The Azur 640H does all the typical things you would expect from it: ripping CD’s onto the HDD, creating cutom CD’s from your collection, networking to stream music to or from PC’s, multiroom functionality and playing internet radio stations. All of this is very similar to what Olive offered, but there are two pluses in it’s favor. One, it is half the cost of the Olive systems, and two, it is based on a high-quality CD player used in their well rated 640C CD player.
One of the downsides, and price savings, from the other systems is that wireless connectivity capability is built in, but a separate wireless kit must be purchased for that functionality. As low as costs are today, and as prevalent as wireless is, I really think that having that functionality built in should be a requirement for their next iteration of this product. And while the 160 GB HDD was probably very large at the time this was introduced, they need to up that as well. Finally, the one thing the Musica offered was the ability to use smaller, more inexpensive Sonata devices at $200 a piece to give it multi-room functionality. With the 640H, you would need to buy another unit to use in a separate room (assuming you are not using your PC), and that is an awfully expensive way to go. The way in which you plan to use it will make a big difference in which type of product you are looking to get.
All in all, the unit got good marks for fidelity and usefulness. The larger HDD will be a no brainer in the next system, and so will built in wireless. While this unit is certainly a very nice piece of gear in its own right, I look forward to how they can improve on it.
Specifications available here.
Posted by Jeff