Schiit Audio - Lyr 3 - Official Thread

Schiit Audio’s latest compact, desktop, hybrid tube amplifier is the third iteration to share the “Lyr” name and the biggest departure from the original formula so far.

Lyr 3 is still a single-ended tube-hybrid design, offering high-power output (6 watts into 32 ohms) and two gain settings for appropriate pairing with a wider variety of headphones. But now it uses a single dual-triode tube rather than a pair, making tube-rolling easier, and it incorporates both Schiit’s “Coherence” hybrid topology along with their “Continuity” constant-transconductance technology.

And then it adds an internal “module” slot that can turn it into an all-in-one unit with a choice of delta-sigma or Multibit DAC modules or a phono-input (for your turntable).

Full review coming early in this new year, including all of the module options available for it.

And this will be the spot to discuss it …

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looking forward to your review . I am looking to purchase schiit lyr3 amp to go with my MrSpeakers AEON Flow and hd600.

I test drove the Lyr 3, and returned it during the trial period. I liked the analog headphone amp portion, but didn’t much care for the MB DAC module. I ended up swapping it for a Mjolnir 2 for a couple of hundred extra dollars.

MJ2 is a great amp! The internal cards I don’t suggest often, unless one is terribly cramped for space / need a single unit. All of their stand-alone DACs seem to sound better.

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Lots of good tube choices too!

Looking forward to the review. This one is on my list for my eventual desktop rig.

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I have the Lyr3 paired with the Gumby for my home rig driving my HD800S. I hope some discussion in this thread may offer some comparison to the Schiit MJ2.

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While Torq’s finishing his thoughts up I’ll chime in!

I’ve got a HD 600 and AFC and I too an curious to see how LYR 3 goes, but I will be using a Electro Harmonix NewProduction 6SN7

I’m not familiar with the TungSol upgrade and honestly I also have two of the Electro Harmonix 6sn7s for… reasons :3

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Frankly I found the $100 Modi 3 to be a step up from the Internal unit installed in my demo…

That said I quite like how LYR 3 and HD 600 pair, different enough from Valhalla 2 also I think

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Mine came today, it’s set up and working. Driving it with the iFi xDSD in Line Out mode. It’s gotten so that when I first put things together and just connected it to the iPhone to see if it was working, I had a little @Torq quote burst in my brain about driving amplifiers with amplifiers.

Have tried it with the Sennheiser Massdrop HD-6XX and now with the Hifiman HE-560s. Only had a few test tracks, but it is clearly better than my old (fried) Headroom Standard, but it should be at 5 bills vs 3. Hopefully it will continue to improve as the Tung Sol tube burns in a bit.

I’ve not been tempted to tube roll, but with only one tube, I confess to have looked at the web to see what other choices there are. FOR NO GOOD REASON!

Even in this short test, I can tell that the Senn is driven better than it has been before, and it shows more detail and authority. The Hifiman also has authority, but it also did with the xDSD in headphone DAC/AMP mode. I will have to go back and compare. Deep bass on the Lion King Life’s Not Fair track seemed more - dare I say it - slammin’.

Will post an impression or better in the next week or two.

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One more thought. When I turn out the light, the single tube glowing softly reminds me of nights 50-55 years ago when I’d listen to night time AM radio on the All American 5 second generation…12BA6, 12BE6, 12AV6, 35W4 and 50C5 in the set on my headboard shelf. Yeah, 5 tubes glow more than one, and kicked of considerably more heat. 1000khz CFL Chicago 1010 WINS NY, 1020 KDKA Pittsburgh, 1030 WBZ Boston 1060 KMOX St. Louis…

Some nights I was as Red Barber used to say, “Sittin in the catbird seat”

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I succumbed. Idly clicking around the net. I just ordered a NOS 5692 RCA Red Base from 1971. Blame it on the fact that the RCA tube factory it was probably made in is 4 miles away. I’m attracted to local memorabilia. And the EBAY listing did show it testing good.

— Later Edit from 9/5 —
To continue replying to myself, my first impressions of the 5962 RCA Red Base tube is that it is a very slight improvement over the Tungsol 6SN7 “upgrade” tube that came with the Lyr3. I’ve only had about a dozen hours of burn in on the RCA, so it may get better.

