The 751BD is a superlative performer in both the visual and sonic domains. The super-charged silicone driving the pictures does a slick job, rendering the dusty Western landscapes of True Grit with gob-smacking clarity. Flakes of falling snow, wispy facial hair and stark, leafless trees look stunningly clean and sharp, while the deck lets none of the nuances of the picture slip through the net, such as subtle colour tones, shading and shadow detail. Rooster’s dark coat looks like a solid 3D object rather than a indistinct black mass. It’s as close to perfect as you’re going to get.
It’s equally assured with 3D pictures, delivering a pixel-perfect reproduction of Avatar’s wild, vibrant CG images. The sense of depth is effortlessly conveyed and the complete freedom from artefacts ensures you get utterly absorbed in Pandora’s landscapes, rather than getting distracted by motion blur or ghosting.
The deck also displays an assured hand with both the Blu-ray and DVD versions of the Silicon Optix HQV disc, making most of the tests look crisp and poised, with only one or two wobbly moments to speak of. And with DVD movies it upscales the picture without any major slip ups – we certainly couldn’t pick out any edge-stepping, although it couldn’t completely avoid mosquito noise around moving objects.
We couldn’t even catch this player out on disc loading times – it loads up Terminator Salvation quickly, while less demanding discs like Inception and True Grit get fired up at near-DVD speeds.
As for sound quality, the effect of all those high-grade electronics is instant and dramatic. The 751BD demonstrates a silky touch with music on SACD and DVD-A, drawing out plenty of detail and reproducing vocals with exceptional purity. Its timing, bass depth, sense of openness and imaging are all first class, completely justifying the price tag if music is your passion. And all this is through the HDMI output – switch to the multichannel outputs, and the sound is similarly assured. This exceptional performance is what most sets the 751BD apart from its cheaper mass market rivals.
All things considered, Cambridge Audio has done a top-notch job with the 751BD. It’s a fantastic Blu-ray player, boasting sublime, rigid build quality that lays the groundwork for a sensational picture and sound performance.
There’s also a generous amount of eye-catching features on board – Wi-Fi, media streaming, 3D support and universal format support. The fact it’s also easy to use is merely the icing on the cake.
Sure it’s expensive, but with such amazing build quality and performance it really is worth the investment. Its mass-market rivals offer better web content – the 751BD’s single-site showing is poor – but it could be argued that the audience for players like this don’t necessarily care for such new-fangled frills.