Review: Cyrus Stream-XR Streaming DAC

Review: Cyrus Stream-XR Streaming DAC

This article is available in English only & first appeared in HIFI AND MUSIC SOURCE, the publication for news, reviews and views.

Stream-XR with Neil Young Archives access through BluOS

The Cyrus Stream-XR is to music streaming what the Neil Young Archives are to, well.. streaming… Let me explain. Both Cyrus Audio (celebrating 40 years in HiFi) and Neil Young have longevity and a solid reputation for quality. Both have innovated over the years. Both have stuck to a formula, be that a distinctive chassis design or a musical style. Over the last few years, Cyrus Audio has refocused its efforts on upgrading its product range, in its own style, to the highest quality; as Neil Young has concentrated on streaming quality, in his way, with his Archives.

One of the highlights of 2022 was the Cyrus Audio CDt-XR transport with the i9-XR integrated amplifier and at the time rumours and nods towards an XR streaming platform were tantalising, given the performance of the new CD players.

So here we are with the new Cyrus Stream-XR. Cyrus Audio, like Cambridge Audio and Naim, is impressively pushing on despite the HiFi market apparently struggling to perform. Cyrus’ choice of BluOS as the streaming platform is inspired.


Stream-XR with digital inputs and outputs

The Cyrus Stream-XR has the 2nd Generation QXR DAC which is based on the ESS ES9038Q2M 32-bit chip (the ‘other’ sister Classic-STREAM uses the 1st generation QXR DAC). It is an XR-adapted DAC carrying the same arrangement as the CDi-XR CD player. There are two optical and two coaxial digital outputs and inputs, allowing the Stream-XR to be used as a transport if desired. There is a single line-level analogue output and a USB stick input.

The BluOS streaming control infrastructure is Roon-ready and features AirPlay 2. Spotify, Qobuz, Tidal and other streamed services (such as Neil Young Archives) are built into BluOS, which is the cleanest streaming infrastructure out there. Stream-XR also includes a powerful decoder and audio renderer for Tidal MQA files.

There is the Cyrus iR14 remote control included with the Stream-XR. The nicest feature of this is it lights up when moved, and it is very functional.

The built-in power supply for the Stream XR has been upgraded. The bridge rectifier diodes are now Schottky types. These have, Cyrus claims, a lower voltage drop under full load. Moreover, the power unit delivers 60% more power and is twice as efficient as the previous version. There is, however, the option of adding the externally regulated Cyrus PSU-XR power supply. This gives the user the option of allowing the PSU-XR to take over the powering of the DAC to provide a cleaner, more stable supply. Cyrus further claims it gives greater clock stability to the network card.


Always beautifully presented in the half standard case (notably IKEA Kallax compatible!), the Stream-XR has a soft brushed dark finish. It is a bit fingerprinty, being a matt type of finish, so my fabric gloves are required with the frequent swapping and moving required by the review process.

Stream-XR front display can also show track information

The front screen is a high-resolution display; there are ‘capacitive’ touch buttons for manual control of the streamer, though you will mainly be using the BluOS App. There are two presets for your choice of quick access to an album, playlist or radio station.

Having just said goodbye to the Auralic Aries G2.2, at twice the price, I have noted the slightly basic arrangement with the feet on the Stream-XR; it feels there is more to do here.

The Cyrus Stream-XR is priced at £2,495 (CA$ 4500) in the UK at the time of publication.

The unit dimensions are (H x W x D) 75 x 215 x 355 mm, (2.95” x 8.46” x 13.98”). It is 3kg (6.10 lbs) in weight.


Review Equipment

I’ve been streaming analogue out to the Moor Amps preamplifier on max volume, but for some reason there is no fixed output that I can find in BluOS with the Cyrus.

Latterly, I have been streaming analogue out to both an old Classic Naim NAC-N 272 preamplifier and a new Classic Naim NSC 222 preamplifier.

In all these cases, the output from the preamplifier is to the Moor Amps Angel 6 power amplifier driving the Kudos Titan 505 loudspeakers with the latest Atlas Mavros Grun loudspeaker cable. (The only exception to this is where the 272 was feeding an old school NAP 250.2 driving my trusty KEF R700 loudspeakers.)


The Lenbrook International BluOS architecture is faultless and picks up the Stream-XR, wired, easily. Wireless operation, with the built-in antennae, is just as stable. The front buttons are incredibly sensitive to the touch and require almost no pressure at all. The two available presets are very easy to program on the BluOS App (if you read the instructions; I didn’t).