Fighting the placebo effect, I think it is slightly quieter when turned up with no signal. It seems completely immune to effects of movement and has not displayed any microphonics. This is one of the design parameters of the 5962 as a “premium” over the standard tube.

Aesthetically, the Tungsol is better. It stands a bit taller, and you see much more tube glow. (see the RCA and the Tungsol together in my recent “What’s in the Box?”. The shielding in the RCA is heavier and obscures the view of the heater elements. However, I didn’t get it to look at.

The sound is very similar. I didn’t expect any night and day differences. I prefer having a locally made tube from when I was a junior in high school to the latter-day post Soviet product just because.

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Hi David

did you use the xDSD as DAC with another amp like THX AAA 789 or JDS LABs Atom? have you compared other DACs to the xDSD?
for example

  • SMSL SU - 8
  • Massdrop Airist R-2R
  • Massdrop Grace SDAC balanced
  • Topping D70 or Dx7s
  • RME Adi 2
    or other balanced dacs

I ask, because I own the xDSD and get the THX AAA 789 in the next days.

I like the xDSD for it’s mqa support and soundwise alone as DAC/Amp, but wonder if I would miss something(Timbre, Imaging, Soundstage, Dynamics) using the xDSD instead of another DAC with the 789.

I use the Focal Elegia, Beyerdynamic DT 1990 Pro, Sennheiser 660s + others and plan purchasing the Hifiman Ananda or ZMF Aeolus + some Tube solution.

In the end, I have to test it on my own.
Would appreciate your or others thoughts

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Truth is, I don’t have a lot of choice in DACs. The xDSD is convenient and has a line out. I also used it with my Headroom Standard, before that fried and I got the Lyr3 amp. I have used the xDSD a lot with the Mjölnir modified STAX SRM-T1S amp that I use with my older STAX SR-5n headphones.

My other DACs are DFB and DFC, which don’t have a line out, and I really don’t use them with an amplifier. I have one other DAC, and older TEAC UD-301, which is based on two Burr Brown 1795 DACs. However the TEAC is wired into my main stereo, and generally does duty taking digital out from a Sonos Connect and putting it into my Wyred4Sound STI-1000 integrated amp via the XLR balanced output. I do plug headphones into it directly, but I don’t use it with the usual headphone amps.

I have no complaints about the xDSD. With the STAX setup the imaging, soundstage and dynamics (including microdynamics) are very good. It’s audibly better than driving the STAX amp with either my Mac Mini, or the audio from my 2014 vintage SAGER laptop (yes, it’s a gaming laptop, based on CLEVO) with Realtec Hi-Def audio (again no line out). It’s audibly better than using the DFB or DFC to drive the STAX amp also.

Again, driving the Lyr3, I think it does just fine. There is so much more in the audio chain that affects Timbre, Imaging, Soundstage, Dynamics that it would be hard to isolate the effect of the DAC. I strongly suspect that you would need to go pretty upscale and hold everything else in the chain the same to hear differences. I have used the iPad on TIDAL or ROON to the xDSD to the Lyr3 driving: Grado RS1e, Hifiman HE-560, Senn HD-6xx, Senn IE 40 Pro IEMs, and several other headphones. The Grado RS1e’s have the best soundstage of all, and it is excellent with this chain. The HD-6xx have an overall good balance, and the HE-560s have great microdynamics and bass extension.

In another thread, I’d been talking about Santana’s Africa Speaks album, which I prefer to listen to with MQA, although I have tried it with Redbook resolution and non-MQA high-res versions. The only “problem” I’ve found is that after 10 or 15 minutes of “critical” listening with any of the sweet setups, I completely get into the music and find myself a half hour later having been listening for pure enjoyment.

