Yet another key involves knowing which technical features are genuinely useful and beneficial vs. those that look good on paper, but that are essentially there for purposes of adding “eye candy,” complexity, and—of course—cost. Personally, I’ve always admired and recommended designs that take an “everything that you really need, but nothing you don’t” approach, and it looks to me as if the 650R stands a good chance of fitting that profile. Accordingly, the Cambridge provides the latest high-res Dolby and DTS surround sound codecs, but deliberately doesn’t provide a boatload of add-on sound effects mode most listeners neither need nor would be likely to use. The receiver does provide a simple and straightforward mechanism for using two of its seven amplifier channels to bi-amplify front channel speakers because, quite frankly, that’s exactly the sort of thing an audiophile end-user might really want to do. And, recognizing that many listeners (even ones with years of experience) are often intimidated by multichannel system setup, the Cambridge provides a new automated CAMCAS (Cambridge Audio Mic Controlled Auto Setup) system—a first for Cambridge, I believe—to help guide users through speaker distance and level setting tasks.
I can’t wait to put the 650R through its paces, if only to find out if it lives up to the reputation that past Cambridge stereo products have earned. Watch for an upcoming review that will first be published in an upcoming (FREE) The Perfect Vision Guide to Multichannel Electronics (our working title, for now) that will appear later this year.