“Made in the UK” is the first thing that appears when we start up today’s test object and that announcement immediately puts a smile on our faces. Not because we have a special bond with the island but because Cyrus Audio is clearly proud of his/her origins. Provenance, pedigree is important. Necessary even. Especially now that the United Kingdom is no longer part of the European Union. It is good that a (British) company clearly presents itself and says what it stands for. In recent years there was not so much news to pick up at Cyrus Audio but that is now changing. Yes, there was the One HD and One Cast but it is only recently with the new XR series that Cyrus Audio had some big news to announce. We have the Cyrus i7-XR integrated amplifier in. Let’s check it out!
Cambridgeshire-based Cyrus Audio divides its products into three ranges. The One Series, the Classic Series and the new XR series. The latter for now consists of two integrated amplifiers, a preamplifier, a separate power supply (scheduled for Nov 2022), a CD player and a CD transport. Further additions to the XR series are highly likely. We are guessing at a power amplifier and streamer.
The i7-XR has almost the same dimensions (7.3 x 21.5 x 36 cm) as its predecessors and weighs just under five kilograms. At first glance few differences with the Classic series but appearances can be deceiving. A first subtle change is the color. All devices in the XR series are now given the so-called “Phantom Black” color, a softer kind of black that looks very stylish.
When we activate the device we notice a second change. The LED screen now has a white background with black lettering. Gone is the iconic green color that, let’s be honest, now looks a bit old-fashioned. The information on the screen is now much easier to read, even from a considerable distance. Below the screen we still see the typical buttons of yesteryear but they have also been renewed and respond faster than on previous models. The remote control deserves extra mention because it is excellent. It lights up when touched, has many useful functions and adjusting the volume is very smooth. This volume control is done with a digital rotary encoder and not with a traditional potentiometer to adjust the gain in a completely linear way.
A new slate
In the back, it’s pretty crowded. Follow along for a moment.
Along both sides two pairs of speaker connectors (BFA, British Federatioin of Audio, not very common anymore outside the UK), five analog inputs of which one is MM phono, five digital inputs (2x optical, 2x coax, 1x usb-b), a 3.5mm headphone output, an rca pre-out, a fixed output, an mc-bus output (for connecting to other devices) and a mini-usb jack for updates.
The XR amplifiers were started from scratch. Of course they draw on already accumulated know-how but Cyrus Audio did not just put the same circuit boards in a different chassis. The best example of this is the completely new preamplifier that via a new circuit with short signal path should sound even more transparent. Inside there is also a class A/B amplifier that delivers 52 watts into 6 Ohms and an ESS sabre dac with its own QRX implementation. DSD 512 is possible via usb and there are no less than seven filters to choose from. We always test with the ‘default’ filter (most of the time it’s short rolloff).