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Cyrus ONE HD Review – The little one with true greatness

Modern hi-fi solutions can appeal to new customer groups above all if they prove to be systems that can be harmoniously integrated into the living environment, if they combine quality, flexibility and simple operating concepts, and this in the most compact way possible. The Cyrus ONE HD Integrated Amplifier is a prime example of this.

Cyrus Audio Ltd. has always been considered a company that did not attach too much importance to the sheer size of a hi-fi solution and clearly believed that the most impressive dimensions do not necessarily allow conclusions to be drawn about the actual quality, or that quality based on classic hi-fi virtues does not require generous dimensions. While some high-end hi-fi manufacturers trust in real hi-fi castles, Cyrus Audio Ltd. is more comfortable with very compact systems.

However, as already mentioned, these are completely in line with what is sufficiently associated with the advantages of a hi-fi company dedicated solely to sound quality. For example, the company says that hi-fi is basically understood as a clear window, completely free of streaks, stains or scratches, so that the entire spectrum of light is transmitted, brilliance, colourfulness and all the details of a colourful landscape are presented completely unadulterated. An approach to development based on this analogy guarantees that recordings in the listening room are reproduced exactly as they were recorded, and thus conceived, recorded and refined by the artist and the producers.

No question of size…

To achieve this, every detail is taken care of, which is facilitated by the fact that the entire production chain, from development in Cambridgeshire to manufacturing in Nottingham, is kept in house. This also has the advantage of guaranteeing the best quality not only in terms of sound but also in terms of product durability. “Cyrus products are built to last”, it says briefly and succinctly on the company’s website, followed by the promise that service and support will be guaranteed for many, many years.

This corporate philosophy, which has been pursued year after year, of providing high-end in the most compact form at the highest level of manufacturing, plays right into the hands of Cyrus Audio Ltd. when it comes to the latest trends, namely to develop hi-fi systems for a modern clientele that has little or no use for much of what has dominated the market over the past few years.

Following the development on the market…

It cannot be mentioned often enough, the market has undergone a massive upheaval in recent years, driven in part by the increasing “networking” of our everyday lives. Things like smartphones are our constant companions, are the central interface of our information society, but also of our personal data, from email to music. People, who are used to understand such “tiny” things not only as pure tools, but also as status symbols or even as an expression of their personal lifestyle, have a completely different approach when it comes to other “beautiful things” in life, such as HiFi.

At Cyrus Audio Ltd., as at many other companies in the industry, this has long been recognized and the product range has been expanded accordingly. For example, they presented the Cyrus ONE Integrated Amplifier, a solution that, strictly speaking, was not much different from the previous product range, but was presented in an extremely elegant, new design and was perceived as a stereo integrated amplifier of modern characteristics, and was offered at a very attractive price. An extremely fine product, which was completely convincing in our extensive test. But Cyrus Audio Ltd. did not want to leave it at that and designed another solution, which should be located above the mentioned Cyrus ONE Integrated Amplifier, and was consequently presented as Cyrus ONE HD Integrated Amplifier.

Complete new product line with proven virtues…

Cyrus Audio Ltd. already explained at the market launch of the Cyrus ONE Integrated Amplifier that this was not just a simple further development of the previous stereo integrated amplifiers of the English, but that a new universally applicable product line is to be initiated, which is to be understood as a so-called high-resolution integrated amplifier. This was to clearly express that this solution was aimed at a target group that wanted a compact modern solution for various sources, be it a PC, TV, game console, streaming client or smartphone. For the presentation of the Cyrus ONE HD, Cyrus Audio Ltd. attached great importance to the fact that it should not replace the aforementioned Cyrus ONE, but, as already mentioned, simply be a class above it.

So, enough words about the positioning of our current test candidate, let’s take a closer look at it in detail.

New design line…

Since we have always talked about a particularly compact solution, let us now put it in concrete terms, which in the case of the Cyrus ONE HD Integrated Amplifier actually means compact in numbers. The Cyrus ONE HD Integrated Amplifier measures no more than 85 mm in height, has a width of 220 mm, and needs 390 mm in depth plus a little reserve for the connections on the back. So this solution fits easily on or into any AV furniture, even on an elegant lowboard or sideboard it will be no problem to set the amplifier in scene. And yes, we are deliberately talking about “setting the scene”, because hiding this amplifier discreetly would be a real pity, because it proves to be a very elegant solution.

