I’ve been a Cyrus Audio fan for ages. The half width cases have been a feature of their products since at least the nineties. The cut off edges, grills, green display and distinct logo in half width boxes, which fans refer to rather affectionately as shoe boxes. Maybe for ballet shoes only and not Doctor Martin’s. They are made by a Swedish firm and then brushed with a paint finish – no longer available in silver though. The Cyrus CD-T has a case which is no different – identical to the most expensive DAC XP Signature DAC and pre-amp. So by using the same case, production costs can be kept down.
I like understated, well designed HiFi, that isn’t showey. That good performing audio can be a bit like a modest looking car with a V8 or V12 strapped under the hood or bonnet, depending where you’re from. Looks not being of any clue to performance in other words, but when you pull away from the lights…..
DAC tech moves on so fast, so does streaming, but one firm that has consistently has their finger on the pulse of CD players and great amplification in the U.K, as a go too brand, is Cyrus. Some years ago they developed ‘Servo Evolution’ as a means of reducing CD disc reading errors, to improve performance. A considerable capital outlay investment on all accounts. Not just some bolt in CD reading mechanism, but one that required bespoke design. It had its teething problems in early models, but reliability has all since been ironed out.
And this is a CD Transport which is explained in the basics section of my website to those not in the know. DAC-less basically with no analogue output to your HiFi, you simply utilise a digital optical toslink connection or a coaxial one to your DAC.
This is not a new CD transport but is one that is the baby of the Cyrus CD player line up, its grown up sibling being the £1,895 Cyrus CD XT Signature. And we don’t have to do the thing of reviewing audio products just because they are new. I try to write about and seek out products that have a great reputation where I can source them. In this case it doesn’t mean the Cyrus is free of comparison, objectivity and analysis, like any other gear I look at.
So whilst I do not have any other CD players to pit it against at the moment, I thought about doing comparisons to digital audio gear I have tested, to see if the Cyrus fits into its price place well. At the same time characterising its sonic signature. As a £895 CD transport, it can’t really be described as a budget player – it’s a premium player but it’s not uber premium that it will be a bank account shocker.
On its design, there isn’t much else to say except you get a Cyrus ir14 learning remote, which does the basic functions as well as dimming the display. On the back panel are RCA style ‘MC-BUS’ connections – link your Cyrus components in a chain to turn them on or off in single button presses. If you like simplicity this is a CD transport for you!
What Parallels can be Drawn?
Immediately obvious is how this CD Transport is a detail dredger for the price. It is balanced and composed. Dynamically it is good for the money and there is no hint that it isn’t keeping up with music. No lazy bass or bad timing issues.
The DAC and remaining chain ultimately takes care of most of the sonic prowess of your digital audio, but how it’s pulled from the CD is obviously important too.
To this end you notice slight treble edginess in the midrange and particularly vocals, but it doesn’t detract from the pleasing nature of this Cyrus’ sonics. Tonally it has nice mass and fatness around the midrange and bass, which becomes obvious as I swap to using an Allo DigiOne Signature with Allo Shanti Linear PSU ($464). I mention it as an ‘opportunity cost’ product, admittedly in streaming. With the Allo tonal mass goes, the accompanying mid-range is all there, but surrounding instruments are less marked when I try Love is a Loosing Game by Amy Winehouse. These same general characteristics are true of other music I try. Personally it is a relatively small change though and it may not be a sufficient quality change for you, considering price is doubled. I think at the relatively modest price to change, it is one I’d pay for!
Moving to my Innuos Zenith Mk2 the soundstage opens up considerably at the same time as all sonic virtues are there, as before. Hardy surprising for a £2300ish server.
CD is still a good way to go…
So what this all says, with CD on shaky ground and diminishing disc sales to streaming, is it’s a good time to buy your last CD transport. We’ve no idea how the CD transport or player market will go with new players, or otherwise, but this Cyrus makes a case that CD is still a great way of conveying your music. I wonder how this transport compares to their CD XT Signature? I’d love to try Cyrus!!??
£895 / c.$1120 at current ROE / c.€1030 at current ROE
Cyrus Audio Ltd, Ermine Business Park, Huntingdon, Cambs, PE29 6XY, England.
Tel : +44 (0)1480 410 900
Website : https://www.cyrusaudio.com