Cambridge Audio 650R AV Receiver review: Cambridge Audio 650R

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The Good Exciting home theatre sound. Goes plenty loud. Attractive design.

The Bad Only three HDMI inputs. Not quite cutting-edge. Setup isn't straightforward. Better at movies than music. Digital switching has issues.

The Bottom Line The Cambridge Audio is an attractive 7.1-channel receiver with support for all of the relevant sound formats, but a lack of HDMI inputs and a tendency for harshness may put you off.

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7.4 Overall

Review Sections

Design and Features

UK-based Cambridge Audio has been churning out home cinema components for many years, and based on the strength of its DacMagic alone it seems that the company is really coming into its own for sophistication and audio quality.

The 650R receiver is part of the company's recent 650 series which also includes the Cambridge Audio Azur 650BD Blu-ray player. The 650R is a 7.1 receiver at 100w per channel with decoding support for most of the latest formats, though not including the newest Dolby Pro Logic PLIIz, but this is no great loss.

The 650R is also the first to feature automated setup via the Cambridge Audio Mic Controlled Auto Set-up (CAMCAS) with a supplied microphone and it comes with a LipSync feature to adjust for processing delays in the source or TV.

The receiver features three HDMI version 1.3c inputs which is both a) too few for this price and b) not compatible with 3D video. The 650R is an AV-centric amp and apart from the CD input every other input has AV attached — unusual given CA's hi-fi roots. But at least you get a healthy three component inputs.

The remote control looks nice in its metallic clothes but unfortunately it's not very intuitive. Every button is the same shape and there are no dedicated volume buttons — just the up and down arrows on the D-Pad. It's not backlit either. We'd suggest you buy a Harmony One instead and keep this one in the drawer.


Despite the brand new automated setup we didn't find the Cambridge Audio all that easy to install. Once all the speaker connections had been made and we connected the mic we were greeted by a "speaker fail" message on our first runthrough. This isn't FailBlog guys, you could be more descriptive.

With some tinkering we found that the system was failing because we had connected a 5.1 system instead of the receiver's expected 7.1 (hands up anyone who has the room for a 7.1 system ... grumble ... lucky beggars), and to fix this necessitated diving into the manual setup. While within this mode we did appreciate the ability to choose stereo or stereo plus subwoofer when listening to two-channel material — great for supplementing the bass in rock or dance music.

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