Schiit Audio - Lyr+ - Official Thread

Since the Lyr+ is now out and shipping (and on my desk), I’ve created a thread dedicated to the tube hybrid / solid state headamp (as opposed to continuing the conversation in the Lyr 3 thread). While it’s the fourth amplifiers in the Lyr line, it’s not named the Lyr 4 because Schiit seems to have had bad luck with products numbered 4.

LYR
Fusion Architecture Headphones Amp and Preamp


(Source: Schiit Audio)

As I come across measurements and published reviews, I hope to add links to them in this thread.

Regards,
Vic

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Hey, you dented it by pushing your tube down too hard.

[Someone had to say it.]

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Mine arrives today.

I love the industrial design of the indentation, but I wonder how it looks without a tube.

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I like the disk-shaped depression that surrounds the tube. While I’m sure it reduces manufacturing costs (the disk seems to be of stamped steel instead of aluminum), it also displays more of the tube (those that use socket savers may differ in option).

Regards,
Vic

I like the look, but only if one uses stock 6SN7 tubes.

If one uses variants, say a PSVane 6SN7 SE (tennis ball), the base is ~34.7mm, vs 32mm for a standard tube. My Lyr 3 demanded a “socket save” to accommodate the tennis ball.

The same may be said for adapted tubes. My favorite tubes for the Lyr 3, are vintage 6F8G, which require an adapter.

For either type, thick base, or adapted base, one is going to have a lot of tube saver/adapter + tube hanging out in the world on the dimpled Lyr+.

I hope my Lyr 3 lasts many more years. I’m not too interested in the Lyr+ (although I wish Schiit well in their sales).

I received my Lyr+ Friday and spent a couple of hours with it daily over the weekend. I haven’t done a lot of comparing it to my other amps yet. I’ve just been enjoying it a bit before I get serious about how it sounds. Also this is only my second tube amp after buying a Vali 2+ a few months ago. So take these initial impressions with the usual boulder of salt.

I did almost all of my listening with my Sennheiser HD 800 S with the Lyr+ in tube mode. However I did briefly try my Hifiman HE6se V2 with it in both tube and solid state modes and it seems to power them adequately with a bit of reserve (about 2 o’clock on the volume dial). Now that I’m thinking about it, all of the listening I did was studio recordings too. No live recording yet. I wanted to stick with music I knew very well.

The first thing that grabbed my attention was that the bass had some real weight to it. Maybe a touch of boom, but not objectionable. I measured the FR as identical to my THX AAA amp. Daddy like! :smiling_imp:

The soundstage definitely opens up in tube mode, as expected. Instruments are further away and there is more of a sense of being in a room instead of floating in a void. The sound is warm. Everything is slightly less crisp but on most recordings this was fine if not an improvement. Smoooooooth.

All of the above is fairly standard for tube amps, as far as I know. Without comparing them directly, I’d say the Lyr+ is like the Vali 2+ but moar.

After awhile I started to notice that the instrument separation had improved. For instance I could easily pick out the individual vocal tracks when double tracking is used if I wanted to. I heard a few new electronic sounds too that had apparently gotten lost in the wall of sound with other amps.

I did a bit of listening in solid state mode and comparing to my THX AAA amp. I would say that Lyr+ is a bit warm in comparison. Similar to listening to it in tube mode but like 20% of the effect.

So far I have no complaints about the sound, but I’m far from an experienced expert in this. If you’re looking to upgrade your Lyr 3 or want the best sounding tube amp in this price range, I’d wait and see what the consensus is. But if you are looking for more than just a great sounding amp and want to tinker with tube vs solid state or tube roll, then the Lyr+ is a pretty compelling package. It’s the Swiss army knife of headphone amps.

As for features having remote volume and seeing the volume knob turn along with hearing the clicking of the relays is very cool :sunglasses:. All of the switches are on the front of the unit except for power. I really like being able to switch the preamp output on even though headphones are plugged in.

Note that switching between tube and solid state modes does take some time, I’d guess around 10 secs. So doing quick A/B comparisons is not going to happen. My understanding is that rapidly switching a headphone from/to a tube amp is not good for the amp so this is probably as close as you can get. I’m slightly annoyed that this is the only function that requires the remote. On the plus side you do NOT need to remove the tube in order to run the Lyr+ in solid state mode. That wasn’t clear to me from the store description. However the tube heater will always be on if the amp is on, so you’ll want to remove the tube if you won’t be using it for awhile. There is a cover for the empty tube socket included.

Another thing to expect is that the volume knob is pretty stiff. I assume this is due to the relay ladder design or the support for remote volume, so I don’t consider it a big deal.

That’s it for now. I’ll post some more impressions in a few weeks if it would be useful. I’m interested in comparing with the Lyr 3 if anyone has one in the Phoenix, AZ area.

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Thanks for the quick notes and details. Regarding volume knob position and perceived bass, are you in low or high gain mode? The Lyr 3 could behave differently in each mode per the tube installed. I’m wondering if that characteristic has continued.

High gain exclusively so far. The Vali 2+ sounded better/more tubey in high gain mode so I figured the Lyr+ would also. I will experiment with low gain and let you know.

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I’ve run it in low gain for a few days with my Senn HD800S and been perfectly happy. Volume knob for me was at about 3 o’clock for most of my music. I also did some A/B listening in high/low gain and didn’t notice any difference. I only level matched by ear so I plan to do a more scientific comparison this weekend.

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FWIW word on Head-Fi is that the Lyr+ sounds better than the Lyr 3 in tube mode and better than the Jotenheim 2 in solid state mode. I’m skeptical. I’m planning a trip to CA in a few weeks that will include a stop at the Schiitr so hopefully I can find out for myself.

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I don’t blame you for being skeptical - there are too many parameters in that comparison that I didn’t see mentioned in the impressions thread there (though maybe I’m not reading closely enough?).

I’d be curious to read your experiences with both the Lyr+ and the Jotunheim 2 at the Schiitr. I have both of them plugged into my Bifrost 2 (not 2/64) right now on my desk, but there’s been heavy construction outside the office at the light rail station all week, so I haven’t been able to conduct a proper comparison.

However, I really, really enjoy the iPad Pro (2021) > Bifrost 2 (not 2/64) > Lyr+ (tube mode) > LCD-2 Caribbean Rosewood (2022) chain I’m using. I won’t say I’ve reached my endgame, but I’m only looking at other items for “different/complimentary” experiences as opposed to “better” ones. Oh, and a silver Bifrost 2/64 to match the Lyr+ because I like thing to match.

Regards,
Vic

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IIRC at least one poster on Head-Fi said the Lyr+ had better clarity than the Lyr 3 without sacrificing “tubiness”. Or something to that effect. Hopefully they were at least level matching.

I’m running the Lyr+ off of a Bifrost 2 (non /64) as well. That’s another upgrade I’m hoping to try at the Schiitr although I don’t know if they will have the Bifrost 2 available to compare.

Honestly the only headphones I find gain much from a tube amp are my Senn HD800S. They went from “eh the big soundstage is cool but I need more punch” to “wow this soundstage is amazeballs and where did this punch come from?” They are now my go to for critical listening whereas before I was considering selling them. Also they need to be driven off the amp IMHO. Using a tube preamp doesn’t get me the effect I’m looking for. This hobby is crazy sometimes. :sunglasses:

Silver Schiit represent! :fist:

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TIL that the tube in the Lyr+ is not being “driven hard” and is expected to last about 20,000 hrs. That might reassure anyone concerned that the tube heater is on even when running in solid state mode.

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