn't have to be bass focused. How does the 640R steer sound around in a 7.1 environment (suggestions: Band of Brothers Bastagone scene, The Patriot ambush scene). How do classic scenes like the Star Wars Pod race sound? Harry Potter's Quidditch scene with the flying golden thing and the broom running around? How does purposedly mixed multichannel sound like TV Song on The Blueman Group Audio sound?

A nice idea.  Thanks for the suggestion.  When i get some time to run these checks i'll update the review.


Great review 1Angmoh!  The 640R was one AVR I had seriously considered before settling for my SR8001.  Pity it wasn't available when I was buying one or else I'd done an A/B of it. I have an CA 640Cv2 and have tried out their 640Av2 amp.  I know what value for money Cambridge Audio represents.  Still, I definitely do not regret my SR8001 as I think its the best solution for my 60music:40ht ratio.  Personal needs vary.

For those of you intersted, the 640R is available at Alpha Audio at Adelphi when I was there last week.  I had checked it out then. :)  Mind you, 1Angmoh's right. It deserves more than your first impression.



For your 60:40 needs i think the SR8001 is a great solution.

Offline SiriuslyCold

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Re: Review - NEW Cambridge Audio 640R 7.1 AVR
« Reply #17 on: February 28, 2007, 13:40 »
Quote from: 1AngMoh
Out of the box the 640R does not look terribly impressive.  When compared to Denon’s products which exhibit a stately classical look and Marantz’s balanced rugged toughness the 640R appears distinctly underwhelming.

Must say I like CA's clean lines though ;)

Offline petetherock

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Re: Review - NEW Cambridge Audio 640R 7.1 AVR
« Reply #18 on: February 28, 2007, 21:12 »
Nice pics - yes clean lines, although some rough edges in finish can be seen.
How did you get to open it? Uses a fan to cool?

Gold plated connectors - nice
For an average HDB room it will be enough, especially if the speakers are > 87db and more than 6ohms

Like color coded speaker posts.
Good VFM, pity about the HDMI implementation.

Again good review bro.
All we need is a head to head with a 2700, 8001 and a 4306.
Looking forward to that bro ;)
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Offline tsammyc

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Re: Review - NEW Cambridge Audio 640R 7.1 AVR
« Reply #19 on: February 28, 2007, 22:21 »
All we need is a head to head with a 2700, 8001 and a 4306.
Looking forward to that bro ;)

Thats not fair. Most are double the price. At most it can win on 2 channel stereo. How about Yammys, Denons and Marantzs that are in the same price range.

Offline SiriuslyCold

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Re: Review - NEW Cambridge Audio 640R 7.1 AVR
« Reply #20 on: February 28, 2007, 23:02 »
I think head to head between receivers driving 5.1 systems is never going to work, or produce a meaningful result

Offline 1AngMoh

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Re: Review - NEW Cambridge Audio 640R 7.1 AVR
« Reply #21 on: March 01, 2007, 23:47 »
Nice pics - yes clean lines, although some rough edges in finish can be seen.
How did you get to open it? Uses a fan to cool?

The 640R has a fan and a central cooling channel.  The top of the fan and the actual cooling channel can be seen in the internal photo.

Good VFM, pity about the HDMI implementation.

The HDMI implementation certainly won't please many.  The implementation is however far from unique.  Many highly regarded AVR's including some from Arcam, Rotel and NAD implement HDMI in a similar fashion or worse yet don't implement it at all.

But, to leave it there is actually to leave the story unfinished.  There is a silver lining which i want to share with you.  Did you catch my earlier comment?  To recap, that was based on information from CA, and noted that the bandwidth of the 640R's HDMI ports is sufficient to pass through signals up to and including HDMI 1.3.  This is possible because the 640R is using HDMI for video only and thus bandwidth which would otherwise be used for audio is freed up.  According to CA bandwidth was tested by the HDMI body during licensing and no appreciable limits were found.  The HDMI licensing report for the 640R thus suggests (yet obviously to be tested) that all the bells and whistles of HDMI 1.3 (video) will be passed including the deep color function.

Accepting this - the 640R then becomes not only one of the most sonically proficient amplifiers in the today's market - but also one of the only AVR's (today) with sufficient BW to be able to pass HD's new video functionality....True HDMI 1.3 Amplifiers are not expected into the market until late this year.

Of course as tonytakitani correctly points out this is of no use to PS3 owners since the PS3 sends both audio and video down the same HDMI cable.  However, the HDMI standard provides for separate routing of audio and indeed Panasonic's latest HD source routes audio through an eight channel out on request.  Owners who acquire an HD player which supports this configuration will enjoy great audio and video.