So the developers of the Cyrus ONE HD Integrated Amplifier of course relied on an extremely solid metal housing, whereby they were not content to manufacture the top plate from profane sheet metal, but rather set tasteful accents, such as slight indentations on the sides, side parts tapering from front to back, as well as a manufacturer’s lettering embedded on the top. The elegant lines are also continued on the front, which has a black high-gloss finish, is a lot wider than the actual case and is also “put on”, so that the very slim impression is even stronger, and the Cyrus ONE HD Integrated Amplifier seems to float above the background.

The front has only two control elements, comparatively generously designed encoders, which are very discreetly rastered, so that they are very smooth but still very precise to operate. The left of the two encoders is used for input selection, the right one is of course assigned to volume control. Both are framed by a ring of light emitting diodes, which contribute significantly to the noble appearance of the Cyrus ONE HD Integrated Amplifier. Yes, also the author of these lines belongs to it…

By the way, the developers hid the main switch in the lower left corner of the front, on the right side there is a connection for headphones, but more about that in the following…

Analog or digital, it’s all there.

Anyone who thinks that such compact solutions mean sacrificing flexibility is mistaken. On the contrary, as already mentioned in the introduction, it was the declared aim of the developers to realise the most versatile solutions possible with the new product line, so that one is equipped for all the needs of a modern hi-fi chain.

The Cyrus ONE HD Integrated Amplifier has three analog inputs, one of which is designed to be integrated directly into an AV system. Consequently, a corresponding pre-out, i.e. a pre-amplifier output, must not be missing. And then there is also a pair of RCA jacks, which will especially please vinyl lovers…

Integrated phono preamplifier…

Behind this additional pair of cinch sockets, there is the integrated phono preamplifier of the Cyrus ONE HD Integrated Amplifier. This phono preamplifier is designed for MM pick-up systems only, a decision that we can’t quite understand, because the Cyrus ONE HD Integrated Amplifier is already in a class where users like to rely on MC cartridges for their record players, but we don’t want to blame the little Englishman for that as a big disadvantage, since, as described, there are three analog inputs available for external phono preamps anyway.

Even when it comes to digital sources, you will hardly be embarrassed not to find the right connection on the Cyrus ONE HD Integrated Amplifier. The amplifier has an optical and a coaxial S/PDIF interface that can process both signals with up to 24 bit and 192 kHz. TV sets, SAT receivers, set-top boxes of a cable TV provider, streaming solutions and of course a game console can be connected here.

For all those who use a PC or Mac as a versatile source, be it a very compact system like an Apple Mac Mini or similar, there is a USB port available. The USB 2.0 interface is an asynchronous data transfer, thus guaranteeing a reliable data transfer, where only the converter of the Cyrus ONE HD Integrated Amplifier, an ESS 32 Bit DAC, keeps the supremacy over the clocking for lowest jitter.

This is where the full potential of the integrated converter shows, because besides linear PCM signals with up to 32 bit and 192 kHz, data in DSD up to DSD128 can be processed with it.

No streaming, but…

We consider it a very wise decision that the developers at Cyrus Audio Ltd. decided not to use any streaming at all and limited themselves to sufficient digital interfaces for various streaming platforms. This allows the user to use the optimal system for his needs and to change it if necessary. After all, streaming is generally an area that is subject to very rapid product changes. The Cyrus ONE HD Integrated Amplifier therefore remains the right gaming partner for many years, no matter what is responsible for the data from the network or the “cloud”.

It’s not true that streaming is not used at all, after all, the Cyrus ONE HD Integrated Amplifier has an integrated Bluetooth module, so that mobile devices can be used as sources without any problems and without detours.

Since one trusts in a module of the specialist Qualcomm, AAC and aptX, even aptX HD are available in addition to the lossy SBC, so that data can be transmitted with up to 24 bit and 48 kHz, if the source device has the appropriate equipment.

