YouTube
  • Free UK Delivery on everything
  • Free Collection from store
  • Quality customer service
  • Our staff are audiovisual enthusiasts ready to help

Cyrus Factory Visit

Cyrus Audio Factory

We had the pleasure of popping over to meet the nice people at Cyrus Audio for a spot of training and a guided tour of their factory facilities. Based in Huntingdon Cambridge, Cyrus Audio are the quintessential example of British audio, famous for their exacting standards and brilliant engineering skills. Cyrus have always manufactured their designs into small chassis' which has become symbolic of the brand.

This has posed its own engineering challenges but it is something Cyrus have always overcome, and the sound quality achieved from these compact units is truly excellent.

Assembly Station

We started with the factory tour. This was split down into several stations where we were treated to seeing a Mono 300 being populated, where skillful hands at each assembly point carried out specified tasks to a high degree of accuracy. Each unit then went through an extensive testing process with every input plugged in and a speaker load applied. Cyrus’s own testing software runs a simulation which checks over every variable which the unit could encounter. This quickly identifies any potential issues, at which point failed units are returned to the production line for correction and passed units proceed on to soak testing. This involves CD players being put through a 14 hour simulation to make sure shipped units meet their stringent standards. A rather impressive operation which I thoroughly enjoyed seeing, and it is easy to see why Cyrus has been a staple name in Hi-Fi for many decades.

Cyrus Testing Bench

The other benches in the factory area are dedicated to maintenance and upgrades. Laden with parts and equipment, audio analysers, flutter meters, function generators, multi-meters, oscilloscopes, and more, it reminded me just how much Cyrus treasures its older customers and inspires loyalty with their efforts to support legacy equipment. They even offer upgrade paths for a lot of their aging kit, bringing them right up to date with their latest specifications.

The next stage was a quick presentation about the company, its history and their future. Cyrus have always stayed relevant through innovation and being at the forefront of the latest technology; whether be streamers, class D technology, aptx HD, they have found unique solutions for integrating them into a HiFi environment. The SoundKey is a classic example of this, a portable in-line headphone amplifier and DAC. This small device makes the most of music stored on our phones which is becoming an ever more important source in day to day life for most people.

Finally we got down to some listening, Chris and Nick were kind enough to do all the demonstration work so for once I got to sit back and listen. We started off with a modest setup, KEF LS50 being run off a Cyrus ONE (100W Class D Integrated), as entry level systems go it is always a good combination. AC/DC's You Shook Me All Night Long's lively and foot tapping performance came with great command over the kick drum and extension which I have come to expect from the Cyrus One. Switching over to the 6 DAC 57W Class A/B Integrated added an element of warmth and highlighted the vibrato on the notes in Angus Youngs intro, while Brian Johnson's vocals were a little easier on the ears, however there was a trade off with there being less control on the lower end. The 82 DAC gave the best of both worlds and I heard more information with added clarity on the high hats and the decay time of symbol crashes which sounded more extended and natural.

Cyrus Demo Rack

The fantastic thing was as we kept going through the range, the Cyrus kit kept its same signature but we just got more from it every time. When we switched over to Pre/Power they also introduced a set of PMC 25.24 speakers into the mix to help show the added detail and extension possible on route to their flagship system. The biggest difference for me came when they introduced the DAC XP Signature. As they were using purely the analogue outputs from a Stream Xa for each demo, it meant we were only listening to the Pre-amp section and it was like night a day. It all ended with the DAC XP Signature, PSX-R and a pair of Mono X300 which they allowed us to go nuts with the music selection (my personal favourite part).

After we finished a few hours of listening, our last task of the day was for Andy and I to get our QX certification. After a tutorial and quick poke around the inside of a streamer and integrated amplifier, we were put to the test and had to carry out the upgrades. Happily, I can say we both passed with flying colours, and can now offer the QX upgrades in-store.

