First seen at the 2016 Munich High End Show, Cyrus Audio’s ONE integrated amplifier is a Class D design using the third generation of the company’s hybrid Class D technology. It puts out a claimed 100W RMS per channel into 6 ohms, but when headphones are plugged in the power supply rails switch to powering the Class AB headphone stage. This means ONE can be used as a dedicated headphone amplifier in its own right. Other attractions include a moving magnet phono stage and an aptX Bluetooth input that runs in an ‘always discoverable’ mode for easy, automatic pairing. Four additional line level inputs are offered, plus an AV Bypass mode for home cinema systems.
In the flesh, it looks superb. It channels the original Mission Cyrus from 1984 – which itself was a striking sight – but it tastefully modernised, rather like the way the first ‘new’ MINI updated the original Alec Issigonis classic. Cyrus says it was conceived to appeal to the eighteen-to-thirty age demographic, one which is, “design-led, feature and interface driven, interested in brand reputation and used to listening to music in a personal manner.” Build quality is as good as you possibly expect for what’s effectively an entry-level premium integrated.
Cyrus says that numerous marginal efficiency gains from novel elements of circuit design have eliminated the need for internal heatsinks, reducing the heat extremes that the internal electronics can be exposed to, for greater reliability. There’s a large toroidal transformer, and the automatic Speaker Impedance Detection (SID) circuit instantly measures the loudspeaker impedance and adjusts the amplifier to suit – something we first saw on the Lyric all-in-one music system. The amp has lots of nice touches, like LED dimming to match the brightness of the front panel indicators to the environment. Firmware updates are made possible via the micro USB port on the rear.
“We decided upon what we needed and weighed this up against cost”, says Cyrus MD Simon Freethy. “First and foremost it has to sound great, able to knock the spots off the competition at the price point in terms of sound quality. Then we looked at what features we could build and had a couple of brainstorming sessions with most people in the business saying alright, if you were to buy this what features do you want? People said they wanted streaming but we can do that with Bluetooth. So that’s the budget version of streaming, people wanted a phono stage because vinyl is a growing market, so we’ve got one that’s quite high quality and works well. And headphones – quite a lot of the budget has been allocated here because many now take headphone listening extremely seriously. So having worked those things out, we then took out as much cost as we could – that’s why there are no displays and no standby, and we’ve taken money out of the casework to put into the circuit and power supply design, so there’s no compromise on sound quality at the price whatsoever. The idea is to make the Cyrus ONE the bottom rung in a hi-fi ladder that customers can climb, at a reachable price point.”
“The Class AB Cyrus 6 puts out around 60 watts into 8 ohms”, says Simon. “But our Class D the topology is more efficient and we can squeeze a hundred watts into 6 ohms, so immediately you’ve got some more power coming out of it. It also runs much cooler as well so there are no heatsinks needed. Instead, our engineers have put extra thick copper tracks on the actual PCB itself so they act as heat dissipation as well as improving the sound. And because of the way our Class D hybrid circuit is designed, it has a very high current output capability and is a very fast amplifier. It gives a clean sound with fine grip at that bottom end. The midband is as clear an smooth as a Class AB design. We’re very pleased with its power, authority and realistic total balance.”
Sonically this has a clean, crisp and musical sound not too dissimilar to that of the fine sounding Lyric one-box system. It is more engaging than most Class D designs that I’ve heard, and not exactly short of power either. Overall first impressions are that the new Cyrus ONE is a great package with superb styling and useful functionality – for the very modest price of £699.