Hifi Pig published the review of the X DAC Signature’s siblings, the X200 Signature mono amplifiers a few days ago and Dan found them to be very good indeed – so good in fact he awarded them a Recommended Award. In a day or so we will have the review of the X DAC Signature playing along with the X 200 Signatures by way of a system report.Cyrus_XDAC_SIGNATURE_FRONT

The preface history to the X DAC Signature is the same as the X200, but here, to offer completeness, it is again.

Following the launch of the Anniversary Series System, Cyrus Audio has launched the Signature Series, an exclusive range of fine-tuned hifi components.

Initially comprising a four-strong range, the components share many of the performance-enhancing modifications seen in the limited-edition Anniversary Series System and have been fine-tuned by Technical Director, Peter Bartlett.

The Signature Series will represent Cyrus’s flagship product line up and comprises upgraded versions of the X Series components: DAC X Signature (DAC); DAC XP Signature (DAC/preamp) and the Mono X 200 and X300 Signature (mono power amps). Further models are expected to join the range later in the year. The Signature Series include performance-enhancing modifications and the very latest-generation components that Cyrus say bring improvements in detail and resolution.

Each component comes in the standard Cyrus bead-blasted cast chassis, in either black or quartz finish, and feature the ‘Signature’ badge on the fascia.

The DAC X Signature is a twin 32-bit stereo DAC, designed in dual-mono configuration where the operational elements of the system, such as the digital control signals, are optically isolated from the twin mono DAC cards. The DAC X Signature also possesses a carefully specified power supply system based on a custom designed ultra-low-noise torroidal power transformer.

There are 3 x Optical SPDIF and 4 x RCA Coaxial connectors, unbalanced RCA outputs and balanced XLR too.Cyrus_XDAC_SIGNATURE_BACK

The front panel, sporting the ‘Signature’ logo, has buttons for moving through source selection, a power button, menu button with an accompanying rotary selector for changing options within the menu. An LCD display indicates input selection and bitrate/sampling rate whilst in use.

The Sound

Norah Jones’ ‘Above Ground’ was terrifically smooth with great textural detail to the bands instruments and this lent a natural and musical reproduction to guitar, bass guitar and drums. There was clarity and separation between the placement of individual instruments within the soundstage. The Long Way Home’ has a clear rubbing of guitar strings to the left of the soundstage which was extremely clear. Norah’s vocals projected from good central depth and had a natural well balanced quality with not too much body to overshadow her clear tones – which is how I prefer vocals presented. There’s great delicacy with the DAC and a smoothness which retains great musicality with a decided lack of edginess or forwardness to the sound.

Fleetwood Macs ‘Big Love (Live)’ felt immediately more vibrant than the previous recordings, indicating to me that the DAC doesn’t display a samey samey approach to reproducing sounds. Centre focus was sharp and guitar notes were vibrant and airy. The short solo on the track which has the guitarist walking across the stage from the left, around to the rear of the stage, back across to the left and then back to the forefront of the band was clearly portrayed and soundstage width was good whilst retaining great height in the centre of the performance.

‘The Chain’ produced very similar characteristics, with a great punchy bass and terrific vibrancy to the ringing of cymbals. The track was very rhythmic and pacey. The track can be a little forward with an uncontrolled front end yet I never picked up on any of this with the DAC running from my Squeezebox and through the Emille Integrated.

Hollies ‘The Air That I Breath’ showed fantastic separation to the soundstage retaining a cohesive but never disjointed image, creating width and ambience.

Loreena McKennits ‘Raglan Road’ was simply beautiful; refined and silky in the midrange with good control to the top end extension to her powerful voice, accompanied by delicacy to violins and piano notes. Depth once again was great to the centre of the performance. A wonderful dark background allowed expression in the vocals to flow marvelously well.

‘Whisper Not’ by George Shearing and Mel Torme was a fun bouncy and musical performance with good transparency on cymbals and a natural and “un-manufactured” soundstage displaying neutrality and vibrancy. I felt there was a slight lack of body to the performance although it still retained musicality.

There were a few tracks I played which I felt sounded a little thinner with the DAC in my system which were fuller bodied in the full Cyrus setup. However, Spotify through the modified Touch was great, the DAC added great vibrancy and detail with plenty of musical appeal and weight  to the sound, proving lesser recordings could be enhanced by its ability to refine and retain tempo.

Dynamics using the DAC were fantastic with a wide range of dance and trance music which I played through my valve amp. Emilly can really kick out a beat and the DAC pushed her to her very limits. There was slam, out of phase dynamic nuances and midrange projection that flooded the room. Sound staging was huge, spacious and had insight into every part of the music, energising me after previously listening to all those vocal and acoustic tracks.CYRUS_XDAC_FB_

Adding one of my aftermarket DHLabs mains cables to the DAC was a further treat to hear. Soundstaging blew out across the width of the room and layered slightly better with more ambiance and harmonic dissipation. Finer details became more apparent and the midrange was a little more liquid. Bass retained its bouncy extended appeal yet tightened a little and became a little more informative. I very much recommend trying a dew aftermarket mains cables with this unit.