Cyrus QX Upgrade Certificates

All around it was a fantastic day! It was great to meet the faces and brains behind the brand and when you see the passion they exude you know why Cyrus continues to be a success that it is. We are looking forward to hosting the Cyrus UK tour later in the year (details to be announced) and this will give you a chance to meet some of the team as well.

If you want to book a demonstration on any of the Cyrus equipment, we are a full signature dealer and have almost the entire range on demonstration, so just give us a call.

Adam

Cyrus Award Wall

Arcam AV860 AV Processor Announced

Some exciting news for the new year, Arcam have announced their long awaited replacement for the AV950 - The AV860!!! Due in January 2017. We are looking forward to receiving our demo model.

Arcam AV860 Front

This has caught a few people by surprise as earlier this year it was noticed off a return command:

"AV960 Response: “AMXB<Device-SDKClass=Receiver><Device-Make=ARCAM><Device-Model=AV960><Device-Revision=x.y.z> ”

So the forums were ablaze with talk of an imminent release of the AV960. This was followed shortly by denial from Arcam of there going to be an AV960 (sort of true), which many took as a sign that Arcam had pulled out of the AV processor market... Fortunately the rumours turned out not to be true with Arcam releasing specifications and pictures of the their new AV processor this week.

Spec wise the AV860 is looking impressive and ticking all the right boxes:

  • Dolby Atmos & DTS:X 7.1.4 decoding
  • 4K (UHD) HDMI2.0a with HDCP2.2
  • 7 HDMI inputs, 3 HDMI outputs, ARC compatible
  • Dirac Live ® for Arcam room correction
  • Cirrus CS42528 audiophile DAC
  • Balanced Outputs

Arcam AV860 Rear

It will have a price tag of £3999 and Arcam have stated that it is going to be built in the UK, so overall rather reasonable. Currently if you are doing a full 7.1.4 system it will mean using 2 x P429 and a P349 as a minimum to drive your 11 channels making it a 4 box solution. There are other power amps on the market offering 5,7 and 11 channels, if you are looking to keep the number of boxes reduced. Either way you will want an AV860 at the head of your system for sure but here's hoping Arcam have something else up their sleeve.

Available for pre-order now just click here

REL No25 On Demo

We received a rather large and special delivery today, the first REL Acoustics No25 subwoofer in the country is now on demonstration at Nintronics :).

REL No25 On Demonstration

A quick summary of the specifications on this sub bass system - it is a sealed box, forward firing design with an ultra long throw 15” carbon fibre drive unit powered off a 1000W RMS Class D amp board. With an extension down to 15Hz @ -6db on paper this sub should be an absolute beast! But the key to REL has always been their speed and their control of bass, and with this being their first attempt at a 15” drive unit we were all excited to hear what it could do.

The first thing to strike you is it the sheer size of the package when it turns up, triple boxed and palletised for safety it is about as courier proof as a package can be. It comes packed with a Neutrik cable (for high level connection), manual and a glorious remote which has a carbon fibre finish. Unpacking the unit was fairly easy considering its size and weight. From there we got it installed in our demo room, plugged in and warming up.

Visually the No25 is striking, with its curvaceous finish distracting from its overall size and the 12 coats of piano black lacquer makes for a mirror like finish which gleams impeccably. It is certainly the "plus size" model of the audio world and we were confident that it would sound every bit as good as it looks and more.

REL No25 Grill Up close

Nothing seems to be a compromise here and we were left in admiration of how every detail has been addressed to achieve sub-bass perfection. The MDF is sourced from Australia as it was found to sound superior in their testing to MDF of the same thickness from other countries. The cabinets are formed by way of a sophisticated heating and pressing process so as not to structurally weaken it compared to standard cutting and bending techniques. Even details such as the size of the badge on top of the No25 are dictated by performance standards.

The set up is very much the same as standard REL subwoofers, but with one important introduction of two EQ filter bands which can apply upto +/- 6db across the frequency range, which can be set from 20-90hz. All the adjustments you need to make can be done from the supplied remote but also from the rear panel if required. For positioning REL usually suggest using a corner to help the in room response but the No25 needs nothing of the sort and will be happy to dig its way out of any modal issues to give a smooth response. 

