Hardware Reviews

Cyrus Stream-XR gets the BluOS advantage

Cyrus Stream-XR network streamer review www.the-ear.net

Cyrus Stream-XR network streamer

I reviewed the Cyrus PSU-XR, in combo with the company’s i9-XR amplifier back in April and was inspired to look at the Stream-XR, which for many Cyrus owners, could be the perfect streaming partner for their systems. The Cyrus Stream-XR retails for £2,495, like the entry level Classic Stream it uses the popular BluOS streaming engine. This means it can be controlled by the excellent BluOS control app, which is available for PC, Mac, iOS, Android and even the Kindle Fire. As well as providing access to a host of streaming services BluOS means the Stream-XR can be fully integrated into BluOS multi-room systems. Significantly the Stream-XR can be upgraded using the PSU-XR, which, if the results I obtained with this device in combo with the i9-XR amplifier are anything to go by, would undoubtedly be worth further exploration.

Stream-XR includes Cyrus’s renowned Gen2 QXR DAC, featuring a chip from ESS tailored by Cyrus for maximum performance. As the unit has optical and coax digital inputs, one could call it a streaming DAC, bringing flexible digital connectivity to any system. I can imagine users feeding the Stream-XR with the optical output from a TV or set top box and the coax output from a CD player. Add to this the ability to stream from NAS drives, USB sticks, HDD drives, internet radio and indeed all major streaming services, and the Stream-XR looks to be an exciting new addition to the Huntingdon brand’s portfolio.

Cyrus Stream-XR network streamer review www.the-ear.net

Features galore

Anyone familiar with the Cyrus brand will recognise the Stream-XR’s size, shape and design; the blue display is distinctive to the company’s XR range. As with those components, the display is very small and cannot be read from across most rooms, so it is only beneficial if the system is close to your listening position. I prefer to switch such displays off for sound quality reasons, but I could not see any way of doing so here. On the front panel are buttons for input control, track skip, play/pause and, interestingly, volume. The Stream-XR can control the volume of a connected amplifier and this can also be controlled from the BluOS app.

To the top right is a power button, which is more of a standby control as the unit remains discoverable via the app whilst switched to ‘off’. At the time of writing the Stream-XR was yet to hit UK stores, I was sent an advanced pre-production model, which did not come with a remote, although I gather one will be supplied with production units. To the rear are a pair of phono output sockets, the aforementioned MC bus link connections, in- and outputs for optical and coax connections, a 15 pin connector for the PSU-XR and a standard IEC mains input socket. Finally, a USB input socket allows users to playback music from USB sticks and hard drives. I found this worked a treat when I inserted a 512GB memory stick, with the BluOS app adding the contents of the drive’s library almost instantly.

Cyrus Stream-XR network streamer review www.the-ear.net

I have read many positive things about the BluOS streaming system but the Cyrus Stream-XR was my first experience using it. It proved to be both slick and intuitive, not to mention impressively featured. Before this review, I had not appreciated that BluOS was not UPnP compliant, which initially made setting it up for use with my Melco Server a bit perplexing as I had previously only used the Melco with UPnP controllers and briefly with Roon. Once I got my head around the required settings for the Melco and the folder I needed to direct the BluOS controller towards, it worked without a hitch, quickly adding the Melco’s library to the system. I found that using the BluOS PC app for the initial setup was preferable to the mobile version, but this may be something peculiar to my network.

The BluOS system is full of delights, giving users access to far more services than your average UPnP app. Along with the usual Tidal, Qobuz, and Spotify services, highlights include Amazon Music, Napster, Nugs.net and Radio Paradise. The Stream-XR is fully MQA compatible and can stream resolutions up to 24/192. I have a host of high-resolution files on my Melco server, including many in DSD, which the Cyrus Stream-XR would neither read nor play. I gather that other Bluesound products are compatible with DSD, and indeed, the Cyrus i9-XR that I had at home a few months ago could play DSD files over USB, so I found this surprising. I contacted Cyrus for comment and it seems that this was being worked on at the time I had the Stream-XR and was incorporated in time for the formal launch. I predominantly used the Cyrus Stream-XR over a wired connection, but the unit can connect to your network over 2.4 and 5 GHz wi-fi connections. I briefly tried this, and it worked without fault, giving a strong connection with no dropouts or other nasties.

