Cypher Labs – Capital AudioFest 2014

Cypher Labs originally broke ground in personal audio with its portable digital separates. The AlgoRythm series partnered nicely with external amplifiers and iPods to create a mobile audiophile sandwich, but recently the company has branched out with a brand of their own amplifiers both big and small.

In a surprising move from portable, Cypher Labs has recently released a full size statement piece for headphones they call Prautes. The case for the piece is definitely sizable, a bit taller than most high end amplification typically runs but not quite as wide. The company is including a very beefy cable to compliment the amp that can also double as a pre or even drive sensitive loudspeakers via the included speaker taps.

All this versatility comes courtesy of a five way impedance switch that claims to cleanly drive music from loudspeakers to IEMs.  The US-made piece is a result of a collaboration with Coffman Labs and unitizes push pull amplification with output up to two watts. A quick listening session provided enough of an impression to gather that the amp is indeed a statement, and favors a slightly rich tube sound over some of the more solid-state sounding tube amps that currently pepper the market. Retail is $3,900.

On the other side of the spectrum, CL was also showng off their latest portable, amp only piece called the Picollo. The solid state unit is sans any sort of digital complement, but offers a fairly small footprint for ease of use whist traveling. The little headphone companion is actually op amp free, instead relying on matched sets of triodes to do the heavy lifting. Battery charging is available via USB. Priced at $399, the product hopes to make a splash in a fairly crowded market, hot on the heels of the company’s Theorem 720 DAC/Amp combo unit ($799).

CL had an interesting gold colored version of the portable amplifier at their table in Canmania. The Theorem 720 is slighty taller than the Picollo but packs a fairly full-featured combo with Apple/Android compatibility, DSD playback and balanced outputs.

CEO David Maudlin sat down with us at the show to give us a quick overview of the new products, check it out in full motion below.