For our listen we integrated the No25 into a system running a pair of B&W 805 D3 driven by a McIntosh MA8000 and after a little playing around and movement we had things blended perfectly. The No25 underpinned the B&W stand mounts, carrying their bass extension all the way down but with such tight integration that one could be forgiven for thinking that it was all coming from these small speakers.  Speed of bass is key and this is why we favour REL subs in particular - so many subwoofer companies focus on the thunderous side of bass which is relatively easy to do but they end up lagging with a slow impulse response making seamless integration within a music system impossible to achieve. The No25 simply excels in all areas - from frequency response to SPL it was capable of handling everything we threw at it with ease and that was with it being straight out of the box.

We will be giving it plenty more burn in over the coming weeks - our final conclusion will follow once it is fully run in, but if it is this sublime now then we can only imagine what is still to come.

We welcome you to come down and hear this impressive beast for yourself. Please give us a call on 01707 320 788 to book your demonstration.

What's on Demo

It has been a rather busy few months... Time seems to fly by. I figured it would be a good time to post up a list of current demo stock... we had customer pop in to pick an amplifier and was surprised to find we actually have a demo room and a fair few bits of equipment from a variety of manufacturers on display... So it seems we are dreadful at marketing this fact... So here is our current demo list:

Anthem

MRX720

MRX1120

AVM60

Arcam

A19

A29

A39

A49

C49

P49

P349

CDS27

AVR390

AVR550

AVR850

SR250

Astell & Kern

AK120

AK Junior

Audeze

LCD3

LCD-XC

EL8 Closed Back and open

B&W

686

685

684

683

HTM61

HTM62

CM1

CM5

CM6

CM9

CM10

CMC1

CMC2

MT60D

805 D3

804 D3

803 D3

802 D3

800 D3

HTM1

HTM2

CWM 8.3, CWM 8.5 inwall and CCM8.5 inceiling speakers in our demo room

Chord Electronics

2Qute

Mojo

Hugo

Hugo TT

DAVE

CPM2650

CPM2800 Mk II

SPM1200 (coming soon)

TToby (Coming Soon)

SPM1400 Mk II Mono (pair)

CPA3000
SPM1050 Mk II

DSX1000 Streamer

Codex (latest version running Spartan 6 DAC chip)

Classe

Sigma SSP

Sigma 5 Power Amp

Waiting for NEW Delta Series

2200i Integrated

Cyrus

Stream X Signature

Stream Xa

CDi

CD XT Signature

82 DAC

Pre DAC

DAC XP Signature

Phono Signature

Stereo 200

X power

Mono X300 (pair)

Dali

Zensor 5.1 pack

Opticon 1

Opticon 6

Rubicon 6

Epicon 6

Epicon 2

Focal

Aria 906

Aria 926

Aria 936

Aria CC900

Sopra N1

Sopra N2

Sopra N3

Diablos

Electra 1008 BE

Electra 1028 BE

Utopia Headphones

Grado

GS1000E

PS1000E

KEF

LS50

R100

R500

R200c

Reference 1

Reference 3

Reference 5

Reference 8b Sub

Reference 2c

Reference 4c

McIntosh

C47

MC275 Mk6

MC152

MA7900

MA5200

MC302

Martin Logan

Renaissance

Expression

Monitor Audio

Silver 1

Silver 8

Gold 100

Gold 300

PL100 II

PL200 II

PL300 II

PL500 II

PLC150 II

PLC350 II

PLW215 II

Radius 90

Radius 225

Musical Fidelity

M3si

M5si

M6si

M8 PRE

M8 700 Mono (Pair)

