Surround Sound Speaker Systems

Affordable Systems Reviews: Mordaunt-Short Aviano and Cambridge Audio Azur 650R

ARTICLE INDEX

Introduction and background to the Mordaunt-Short Aviano and Cambridge Audio Azur 650R

Looking at a system is intrinsically more involved than looking at a single component. Evaluation of a single component typically holds the balance of the system constant so the performance of the test item can be determined. How then is a system evaluated? The test of a system examines several variables, not the least of which is the reviewer's component selections. Unfortunately, an in-depth review of each component then falls beyond the scope of the review. So rather than an in-depth discussion of each minutiae that differentiates the various products in the system, the discussion will focus more upon the rationale behind the selection of each component along with discussion of system setup and performance in use.

The Budget System series of articles investigates a number of system configurations at several discrete price points. The exercise actually approximates what a typical buyer might undergo in selecting a new home theater system. There is no set formula regarding the number of components or the distribution of budget between the components. A typical constraint, however, might be the brand selection available at the local store. Even in the age of online shopping, it is advisable to audition at least the speakers, if not the entire system prior to purchase.

Balance is an aspect of systems that is emphasized to varying degrees by a given system designer. I am certain nearly everyone can cite instances of imbalanced systems where a glaring weakness in the chain is evident. I would tend to say, for varying reasons, that electronics are often the recipient of a larger proportion of a system's overall budget then warranted. How many times do we see the latest and greatest kilo-buck receiver matched to a set of lifestyle satellites and a "subwoofer"? Am I guilty of doing the same thing with this system?

Please help us develop these reviews by posting comments at the end of this review about what you like or didn’t and what else you’d like to see in the next one. If you’re thinking it, chances are, you’re not alone. Even better yet, join us at the CAVE and post your thoughts on the Really Affordable System Forum.

The target budget for the system was $5,000. Within this envelope, I chose a speaker system and receiver while electing to forgo a matching Blu-ray player in favor of a pre-existing PS3. I believe this represents a fairly common arrangement, and election of tradeoffs. The two brands being matched up are Mordaunt-Short and Cambridge Audio. As is becoming more common, the two brands are connected by a common parent company, Audio Partnership. Established in 1994, Audio Partnership holds Mordaunt-Short and Cambridge Audio as its two flagship brands.


Price Range: Medium ($2,501 - $5,000 MSRP)

  • System MSRP: $5000.00
  • System Street Price: ~

System Rating:

System Rating

Our criteria for rating systems is shown below. Click on the graphic to see the full sized version.

rating criteria

System Selection & Design

Here is a brief overview of the system under review. The target budget for the system was $5,000. Within this envelope, I chose a speaker system and receiver while electing to forgo a matching Blu-ray player in favor of a pre-existing PS3. I believe this represents a fairly common arrangement, and election of tradeoffs. The two brands being matched up are Mordaunt-Short and Cambridge Audio. As is becoming more common, the two brands are connected by a common parent company, Audio Partnership. Established in 1994, Audio Partnership holds Mordaunt-Short and Cambridge Audio as its two flagship brands.