pf logo POSITIVE FEEDBACK ONLINE - ISSUE 38
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opera audio

Consonance Cyber 845 amplifiers

as reviewed by John Zurek

 

 

 

JOHN ZUREK'S SYSTEM

LOUDSPEAKERS
Von Schwiekert VR4 jr, Optimus (Linaeum) Pro LX4 Minimonitors.

ELECTRONICS
Cary SLP-88 preamplifier with Electro–Harmonix tubes, PS Audio HCA-2 amplifier, and a Aqvox Phono 2ci phono stage.

SOURCES
VPI Scoutmaster/JMW9 Tonearm /Shelter 501 Mk II, Cary 303/200 CD player, Sony DVP-NS755 SACD, and a Marantz CDR 630.

CABLES
RS Duet Palladium, Phoenix Gold, Dunlavy Reference, Acoustic Zen MC2 PS Audio Xtreme interconnects, PS Audio Xtreme and Acoustic Zen Satori speaker cables, PS Audio Xtreme power cables.

ACCESSORIES
Standesign and Boltz racks, Argent Room Lenses, VPI HW-16.5 Record Cleaner, Monster HTS 200 power conditioner, Vibrapods, Sonex panels, and AudioPrism Quiet Line filters, Auric Illuminator, Pandafeet, Herbies Grungebuster CD mat, Superior Carpet Spikes, and Iso-cups, Lionel train trestles as speaker cable elevators.

OFFICE SYSTEM
Sennheiser HD 600 headphones, Headroom Supreme headphone amplifier, iriver 450 CD player, Cowon iAudio MP3 player.

 

Dictionary.com defines consonance as:

  1. accord or agreement.

  2. correspondence of sounds; harmony of sounds.

  3. Music. a simultaneous combination of tones conventionally accepted as being in a state of repose.

Someone picked the right name.

I had a good feeling about the Consonance Cyber 845 monoblocks as soon they arrived at my house. I pulled them into my listening room and was pleasantly surprised by the packing. They were double boxed, definitely a good sign, and a special protective niche for the tubes was the first thing I saw. I removed the cover and found stiff foam cut perfectly to accommodate the shape of the amps. The stainless steel rails on top of the chassis were the perfect means to pull the amps out of their packing and effortlessly set them on the floor. The build quality of these amps is uncomplicated, the look is solid and industrial, yet has a very pleasing aesthetic in its originality. I've never seen another chassis bear any resemblance. They are unique. Even my wife, the art director, Ms. ho-hum about anything hi-fi, actually took notice and commented on the very hip look of the design.

After placing the monoblocks in the logical spot, I used the too-cool outriggers to level them out, and then turned my attention to the tubes. The massive 845s were wrapped in foam rubber inside separate boxes. I got out my white cotton gloves and unpacked the precious thermionics and installed them into their keyed sockets. Since I was already set up for monoblock power operation—my PS Audio Xtreme Statement power cables plugged into the PS Audio Duet power center—no need to bother with the stock power cables that were included with the Cybers. The Xtremes were linked in a minute, all that was left was to couple a run of Acoustic Zen Satori to the eagerly waiting Daedalus Ulysses. Maybe 15 minutes from amp boxes on porch to full connectivity and tube warming stage.

The Cyber series of amps eliminates ugly tube cages. The stainless steel rails and faceted Plexiglas lens lets you enjoy the glow while protecting your glass. In the rear you'll find an IEC power connector, RCA inputs, and 5-way binding posts for 4- and 8-ohm taps. The power switch on the top of the transformer cover makes it easy to power on/off. I loved the trim pot for hum. Let's be real—it's a tube amp—unless you've taken extraordinary measures to clean your power you're going to get some hum. This feature let's you minimize it on the spot. Also included is a bias adjustment. Super easy. Hook up the ¼ inch jack, put the two wires on your meter, adjust the pot, and boom, you're good to go!

Specifications for 845 output tube version:

  • Control Functions: Power On/Off

  • Power Output: 28 watt, RMS 1kHz

  • Total Harmonic Distortion: less than 1% (15watt, 1kHz )

  • Frequency Response: (-3dB points at 15 watt ) 5Hz - 47kHz

  • Input Sensitivity: 1V

  • Input Impedance: 100k ohms

  • Output: 4, 8 ohms. User selectable.

  • Signal/Noise: 90dB

  • Consumption: 150 watt x 2

  • Input Interfaces: 1 group (RCA )

  • Vacuum Tube: NOS E88CC x 2, NOS 5687 x 2, 845 x 2

  • Dimensions: 420 (L) x185 (W) x330(H)mm x 2

  • Weight: 30kg x 2 ( packed )

Someone with real prowess put thought and proper engineering into the design of the Cyber series chassis—a great balance of functionality and visual pleasure. Everyone that's visited my room since they've taken up residence—especially non-audiophiles—really notice them. No reason amps can't look great while sounding great.