Nu Vista 800

Nu Vista CD

Naim

ND5 XS

NDX

NDS/555PS

UnitiServe

SuperUniti

Naimuniti 2

UnitiLite

UnitiQute 2

Muso

Muso QB

CD5si

CD5 XS

NAC552

NAC252

NAC282

NAC272-N

NAC152 XS

NAC-N 172 XS

NAP100

NAP155 XS

NAP 200 DR

NAP 250 DR

NAP300 DR

NAP 500 DR

SuperNait

Nait XS 2

Nait 5Si

XP5 XS

FlatCap XS

XPS XS

Super Cap

Oppo

105D

PM3

PM1

HA1 Headphones Amplifier

HA2

PrimaLuna

Prologue Premium

Dialogue HP Premium

REL

T-Zero

T5i

T7i

T9i

S2

S3

S5

212SE

G2

G1

Roksan

K3 Amp

K3 CD Di

M2

M2 CD

M2 Pwr

Rotel

RC-1570

RB-1582

RA1592

Sennheiser

HD800

HD800S

Sonus Faber

Venere 1.5

Venere 2.0

Venere 3.0

Olympica 1

Olympica 2

Chameleon T

Still Points

Wide Selection

Tannoy

XT6 F

XT8 F

DC8T

DC10T

DC10A

We have plenty more in stock and some bits ready to go so no waiting around. We also have plenty of other brands coming on board this year (especially for turntables)... Oh and we just fitted the Epson LS10000 Projector in our demo room which is looking spectacular!!

Focal Aria 906 Review

Focal Aria 906 Review
 
Earlier this year, our blog covered the Bristol based Sound & Vision Hi Fi show, providing a critical overview of the event's peaks and troughs in our typical objective fashion (whilst throwing in a few petulant rants for a bit of added spice). Back then I outlined the diminutive Focal Aria 905s as one of the clear standouts of the entire show - few speakers being demonstrated that weekend managed to sound so natural and involving while costing so little. I sung their praises to anybody who would listen (and to many who would not) and, as time passed, my enthusiasm for the tiny bookshelf speakers began to wane as they became nothing more than a pleasant memory.
 
Six months went by until one day the guys at Nintronics casually mentioned that they had the Aria 900 range in stock. Never one to pass up an opportunity, I pounced on the chance to review as many of Focal's fine offerings as possible - and the rest, as they say, is history.
 
If you've perused the other reviews on our blog, you will have learned that our speakers of choice are the frankly astounding KEF LS50s. Why is that relevant in a Focal Aria 906 review ? Well, mostly because both pairs of speakers retail for a similar price at RRP and are natural competitors when it comes to someone choosing a pair of capable bookshelf speakers but wanting to keep their expenditure within reasonable limits. So, without further ado, let's take some time to explore what the Aria 906s bring to the table (or indeed the bookshelf).
 
**Some background**
 
The first thing you need to know about the Aria 906s is that they are the next model up from my Bristol show favourites - the Aria 905s. They cost a little more than that sterling little pair and come with a tweaked spec sheet that *should* ensure that they sound even better. 
 
Speaker manufacturers don't always experiment with new materials for their drivers, although every company tends to have their own proprietary designs and technologies that they harness to try and win over a market that is very well catered for. For the new Aria 900 range Focal have turned to flax as their new material of choice. As they state in their glossy marketing collateral "an ideal cone should be light, for rapid acceleration, stiff so as not to distort the sound, particularly in the bass, and finally, damped - that is to say neutral - so as not to add sound colouration from its component materials.". 
 
Established materials that bring about the kind of performance that Focal is aiming for, such as Focal's own 'W' sandwich cone, are hand built and their manufacturing costs put them outside of the "affordable" bracket. To get around this reality of capitalism Focal have experimented with new materials and have settled on flax fibre as their solution. Grown in the singularly unique climactic conditions of Flanders, Picardy and Normandy it has the mechanical qualities that match what Focal are seeking to achieve. Of course the proof for any such marketing claims is always in the pudding and using the most exotic materials won't matter if you don't deliver sound-wise.
 
