Best stereo amp £600-£1000, Awards 2012. A fine amplifier – and the price reduction from the unit it replaces makes it an even more attractive partner for any systemWrite your own review
- The usual Cyrus traits: precision, clarity, speed, detail and confidence
- upgrade potential
- Many rivals are more powerful
And while it's well over £200 cheaper than its predecessor, the 6a integrated stereo amplifier still retains those same hallmarks of Cyrus, starting with the offer of an upgrade path: there are dealer-fit options including a multi-input DAC section, turning it into the Cyrus 6 DAC, complete with optical and electrical digital inputs and a Type B USB connection.
You can even get a power upgrade, should you decide you need more oomph at a later date. The latter enables the amp to be turned into a Cyrus 8a or 8a DAC, delivering 70W per channel instead of the 40W a side on offere, and also gaining the option of further upgrades via the connection of the Cyrus PSX-R external power supply.
Cyrus calls this thinking a 'scaleable' approach: what it means in essence is that you can start wit the basic 6a and then, when funds allow, upgrade.
Cosmetically, nothing has changed – this is a Cyrus product, after all: the 6a comes in the familiar substantial, sturdy half-width aluminium box designed for low resonance.
A green LED display dominates the front panel, which also carries buttons for input selection, volume and a customisable setup menu, and there are two finishes available: quartz silver or brushed black.
Cyrus 6a: Upgraded power supply
The audio circuits have also remained the same, bar a few minor tweaks – the major sonic change is an upgrade of the power supply capacitors.
There are six analogue inputs, twin speaker outputs for biwiring, and a headphone output (in typical Cyrus style, on the rear panel), and both preout sockets (for use with an add-on power ampand Zone 2 outputs, for example to feed a second source to another room.
Also fitted are the familiar Cyrus MC-Bus remote connections, allowing single-handset operation of a complete Cyrus system.
That set-up button allows a variety of adjustments to be made to the way incoming signals are handled: you can adjust input sensitivity/gain, to equalise levels between your source components, rename inputs and even designate one input as a straight-through unity-gain connection, for use with an external surround processor/receiver with front left/right channel preouts.
This last is achieved simply by renaming the appropriate input as ‘Cyrus AV’ - if you're going to use it with a Cyrus processor – or ‘AV Direct’ for use with other brands' hardware.
Cyrus 6a: Impeccable precision
Sonically, the 6a does everything Cyrus products are always good at: it’s fast, very detailed and has remarkable clarity. The sound is open, andit performs well across a variety of music styles.
Vocals are clear and expressive and the amp has excellent midband clairity, and a controlled, seamless handling of dynamics. Spin Christophe Beck’s instrumental Dead Guys With Bombs, and the 6a zings through the tension-packed piece with impeccable precision and soundstaging.
Compared with the 6XP it replaces, the 6a also has added weight and authority in the bass, making it sound more solid and robust – an added bonus at its reduced price.
There are certainly rivals out there with more power – the very fine Roksan Kandy K2, for example – but none at the moment surpasses the 6a for its precision and agility.