A wonderful discovery. The Cyrus Audio CD transport CD Xt model. It declares that the data retrieve takes place with an ultra-reduced reading error, and they feel it; custom mechanics and servo-control. Matching with the Metrum ONYX DAC, the final result is of exceptional balance. Two champions, produces a top-notcher.
Please contact us to find the right digital cable for your system.
Based on improvements made to their Anniversary System CD player, the CD Xt Signature is a dedicated CD transport which produces audiophile sound quality. It is manufactured with a range of performance enhancing techniques and components, including an evolved version of their Servo Evolution technology.
The CD Xt Signature is a dedicated CD transport which produces audiophile sound quality. It is manufactured with a range of performance enhancing techniques and components, including an evolved version of our Servo Evolution technology.
Two separate power supplies provide huge reserves of power, which eliminates the need for a PSX-R₂. The sound produced by the CD Xt Signature is truly stunning, providing a room filling wide and high soundstage.
Our SE platform is specifically engineered to retrieve data from an audio CD with the fewest errors. To provide ideal data output for hi-fi, Cyrus controls the whole electromechanical servo system providing superior quality audio than previously possible with conventional drives.
By removing the onboard DAC, the CD Xt Signature works purely as a digital transport. Removing additional circuitry allows the CD Xt Signature to focus purely on data retrieval and a high performance digital output.
Optical and coaxial outputs provide connectivity to a variety of DAC’s. Our very best digital output stage has been engineered for the CD Xt Signature with signal re-clocking for extremely low jitter.
CD Xt Signature features the latest generation of our slot load CD technology. This quiet and low contact mechanism provides myriad benefits to the traditional tray method of loading a CD whilst also de-cluttering the front panel for an improved aesthetic.
The CD Xt Signature features an over-specified linear power supply which provides isolation for precision parts of the circuit ensuring the most accurate reproduction possible.
"Looking for a top class transport? The XT Signature doesn't disappoint with a sound that’s cleaner, crisper and more dynamic than anything we've recently heard at the money. Partner it with a suitable DAC and you’ll be in hi-fi heaven.”
What Hi-Fi, 23th April, 2015
Servo Evolution – the first audiophile standard CD platform. Whereas almost every other CD player uses a standard off-the-shelf disc reading platform with the focus on the DAC section, Cyrus took the unique move of creating something better: our own disc reading technology.
The benefit of the Cyrus Servo Evolution technology is the ability to pick up more data from the disc first time round rather than relying on error correction to fill in missing gaps in the data.
This supplies the DAC with up to 20% more information than the conventional design and explains the higher resolution that all Cyrus CD players are capable of producing.
All of our CD players now use our third generation servo firmware which provides audible improvements to the reading of CDs.
Benefits of Servo Evolution include:
• Pulls more data from the disc than typical disc-reading systems
• Up to 5 times fewer data errors
• Reads more data ‘right first time’ than any other CD system
• Less dependent upon error correction
• Lower noise interference
• Improved optic control accuracy
A standard CD-ROM drive is optimised for high speed data retrieval. It is not the best tool for reading a CD audio disc in high definition. Other proprietary drives are typically low cost, high volume designs with inevitable compromises in the early stages of the data retrieval process. In order to achieve the perfect sound replication that we strive for, it is simply not enough to take the data from the CD, feed it to a DAC and expect the best possible audio performance. It is commonly misunderstood that CD data retrieval is digital and therefore always perfect. The laser light reflected from the CD surface is converted into an electrical signal, which is in fact an analogue signal. The quality of this analogue signal is directly linked to the number of errors in the later digitising process. A good analogue light signal is completely dependent upon the ability of the servo systems to control the focus of the laser light spot, providing smooth tracking of the data stamped onto the disc. The Cyrus-designed system, unlike the off-the-shelf servo systems used by almost every other manufacturer, is optimised for audio data retrieval – and the proof is in the sound.
When evaluating our CD players please ensure that you use original CD’s to evaluate the performance and not copies of the originals (CD-R’s) as the burning engines in most CD burners devalue the benefits gained by our SE engineering. Not all CD burners do a good job of creating copies from the original disc and it’s a shame to compromise the fine engineering that makes our players sound so valuable, by feeding them with compromised information from the very start.
Cyrus developed the Servo Evolution hardware and firmware to attempt to resolve the problem of lost data as the disc is read. We refer to this suite of engineering as a CD ‘engine’ as it covers a collection of hardware and software engineering often rather too complex to interest a casual reader.
Hi-Fi manufacturers generally do not have the deep specialist servo firmware experience or investment budget to use anything other than off-the-shelf (OEM) CD drive ‘kits’ developed for mass production (CD loader, laser, sled mechanism and firmware to drive this set of parts). The engineering to make the mechanical parts work reliably in the intended environment is complex and sophisticated and therefore expensive to develop. Economics mean OEM kits are developed for the largest customers such as automotive markets. Because disc drives contain small, complex and mass produced parts, they require sophisticated firmware to keep the mechanical parts positioned over the data spiral on the CD. Even more problematic is that the big customers need this to happen while, for instance, a car is bumping 1.5g vertical acceleration over a pothole!