Moor Amps

I certainly prefer the weight and presence… musicality, of the Stream-XR

The Neil Young comparison at the beginning of the review is relevant because I seem to have access, through the BluOS App and this Stream-XR, to the full Neil Young Archives. I’m not sure if this is by design on Cyrus’ part or accident as the Stream-XR I received has been left with the password, but I am delighted. The Musical Interlude below reflects this revelation.

Having recently sent home the Auralic Aries G2.2, one may have thought the Stream-XR would have a hard time compared to the Aries with the iFi Pro iDSD. This has not been the case as in broad terms the Stream-XR has proved to be open, clean, and very engaging indeed, and I have no complaints at all. For example, I have stumbled across Neil Young’s “Razor Love” (Neil Young Archives, 24 bit, 192kHz), in which Neil intones:

“All I’ve got is a Razor Love that cuts clean through.”

This is not unlike this Cyrus Stream-XR. In this track, the cymbals are absolutely crystal clear, open, and captivating. All these tracks from the Neil Young Archive are so wonderfully presented.

On extended listening, the Stream-XR feels neutral in tone with no particular emphasis on the bass or the high end. I prefer the low-end control to the top-end if I had to show a preference, but overall, it’s nicely balanced.

Comparing apples with oranges is never a great thing but an obvious comparator (see Thoughts below) is to the recently reviewed Node X which has the BluOS front end with it. I certainly prefer the weight and presence… the musicality, of the Stream-XR, for example, with Neil Young’s anthem Cortez the Killer (Neil Young Archives, 24-bit, 192kHz). There’s a clear difference, as you might expect in a top system like this one, with the streamer at three times the price.

I should highlight that I have listened to plenty of other music on the Stream-XR that isn’t Neil Young. The Stream-XR is a perfect all-rounder, happily offering New Year’s Day Polkas (“Tik-Tak”) by J Strauss II, and Zuben Mehta’s Wiener Philharmoniker “Radetzky Marsch” (both Qobuz, 16-bit, 44.1kHz), with bounce, dynamic presence, and energy. For the sake of balance, Lana Del Rey’s quirky epic “A&W” (Qobuz, 24-bit, 48kHz) from 2023 is similarly clear and expressive, as is Led Zeppelin’s go-to track from their album II, “What is and What Should Never Be” (Qobuz, 24-bit, 96kHz). The drum cracks in this track are just wonderfully delivered by the Moor Amplifier. Just to make sure the streamer is as clean as it can be, not by choice I play “Burn it to the Ground” by Nickleback (Qobuz FLAC, 16-bit, 44.1kHz). This platform delivers a very nice clear sound indeed.

vs Naim NAC-N 272 streaming preamplifier

Analogue out and comparing Ryan Adams’ “Tina Toledo” (Tidal FLAC 24-bit) like-for-like, the Stream-XR is at least as good as my 272-streaming preamplifier; the music is open, vibrant and contains all the energy you would hope for. That’s an easy score draw for the Stream-XR; it’s probably winning on penalties if we’re to choose between them.

As a Transport with digital out into the iFi Pro iDSD, there is no option, as I understand it, to go USB out, which might be preferable if you want the DAC’s clock to handle the timing.

Musical Interlude

Qobuz Neil Young Essentials

I’m in love with the Neil Young Archives subscription. This one will just have to continue, from Qobuz.


I would have no hesitation in recommending it to anyone looking for a Streaming DAC at this price point.

Lenbrook’s BluOS infrastructure is perfect with this Stream-XR. It allows Cyrus to concentrate on getting the electronics and DAC management right, in a way that allows the listener to focus on the music, its engagement, and joy.

Of course, the streamer market is currently very competitive. Price, or rather budget, is a factor here, but it does feel there is a lot more substance to this Stream-XR than to some of the notable sub £1,000 (CA$ 1400) options (Node X and the Eversolo DMP-A6), and you would hope that would be the case, of course. Other comparable units at this price point are the Naim ND5 XS2 streaming DAC (around £2,500, CA$ 5200), the Moon MiND Streaming DAC (also around £2,500, CA$ 2500) and the Auralic Altair G1.1 (around £2,600, CA$ 3100). All of them have their respective merits and this Stream-XR should be considered in their league, in my view.

The Cyrus PSU-XR power supply upgrade is on its way this week to HF&MS. It is almost certainly going to offer a step up in streaming quality and the review will follow, promptly.

As an aside to this review, I’m very keen on the Neil Young Archives subscription and I’m currently comparing streaming quality and the library with Qobuz and Tidal.


In a very competitive market sector at a very competitive price point, this streamer demands a listen without a doubt. It is clean, lively, faultless and very efficient and I would have no hesitation in recommending it to anyone looking for a Streaming DAC at this price point.

For more, visit HIFI AND MUSIC SOURCE, the publication for news, reviews and views.

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