Cyrus Streamline Streaming Music Player 2
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