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Odyssey Audio Cyclops
1 Reviews
rating  5 of 5
MSRP  895.00
Description: 110 Watts integrated stereo amplifier. $ 895.


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Reviews 1 - 1 (1 Reviews Total)

User Reviews

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by medyod a Audio Enthusiast

Date Reviewed: July 24, 2011

Bottom Line:   
Klaus Bunge's Odyssey Cyclops has gotta be one of the greatest unsung bargains in audio. Not, to be sure, that Odyssey's products in general are unsung; particularly the Stratos and Khartago amps have, indeed, appropriately received heaps of praise, both from the professional audio press and from users. (Check out this site's reviews of the Stratos amp; to sustain an average rating of 4.92/5 over *142* reviews is astonishing -- that that many users consistently rate this stuff so highly is really impressive.) The Cyclops, though, seems rather neglected. It shouldn't be -- this "integrated" amp represents a really low-cost, straightforwardly simple way to enjoy the Odyssey experience. I use the scare-quotes because there's only a limited extent to which this is really an "integrated amp"; it's really just a Khartago power amp (of which, see, e.g., Jonathan Valin's review in the September 2009 issue of The Absolute Sound) with a potentiometer. There is, then, really no "pre-amp" section at all, no prior stage at which gain is added; with the potentiometer turned fully clockwise, there's no resistance at all to the signal and you've effectively got a Khartago power amp. So, this is really just a Khartago with volume control -- which means, in effect, that you're getting a $4000 Symphonic Line RG-1 Mk IV (the German amp on which the Khartago is based), with no need for a pre-amp, for about $1000.

This way of proceeding is, of course, not without drawbacks, and this won't be the ideal solution for everyone. Chief among the implications of this is that there's only one input. In addition (and this is something that gave me pause), there's no headphone input, and little possibility of inserting a headphone amp anywhere in the chain. BUT: I had for many years been using my NAD C370 integrated amp (for which I have nothing but praise) only with my CD player (a Cambridge Audio Azur 740C); though I also had a tuner and cassette deck hooked up to it, I really never used them, and the NAD's multiple inputs therefore weren't really doing any work for me.

Do I have any regrets about getting rid of my beloved NAD, and losing, along with it, the flexibility of multiple inputs and headphone-listening? Absolutely not. The Odyssey sounds so absolutely fantastic (and is so revealing of the NAD's limitations) that I'm delighted to have made the switch. I often listen to music (over Gallo Acoustics Reference 3.1s) really loud; the NAD handled the Gallos well, but I hadn't really realized how often it was actually running out of gas. Only now do I realize what it really sounds like to hear these things really open up; the clarity and openness that are revealed when the Odyssey is playing really loud are absolutely breathtaking -- really glorious. And, damn!, this stuff is built to last; it's astonishing, in this age of planned obsolescence, that Klaus backs his Odyssey products with a freakin' *20-year* warranty (a transferable one, no less!). These amps really hold their value, and you're set up for years when you get one. (Odyssey also has a really fantastic trade-up plan; if you ever decide to upgrade down the road, you get all of what you paid towards something else from the Odyssey stable.)

And with the increasing proliferation of options when it comes to digital sources, this amp's having a single input may not really represent the shortcoming it could seem. My Cambridge 740C, e.g., has two digital inputs, so using it with the Cyclops means I really have *three* sources; I use the 740C for CD-playback, of course, but I also (and mainly) use it as a DAC with a Wadia 170 iTransport (I've got all my music stored in Apple Lossless format, and most often play back from a 160-GB iPod Classic). That still leaves one digitial input free for use with a computer, as (e.g.) for listening to Pandora. When my Cambridge gives out, I imagine I'll replace it with something like Marantz's new SA8004, which also has multiple digital inputs, as well as (the one thing I'm presently without) a variable headphone output.

What cannot be doubted, though, is the splendor of the Cyclops amp. (Mine, by the way, is the "Extreme" version, with all the available upgrades.) For $100 more than a Khartago costs, you get a Khartago with all you really need in the way of a pre-amp (i.e., a potentiometer) -- an elegantly straightforward set-up that absolutely kicks butt. I can't say enough good things about the sound of this amp; check one out!

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Used product for:   3 Months to 1 year

Duration Product Used:   Audio Enthusiast

Product model year:   2010

Reviews 1 - 1 (1 Reviews Total)

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