The CD Xt Signature is the latest in a long line of Cyrus CD transports. While it looks just like the last one – the CD Xt SE2 – the company claims improvements in the servo control software, power supply and electrical noise levels.
Obsessives will notice the removal of the PSX-R socket. The PSX-R is an add-on outboard power supply, and the standard recommendation to upgrade Cyrus products.
It made huge improvements to earlier transports, but the Signature’s internal power supply has been refined to the extent that the company no longer feels the outboard unit adds significant benefits.
Build and design
The Signature is built neatly, mirroring the construction of other Cyrus products. It doesn’t give off a premium aura, though, which is what we’d hope for at this price.
Things get worse when we load a disc – it feels agricultural rather than beautifully engineered, and is noisy with it. But once the disc is spinning, the CD Xt Signature is quieter than most of its rivals.
Cyrus is very proud of its transport mechanism, particularly the software that controls it, and has invested a great deal in developing this CD engine. It is designed to deliver high performance in a home hi-fi environment – Cyrus claims an impressive 20 per cent fewer errors in disc-reading than the best OEM alternative.
But there’s a downside. This transport is fussy about disc quality. If your platters are not in top condition, or formatted to the precise Red Book CD spec, it may struggle to read them.
The last-generation of Cyrus transport was the best-sounding vaguely realistically priced unit we’ve heard. The Signature sounds cleaner, crisper and more dynamic, even compared with its predecessor partnering a PSX-R.
We start with the Broadchurch OST (from Ólafur Arnalds) and the Signature (with the Hugo) delivers astonishing detail. Each instrumental strand is crisply drawn, notes stop and start with precision, and subtleties, such as the dense texture of the growling low frequencies and the space around the sparse instrumental backdrops, are easy to hear.
The soundstage is open and wonderfully expansive. The imaging is stable, focused, and layered with great care.
We’re also impressed by the combination’s wide-ranging dynamics; the way the soundtrack’s seismic bass hits hard but also the nuanced rendering of the piano and string notes. It’s the kind of performance we’d find hard to better even at double the money.
With Gil Scott Heron’s I’m New Here, we are pleased by the sound’s precision and drive. The complex percussion at the opening of New York Is Killing Me is delivered with exceptional skill and clarity.
If you want to hear how good your CDs can sound – and are happy with a separate DAC – the Cyrus CD Xt Signature is a terrific buy.
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