Cyrus Stream­line Stream­ing Mu­sic Player 2

NOVO - - PRODUCT REVIEW - Phil Gold

de­sign | fea­tures

Three com­po­nents are see­ing ma­jor growth in the audio mar­ket: head­phones, DACs and stream­ing mu­sic play­ers. To­day we’ll take a look at a streamer from Cyrus Audio, a well es­tab­lished company op­er­at­ing out of the Er­mine Business Park in Hunt­ing­don, Eng­land, home also to Merid­ian Audio and not far from Cam­bridge Univer­sity.

The Stream­line2 is an up­date to the orig­i­nal Stream­line model first in­tro­duced in 2011 and of­fers a net­work stream­ing plat­form for the mod­est price of $1999. Just con­nect to a net­work, add speak­ers or head­phones and in­stall the free Ca­dence app on your iPhone, iPad or An­droid de­vice and you’re in business.

Cyrus strongly rec­om­mends con­nect­ing the streamer through a wired Eth­er­net con­nec­tion, which is how I used it for my test­ing, but you can con­nect wire­lessly too and that worked well for me, two rooms away from my wire­less router. While in wire­less op­er­a­tion, the sound qual­ity seemed unim­paired but sta­bil­ity was a bit of an is­sue – the net­work con­nec­tion was lost sev­eral times.

Cyrus does of­fer a pow­er­ful re­mote con­trol unit, the n-re­mote, com­plete with a colour LCD dis­play, but most peo­ple will use it as I did, through the Ca­dence app.

I found the Ca­dence app a lit­tle old fash­ioned in its pre­sen­ta­tion, but quite func­tional. How­ever when things go wrong, like when a wire­less con­nec­tion is lost, it some­times takes a lot of fid­dling to reestab­lish the con­nec­tion. Also the app has a ten­dency to re­vert to the main iPhone screen for rea­sons I can­not fathom. But it’s just an app, and I’m sure it will get more sta­ble and func­tional over time.

The Stream­line2 can play the mu­sic I’ve down­loaded to my iPhone, but only by con­nect­ing the two to­gether through a USB cable and se­lect­ing the iPhone in­put, not wire­lessly.

Your pri­mary in­put choices are Net­work, Ra­dio and AUX but each of th­ese leads to mul­ti­ple source op­tions. Net­work could see all the mu­sic on my two PCs and on a NAIM Uni­tiServe mu­sic server at­tached to my net­work. Ra­dio opens up the world of In­ter­net Ra­dio with its tens of thou­sands of sta­tions ac­cessed us­ing fa­mil­iar cat­e­gories, re­gions and favourites. AUX of­fers USB or any of five dig­i­tal in­puts (2 op­ti­cal, 3 SPDIF). The setup menu al­lows you to ad­just the bal­ance.

How to get the sound out? The unit is setup for ba­nana ter­mi­nated speaker ca­bles and I used YBA Di­a­mond ca­bles to con­nect to a pair of Totem “The One” book­shelf speak­ers, mounted on tar­get stands. There is a 3.5mm head­phone socket on the rear of the unit – a rather un­usual po­si­tion­ing. Cyrus tells me that they pre­fer the rear po­si­tion be­cause it’s neater for a con­sumer to buy a longer ex­ten­sion lead and run it to the lis­ten­ing po­si­tion since not many own­ers site the player next to the lis­ten­ing po­si­tion. The USB A socket is also on the rear be­cause it will of­ten be used for charg­ing an iPhone via a dock that can be per­ma­nently fixed. I would have pre­ferred both on the front panel as on the com­pet­ing NAIM Uni­tiQute but I can ap­pre­ci­ate the ar­gu­ment. When you plug in your phones, the speak­ers au­to­mat­i­cally mute, as you would ex­pect, but Cyrus goes one step fur­ther. You can leave phones and speak­ers con­nected at all times and tog­gle be­tween them us­ing a front panel switch. Nice touch! I tried a cou­ple of tough to drive phones, the AKG K701 and the Sennheiser HD800. I was quite happy with the re­sults. The unit has enough power to drive them both to good lev­els while main­tain­ing calm con­trol and a good level of de­tail.

The back panel of­fers quite a few con­nec­tion op­tions. You get two sets of line level RCA out­puts, one fixed, one vari­able, for feed­ing ex­ter­nal power amps or preamps. You also get an Eth­er­net port, MC Bus for in­te­grat­ing your unit into a full Cyrus sys­tem, a dig­i­tal out for con­nec­tion to an ex­ter­nal DAC or dig­i­tal amp and an RS232 port re­served for fu­ture

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