Is the Cambridge Audio 651p better than the 640p?

He** yeah!

I'd been waiting for some reviewer to provide some feedback regarding what improvements they had heard when comparing these models, but only found reviews without any comparison.

So, I decided to bite the bullet and buy the 651p.

My 640p had given me many hours of listening pleasure and the refinements talked about on the CA website sounded interesting.

So to the task at hand - compared to the 640p the 651p has...
- larger and more precise sound stage
- much smoother reproduction of strings/wind
- much fuller sound overall
- much Improved details, probably due to the improved sound staging
- much deeper low-end
- Improved dynamics
- better control of sibilance

My turntable is custom built with an Audiomods Series 3 arm with silver litz wire, that supports a modified Denon dl103.

The power supply I use for the 651p is custom built with a large toroid transformer capable of delivering 2 amps at 12v - not the poxy little wal-wart unit supplied.

If you've been wondering like me - now you know at least one persons opinion.

It's not a giant killer, but I've heard the Sonic Frontiers tube phono stage in my setup, and the 651p isn't that far behind!

For $250 taxes in - it's a very good buy for the budget minded and it handles mm and mc

Happy listening :-)

Well - I stated above this was no giant killer - that was until I upgraded the interconnect to the amp with Eichman Silver Bullet RCA's!

The improvement in resolution and spatial imagery was equivalent to a significant phono stage upgrade. And those improvements come directly from this modest little phono stage!

The dynamics have also become much crisper, with drums providing much more punch in their presentation and sibilance is more natural sounding.

Granted, the interconnects help convey all of this new detail, but the improvements are all due to the 651p!

I am now experiencing a very open reproduction with venue acoustics so realistic that closing my eyes simply transports me into the concert. Musicians are placed with pinpoint accuracy in their very own 3D space and the sound seems to envelope me from all sides.

Provided you use an upgraded power supply, like those from Pangea, (or create one yourself), this unit will perform up to those costing many times its modest price.

For $250 + $85 for the Pangea power supply - you are getting an extremely good phono stage.

Want better? - Then be prepared to up your budget - considerably.
Although the 651p sounds good, it also has an incredibly low MC gain: 55 db only!
If you have an MC cartridge under 0.35 mV, forget about this phono amplifier.
Agreed - for the lower output MC cart’s take a look at the Simaudio MOON LP110 - goes up to 66db and is a much higher resolving phono stage.

Since porting the review above I have upgraded to the Simaudio MOON LP5.3 RS - which is in a whole different league to the Cambridge Audio models, so there is no comparison.

But the LP 110 is definitely worth the jump  :-)