Interestingly enough, Bluetooth is still often underestimated, because people forget that especially with a smartphone or tablet via Bluetooth, a multitude of sources are open, not only own content from the network, but also all streaming services. Only the appropriate app has to be installed, and then you have access to Spotify, Deezer, TIDAL, Qobuz, or whatever service you use.

High power amplifier in 4th generation Hybrid Class D

That the Cyrus ONE HD Integrated Amplifier has many special features in the compact class is already revealed by its proud weight of 5.6 kg. This is mainly due to the very generously designed linear power supply around a toroidal transformer, which serves as a potent power supplier for a so-called proprietary Hybrid Class D amplifier, whose circuit concept is already used here in the fourth generation.

It is therefore clear that this is a circuit concept that has been improved and refined over many years, and where the manufacturer speaks of a special clarity and surprisingly much “power” and thus dynamics. No less than twice 100 watts are available here, based on loudspeaker systems with an impedance of 6 ohms. Since the Cyrus ONE HD Integrated Amplifier also has a so-called SID, a Speaker Impedance Detection for an automatic impedance adjustment of the amplifier power to the speaker load, it is able to operate a multitude of different speaker systems without any problems and always keep them under control.

For the connection of loudspeaker systems, the Cyrus ONE HD Integrated Amplifier has a total of eight screw terminals on the rear side, i.e. four per channel, so that even friends of bi-wiring will get their money’s worth. This is by no means a self-evident option in this class.

Class A/B high performance headphone amplifier

We have already mentioned it briefly before, of course the Cyrus ONE HD Integrated Amplifier has the possibility to connect headphones. Especially suppliers of compact solutions that are intended to appeal to as broad a target group as possible should not actually be able to do without such a feature. It would not be worth mentioning if the developers had not come up with a special feature for the Cyrus ONE HD Integrated Amplifier.

On the one hand, it is a pleasure to see that the headphone jack on the front panel is not a 3.5 mm stereo mini jack, but a 6.3 mm stereo jack, and that the amplifier module is a Class A/B module. If headphones are connected, the actual amplifier is muted, and the power supply of the toroidal transformer is used solely for the Class A/B amplifier module. This ensures that an enormous power reserve is available and that really any headphones can be operated without problems even at higher levels and free of distortion.

From the practice

After we had already “visited” the Cyrus ONE for a detailed test in the editorial office, since with an almost perfectly matching pair of compact speaker systems from the same company, namely the Cyrus ONE Linear, the surprise about the performance potential of the Cyrus ONE HD was not too big anymore. Although, we were a little surprised and finally pleased when we noticed that the English really managed to improve on the Cyrus ONE HD Integrated Amplifier compared to the Cyrus ONE Integrated Amplifier…

Of course it was obvious to test the Cyrus ONE HD Integrated Amplifier in the same environment as its smaller brother, so that as a direct play partner once again a pair of finest speaker systems from Italy, namely Chario Aviator Ghibli, were used. As source we used a fine drive from Pro-Ject Audio Systems, equipped with an MM pick-up system, specifically an Ortofon 2M Red, and of course a versatile streaming solution in the form of a Bluesound Node2i, which could access our media library via Roon. The television set was of course also plugged in.

And that brings us straight to one of the crucial points, which from our modest assessment speaks quite clearly in favor of the Cyrus ONE HD Integrated Amplifier. We are dealing here with an extremely flexible system that can function perfectly as a central, yet compact hi-fi solution in the living room.

From a practical point of view, the Cyrus ONE HD Integrated Amplifier hardly takes up any space, so the frequently cited argument against such a solution – lack of space – does not apply here. The Cyrus ONE HD Integrated Amplifier is even a real adornment for any AV furniture, the developers of Cyrus Audio Ltd. understood perfectly how to realize a fine lifestyle solution in the best sense.

And especially in times when every TV set needs an additional external audio solution to provide “good sound”, solutions such as the Cyrus ONE HD Integrated Amplifier should be considered before deciding on any soundbar.

A compact amplifier like the Cyrus ONE HD Integrated Amplifier in combination with fine, also compact speaker systems, may mean a higher investment, but plays on a completely different quality level. And not only for TV sound, music is only really fun with such solutions.

