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Cyrus vs itunes..

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About 4 years ago I bought a new H-Fi system:


Cyrus 8 CD, Cyrus 8 amp and Dynaudio 52 speakers. Refused to buy fancy speaker cables, just used some decent copper ones. At the time I remember thinking why not go with my mac and itunes plus a dac instead of the CD8? and i was poo-pooed by a couple of audiophile friends that put me right.


Anyway, I've only just hooked up itunes via an AE to my amp (no dac between)...


... and I much prefer what is coming out of it compared to the CD8!


The sound is less open with the AE, bass not as strong and treble not as high, but the sound is more focused and smooth and the stereo imaging is better. It all sounds tighter with more grip, yet is easier to listen to both on your own or with friends as back ground music.


Set me thinking... is the Cyrus 8 all tits and arse? Is my room, little on the walls, bare floorboards creating so many echoes and bass booms that a more compressed sound is advantageous? Is it a more compressed sound or just a less coloured one?


In short, what is going on? Do my reactions make any sense?


Also, does anyone have any suggestions about a DAC?


(I am keen to try something cheap and cheerful just to see whether it significantly improves the AE output before spending serious money again).


Meantime, what a great site this is. I just hope it doesn't descend the slippery slope of audiophilia too far. I think hearing great music in a good system is one of life's particular pleasures. Collecting bits and pieces of cabling, metal boxes and equipment racks then arguing about it all for ever surely is not.








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Your result with comparing your Cyrus 8 to the Airport Express (without a DAC) is unusual...


If you liked the Cyrus 8 CD player, maybe worth looking at the Cyrus DAC or they have recently released integrated amps with built in DACs. Visit a dealer and see if you can arrange a home demo. He should also be able to help you with getting the Cyrus 8 CD player checked out. (A good dealer is a great resource to have)


As a cheeper option, check out the Beresford DAC (around £130) or the Cambridge Audio DACMagic (around £200) - they maybe all you need to get what you are looking for out of your system.




P.S. there are lots more options for DACs out there of course ... those are two I've been familiar with and the Cyrus was suggested as you have Cyrus kit. Other will be along and recommend other stuff.




...in my opinion / experience...

While I agree "Everything may matter" working out what actually affects the sound is a trickier thing.

And I agree "Trust your ears" but equally don't allow them to fool you - trust them with a bit of skepticism.

keep your mind open... But mind your brain doesn't fall out.

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Thanks for such a quick response eloise,


Hmmm... I was/am extremely surprised by the results myself... Which is what led me to post in the first place. I was wondering whether the acoustics of my room could lead to what is happening? Tall ceilings, 7x5m, polished floor boards, no rug. We recently moved home.


It seems counterituitive to me, but is it possible that the supposedly better source leads to greater room interferences than the lesser one?


As I said earlier, there is a more compressed sound from ae - greater openess and space from cd8... But the bass is booming a bit and the treble harsh.


It is easier to listen to ae and I wondered whether a dac would go back to where the cd8 is, or that the cd8 is boosting treble and bass dlibsrately.


On the other hand, maybe I'm crazy...


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then your room must really need some treatment. Those bare floorboards would be a great start. Add some thick carpet to reduce reflections and echos.


To see what the airport express can really do, use its digital output and send its digital signal via a mini toslink cable to and inexpensive DAC, like the EMU 0404 USB. About 180 pounds. I have one and love it.


Check out this thread;






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It sounds like you are describing a more "forward" sound coming from the AE. Forwardness is often caused by distortion, so it makes perfect sense that you hear it from the AE. "Audiophile" systems aim to emulate live performances; although, they usually base it on older styles of music (ie. before the "wall of sound" type concert). These are based on acoustically sound venues with moderate levels which results in a more laid back "smooth" sound.


In short, the audiophile sound is probably different from the sound most people get from big concerts in arena venues which have horrible acoustics and high levels. These likely result in more distortion, changing the ideal sound that should come out of playback equipment. More distortion in certain cases makes a "truer" and better, more enjoyable sound.


My take on things...


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.... ok, i'm embarrassed now. Took to dealers this afternoon and after checking against theirs (although they immediately spotted a problem), the cd seems to have developed a fault, so off to cyrus it goes. Must have happened over the move. I guess i should be happy :-/


Many thanks for the EMU dac tip Codifus, I will check that out. Oh and the floorboards are a lifestyle decision that is entirely out of my hands...


With respect to 'brightness' Mr C, it was the CD8 that sounded way too forward with a loose back end too as it were. Spacey, but loose with a poor stereo image. Right now i am listening to 'Bookends' by Marc Copeland and Dave Lieberman through the AE, just piano and sax and it sounds great, or at least it remains a great musical experience. I clearly jumped the gun with my original post with respect to relative sound quality, but with this music and even non-dac'd AE, listening is fun and not a chore.


I can't wait to try a decent dac on it....











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Wait !! ... don't stop there though.


Okay, so don't play back your audio using the analog output from the AE - not good. But, do consider streaming the digital output of the AE into one of the DACs mentioned above. Or maybe consider a Cyrus DAC if you've grown used to that sound. Don't spend a fortune though. Not worth it.


Purely and simply if you can rip all of your CDs to a computer, then control your library either on screen or via an iTouch (amazing!), and have at least the sound of the CD8 but likely better ... then ... well - says it all.


Let us know what you end up doing ... I'm tempted to dig out the issue of HiFi Choice where DACs from £200 to well over £1k were compared. The conclusion - - - none better than the other .. all close ...


Makes you think.


HTPC: AMD Athlon 4850e, 4GB, Vista, BD/HD-DVD into -> ADM9.1

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The thing us, once you start streaming (i'm using apple lossless) then i don't think there is any going back! The iphone remote is amazing. Having 70GB immediately to hand is just so damn convenient...


I'm not really interested in a cyrus dac; just too damned expensive and reading around, it seems that what you say is right; there isn't that much of a diffrence between £200 and £1000 gear.


At the moment the recommended EMU 0404 appeals on the basis of its chip set and cost.


Which ones struck the mag reviewers?


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It was ... can you guess ... if I say value for money ... and great sound... The Cambridge!

If you've got the money though that Bryston DAC is getting great reviews. Different price range though.


HTPC: AMD Athlon 4850e, 4GB, Vista, BD/HD-DVD into -> ADM9.1

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If anyone is interested, I've posted a fuller description of the contents of this test. http://www.computeraudiophile.com/content/HiFi-Choice-Ultimate-Group-Test-DACs-130-1200




...in my opinion / experience...

While I agree "Everything may matter" working out what actually affects the sound is a trickier thing.

And I agree "Trust your ears" but equally don't allow them to fool you - trust them with a bit of skepticism.

keep your mind open... But mind your brain doesn't fall out.

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... many thanks for your replies... I think that the DAC section is more appropriate to continue this , if at all :-).


But let me just say that your responses are just great.... it is the helpful and friendly attitudes of you guys that make this such a great site... even for a twat that didn't twig his Cd player was screwed :-0.





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