What Hi Fi Sound and Vision Mon, 8 Jun 2009, 9:00am

Cyrus 8 XPd

Tested at £1500
100100
5

The 8XPd breaks new ground for Cyrus integrateds and sets a sky-high standard at the price

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For

  • Transparency, resolution and dynamics are top class
  • impressive built-in DAC
  • flexibility
  • upgradability

Against

  • Not as powerful as some rivals

Cyrus amplifier upgrades are hard to spot. Each new generation from the 3 integrated of the early '90s to the recently discontinued 8vs2 has looked identical.

The 8XPd uses the same magnesium alloy die-cast casing too – though the LCD display suggests something more significant than the usual evolution has happened.

The ‘d' in the name means the amplifier has a built-in DAC. This is broadly similar to the circuitry used in the much respected CD6se CD player and comes with no fewer than five inputs: two coax, two optical and one USB.

Other changes include new preamp circuitry based on Cyrus's high-end DAC XP, a digital-to-analogue/preamp combo of much talent, and a more elaborate power supply arrangement to prevent the control circuitry spoiling sonic performance.

It sounds simply wonderful
So, how does the Cyrus sound? In a word, wonderful. The usual Cyrus traits are evident: the 8XPd is immensely fast and precise.

Feed it a complex tune and it will define the leading edges of notes with stunning agility.

It stays composed even when pushed, delivering a scale of sound far in excess of what 70 Watts per channel normally delivers – a good thing considering many rivals have a power output deep into the three figure territory.

Timing is as crisp as you like and dynamics, both large scale and subtle, are revealed with quite exceptional skill.

Top of the class for detail
This amp heads straight to the top of the class when it comes to detail resolution and transparency, making most rivals seem a bit blurred and overly characterful.

A bit of character is desirable in people, but not such a welcome trait in hi-fi.

That transparency allows the recording to take centre stage, as it should. The 8's treble, too, positively sparkles, while never erring to harshness, leanness or aggression.

Partner this amp with capable and neutral speakers such as the ATC SCM 40s or Spendor A6s along with say, a CD8se CD player and you'll have an astonishingly capable system for the money.

The on-board DAC is a good one, giving impressive results through all inputs. It makes even our aged Acer laptop sound like a reasonable hi-fi source.

Cyrus is no stranger to producing class-leading products. With the 8XPd it's got another one to add to the list.

 

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