Cyrus soundKey Portable DAC Review
The age of digital music is upon us, with most of us keeping some kind of collection of music on our smartphones, either converted from a CD that you own, or from some kind of streaming service like Spotify, Deezer or Apple Music. And of course, people use headphones. These can range in quality and the way it produces the sound of your music, but it has also made way for products like the Cyrus soundKey.
It’s a portable DAC that is housed inside a small metal body which measures at around two inches wide and 0.8mm thick. It’s literally tiny, but does a lot when it comes to sound reproduction in your headphones. We were sent a soundKey with a grey finish, but they’re also available in red, purple, and blue. The logos on either side of the unit are slightly raised to give it some grip when holding it in your hand.
At one end you can find a microUSB input which can be connected to either a mobile device or your desktop and all cabled are provided, except of Apple phones. The second port on the other end of the unit is a standard 3.5mm aux input for your headphones. Connecting to Apple phones is a bit of a hassle and really goes against the portability of this unit. If you’re an iPhone user, then you’ll need the Apple camera kit, which adds another cable to the chain. Not so portable now as you’re having to stuff your pockets with cables.
The soundKey has been designed to work with a wide range of audio files from your common MP3, AAC right through to the higher quality FLAC files and can play files up to 24-bit. Perfect if you’re going to be streaming your music. Please note, you must have Windows 10 on desktop or Android 5 or iOS 9 or newer on mobiles.
I want to say, I used two devices when testing this out. The first was my Honor 7X connected to a set of Sennheiser HD205 headphones, and the second was my desktop, connected to a Riva Arena wireless speaker. I tested both plugged directing into the source as well as through the DAC and immediately heard that the soundKey produced a huge amount of separation in the music compared to the source. Aerosmith’s Dream On clearly showed the reverb of Steven Tyler’s voice compared to the source product while Guns n Roses’ Sweet Child Of Mine clearly produced some backing vocals with ease, things that aren’t quite audible when plugging directly into the source.
I must say, if you are an audio lover, and find yourself not quite happy with the music produced by your current hardware – with pre-amps in phones being a tad on the cheap side – then I seriously suggest you check out the Cyrus soundKey to add a bit of character to your music. For only £99, it’s a hard bargain to miss out on. The only issue is you iPhone users out there will have a hard time connecting the soundKey to your phone with ease. For more information, you can visit the Cyrus website.