**Unboxing**
 
When you first unbox the Aria 906s you immediately spot the flax speaker cones - they have a mottled beige quality to them and are as original as B&W's yellow kevlar. The enclosures themselves are pleasantly upmarket and have polished, reflective wood finish, except for the back panels where they have been treated with a leather effect. The overall feel is altogether impressive and it shows that Focal have thought hard about the aesthetics of their product as well as the sound characteristics. You also get some speaker grilles and some bass port plugs - all very standard when it comes to bookshelf speakers.
 
**Testing**
 
With the Aria 906s hooked up to a Rega Brio-R via QED XT40s all being pushed by a Denon DM37 connected via Epiphany Acoustics Atratus interconnects we set to tasking the speakers with something to do to see how they would cope with some of the more leftfield genres out there. Diana Krall, Norah Jones and Coldplay will probably sound fine as they're not exactly challenging to render. Mathcore, ambient doom and various mutant strands of dubstep are another story though. 
 
From the get-go the Aria 906s retain the natural sounding signature of their smaller, cheaper 905 cousins. What these speakers seem to absolutely excel at is replicating the timbres of instruments, particularly strings, as well their clear imaging of instrument separation and rendering of voices. The B&W 685 S2s are speakers that have a similar 3D timbre quality, but where the S2s only slightly hint at how an instrument might sound live the Aria 906s render all of it in high definition and manage to do so in a gentle and enjoyable manner.
 
The 906s also exhibit considerable bass quality, but sadly not extension. Pushing them with Kode 9's "Kingstown" doesn't quite result in the sort of subsonic rumble that the very best speakers out there are capable of. Instrument separation is uncanny - these units gently spread apart the layers of recordings to show their constituent parts. When listening to Soundgarden's "Superunknown" at volume hitherto undiscovered guitar licks and bass flourishes were suddenly rendered distinctly - quite a few hi-fi reviews tend to fall back on this old descriptive chestnut, and probably devalue it in the process somewhat, but I can say with confidence that I've heard very few speakers where the separation is so palpably clear and spacious, particularly when using such budget sources and amplification.
 
And yet, because of that lack of bass extension, they simply do not sound sufficiently full to give energetic music the impact intended as can be heard on Lamb's "God Bless". Give that they are bookshelf speakers this is not surprising and many other lauded bookshelf models don't handle bass reproduction as well as a good set of floorstanding speakers might. Shining examples of speaker design like the KEF LS50s have them bested on bass extension if not other parts of the frequency spectrum. A crossover with a good quality sub (or even a pair!) would certainly fill out the sound.
 
The 906s may not be proper studio monitors but they definitely do provide insight into any well recorded track. Their detailed mid-range and gentle high frequencies contribute to the clarity that one hears when auditioning all the while managing to do so in a non-fatiguing way - a difficult act to pull off given the propensity of some manufacturers to tune their speakers' tweeters to strident levels. 
 
**Conclusion**
 
In fact, during testing I never once thought to myself that the 906s are in any way harsh or unpleasant - they are supremely skilled in their politeness. I can see them being a big hit with any genre that doesn't require a lot of bass to shine - jazz, blues, acoustic, vocal performances, classical (with the aforementioned bass limitations) - all of these would suit the Aria 906s just fine and bring their owners a lot of enjoyment. They also look rather handsome when placed on some dedicated speaker stands. No they're not quite Sonus Fabers in terms of fit and finish, but they're far better than the rather plain finishes you see on the slightly cheaper B&W 685 S2s. For the money they're a very good proposition, particularly if you spot them on offer. So long as you are aware of their strengths and limitations they prove to be a solid contender for the sub £1K bookshelf speaker spot.

Nintronics Ltd, Unit 7, Martinfield Business Centre, Welwyn Garden City, AL7 1HG
Tel: 01707 320788 Email: sales@nintronics.co.uk

© 2009 - 2017 Nintronics   Company number: 06606660   Sitemap | XML Sitemap

Created by bluebox

Onkyo Authorised Internet Dealers Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment