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Cyrus One Stereo Amplifier Review

Cyrus One Stereo Amplifier Review

I was recently fortunate enough to get my hands on the Cyrus One compact stereo amplifier with a set of Wharfdale Diamond 10.1 speakers. First things first, I’m no expert in this field. When initially offered to me, I was under the impression that it was a guitar amplifier (something I’d have some authority writing about, given that I am the guitarist in pop, drum and bass act ‘Sigma’) but home entertainment units are not something I’ve paid particular attention to over the years, nor strived to own the latest or greatest models. So it’s with only a slight sense of irony that I can say, without a shadow of a doubt, this is the best one I’ve ever heard!

Fortunately I have a rather tech-savvy colleague whose eyes lit up when I returned home with the boxes. We (he) set to work on rigging it up and before long we were watching the tiny, bright LED volume and function selectors dance into life as we powered her up. Aesthetically, the head unit is simple, slick and pleasing to the eye. A black gloss face plate and matt-finish, rubberised volume and function select knobs provide a stark and dramatic contrast to the aforementioned LED arcs.

These lights are the only indicator that the system has been turned on as there is no ‘purr’ or power-up noise, simply adding to the Cyrus’ ninja-like intrigue. And, like a ninja requires stealth and cunning, it also requires lethal power when the job in hand is to be undertaken. Well, let me tell you something about the Cyrus One; lethal power it has! ‘It provides 2 X 100W of power, with eleven separate power supplies to maximise the separation of the circuits, my expert friend tells me, excitedly. All I know is...it’s unbelievably loud!

Not loud for loud’s sake, however. Although pushed up just over half way on the volume knob (we’ve yet to venture any higher) the sound simultaneously fills the room but remains crystal clear. From the crisp cut highs of hi-hats and vocal ‘S’ and ‘T’ sounds to the oh-so-satisfyingly stomach rumbling bass that seems to be being mixed as we listen by a master front-of-house sound man. In this case it’s Sigma’s ‘Special Dedication’. Call me a narcissist but I spend the year going round hearing these tunes played through some of the biggest rigs in Europe so figure it’s a fine place to start in terms of quality comparison. And this thing is not falling behind.

Originally I intended to write about the both items separately. Forgive me but this is where my ignorance comes in to play. I wouldn’t know whether it’s the Cyrus One or the Wharfdale speakers that are treating us to such a sonic battering (I look round the room and everyone has been reduced to gurning ‘bass-face’) so I’ve come to the conclusion that they are simply a perfect marriage for one another. The room is absolutely FULL of sound. We can’t hear each other trying to shout over it and yet when I go outside to see how much we’ll be falling out with the neighbours over the next few months, the sound is curiously subdued and localised. A mark, I can only imagine, of pure directional sound quality from the Diamond 10.1’s.

Last year for my 30th birthday we lost half the living room to setting up my clumsy PA system and laptop, so as to provide the party with sufficient noise. Next year, no such worries. Even the 10.1’s that don’t sit very high off the ground, are providing a rounder, farther reaching soundscape with far more bite than that of my Bose speakers which were erected a few inches from the ceiling.

The Wharfdale speakers themselves look slick and pro, if a little unremarkable, but even they have a little trick up their sleeve with their magnetic removable fascias. Purely for aesthetics whether you prefer to look at the black netting cover or the speakers themselves, I don’t think it affects the sound in any way.

Functionality wise, it’s fantastic. We have it rigged up so that our TV plays through it when on setting 3, great for ramping up the atmosphere of a big football game or boxing match or for going from pin drop scares to blasting 80’s soundtracks in Stranger Things 2. The Bluetooth function is great for playing my music and podcasts through my phone although, as with any Bluetooth device, signal interruptions begin once you move to another room of the house with your phone inadvertently in your pocket.

If I was pushed to criticise it, I would say that the remote is a bit of a pain. It’s too small and flimsy and looks easily losable in a big house like ours, where not everything is spic and span 24/7. But the remote does nothing that can’t be achieved on the actual head unit so my advice is, don’t get frustrated with it...just get up off the sofa and stop being lazy.

In summary, I realise that this is far from an experts POV, despite the fact that I work in the music game. But what it may do is provide some insight to the layman who doesn’t necessarily understand all the technical jargon that comes with the online reviews. This thing looks great, sits neatly alongside a well furnished living room, works beautifully, but most importantly sounds absolutely awesome!

From somebody whose area of expertise is professional sound rigs over home entertainment systems, I’ve suddenly become an evangelist for the Cyrus One and the Wharfdale 10.1 speakers. At an affordable price, considering their quality these really are must own items for a household that loves its music, film and sport like mine.

The Cyrus ONE amplifier will cost £699 inc. VAT, available from specialist retailers across the UK.  Visit www.cyrusaudio.com for details.
Sigma are a British drum and bass band with many hit records with Ella Henderson and Paloma Faith amongst others /www.sigmahq.com/