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Good morning send from munich

thank you for the time to write down your thoughts
I am relativ new to the hobby so I appreciate all input

now I scratch my head and think that the saved up 350+taxes for the Airist R-2R DAC or SMSL SU -8 is maybe better invested in some tube goodness from what I read.
The xDSD is maybe even a step up over the other named entry level DACs- who knows…
The mqa is something, I don’t want to miss anymore.
Have to chill and enjoy the chain I have for a while.
Later, in a few months a new open back hf first, than a tube amp or hybrid and maybe after it something like the R-2R or even the RME Adi 2 for the functions
The Teac 301 was also on my shopping list, because of the Burr Browns
A used Hifiman 560 could also be a good solution instead of spending 1k for the similar Ananda- from what I read.

Will give the Santana Album a listen. Read the other thread :wink:

thank you

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I’m not sure if this is the place for this reply, but @Torq can always move it, if needed.

In this hobby there is not one goodness, but there are many. Also many opinions and directions and decisions. When you start working with reasonably good stuff, many of the choices are equally good, and are all fine choices, just slightly different balances until you finally arrive at the high end after having formed a good idea of your personal preferences.

For example, formats. I like to be able to use MQA, not because it’s any better, but because the ablums using MQA have generally been crafted with some degree of audio care. MQA’s upside is that when the MQA indicator comes on, it’s one set of things that I can’t change anymore. I have to live with the engineer’s and artist’s choices, but it will be consistent for that recording. I can’t really hear it, but MQA does have very slightly less resolution than a high-res non-MQA recording of the same bit-rate. On the downside, MQA is a proprietary format, and is therefore evil. It encourages labels to not release their very best non-MQA recordings.

Tubes vs non-tubes. Class A vs Class AB vs B amplifier operation. Single-ended vs balanced. Again, people in both camps. Good solid state is good and can have more sophisticated circuits and correction than most tubes. Not all tube setups self-bias - you may need to be OK with a multi-meter and plastic screwdriver to get the best out of tubes. And tube rolling (trying to change the sound with different tubes) is truly a rabbit hole that never ends. It’s worse than craft beers.

I am very happy with my Lyr 3. I would never have bought it if my Headroom Standard hadn’t been fried. Tubes are esthetically pleasing, and I lived in a time when tubes were still around and transistor (solid state) was pretty new, and there were a lot of bad transistor designs - and solid state sounds BAD when driven to clipping levels - which we heard a lot in college in 1972-75. It’s much rarer now.

We can’t always do an A/B test. We can always do a price test. You’re right, it always pays to listen to what you have. That TEAC is pretty old now - it’s not a bad unit, but many others use Burr Brown (Now Texas Instrument makes them) chips.

The Santana album is very good, has nice sound, but is busy on many tracks. The percussion is very complex, and sometimes gets in the way of listening to the rest of the recording. Other tracks are more laid-back and just gorgeous. I’m fluent is Spanish, which helps with the songs. The Spanish on this album seems a touch Africanized at times - sort of like bees. :honeybee::

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It’s great to have so many great choices. My headphone amp collection has grown to six. I just received my Headamp GSX-mini a couple of days ago. Definitely a winner. Sourcing tubes can be a pain, but can be simplified if you have a tester (or access to one) and can verify the tubes when receive them. I tried out a Lyr3 with MB module. I wasn’t fond of the MB module and sent it back. Ended up with a Mjolnir2. I thought the MB was an afterthought; HA section of the Lyr3 was very good.

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Truth! I’ll add too that the goodness is very personal. What floats my boat doesn’t necessarily float yours, and that’s okay.

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that’s what makes it dangerous for our wallets, so much goodness, do the research plan accordingly, rinse and repeat… AND ENJOY… (even though being back in school has really put clamps on purchase ability)… and REALLY ENJOY :smiling_face_with_three_hearts:

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To speak bluntly I don’t feel xDSD holds a candle to RME ADI 2

ADI 2 has a cleaner tonal presentation, more apparent micro detail and transient response and better or more precise staging/dynamics as a whole tho it’s what 1k? Vs $400

But what I have not done is compare xDSD to other full sized DACs like JDS Labs EL Dac or desktop all in one’s like the Aune X1S

Back onto Lyr 3 detail wise it’s not bad at all! I’ve some custom/modded amps that do a little better tho I love Lyr 3’s tone and sheer authority! It’s the only amp I use with HD 600 when I want to listen to DnB or other EDM

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