Article Index
Cyrus Stream X
p2 Set up and use
p3 Sound quality
p4 Conclusion
p5 Measured performance
All Pages

Connecting up Stream X was simplicity itself because it needed just two signal connections. One was an Ethernet connection, which of course must have internet access via a modem for internet radio. You can connect via wi-fi but it will not support high data rates. The other was the digital output, which went  to a Marantz SR-8002 receiver able to handle high resolution files.

Like most streamers the Cyrus takes time to initialise and read the network to see what is available. The MAC address is viewable under the Setup/Status menu on the remote control so the unit can be identified on a router’s client list, but a device name isn’t provided by Cyrus, unlike many rivals. There was no problem on our network, both Mac (EyeConnect on Lion) and PC (Windows Media Player 11) UPnP computer music servers coming up straight away.

Internet radio stations from Tunein ( totalled 954 for the UK with most at 128kbps, but Absolute broadcasting at 192kbps and Paradise at 320kbps. With domestic network streams now running at 4600kbps it shows just what a gap has opened up between old standards where pigeons could carry info faster than the ‘net, to the expectations of today. Obviously, the ‘net cannot handle high resolution streaming in real time, but what was once acceptable now looks archaic. So don’t expect too much from internet radio in terms of quality, from the Tunein service via this otherwise quality streamer. 

The Stream X played our 24/96 FLAC and WAV test files from a high speed USB LaCie WhizKey memory stick without difficulty. However, it would not play highest resolution 24/192 files, unlike Naim’s ND5 XS, giving a file error message. Surprisingly, it did play 24/192 AIFF music files from iTunes over the network, but at CD quality, data rate reading 1400kbps. Cyrus said the Stream X did not down convert, saying either the UPnP server or iTunes were responsible. However, as this combo did deliver 24/192 to Naim's ND5 XS, I wonder whether a CD signal was being sent for best compatibility in absence of hand shake status data, as happens via HDMI with AV receivers. Here, default output is a data stream that avoids a 'no signal' scenario, if the receiver fails to signal its capabilities.

At 24/48 resolution and lower, MP3, AAC, Ogg Vorbis and AAC test files were all played by the Stream X. An iPhone connected up to the USB port using its own lead was seen by the n-remote and played properly.

As always Cyrus use their long standing (small) cast alloy cases to house the Stream X. Where shoehorning a powerful amplifier in, especially in Cyrus 8XPd form with its potential heat production and digital convertors, is a daunting task but ensures Cyrus products have low domestic visibility, the Stream X is a far easier proposition. It’s incredibly light at 2.2kgs, 210mm wide and 350mm deep, but you must add 50mm rear room for connectors and USB memory stick; there is no front panel USB socket, an inconvenience for some users I suspect. A USB hub or extension cable would be needed to solve this by giving front access. There is no headphone output either. 



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