Cyrus Stream-XR network streamer review www.the-ear.net

In use, the BluOS app proved both faultless and fun to use. Despite my iPad being relatively long in the tooth, I enjoyed a lag-free experience which is not always the case. I was greeted by familiar album cover displays from menus such as New Releases, Recommended Playlists, Recommended Albums, Favourites etc., that I have become accustomed to seeing in other popular apps. The artwork was presented in high resolution, and I found playlists easy to set up and edit. My only gripe is that the exact file resolution is not displayed, instead it shows either CD or HR, I assume that this is a characteristic of BluOS and beyond Cyrus’s control. Since the Cyrus Stream-XR is compatible with Apple Airplay2, I tried this feature to watch videos of hi-fi guru Dave Denyer talking about some of the latest vinyl releases. The Airplay2 feature worked seamlessly, and, as ever, Dave’s videos proved both informative and entertaining.

Let’s Have Some Music

For reference, I used the Stream-XR predominantly via a wired network connection to a Melco S100 switch connected to my router via an ADOT MC02 fibre converter. A Network Acoustics ENO cable and filter were used between the Streamer-XR and a Melco N1-S38, connected to the S100 via an SFP (fibre) connector. As mentioned, I briefly tried the wi-fi connection, which worked as expected, but, unsurprisingly, was sonically no match for my highly optimised wired set-up. I streamed music from cloud streaming services and the splendid Melco N1-S38.

Cyrus Stream-XR network streamer review www.the-ear.net

I left the unit running for a few days to let it warm up, streaming Radio Paradise, and even from cold the stream sounded like music and enjoyable music at that. In typical Cyrus fashion, guitars are presented a little further forward in the mix than might be strictly neutral. Still, the results were very clean and without any unpleasant harshness, and the tonal balance had a pleasant richness. More importantly, electric, acoustic guitars and bass’s sounded like they were making music played by human hands. I heard the usual fast and bouncy bass that typifies products from the Cyrus stable, and the balance was slightly more lean than with my Simaudio Moon gear, which enhanced the sense of speed from more lively recordings. Similarly, the leading edges of notes are more obvious, which makes listening to rock and dance music an enthralling experience.

That does not mean the Stream-XR cannot please with more subtle material. A Qobuz stream of Herbie Hancock’s River: The Joni Letters in 24/96 was of particular note. Here I was treated to a realistic portrayal of Herbie’s piano and a beautiful, natural tone to the double bass. Compared to my more expensive Moon Streaming DAC, the bass was a little leaner and there was more recorded acoustic in the stream than I was hearing via the Stream-XR, but the kind of mid-priced system into which many potential buyers will feed the Stream-XR may not be as revealing of such subtleties.

Cyrus Stream-XR network streamer review www.the-ear.net

This neatly brings me to the next point. My previous experience with the optional PSU-XR suggests that the qualities mentioned earlier are exactly what this fine external power supply is likely to bring to the party, so if you’re going to use the Stream-XR in a system comprising of the i9-XR/PSU-XR upwards, then I think you will benefit from adding the PSU-XR. Having said that, the Stream-XR is certainly no slouch on its own, and I feel it delivers an excellent performance at its price point.

The Stream-XR proved easily capable of revealing the differences between the Qobuz streams and files stored on the Melco N1-S38, the latter sounding more focused and detailed, with more accurate placement of instruments within the soundstage. Speaking of which, this Cyrus streamer produced a very wide soundstage, which projects nicely forward into the room.


So an impressive performance from the new Cyrus streamer and one which I am sure will win many friends. The decision to use the BluOS platform is well judged, and I thoroughly enjoyed using the BluOS control app. I have no hesitation in recommending the Stream-XR to anyone looking to add a compact, high-quality streamer to their system. Owners of upper-tier Cyrus systems will absolutely love it, and I am sure it will prove a well-deserved hit for the brand. Indeed the Stream-XR would make a fine addition to many systems from other brands, and, if my suspicions of how good it will sound in combo with the PSU-XR are correct, some high-end ones at that.


Type: network streamer, DAC
Distortion THD+N: 0.002%
Signal to noise: -117dBA
Streaming Inputs: ethernet, wi-fi
Native streaming services: Qobuz, Tidal, Spotify, Deezer, internet radio,
Wi-fi inputs: Airplay 2
Digital inputs: coaxial, toslink optical
Digital outputs: coaxial, toslink optical
Analogue input: none
Analogue outputs: single ended RCA
Supported audio formats: MP3, AAC, WMA, WMA-L, OGG, ALAC, OPUS, FLAC, MQA, WAV, AIFF, MPEG-4 SLS
Supported digital formats: PCM up to 192kHz, DSD
Headphone output: N/A
Control software: BluOS, Roon Ready
Dimensions HxWxD: 75 x 215 x 355mm
Weight: 3kg
Warranty: 3 years

Price when tested:
Manufacturer Details:

Cyrus Audio


network streamer


Chris Baillie

Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments