If power were everything we'd all be using 200-watt no-name amps bought on eBay, but it may look initially as if Cyrus is a bit lacking in present company.

We'd beg to differ: We're positively glad to see a few lower-power amps around, for power costs money and if you don't actually need the power you may prefer to direct your pennies towards increased refinement and subtlety, which we hope the Cyrus 6vs2 will prove to deliver.

No lightweight amplifier

Where it's certainly no lightweight is in the provision of connections. There are seven line-level inputs (no phono option is offered), tape and preamp outputs, twin speaker terminals (not switched, though) and a rear-mounted headphone socket.

Between the inputs and outputs is a circuit almost entirely based on surface-mounted components, with bi-polar power transistors mounted on the heatsink sections of the case at the rear.

A mix of integrated circuits and discrete transistors looks after the small-signal sections of the circuit, with electronic input selection and volume control. The power supply is fairly modest, as befits the rating, with both the toroidal mains transformer and the reservoir capacitors being smaller than those in most of the other amps here.

There is, in fact, room in the case for a larger transformer, and although the amp isn't compatible with Cyrus's PSX-R power supply, there's a blanked-off hole in the rear panel where a PSX-R socket would sit.

Following these clues, it's not surprising to find that Cyrus offers a factory upgrade of the amp to turn it into the next model up, the 8 vs2, which shares many internal features.

Strong imaging

In yet another case of modified rapture, this Cyrus had our listeners a little puzzled as one track gave way to another. Was it lively or simply slightly harsh in the treble? Was its bass unusually agile or just a little light?

As usual, the contradictions in the model's performance are partly a function of the music that's playing and partly of each listener's personal preferences and reactions.

It's clear, for instance, that treble is a little more overtly present than with some other amplifiers. Recordings that are already bright can become a bit much, but more neutral productions are attractively rendered, with not only detail but imaging convincingly pinpointed.

Precise musical performance

As for the bass, it's unlikely to shake the ornaments, but then you probably wouldn't buy a 40-watt amplifier for that purpose anyway.

Actually, there's plenty of extension, but it's the impact that's missing here. On the other hand, the bass is very tuneful and that for many will make up for a slight lack of depth. Rhythmically it's fair to moderate, with good but not astounding timing.

And then there's the question of dynamics. Perhaps, a little surprisingly, this seems to be a strong suit, thanks to very clear and precise handling of quiet music.

Climaxes are just barely restrained, but the way this Cyrus handles very low sound levels gives it a good subjective dynamic range and it never seems bothered by being asked to swing rapidly from one extreme to the other.

Voices can sometimes recede a little and we found ourselves preferring this amp with purely instrumental tracks. The Cyrus 6vs2 is clearly a bit of a mixed package, then, but it has its attractions.