There are of course some caveats to what i have just shared.  First, there are precious few HDMI 1.3 equipped players on the market.  Toshiba's HD-XA2 is one which enjoys 5.1 out and HDM1 1.3.  Second, there are no HDMI 1.3 screens (plasma, LCD or otherwise) available on the market to enjoy 'deep color' yet.  Indeed most people are not unaware that to enjoy new 48 bit color depths and 1.8x as many colors using 'broad color space' they will need a new projector, LCD or plasma!  Anyhow, that's a story for another day.  Finally, since players are limited and screens don't exist - no suitable test units or relevant bench tests are available at this time to really scrutinise these issues.  Accordingly i keep warning people not to buy HD yet.
« Last Edit: March 09, 2007, 13:45 by 1AngMoh »

Offline SiriuslyCold

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Re: Review - NEW Cambridge Audio 640R 7.1 AVR
« Reply #22 on: March 01, 2007, 23:55 »
Quote
that to enjoy new 48 bit color depths and 1.8x as many colors using 'broad color space' they will need a new projector, LCD or plasma

not only that, they have to devise a whole new format beyond HD-DVD and BluRay to accommodate deep color

Offline petetherock

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Re: Review - NEW Cambridge Audio 640R 7.1 AVR
« Reply #23 on: March 02, 2007, 05:00 »
A 5.1 test can be implemented, if carefuly designed, to test, not so music as musicality, but steering, clarity of effects, DSP implementation, and of course pwoer of the amp. The German online journal  does it pretty well:
http://www.areadvd.de/hardware/index/hardware.shtml
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Offline Ed Selley

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Re: Review - NEW Cambridge Audio 640R 7.1 AVR
« Reply #24 on: March 07, 2007, 00:22 »
Thanks for the positive feedback chaps. I recognise that some of the feedback from CA in the article would have been from me so I'm glad the information was well used. We are in the slightly peculiar position in Western Europe of needing to design products that are as future proof as possible without actually having the ways and means by which to test them. It leads to all manner of grey hairs and concerns but the inclusion of fully updatable software and the RS232 port means we hope to be covered.

Of course full bells and whistles reception is the ultimate goal but being at the smaller end of the size spectrum we feel that goal is still a little way off. The 640R we hope provides a useful cover and sufficient future proofing to be worth a look here and now.

The musicality of the product is vital- if it won't get a foot tapping then there isn't really much point. For a reference, I'd consider the 640R to be pretty much equal to a 540Av2 in stereo which isn't too bad a place to be. For the record, my brutal musicality tests generally involve slapping on Cinematic Orchestra's Ode the Big Sea and seeing if the product hangs together. I'm pleased to say the the 640R did.
Thanks again.
Ed Selley
Technical Monkey- Cambridge Audio

Offline tsammyc

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Re: Review - NEW Cambridge Audio 640R 7.1 AVR
« Reply #25 on: March 07, 2007, 07:03 »
Welcome Ed!! Its nice to see a manufacturer's representative on our board. Can you confirm that the CA will pass HDMI 1.3 at full bandwidth. Thanks.

Offline 1AngMoh

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Re: Review - NEW Cambridge Audio 640R 7.1 AVR
« Reply #26 on: March 07, 2007, 09:05 »
Thanks for the positive feedback chaps. I recognise that some of the feedback from CA in the article would have been from me so I'm glad the information was well used. We are in the slightly peculiar position in Western Europe of needing to design products that are as future proof as possible without actually having the ways and means by which to test them. It leads to all manner of grey hairs and concerns but the inclusion of fully updatable software and the RS232 port means we hope to be covered.

Of course full bells and whistles reception is the ultimate goal but being at the smaller end of the size spectrum we feel that goal is still a little way off. The 640R we hope provides a useful cover and sufficient future proofing to be worth a look here and now.

The musicality of the product is vital- if it won't get a foot tapping then there isn't really much point. For a reference, I'd consider the 640R to be pretty much equal to a 540Av2 in stereo which isn't too bad a place to be. For the record, my brutal musicality tests generally involve slapping on Cinematic Orchestra's Ode the Big Sea and seeing if the product hangs together. I'm pleased to say the the 640R did.
Thanks again.
Ed Selley
Technical Monkey- Cambridge Audio

Hi Ed, may i extend a very warm welcome to this forum!  As tsammyc notes its great to have a manufacturers representative on the board, particularly when its he's a technical monkey/guru.

I confirm that you have indeed supplied some of the information contained in my clarifications to the review, particularly questions relating to HDMI 1.3.  I wish to publically acknowledge and thank you for your prompt response to these technical queries.

Regards
1AngMoh

Offline Ed Selley

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Re: Review - NEW Cambridge Audio 640R 7.1 AVR
« Reply #27 on: March 07, 2007, 17:16 »
Welcome Ed!! Its nice to see a manufacturer's representative on our board. Can you confirm that the CA will pass HDMI 1.3 at full bandwidth. Thanks.

At the moment we only have the HDMI boards confirmation of this. As soon as we're in a position to test it ourselves we'll be better placed to confirm it.
Ed

Offline SiriuslyCold

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Re: Review - NEW Cambridge Audio 640R 7.1 AVR
« Reply #28 on: March 07, 2007, 18:38 »
Great stuff. and welcome to XP, Ed.

Offline 1AngMoh

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Re: Review - NEW Cambridge Audio 640R 7.1 AVR
« Reply #29 on: March 09, 2007, 08:57 »
not only that, they have to devise a whole new format beyond HD-DVD and BluRay to accommodate deep color

Yep, its interesting to note that whilst 'deep color' supports 30, 36 and 48 bit color depth (up from max of 24 bit of HDMI 1.2) no monitors offer close to the possible 280 trillion colors!

Further, perhaps as you elude, the current crop of HD sources (HD-DVD & BR) are somewhat misleading.  They claim support for 'deep color' but when you look at their video specification you find in fact that they are incapable of fully delivering on this.   They would need a 16 bit DAC - most are running with a 10 or 12 bit specification.  ::)

Still, its nice to know that there's a fair chance the 640R will not be a future video bandwidth bottleneck between the source and the display.  ;D

 

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