When evaluating our CD players please ensure that you use original CD’s to evaluate the performance and not CD-R’s as the burning engines in most CD burners devalue the benefits gained by our SE engineering. Some burners do a good job but not all do and it’s a shame to compromise the fine engineering that makes our players sound so valuable.
Cyrus developed the SE and more recent SE2 hardware and software to attempt to resolve the problem of lost data as the disc is read. We refer to this suite of engineering as a CD ‘engine’ as it covers a collection of hardware and software engineering often rather too complex to interest a casual reader.
Please continue reading to discover the problem and our solution.
Hi-Fi manufacturers generally do not have the deep specialist servo software experience or investment budget to use anything other than bought in (OEM) CD drive ‘kits’ developed for mass production.(CD loader, laser, sled mechanism and software to drive this set of parts). The engineering to make the mechanical parts work reliably in the applications intended environment is complex and sophisticated and therefore expensive to develop. Economics mean OEM kits are developed for the largest customers such as automotive or boom box markets. Because disc drives contain small, complex and mass produced parts they require sophisticated software to keep the mechanical parts positioned over the data spiral on the CD. Even more problematic is that the big customers need this to happen while, for instance, a car is bumping 1.5g vertical acceleration over a pothole! The answer is to optimise the servo code for a tough environment and buffer the output into a powerful averaging system or error corrector to provide an unbroken data stream as the car bumps along. The resulting output will play but contain a high ‘bit error rates’ that need the errors, or gaps in data, filling in with an approximation of the data/music. Clearly this is a work around and not ideal. However commercially it does work for many mass market applications where the subtle leading edge information that would raise the hair on the back of your neck at home, is unlikely to be missed at 50 MPH with 80db ambient background noise in a car. So this is fine for mass market applications like portable boom box or automotive customers but is a severely compromised source in the mind of a Cyrus hi-fi engineer.
By comparison hi-fi is a tiny market by volume and it is therefore not attractive for large drive manufacturers to offer a special system. Cyrus desired a disc drive that could read data ‘right first time’ without repairing gaps with approximations through error ‘correction’ algorithms.
Because the needs of a CD kit in car dash are very different from the needs of a domestic hi-fi, Cyrus had to decide if CD had a long enough life to make the substantial investment worthwhile. The decision was made and over the next 12 months three engineers worked to finish our unique SE (Servo Evolution) platform. The result is the world’s highest resolution CD engine. Our CD ‘engine’ is very different from bought-in kit as it runs the disc at 1x speed (not 50x for a PC drive) meaning we can optimise the controller motors to work much more accurately rather than just fast. We require accuracy not speed and this is where our SE system is so different to all the other trade CD kits. So how good is the latest SE2 servos and hardware? By comparison Cyrus’ bit error rate delivers an output with 20% fewer errors than the next best system. In CD data terms this is an enormous increase in resolution. Just take a moment to consider how much effort goes into gaining 5% improvement in amplifier noise or distortion. A 20% improvement in error rate means the error correction works infrequently, motors are rarely now asked to drag the laser sled back to re-read data, and focusing accuracy is maintained more of the time. The result of all this engineering is a data feed capable of grater subtlety and resolution because it gets more data from the disc ‘right first time’.
Traditionally hi-fi designers have attempted to improve performance by focusing on post servo options because their data quality is fixed by the needs of the mass market. Cyrus was motivated to develop SE because we believed that getting the data with greater accuracy was the correct engineering route as opposed to attempting to fix errors retrospectively. Because we have fewer errors, data is retrieved ‘right first time’, and therefore we have far less need for error correction, so the whole system is calmer with much reduced motor noise in our ground and power plains. Clearly not needing error correction nearly as often means our sound is a closer facsimile of the data on the CD because it is less ‘corrected’ and the players DAC section is not affected by power supply noise from motors in adjacent ground plains. .
Please differentiate between those manufacturers who market a “special” buffering or correction system. These are not high resolution servo systems, they are attempts to improve on the generally available mass produced OEM offerings made for the mass market and these kits are limited by lower resolution servo output.
Specifications vary depending on the product. Please visit the applicable product page for product specific specifications.
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