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Cypher Labs Theorem 720 DAC Headphone Amplifier

Rating:
4.25/5,
  • The Cypher Labs Theorem 720 DAC is a powerful battery powered portable headphone amplifier and digital to analog converter. The Theorem 720 DAC streams bit-perfect digital audio from Apple iPadTM, iPhone® or iPod® devices, some Android devices, and PC/Mac to headphones and powered speakers using USB Audio for superior audio quality.

    Why do you need it? Easy, it makes the music sound so much better! Even audio novices can hear the difference right away. Just connect combining it with the Theorem 720 DAC will deliver the music you've been missing.

    The Theorem 720 DAC is made for portability. Now it is possible to have desktop quality audio wherever you go: train, bus, plane, office or home.

    How does it work? Currently, Apple iPadTM, iPhone® or iPod® deliver compressed analog audio, whether from the headphone output or analog line out. Even playing a high quality track results in down-sampling. Even computers process the audio output poorly. The Theorem 720 DAC uses advanced digital processing and an audiophile grade digital to analog converter to provide audio at a high resolution, bypassing the Apple/Android/computer internal DAC and analog circuits. Played through the Theorem 720 DAC, a high quality recording will sound equivalent to or better than CD quality. While there are many music formats, and lots of opinions about which is best, we recommend using Apple lossless, which plays efficiently and doesn't take up too much storage space.

    A lithium-ion battery powers the Theorem 720 DAC during travel.

Recent Reviews

  1. illy2k
    Could be great but...
    Written by illy2k
    Published Nov 12, 2014
    3.5/5,
    Pros - Integration with Apple Devices, SQ, well built, long battery life
    Cons - Heavy, a bit large for a true "mobile" device, high noise floor, doesn't isolate RF from cell phone
    So this will be a short and sweet review of the Theorem 720 of which I had for about 30 days and then had to return to Cypher Labs. My primary use for this device was to have something for listening to ALAC from my iPhone when I was at work or on the go. I was primarily feeding the output to my JH-16 pros with a balanced cable.
     
    Pros: In short the integration with any apple device plus the ability to charge your iphone while playing music is awesome. If using the Theorem from your laptop the battery life is incredible. The Theorem provides and extremely analytical listening experience, with the crispness you expect from solid state. The soundstage it provides is extremely wide and enveloping. All in all I was very happy with the Theorem and wish I could have kept it.
     
    Cons: What killed it for me was that I primarily will be using this with my JH16's and the second you turn the device on even in low impedance you hear a extremely audible constant hiss. The noise floor is extremely high, I have had a small pico amp/dac and I never hear a hiss. This becomes incredibly distracting when you are trying to listen to recordings that have quiet passages as the static hiss overwhelms the music. I emailed David from Cypher Labs and he told me to just return the device for a refund, so I guess it isn't a defective unit. This device is really exceptional except for the high noise floor, if you are using these for non-IEM applications it should provide great performance in a small package.
  2. cripple1
    CL Theorem 720 - A Portable Powerhouse
    Written by cripple1
    Published Sep 20, 2014
    5.0/5,
    Pros - Power, detail, clarity, gain stages, multiple inputs
    Cons - Size, weight
    The Theorem 720 is magical.. Using it is like stepping into a foreign land where everything is crisp, detailed, and so very vivid that you’ll never want to leave again for the boring, veiled, blurred and blobby images of your old homeland.
    I tested my Theorem with many different genres of music, from Rock to Rap (Eric Clapton, Eminem, Pink Floyd), Pop (Michael Jackson), and jazz to R&B (Sade, Michael McDonald, Brian McKnight, Seal, Usher) using my iPod Classic 6th gen (120GB) and the provided CL LOD paired with my modded T50rp and Shure SE215Ltd w/balanced cable, JH16 Pro, and Grado SR80i, and it didn’t ever disappoint. I’d go so far as to say that it rivals even some desktop setups; A portable powerhouse indeed!
    The DAC: The DAC that CL implemented in the Theorem 720 is an amazing little piece of engineering that meshes perfectly with their own first class product (obviously, right? ). You get extremely good detail, great soundstage, and the clarity is just… Phenomenal.
    The Amp: I LOVE the amp section of the Theorem 720. The amp is very neutral, but not analytical in any way. It is neutral while still having a very clean, very natural and musical tonality. It has a very black background with my T50rp, and a slight hiss with my SE215Ltd and JH16 Pro, that quite honestly is negligible, since it’s only heard without music playing.
    The Treble: The Treble on the Theorem is very nicely extended, never sibilant, with a perfect amount of air around the top end that adds to the naturalness of the sound.
    The Midrange: The midrange is spectacular. Vocals are so vividly reproduced as to be almost palpable… They have a very lush, very organic quality to them that makes them much more enjoyable than they would be through most anything else you would normally listen.
    The Bass. The bass, when played through the Theorem, is a thing of wonder. Where once upon a time, your bass note was just that – a single note, now they are layered, and detailed, and reproduced in a way that makes them sound almost sophisticated. The Theorem doesn’t have the most impactful bass, but it more than makes up for that in it’s portrayal of detail
    This is an amp in a class of it’s own, and definitely worth its asking price, and more, if you’re asking me. An amazing value for the money, I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend the Theorem to anyone. On top of everything else, it has really well implemented gain settings that will provide more than enough power to any headphone you might own, and it charges iDevices to boot! I look forward to my next Cypher Labs purchase and I know, from personal experience, that it will ooze the same quality and sophistication as the rest of their products, and Cypher Labs as a company, do.
    1. View previous replies...
    2. cripple1
      No problem Ivabign! Enjoy the CLT 720!
      cripple1, Jul 3, 2015
    3. HT9731
      Hey, I gotta question, don't know if you can help me but can the 720 pair with the sony Zx1?
      HT9731, Feb 22, 2016
    4. cripple1
      @HT9731 It could definitely pair with it... if you only want to use the amp part of it. If you're in need of a DAC/amp combo for your phone though, then it would be best to look elsewhere as the DAC in the 720 is only compatible with iDevices. I would suggest that you go for the smaller and more travel friendly Algorhythm Picollo integrated DAC/Amp. That was designed to work with Android devices and should pair with the Zx1's android setup well enough. Its an amazing little device that I have had the pleasure of demoing, thanks to Cypher Labs generosity. Unfortunately, they didn't allow me to keep it.
      cripple1, Feb 22, 2016

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