The DAC likes to be fed good recordings, but what I have found with some other DACs is that bad recordings have a more bang and tizz approach to those poorly recorded tracks and albums, whereas the Signature X DAC loses a bit of body yet displays a more cohesive musical performance – it doesn’t suck the midrange out and replace it with edgy treble and a boomy bass, it seems to relax a little and just take things a little more easily and in its stride.

I was extremely impressed at the musicality that was achieved with Spotify as I listen to it regularly as background music for discovering new artists and even for a more critical listening session.

The flexibility of the unit, with its size and masses of connections both in and out is outstanding. It sat neatly next to my headphone amp on a standard shelf and I had no need to move things from here to there to demo it in my system.

The Cyrus Signature X DAC has a great musical character; it’s refined, dynamic and has a wide and informative soundstage. It is able to portray the music on a recording dependent basis, injecting its character, yet never making different recordings sound ‘the same old’. I would recommend this on your must demo list if you are in the market for a Recommended 100 x 66pxnew DAC.

Price is £1750

Author – Dan

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1 Comment

  1. As a follow up to the two recent reviews of the X200 Monos and XDAC from Cyrus’ flagship product line up, I wanted to do a small joint system review in order to give some perspective on system synergy etc.

    The system composed of a modded Squeezebox Touch – XDAC – X200 Monos – Ayon Seagull Ceramic Speakers and my regular Audioquest interconnects and Speaker Cables.

    The Sound

    First up was some Daft Punk and immediately the sound was thicker and more lucid, retaining all the musicality of the previous system configurations and reviews. However there was more of a dominant bass note, not over shadowing more bore – impressively robust and full. Mids had more bottom end slam and texture with added warmth, solid and crisp with gained authority.

    Next up I played ‘Mikado’ Passenger 10. Holy shhhikes! The tightness of the bass was incredible, it slammed with such elasticity and bouncyness which was completely unexpected after Daft Punk – seemed fuller than normal yet still controlled. Soundstage was enormous and the speakers became a non-entity. I had a friend pop over quickly to drop something off and quickly sat him in front of the system, his jaw dropped then turned into a smile and he said, ‘so you’ve got surround sound again then have you? Where’s the speakers?’. We were completely enveloped in out of phase, behind your head dynamics, tones and nuances. Centre focus was absolutely rigid and three dimensional and lower bass extensions simply washed through the room. Fantastic and very unexpected indeed!

    Well solid state, some well recorded and mixed tunes of the dancey type and I was serious pleased. Yet still a valve man at heart and not for comparison purposes but intrigued none the less, I’ve gotta put on some great vocals now and see how beautiful the midrange can be.

    So…..ummm……ahh! Lets really test the control of a serious female vocalist. Rachelle Ferrell, the only woman on the planet who can hit a range of four octaves. From the album “Intentionally” the last track ‘Can I Explain’ is an absolute must listen for any vocal enthusiast. It really shows off Rachelles dynamic range, I always turn the system volume up for this track but sometimes too much as the column of her voice changes so dramatically thought the song that sometimes I think I’m gunna blow a driver or two! Wow! I love the liquid vocals on my valve amp and have spent many hours and £’s getting the valves, just right. The Signature setup sounded absolutely fantastic and effortless, I can’t say as gorgeously liquid as the valves, but the presence and dynamics were golden. There was just so much ease to the overall presentation – bass notes were solid and the piano and cymbals just rang throughout the soundstage. I noticed no forwardness in the upper mids, just a well projected controlled stellar performance.

    Micheal Bubles ‘Cry Me A River’ is hugely dynamic with the accompanying big band as is ‘All Of Me’. His vocals were rich and textured and were never over shadowed by the huge dynamic slam and flurries of the instruments. Soundstage was enveloping and engaging.

    For some delicacy and to one of my favourites… as you guys have probably learned by now… Norah Jones. I listened to a range (23 or so) of tracks from many of her albums. One thing I’ve noticed with Norah is even though her vocals project well, on a good system her voice is heard always from a deeper background than most recording artists’, there’s always plenty of depth to the centre of the soundstage and with the Signatures it was just as it should be.

    Once again, as with the Daft Punk at the beginning of this review, there was more perception of lower mid warmth and texture, bags of rhythm and deep extended notes. Many of the tracks display instances such as gentle rubbing of strings, finger nail tapping on a guitars chamber and other small inner details. The insight-fulness of the Cyrus’ reproduced these well also.


    The system produces a wide, high, spacious sound with a black background that displays huge dynamics control and resolution effortlessly. The synergy between front end X Signature and amplifier is seamless and just so damn musical, it just makes you want to turn up the wick and think ‘right, what shall I play next?’

    Am I becoming a Cyrus fanboy, well I’ve always appreciated them for their tonal balance and musicality but this Signature range is an absolute triumph and I take my hat off to Peter and the team.

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