Cyrus Lyric 09 System Review (Part 2)

9/1/2014 11:25:24 AM
Hooked up to PMC fact.8 loudspeakers with Townshend Isolda cable, the sound is pacey and very open. It is also uncannily clean. That’s not a bad thing; it is a large part of the Lyric 09’s sonic appeal, and the wider appeal of Cyrus products in general. The Cyrus Lyric 09 makes many of its rivals sound a little grubby or earthy in comparison, but without the ‘shiny’ sound that you might expect from an amp designer over-compensating. It has excellent depth when the recording allows, and always works well with regard to tempo. There is a slight emphasis on the mids and highs, which enhances the sense of space and subtly reinforces leading edges, but it also brings out a lot of detail. Norah Jones is in fine fettle singing ‘Court and Spark’ with Herbie Hancock [River: The Joni Letters, Verve], where you can follow the brushwork of the drummer with ease yet its easy to become immersed in the song.

Cyrus Lyric rear view

Cyrus Lyric rear view

The CD player is also pretty decent, a bit of Mozart opera sounding very even-handed and spacious. Once again, scale and image depth aren’t as strong as with streamed material, but the disc gives up a lot of precision and poise. The digital input, coax, is likewise rather engaging. I hooked up a rather more expensive streamer in the Naim NDS and heard the benefits that it brings in close to full effect. These amount to far denser resolution, which makes things more realistic, warm, and musically complete. Timing was clearly superior as well, and this made the combo very hard to put down, which proves the strengths of the DAC and amplifier side of Lyric. Going one step further and connecting the analogue output of an Antelope Platinum DSD DAC (also fed by the NDS) brought greater focus, much enhanced image depth, and a more realistic/less obviously open presentation. But it’s important to remember that the source and DAC here are considerably more expensive than Lyric. However, this shows that the amplifier is not a limiting factor and makes me very keen to get my hands on the power amp that Cyrus is launching in the autumn.

Cyrus Lyric USB input

Cyrus Lyric USB input

Using the Cyrus alone and hooking it up to the Vivid Giya G3 speakers that have been distracting me of late proved to be a very enjoyable and enlightening experience. Gregory Porter’s ‘No Love Dying’ [Liquid Spirit, Blue Note] sounded positively sumptuous; calm yet taut, and smooth enough to be turned up to 11. That was achieved with the CAD CAT used as NAS; switching to a Naim UnitiServe added considerable leading edge bite that gave the song more drive and energy, if undermining the degree of resolution. In this set up, the Naim worked a little better, with this polished album at least.

Cyrus Lyric in room

Cyrus Lyric in room

Contrasting Lyric with a Naim SuperUniti streamer/amp (but not tuner or CD player) increased the sense of involvement at the cost of a coarser presentation. The groove got stronger through the Naim and one’s inclination to drop pressing affairs and listen became harder to resist, but many may plump for the greater sheen of the Lyric 09.

Cyrus Lyric remote close-up

Cyrus Lyric remote close-up

Lyric is a tour de force for Cyrus. The sound quality combined with the feature count and sheer ease of use puts it in the premier league. The amplifier is a major upgrade on virtually all multi-source, single box solutions and makes Lyric good enough for some very revealing loudspeakers. This is a product for today!

Technical Specifications

·         Inputs: CD, Optical SPDIF x 2, Coaxial SPDIF x 2, USB A x 2 iPhone, iPod & iPad compatible, USB B x 1, Bluetooth Stereo RCA, Streaming via UPnP or DLNA, DAB+, FM, TuneIn Radio

·         File compatibility: WAV, FLAC, ALAC, AAC, MP3, WMA, AIFF

·         Outputs: Speaker out x 1 stereo pair, Configurable line out x 2, 3.5mm headphone jack

·         Sample rate: Up to 24 bit/192kHz

·         DAC: 32 bit

·         Continuous power: 170 watts per channel (into 8 Ohms)

·         Dimensions (HxWxD): 10.5 x 42 x 32cm

·         Weight: 9kg

·         Price: $5,000


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