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CYRUS 8vs2 Stereo Integrated Amplifier
I have owned quite a few solid-state stereo integrated amplifiers over the years, few have truly impressed.
One or two have been quite good but not ‘exceptional’. One, just one, was really very good indeed but again, not what I would describe as being truly exceptional. The only ‘exceptional’ integrated amplifier I have listened to was a high-end (very high end ‘make’ but actually, their ‘entry level’ model) and, was considerably more expensive than the Cyrus 8vs2. However, it was a valve based model and therefore cannot realistically be compared. However, it was indeed truly ‘exceptional’ and so for me, it has to be something of a benchmark in assessing anything else. I think this is fair enough really and does at least provide a target by which to assess and judge the Cyrus 8vs2. I hope you folks agree?
The Cyrus 8vs2 is the most recent in a long line of highly regarded and respected integrated amplifiers from this company. They have always been well reviewed, punching well above their weight in terms of quality at their particular price point. This model supersedes the previous model 8vs which in it’s own right, was a very highly regarded amplifier.
Unusually, this particular development in the model line didn’t come about merely through the more usual quest for continuous product development merely to keep the brand and/or model ‘fresh’ in the consumer’s mind. The ‘creation’ of the 8vs2, for that is truly what it is – a creation, was necessary to fulfil an EU directive – yes they effect everything we do, own, use, spend and very much more in the UK today don’t they? This ‘directive’ is known as ‘RoHS’ or, Restriction of Hazardous Substances whereby each and every component has to be free of any potentially harmful substances and indeed, there may have been a few of these utilised in the electronics industries. However, I am finding it difficult to imagine young children sitting in their play-pens sucking merrily on transistors and capacitors or indeed, cutting their teeth on a toroidal transformer!
Fortunately, in one of the most rare and uncommon occurrences known to humankind, in this instance, an EU ‘directive’ has actually done us all a significant favour. The Cyrus 8vs2 is much more than a mere ‘upgrade’ to the previous model and the reworking appears to far exceed mere ‘tinkering’.
I suppose in some respects, Cyrus didn’t have much choice in the matter. To continue producing these products, they absolutely ‘had’ to adhere to this EU directive and I can appreciate, it must have been no small undertaking for such a company. This directive would not have been such a huge or insurmountable problem for an electronics company producing relatively inexpensive and only recently introduced electronic products, such as digital radios or clocks but to Cyrus, with it’s relatively long and distinguished history of producing high quality hi-fi products and of course, the implication of all the research and development that has brought them thus far, this must have been an enormous and odious task. To their credit, they didn’t just simply get on with it. They took the bull by the horns and metaphorically, deserve to make a ‘killing’ through their efforts. This amplifier goes far beyond a mere ‘upgrade’ or ‘update’ and although it looks virtually identical to it’s predecessor, it is in my opinion, a different amplifier altogether. They haven’t simply complied with the EU directive to eradicate harmful substances, they have improved (considerably) the pre-amp stage and made further improvements to other elements of the electronic design.
Previous Cyrus amps, whilst always receiving high praise and more than just a few (major) awards, have been known for the need for ‘careful’ partnering with other components in the hi-fi chain and in particular, loudspeakers.
Whilst all Cyrus amplifiers have been highly regarded for their precise, fast and articulate performance with plenty of detail, fine imaging and excellent musicality, they were also noted for erring just ever-so-slightly towards the lean side of neutral in the bass register. They could also tend to be just a hint ‘bright’ or ‘forward’ in the treble. While this was rarely a problem, if inadvertently paired with a similarly bright CD player or loudspeakers of a similar disposition, the results could be a little wearing on the listener.
The 8vs2 has certainly changed all that! While this amplifier appears cosmetically to be almost identical to it’s predecessor with it’s (I think) highly attractive, space saving ‘half width’ die-cast magnesium alloy ‘shoe-box’ sized casing, finished either in Silver or Black, this amp is sonically quite different.
It now has real authority which cannot be argued with. Deep, rich bass with plenty of ‘slam’ when necessary, unlike any preceding Cyrus amplifier. Likewise, gone is any hint of leanness. Whilst the HF (High Frequency) or ‘treble’ still has plenty of ‘bite’, there is absolutely no way anyone could describe this amp as ‘lean’. Indeed, the overall impression that one is left with, is that of a extremely musical experience with fine sonic balance from rich, deep and precisely formed bass, through articulate and expressive mid range to exciting and exhilarating treble that at times leaves you gasping for breath with excitement. Really!
This experience leaves you believing you could be listening to a quality valve based amplifier rather than a solid state one but, without the suggestion of any ‘warmness or wooliness’ sometimes associated with valve devices. This is certainly born out by my own direct comparison to the entry-level, ‘high end’, integrated valve amplifier I mentioned earlier, where in my opinion, the 8vs2 holds it’s own and is in fact pretty well it’s equal.
This amplifier can truly provide a wonderful audio experience when fed by suitably good quality input devices and decent loudspeakers but the really great thing about it is, it is far less fussy about the sonic characteristics of it’s accompanying components than previous Cyrus amplifiers and consequently, it is much easier to find suitable components to compliment it. Very impressive indeed!
Although due to financial circumstances, I haven’t had the chance yet to explore this, the Cyrus 8vs2 can easily be further enhanced sonically simply by connecting a Cyrus PSX-R regulated power supply. Apparently, this seemingly innocuous device ‘lifts’ the amplifier’s performance even further. However, although I do indeed own a PSX-R, it is currently in use with my Cyrus CD8x CD player, so I cannot of course experience the difference it might make if connected to my 8vs2 amplifier as to do so, would require me to first remove it from my CD player. There would be absolutely no point in doing this as I would then be listening to my CD player ‘without’ the PSX-R which would render any sort of assessment completely irrelevant.
However, knowing how much difference the PSX-R made to my CD player, I feel the addition of another to my amplifier, would indeed make a worthwhile improvement. However, the Cyrus 8vs2 is so good, it is for me, a little difficult to appreciate just what league such an addition would make to my overall system. Well, there’s only one way to find out – start saving!
Power Supply – See fixed plate on unit Power Consumption – Standby: 12 watts Power Consumption – Maximum: 360 watts Dimensions – 21.5cm (W) x 36.5cm (D) x 7.5cm (H) Weight – 5.6Kg Case Material – Die Cast Magnesium Alloy
Input Sensitivity – (70W/8Ohms) Line 237mV Input Impedance – Line – 40kOhms Frequency Response – (-3dB) – Line – 0.1Hz, 90kHz Signal to Noise Ratio – (A-WTD) – Line – 102dBA Power Output – (both channels driven) – 8 Ohms – 70 Watts THD+N – (Pre-Amp) – 1kHz – Line - <0.003% THD+N – (1kHz, 2/3 power, both channels driven) – 8 Ohms - <0.003%