May 2010 issue - page 4

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Since my first foray into hi-fi over three years ago, which was the purchase of a Pioneer A-400 and a pair of Wharfedale 505.2s, and the subsequent purchases of hi-fi magazines, I’ve had a strong liking for Cyrus equipment. Their consistently impressive sounding, and gorgeous, non-conformist looking products have left me wanting after a Cyrus set up for a long time. And since their birthday, and the trade-in, trade-up programme that ensued, I’ve been finding a lot more of their amplifiers and CD players on eBay at a fraction of their RRP. Older models, admittedly, but Cyrus nonetheless. I have, on many occasions, been tempted to click the ‘Buy It Now’ button, but there is one niggle at the back of my mind - will it be any good?’ I don’t mean to sound tight, but I don’t want to be spending upwards of £300 on a Cyrus 7 amplifier, for it to fall apart after the new 6 month warranty expires.

For an intermediate hi-fi lover, with a small budget, could you recommend these refurbished wonders, or should I steer clear?

Keith Doe


Cyrus products: well built into a compact, diecast case and with a very smooth sound.


Yes, I can recommend them. Cyrus are a fine (and oft-overlooked) company and can service virtually any bit of Cyrus (or Mission Cyrus) kit, indefinitely into the future. You'll be buying a very well made, lovingly designed classic which should give years of good service. By and large, they have a clean and musical sound, although they're very much in the transistor idiom; it's hardly likely to have tube fans drooling. But match to a good pair of speakers and decent cables and you've a lovely system. Add as many PSX-Rs as you're able to; they're a great addition, bringing clarity, focus and dimensionality. DP



At present my system consists of an LP12, Ittok, Valhalla, and Cirkus bearing with an Adikt cartridge, a Marantz CD75 Mk11 CD player, an Aura 80 SE-x amplifier and Sony SS A1L speakers (they’re Sony versions of the LS3/5a, not a bad speaker, easy to listen to over long periods but missing bits at the frequency extremes!). They’re sat on Atacama SE stands and connected with Supra speaker cable and a Kimber PBJ interconnect from CD to amplifier.


I listen in the front room of my home (Edwardian terrace, so I’ve high ceilings, a suspended wooden floor and a bay window, approx 5m x 4m); I listen across the width of the room.


My musical tastes take in jazz, especially jazz guitar, classical guitar, acoustic music and the odd bit of rock or R & B.

The Aura is starting to show its age now and is getting a little temperamental, so I think it’s time to think about changing it. Now I have given myself a budget of £700 but here’s the kicker,,,


I prefer playing my guitars to listening to others so I don’t listen to my system for as long or as often as I used to. As I only need two inputs I’m somewhat put off by integrated amplifiers that have a multitude of inputs (the Aura has six; I’ve only ever used two), because if I don’t need it why have it!


I know the speakers and CD player are also getting on a bit but if it isn’t broke it’ll stay (it helps if your hearing’s going then the speakers lack of something in the frequency range matters little).


I intend to stay within the budget range and I think my choices are limited to either a Creek or Pro-ject preamp, a separate phono stage, Creek again or the Cambridge Audio, but the puzzle seems to be the power amplifier. I’ve seen plenty of possibles in the classifieds (such as Arcams, Musical Fidelity, NAD etc) and on the internet, but my concern with the Creek (passive) route is: would a phono stage have sufficient output through such a device to be able to meet the demands of the power amplifier input?


So I’d be obliged if you could give me your thoughts on the above. I realise the amplifier will be second-hand; that’s not a problem but I’d prefer something like the Arcam as that could be serviced by the manufacturer.

Charles Bates


Hi Charles - why are you going for three different second-hand amps (phono stage, pre and power), instead of a single decent integrated? Your budget could get you a good several-year-old Sugden A21 S2, which would be about as good a sound as it's possible to get at the price. This would give a beautifully fast and incisive sound, that's a fine partner to your Sondek. Personally I'd go straight for this instead of faffing around with budget pre-powers. DP


Many phono stages do not have enough gain to drive power amplifiers direct, so beware of this. You would need x1000 or 60dB for MM, for example, and most manage x100-x200 at most. NK



My Stello DA100 DAC and ANT Cora 3T LTD arrived here in the Philippines several weeks ago and I’m very well pleased. Special thanks to Sound Hi-Fi for their wonderful service and careful shipping. The package only took a few days to arrive although it was slightly held up in customs: not unusual but on the bright side the saving in VAT more than paid for the shipping.


I’ve also had exceptional help from Martin Logan in guiding me through the refurbishment of my Arius speakers, supplying new stators and condensers and constant emails back and forth.


So now to my need for further advice. I’m happy with my front end: Pink Triangle Anniversary; Pink Triangle d.c. power supply; SME 309 and Lyra Argo i and the ANT has replaced my ageing Iso HR.


I’d like to rewire the arm but have resigned myself to thinking that is just not possible over here. The Stello is being used with my laptop as server which sounds just as good as CDs through my Theta Miles plus Stello, and of course has major functionality advantages. Goodbye CD player and discs!


My amps are first edition Michell Alectos and they are the subject of my enquiry. I’m cabled for mono blocks bi-wired to the Arius’s and would prefer to keep it that way and spend the money on power as all my cables are in the high-end category, i.e. expensive. The amps are working well with no noticeable problems but I assume, fifteen years or so on, there are amps that can make a step change improvement?


I should mention my preamp is a Conrad Johnson 17LS, which a few years ago replaced the Michell Argo. It made a great improvement to sound stage and clarity. That was the first time I’d used valves and have no bias one way or the other as regards solid state or valves, my only reticence with the latter is sourcing the valves over here.


My big problem is of course auditioning, but there is not a lot I can do about it. On my brief trips back to the UK, the chance of setting up a system close to mine and then auditioning mono’s is beyond my powers of organisation. However, and don’t take this as too fawning, but you guys know the market so I will rely on what you suggest and take the plunge. I’ve been reading the magazine for years so have an idea what your reflections may suggest - I just need a push in the right direction.


My choice in music is thoroughly rock and it’s derivatives, electronic, ambient, reggae, new world.


Finally to budget. This will be my last big purchase, being an aged rocker. My Alectos were about £1,800 so a minimum of £4,000 seems fair. To make a meaningful advance I guess another £3,000 is to be expected, so between £4-£7000. As you will have gathered from the love of my Martin Logans, not rock friendly I accept, but I love sound stage, both depth and width. However, if you feel I’m fooling myself please say so.

John Rainey



Alecto amplifier - Michell can service  it.


There are two obvious paths; first is to get your Alectos reconditioned. You can send them back to Michell for a service, after which you might be surprised how good they are. Indeed Michell themselves tell me that they're about to reintroduce them, but you won't get them for £1,800 any more! I really rate the Alecto, it's a classic and shouldn't be dismissed too quickly.


However, if you're set on a big upgrade and have the cash to back it up, I'd have no hesitation - given your tastes - to recommend the Musical Fidelity AMS35p. The integrated version which I use is superb; aside from Icon Audio's MB845 valve amps (which may not be what you're looking for), there's surely little that can compare at its £5,999 price. This current crop of high end Musical Fidelity kit seems to be a golden generation for the company; I'm not a fan of every high end amp they've ever done but the AMS range is superlative. Oodles of clean power, wonderful timbral accuracy and an unremittingly musical nature. DP

Comments (1)
Speaker matching with Lumley ST70
1Saturday, 02 July 2011 09:06
Mike Ford
The Output transformers on The Lumley ST70 have 4 ohm taps but these are not wired to the output terminals as standard. A competent technician should be able to alter the connections to 4 ohms.

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