Because with many soundbar systems, you have to talk about a “mono solution”, especially when it comes to playing music. As a universal system – television sound and relaxed enjoyment of music – such solutions are therefore only suitable to a limited extent, even if the manufacturers often promise the opposite. A realistic stereo stage with credible depth is only provided by systems that allow a reasonably optimal speaker placement.

As far as the connections are concerned, too, all kinds of options are available here, and not just somehow half-heartedly, but actually at a high level. This starts with the integrated converter of the Cyrus ONE HD Integrated Amplifier, which – as our test showed – is not at all naked, even when it comes to presenting hi-res content. It is therefore worthwhile to keep appropriate material in stock and not to rely solely on lossy streaming offers such as Spotify.

In the simplest case, this even works via Bluetooth, as long as you have a source device at hand that actually knows how to use the available standards – aptX and especially aptX HD.

And then there is the integrated phono preamplifier, even if it is only designed for MM cartridges. Unfortunately, all too often newcomers to the subject are content with solutions that are not at all capable of exploiting the full potential of their drive. Especially our source, a pro-ject debut Carbon DC with Ortofon 2M Red, showed impressively on the Cyrus ONE HD Integrated Amplifier what it really is capable of, if you just put the “right” electronics at its side. This way vinyl is really fun.

That the Cyrus ONE HD Integrated Amplifier is a very powerful amplifier, we have already mentioned in the description of the technical data, in practice this means that this “small” amplifier appears very self-confident, and especially with high-efficiency speakers there is no reason for criticism. A typical living room is no real challenge for the Cyrus ONE HD Integrated Amplifier, even if you prefer to play at slightly higher levels.

Of course, the basic tuning has hardly changed compared to its little brother, so that you will be pleased with a rather neutral but never “boring” sound character. Once again it should be mentioned that Cyrus Audio Ltd. itself likes to speak of “british linear” when it comes to characterizing the company philosophy around the sound character. The finest English school in a small format, that’s probably the best way to put it in a nutshell.

A further essential advantage of the Cyrus ONE HD Integrated Amplifier is its really outstanding headphone amplifier, which even with very high-quality, sometimes “difficult” to operate models goes straight to the point and thus guarantees real music enjoyment.

One more thing to be said about the operation, of course the integrated Bluetooth module offers the big advantage that it also supports Bluetooth LL and thus a suitable app can be used. This is available in the form of the Cyrus ONE App for Google Android as well as Apple iOS and allows a comfortable control.

Getting to the point

The Cyrus ONE HD Integrated Amplifier can convince all along the line. It is an extremely flexible stereo integrated amplifier, which is well equipped for vinyl and various digital sources, integrates even smartphones and tablets in a simple way, and provides more than enough power even in compact dimensions due to an effective circuit design. The fact that one is spoiled with the finest sound and has a flawless lifestyle solution in the very best sense in front of him, speaks of course also for the Cyrus ONE HD Integrated Amplifier, which thus receives a clear recommendation.

HiFiBLOG Award Excellent

It cannot be mentioned often enough, the market has undergone a massive upheaval in recent years, driven in part by the increasing “networking” of our everyday lives. Things like smartphones are our constant companions, are the central interface of our information society, but also of our personal data, from email to music. People who are used to seeing such “tiny” things not only as pure tools, but also as status symbols or even as an expression of their personal lifestyle, have a completely different approach when it comes to other “beautiful things” in life, such as HiFi. Products such as the Cyrus ONE HD Integrated Amplifier can be the answer to this not so new development, as they combine the virtues of classic hi-fi with the requirements of modern lifestyle solutions.

Manufacturer:Cyrus Audio Ltd.
Distribution:Bellevue Audio GmbH
Price:€ 1.295,-
The Good-Elegant design
– Very compact
– Very attractive sound
– Can also be used in larger rooms
– Excellent phono preamplifier
– Very good transducer
– Excellent headphone amplifier
The Bad– No remote control included
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Michael Holzinger

Michael Holzinger, founder and editor-in-chief of HiFi BLOG and, has been working for years as a journalist in the fields of IT, photography, telecommunications and consumer electronics.

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