The 851C is a staggeringly complex creation but one with a simple mission: to make your digitally stored music sound sublime. It’s a high-end CD player, a state-of-the-art DAC and digital preamp in one highly accomplished package. It has been designed to operate at the very heart of your digital music system, offering incredible functionality and performance. As a high-end solution to the demands of today’s multi-format music lover, the 851C is truly capable of enhancing any digital audio that passes through its sophisticated electronics.
Central to the 851C’s exceptional performance is a collection of advanced technologies, such as high-specification digital-to-analogue convertors from respected digital processing experts Analog Devices. Together with its on-board ATF2 upsampling technology, the 851C has the ability to improve sound quality regardless of the input format. From MP3 to high res downloads, this player will showcase your music in its best possible light.
With a plethora of connectivity options, you can link up a world of digital source components to the 851C, including: TVs, streamers, digital iPhone/iPad docks and computers of all kinds to maximise their sound quality. The 851C is also capable of accepting the very highest quality music files currently available, via USB: 24-bit/96kHz (and 192kHz) for genuine studio master tape quality. So you really can get closer to the music than ever before. The 851C also benefits from a number of ‘audiophile’ features. Everyone's ears are different and you can select from three filter options which each offer a slightly different presentation.
It’s this combination of in-house technology, multi-function flexibility and high-end ‘audiophile’ components that make the 851C Cambridge Audio’s most advanced digital player to date. Its ability to transform the quality of your favourite music, regardless of format, means the 851C is destined to become the heart of your digital music system. Particular attention has also been paid to the 851C’s casework, which combines massive structural rigidity, careful damping and control of acoustic resonance. Both inside and out, the 851C and matching 851A have all the hallmarks of high-end thoroughbreds.
The 851C as a high-end DAC
Perhaps its most significant additional function is that of a fully fledged, high-resolution, audiophile DAC. Used in this way, it’s capable of breathing new life into audio produced by everyday digital components by utilising its state-of-the-art internal convertors to bring sparkling clarity and detail to audio streams. Rather than investing in a separate stand alone DAC, any gadget with a digital audio output - from TVs to computers and digitally docked iPod/iPhone/iPad devices – can benefit from 851C’s highly advanced digital audio processing technology. A number of external devices can be attached to your 851C thanks to two S/PDIF (coaxial) inputs, two Toslink (optical) inputs and, for truly high-performance sound quality, a 24-bit USB input capable of up to 192kHz resolution. The latter enables you to experience true studio master quality from the highest resolution music files available.
The 851C as a high-end CD player
Quite simply, the 851C is an outstanding CD player in its own right. It incorporates numerous technologies, including the aforementioned Analog Devices DAC, the ATF2™ upsampling process and balanced outputs. Cambridge Audio's engineers have created a specific, custom-designed CD-only servo mechanism which has the ability to retrieve the maximum amount of information from 16-bit CD. A Cambridge Audio-developed transport complements the servo electronics perfectly, adding an additional audiophile touch to this critical part of the reproduction chain.
The 851C as a digital pre-amplifier
Further adding to the flexibility of this hugely versatile source component, is its role as a digital pre-amp. With consumers increasingly using digital audio sources (computers, streamers and digital iPhone docks, etc.) the 851C can be used to control volume and balance levels when connected directly to a power amp or active speakers. This clever feature, processed completely using digital technology, facilitates the simplest of audio replay systems and offers amazing flexibility. The function is operated using Cambridge Audio’s proprietary DSP (Digital Signal Processor) and gives the highest quality of digital volume control, as opposed to analogue attenuation or digital bit reduction.
- Digital to Analogue Converter featuring S/PDIF and Toslink digital inputs, AES/EBU balanced digital input and USB audio inputs (all 24 bit compatible)
- CD playback
- Optional digital volume and channel balance control
- Balanced XLR and unbalanced RCA analogue audio outputs
- USB Audio input allowing streaming of up to 24-bit/192kHz audio from computer
- ATF2™ audio up-sampling to 24-bit/384kHz
- Twin Analog Devices AD1955 24 bit DACs delivering superior sound-staging and stereo imaging
- Selectable digital filters – linear phase, minimum phase, steep
- Audiophile grade toroidal transformer delivering ultra-low low noise and distortion
- Full metal casework design with thick brushed aluminium front panel and dual layer damped feet, giving enhanced resonance control
- RS232 controllable
- Eco-friendly <0.5W Standby power consumption
- Azur Navigator remote control with Cambridge Audio amplifier and iPod dock control
- Available in Black and silver finishes
- D/A Converters: Dual Analog Devices, AD1955 24 bit DACs
- Digital filter: Analog Devices Black Fin ADSP-BF532 32 bit DSP performing 2nd Generation ATF2 up-sampling to 24 bit 384kHz. Linear Phase, Minimum phase or Steep modes.
- Analogue filter: 2 Pole Fully Differential Linear Phase Bessel filter
- Frequency Response: 20Hz to 20kHz (+/-0.1dB)
- THD @ 1Khz 0dBFs: < 0.0004%
- THD @ 1kHz -10dBFs: < 0.0004%
- THD @ 20kHz 0dBFs: < 0.0007%
- IMD (19/20kHz) 0dBFs: < 0.0002%
- Linearity @ -90dBFs: +/- 0.2dB
- Stopband rejection (>24kHz): > 120dB
- S/N ratio, A weighted > 113dB
- Total correlated jitter < 60pS for all digital inputs, CD playback and USB 2.0< 180pS for USB 1.0
- Crosstalk @ 1kHz: < -130dB
- Crosstalk @ 20kHz: < -114dB
- Output Impedance: < 50 ohms
- Output: 2.2Vrms (2.2Vrms each phase for the balanced output)
- Digital Inputs: Digital Input 1: S/PDIF 75 ohms or Toslink optical Digital Input 2: S/PDIF 75 ohms or Toslink optical
- AES/EBU: XLR balanced 110 ohms per phase
- USB: USB Type B conforming to Audio profile 1.0 or USB Audio profile 2.0 (user selectable), USB Maximum Current Rating 500mA
- Compatibility USB 1.0 16-24 bit, 32-96kHz USB 2.0 16-24 bit, 32-192kHz Toslink 16-24 bit, 32-96kHz S/PDIF and AES/EBU 16-24 bit, 32-192kHz CD playback is intrinsically limited to 16-bit, 44.1kHz
- Dimensions (H x W x D): 115 x 430 x 360 mm (4.5 x 16.9 x 14.7”)