The answer is to optimise the servo code for a tough environment and buffer the output into a powerful averaging system or error corrector to provide an unbroken data stream as the car bumps along. The resulting output will play but contain a high ‘bit error rates’ that need the errors, or gaps in data, filling in with an approximation of the data/music. Clearly this is a work around solution for a harsh car environment but not ideal for the sound quality standards of a high resolution HiFi system in your living room. However commercially it does work for many mass market applications where the subtle leading edge information that would raise the hair on the back of your neck at home, is unlikely to be missed at 50 MPH with 80db ambient background noise in a car. So this is fine for mass market applications but is a severely compromised source in the mind of a Cyrus hi-fi engineer.
By comparison, hi-fi is a tiny market by volume and it is therefore not attractive for large drive manufacturers to offer a special system. Cyrus desired a disc drive that could read data ‘right first time’ without repairing gaps with approximations through error correction algorithms.
Because the needs of an in-car CD kit are very different from the needs of a domestic hi-fi, Cyrus had to decide if CD had a long enough life to make the substantial investment worthwhile. The decision was made and over 12 months three engineers worked to finish our unique SE (Servo Evolution) platform. The result was the world’s highest resolution CD engine. Our CD engine is very different from OEM kits as it runs the disc at 1x speed (not 50x for a PC drive) meaning we can optimise the controller motors to work much more accurately rather than just fast. We require accuracy rather than speed and this is where our SE system is so different to CD kits. So how good is the latest SE firmware and hardware? By comparison, Cyrus’ bit error rate delivers an output with 20% fewer errors than the next best system. In CD data terms, this is an enormous increase in resolution. Just take a moment to consider how much effort goes into gaining 5% improvement in amplifier noise or distortion. A 20% improvement in error rate means the error correction works infrequently, motors are rarely now asked to drag the laser sled back to re-read data, and focusing accuracy is maintained more of the time. The result of all this engineering is a data feed capable of greater subtlety and resolution because it gets more data from the disc ‘right first time’.
Traditionally, hi-fi designers have attempted to improve performance by focusing on post-servo options because their data quality is fixed by the needs of the mass market. Cyrus was motivated to develop SE because we believed that getting the data with greater accuracy was the correct engineering route as opposed to attempting to fix errors retrospectively. Because we have fewer errors, data is retrieved ‘right first time’, and therefore we have far less need for error correction, so the whole system is calmer with much reduced motor noise in our ground and power planes. Clearly not needing error correction nearly as often means our sound is a closer facsimile of the data on the CD because it is less ‘corrected’ and the players DAC section is not affected by power supply noise from motors in adjacent ground planes. It is also important to differentiate between those manufacturers who market a “special” buffering or correction system. These are not high resolution servo systems; they are attempts to improve on the generally available mass-produced OEM offerings made for the mass market and these kits are limited by lower resolution servo output.
With the goal of creating a very affordable, yet superior DAC in mind the designers of Metrum Acoustics have developed a new DAC, the ONYX By Metrum Acoustics.
It was an unprecedented challenge, which was eventually solved by using an entirely new chip, which has been exclusively developed by Metrum Acoustics and was first used in the PAVANE.
Available at your choice with the I2S input instead of the USB one.
The parallel driven R2R ladder networks as used in the four DAC modules performs , especially when combined with our FPGA-driven “forward correction module”, on a higher level. This module splits up the audio samples for each channel into new separate data streams. Each dac cluster processes a portion of the data in the most linear region of the dac chips. The result of this process is an extremely high linearity, right down to -140 dB, which gives the ONYX a realistic 24 bit dynamic range. Due to the dual mono design over the entire frequency range an extremely high channel separation of 120 dB is realized. This contributes to the flawless positioning of instruments.
In short, the ONYX is a DAC that has taken all the lessons and experiences that her designer has learned over the years, and combined them in an ambitious DAC that can fit in every system. It is musical, honors the Non-oversampling principle while simultaneously incorporating the technological progress that has been made over the years.
As a result music will be more exiting as details on very low levels will be audible. The ONYX can meet the best systems today in terms of sound quality as it borrows all the good things from our top models Pavane and Adagio.
High resolution linearity plot of DAC TWO (please see image "1000 step linearity plot DAC TWO module"). The analyzer is struggling to show us the last bits down to -140 dB. In case more bits are involved the steps are shrinking and more resolution is available. This extreme linearity is realized by our forward correction techniques and improves reproduction of the lowest musical details.
Still people do not realize the size of our dac modules (please see image of the DAC TWO on a credit card). For instance the Transient DAC TWO module has two R2R ladders, an FPGA and the I/V section under the hood. About half the size of a credit card and nothing to add except power and data. How simple can it be :-)
Just a note to discrete R2R ladders and why they cannot work properly (see
resolution table image):
1 no more accuracy than 0,01% so not more than 14 bits precision.
2 Too much temperature differences over the entire pcb leads to linearity problems.
3 Sensitive for pollution and humidity.
Therefore we only use lab grade laser trimmed ladder networks to get perfect
linearity and real 144 dB dynamic range. Next they should be encapsulated to
avoid mutually temperature changes and pollution. This table tells everything
but also tells you that more than 24 bits at the analog side is an Utopia due
to Johnson noise. Do not be fooled!!
How important proper signal routing is in case of mixed disciplines both analog and digital on one pcb. Further proper star ground can avoid any hum. Look at the picture named "New Generation DAC TWO proto dac board": DAC TWO used on a new proto board. An 882 Hz test tone at -90 dB is used but no rests of 50/100Hz is visible.