I got interested in the Consonance line after first seeing and hearing them at a show last year. Not only did their room sound great, showing the Cyber 211 RL with the Acoustique Lamhorn loudspeakers, but the second day I noticed a pair of Consonance amps shown in a lobby display with an in-wall speaker that I forget the name of. I was really surprised at the great results. Plus, when Dave Clark and Bob Levi raved about the Cyber 800 I decided to look into Consonance.

No need to waste time. If you read my review on the killer Daedalus Ulysses speakers, you know I liked these amps. Well, liked is not nearly strong enough. These monoblocks communicate. No matter what speaker I used I felt a special link to the music. The entropic factor diminished to the point that it became hard to concentrate on evaluation. Some say the 845 has a dark character. Not in my room. What I immediately heard was truer and fuller textures in all registers, especially non-electric instruments and voice. The 845 also provided excellent, listenable highs, and when required, surprisingly slammin' bass. Delicate when required, thunderous when essential, dynamics were very, very good for 28-watt amplifiers. If this is the type of sound you're after you need to hear these monoblocks.

As time went on I noticed a consistent, lucid coherence, especially on well-recorded music. As the tonal superiority of the 845 shone through, so many recordings became, well, just a sheer pleasure to listen to. This amp worked very well for all types of music, but I was again and again surprised at the generous, well-defined bass, especially in electric music. Absolutely amazing what one 28-watt output tube can accomplish.

Honestly, I had the finest listening experience (other than a few super megabuck systems set up properly at shows) that I recall using the Cyber 845 with the Daedalus Ulysses. Occasionally I wished the Cybers could pump out more power since the Ulysses was really designed to be used with a higher-powered amp. But, most times the combination was so sweet I just couldn't ask for much more.

These amps have ability to get to the inner spirit of the music. Important minute details that were vital to the performance were not neglected, nor were they highlighted. The Cyber 845 has talent to naturally render a correspondence of sounds. These amps are very self-assured in the texture department, fleshing out the overtone structures of instruments and voice with accuracy, agility, and satisfying warmth. Although not razor's-edge fast, I'd never call the 845s slow—especially for low-power tube amps. They throw a focused sound stage, very three-dimensional, with imagining that is sometimes scary. Buy the best speakers you can for these amps, they deserve it.

Problems, flaws? Not a one during the many months the Cyber 845s slept over at my house. They performed perfectly every day.

Working with Joe Trelli of Ultraviolet Audio on this project has been great. The guy is not only very pleasant to work with, but also knowledgeable. My impression is that he truly wants his customers to be happy with their purchase, and he backs it up. Impressive, and not all that common these days.

When all is said and done reviewing can only go so far. Comparing a product to another similar product produces an assessment and an opinion. Measurements, if used, produce empirical data that may, or may not, be indicative of what a component sounds like. In the end what matters most to me is communication. Does the component speak to me? Does it help my system to make music more pleasurable, listenable, poignant? Can it deliver the essence of the music? The Opera Consonance Cyber 845 can and does. Accord, agreement? Harmony of sounds? You bet. The Cyber 845 has heart and soul. Recommended, Recommended, Recommended. John Zurek

Cyber 845amplifiers
Retail: $5995

Opera Audio
web address: www.opera-consonance.com

Norvinz
web address: www.norvinz.com

North American distributor/representative for Opera Audio/Consonance:

Ultraviolet Audio
web address: www.ultravioletaudio.com

Please allow me to express a deep and heartfelt thank you to John Zurek and the rest of the staff at Positive Feedback Online for the opportunity of having our Consonance Cyber 845 tube monoblock amplifiers reviewed. As an obvious reflection of the staff there, PFO has come to represent the gold standard in online high-end audio reviewing websites.

John's physical description of the amps should serve as a road map for how it's done. But, after all, this is the high-end audio hobby, and what matters most is what's inside, the heart and soul of the component. I greatly appreciate the work John put into this end of the review. To say he captured the true sonic essence of our product would be how I put it. With 28-wpc, this is not the typical SET amplifier strictly limited to the highest in high efficiency loudspeakers. Rather, most reasonable speakers can be accommodated quite well indeed, as witness the synergy achieved with the traditional Daedalus Ulysses, a product which I personally spent a good amount of time with at THE Show 2008.

Tube amplification is the core competency of Consonance, and the Cyber Series tube monoblock amplifier line represents our flagship. We invite you to give this truly reference line of products a listen, as we have an exceedingly well fleshed out line of amplifiers that should fit most any
audiophile's need.

Once again, my sincere thanks to John Zurek for an outstanding job in reviewing our amplifiers. Well done!

Joe Trelli
UltraViolet Audio

 

 

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