It has been coming for a while now. The convergence not only of a top quality bypass DAC but the merging of the DAC and Amp into a single portable solution by Cypher Labs has now taken form in the new Theorem 720 DAC/AMP recently launched and I for one was very interested indeed.

Yes you can argue that Sony and Fostex are there already with their convergence i-devices, the HP-P1 and the PHA-1, but Cypher Labs got there first with the CLAS SOLO and blazed the initial path and we all loved them for this brave new world where the igadget actually became a weapon of choice for the audiophile and not a casual listener’s HD for music on the go. I actually bought my first Flac music playing app for my old iPhone due to Cypher Labs CLAS SOLO – that is saying something since I hate buying apps.

What you get

The Theorem 720 is not cheap though coming in at $899 SRP but for that you get the same DAC setup as you got in the last iteration of the CLAS SOLO, the -DB as well as an integrated portable amp with balanced and single ended settings, a L/M/H gain switch at the back and a line out rear connection for system integration. What you will notice though is that the Theorem 720 looses the rear coaxial output from the CLAS Solo which I am not entirely sure I can see as a huge loss since the Theorem 720 is really geared much more to the portable audiophile market.

Click to next page for more on what you get…

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About The Author

Editor

Founder & Owner of headfonics.com. I first started reviewing in the late 80s (ouch!). Back then it was albums, rock concerts and interviews with a typewriter for the local rag. Now its desktop/portable and digital 2.1 audio on a rather nice laptop. How time flies.

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  • 24bit

    Didn’t know you owned the Merlin as well! That yummy low end…ugh. Gives me goosebumps. Great review btw. I think the stacking thing is getting silly and if Cypher Labs wanted to save money, they should just make a portable dap music player with all of those features already in it, instead of having to stack things higher and higher. A Solo Dap would be awesome.

    • Yeah love my Merlins but took me a long time to find a good cable for them since the stock as not up to par for me personally. Ended up with Twag 2.0 at some cost. I dunno stacks are gloriously nerdy and fun sometimes 🙂

    • headfonics

      Yeah love my Merlins but took me a long time to find a good cable for them since the stock as not up to par for me personally. Ended up with Twag 2.0 at some cost. I dunno stacks are gloriously nerdy and fun sometimes

  • DeepGroove

    headfonics Marcus thanks for another great review. I am looking for a portable amp/dac to drive a pair of LCD2.2, it has to:
    1. Have Mac/Line input and balanced output
    2. Add bass slam and weight (From the HM901 + red card the sound was splendid but somehow lacks oomph in the lower department.)
    3. Drive the Merlin

    CLAS+Rx3 is above budget so I’m considering Theorem 720 and ALO International. Which one would you recommend based on your experience?
    Thanks!

    • headfonics

      Thanks my friend!

      Have you considered the ALO Audio Island at $299?

      Personally if your going to use IEM’s I would pick the International as the Theorem suffers from hiss though my own Merlin didn’t thankfully but it made me nervous for other customs users.

      International and the Island tick most of the boxes your looking for thought the International is more natural for me.

      • DeepGroove

        Hello Marcus, yes I also considered the Island (I understand the DAC is at par with the International) but I want something to also work with my DAP. Even with a planar on my head I like the idea of being able to move around with my music. I mean, why should a man be forced to interrupt his listening because he needs to go to the bathroom? 🙂 The International sounds like a solid all-rounder and I think I’ll go with it. When the DX50 enables USB DAC I may look at standalone amps. Have you tried balanced with full-size headphones?

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