It’s been a long while since Cyrus Audio has found itself in the TechNuovo studio. The last time was a few years ago when we were fortunate enough to check out their ONE HD amp. And Cyrus this time round are sticking to their guns, as much of the technology inside the ONE Cast is the same, but, Cyrus has introduced new wireless capabilities, including Bluetooth and the ability to stream over your wireless network. Let’s take a look.
First off, I want to say that I feel Cyrus Audio has dropped the ball a bit with its build quality on the ONE Cast. On the one hand, most of the chassis itself is made from metal, but the shiny gloss plasticy face plate is where the let down is. Granted, I think the Cyrus ONE Cast looks good, nothing has changed since reviewing the ONE HD a few years ago, but it still feels a little flimsy and plasticy and cheap. I have no idea why Cyrus didn’t just continue the metal housing round to the front. Was it to keep cost down? The dials also feel cheap to rotate too, and no effort is needed to turn them. They feel very light and airy. Same with the Wi-Fi aerials on the back. They’re just very flimsy and wobbly. And for an amp with an asking price of £1,300, this just is not good enough.
The same with the remote. It’s basic in function, with a volume up and down buttons, power, changing the brightness of the LED lights which at max are very bright by the way, and d-pad ring style buttons. The problem though is again, it feels very plasticy, and something that would come with a Roku TV stick or an Amazon Fire. I would have expected at least a metal housing, or something that’s got a bit of weight to it.
But, the great thing about the Cyrus Audio ONE Cast is the fact it’s a smart home audio player and amplifier built into one. There’s no need for other separate pieces of equipment. Jus the ONE Cast and a set of speakers is all you need, saving you precious space on your separates rack or below a television setup in your living room.
The other great thing about it is the fact that it doesn’t require a separate native app. It connects to your home Wi-Fi using Google Home, which is also available on iOS too if you’re an iPhone user. This seamless connection means that anyone in the house on the same wireless network as the Cyrus Audio ONE Cast can play music from their favourite streaming services, as you can link those services directly to Google Home. We’ve got a family Spotify account set up in the home, so we all played our music from there and it was great. However, there’s no built-in microphone, so if you wanted to control the ONE Cast with voice commands, you’re going to need to keep your phone close or some kind of Google Home speaker.
But, Wi-Fi isn’t the only way you can connect a device to the ONE Cast. There’s also a conventional Bluetooth connection, for those not on the Wi-Fi network, as well as USB which can playback in a quality up to 32bi 192kHz and DSD to DSD128. And for physical connections, you’ve got HDMI (ARC Enabled) and Optical Toslink for connection your television, as well as Coaxial SPDIF and an audio RCA input which has built-in MM phono stage for turntables, so you can still play all of your old records. And finally an AV input. The amount of connections on the back make this a great option again for space savers, but those who are after a decent, do-it-all type of setup.
So let’s give you a quick overview of the technical specifications of the amplifier itself. Inside is a Cyrus 4th Generation Hybrid Class D amplifier that has 2 x 100w outputs. There’s also a Speaker Impedance Detection which automatically calibrates the amplifier to the speakers you decide to pair with them. We were given a set of Cyrus Audio ONE Linear loudspeakers. There are also pre outputs so you can connect additional power amplifiers, and there’s also a class AB headphone amplifier inside.
In terms of sound quality though, with all this tech packed inside, you’re greeted with a very warm tone, that definitly favours bass reproduction over the other tones. Because of this, music tended to distort and introduce noise at the higher volume levels, and a lot of detail was lost in the mids and highs. I will say now that this thing is loud. And at it’s peak, it’s enough to disturb even the loudest of drunken conversations at a house party. That being said, at mid-range volumes, things really sounded decent, and that mix of tones really began to shine, especially from the mid-tones. Sound separation is also top notch, with each recorded instrument definitely present, and vocal tracks are lifted to appear as if they’ve been laid over the top of the accompanying music. This is also where some kind of native app would have come in useful, to change the EQ of your music playback and really push the detail. Granted, the best quality you’re going to get is from a wired connection or even from the USB port on the back, but streaming could hold its own too.
The Cyrus Audio ONE Cast smart amplifier is definitely a fantastic product that is really introducing streaming capabilities to an somewhat stuck in their ways audience. For audiophiles, streaming from online sources exclusively would have been an issue, but having those wired connections would mean people could still stick to their guns, and include this unit into their separates system. However, the build quality of the front panel, considering this is a £1,300 unit is definitely not good enough, and will definitely leave a sour taste in some people’s mouths. If you’re someone who’s looking to upgrade their home audio offering to something a little more on the audiophile spectrum, then the Cyrus Audio ONE Cast smart amplifier could be the product for you. For more information, head over to the Cyrus Audio website.