Cyrus Audio is no stranger to UK readers, but its half-width ‘singing shoeboxes’ sometimes struggle to make their mark outside of the British Isles. This, coupled with the significant changes in the type of product people buy today, meant Cyrus needed to make something bigger and that is capable of being all things to all people. Lyric is the result. Lyric is the first full-width product that Cyrus has made, but it retains much of the cast aluminium casework, albeit with a glass facia, a clever non-print coated glass facia at that. This is both smooth to the touch, and leaves engineers wondering how they got that finish to look so good – something (with the greatest of respect) not normally associated with Cyrus products and its typically rugged-feel castings.
Lyric comes in two flavours, 05 and the 09 tested here; the latter offering greater power and a better DAC than the former, at a price differential of £750. But what is Lyric? It’s a preamp, power amp, FM and DAB tuner, CD player, network streamer, and DAC in one box. Some elements are culled from existing Cyrus products; the streaming engine comes from Stream X, and the CD transport has the ‘servo evolution’ control system from CDt. The DAC comes from the CDi CD player, and is a 32-bit device able to accept inputs up to 24/192 in PCM. Apparently, Cyrus will “never, ever” embrace DSD according to Peter Bartlett. For now, at least.
The most radical bit of Lyric is the power amplifier, a hybrid of analogue and Class D approaches, which has a large toroidal transformer-based linear power supply and a Class D output stage. This gives the Lyric its high 170 watt power rating, but without the weight of a similarly powerful Class A/B design. This is because the efficiency of the output stage allows for a relatively small power transformer. It also runs fairly cool for a high power amp. Apparently, this technology was developed for a forthcoming standalone power amp from Cyrus with even more power, and if Lyric is anything to go by, that could be very interesting indeed.
One of the weaknesses of some Class D implementations can be sensitivity to the impedance of the loudspeaker load, meaning the amp’s character may not be predictable from one speaker to another. Cyrus has taken the step of building in automatic impedance matching to the attached loudspeaker. It does this at switch on, so don’t make the mistake of switching on before hooking up, because that rather undermines the process, I found!