Lyr 3 Discussion Thread

Discussion in 'Headphone Amplifiers and Combo (DAC/Amp) Units' started by neogeosnk, Mar 20, 2018.

  1. yotacowboy

    yotacowboy McRibs Kind of Guy

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    I think I've settled on the Psvane UK-6SN7, too. Andro + IEMatch + Lyr3 is just about perfect for me.
     
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  2. Zesty

    Zesty Acquaintance

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    Valhalla 2 plus HD650 is more addictive than the lyr 3 for me. Thanks for the insight @k4rstar. Your explanation with the |^| vs /^^\ intrigued me enough to give it a try. It's easier to hear everything thats going on when it's not all stacked up in one spot.
     
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  3. Mrip

    Mrip Friend

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    I really like the appeal of having a one box solution, but I also really need it to be quiet on both headphone and preamp outs. Is the Lyr 3 amp/dac inherently noisy or is this an issue that's specific to this particular unit?
     
  4. Elnrik

    Elnrik Super Friendly

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    On my unit, the him is only audible at levels which would instantly and permanently damage my hearing.

    If you had a stupidly hard to drive headphone like the HE6, I can see it being an issue, but I don't think it is a problem at all for anything else.
     
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  5. Vtory

    Vtory Illogical Spock

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    I forgot to report my tube rolling result to this thread. This could be done with the help of the IHA-1 loaner program because @Elnrik kindly included a bunch of attractive 6sn7s.
    • The most confident truth was that I hated to experiment tube rolling without preparing TWO identical amps. With only one amp, it was too time-inefficient.
    • Tested Sylvania 6sn7 (chrome top?) and Ken-rad vt231. Honestly they (along with my new TS) were more similar than different. Prol testing condition mattered..
    • Previously tempted to KR vt231 from lots of positive impressions reported by others. Indeed they were bringing some interesting characters to the table.. but I couldn't be convinced by its price. Will rather save for the next big upgrades. Plus, hd800 did not favor vt231 while other headphones (e.g. Elex) did.
    • I liked Sylvania pretty much in terms of tonality. Particularly for hd800. If my TS will die, Sylvania is likely to replace dead TS. But not until then.
    • To sum, it's all about preference and trade-off. Couldn't find either was SUPERIOR to TS.
     
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  6. songmic

    songmic Gear cycler East Asia edition

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    After playing with Lyr 3 for a while, I ultimately decided to sell it.

    I had originally bought the Lyr 3 (with Multibit DAC) for a decent DAC/amp to use as a secondary setup with a small footprint at the workplace or as a bedside rig. The headphone was Code-X. Previously, my reference desktop system was LG/Code-X, but it has been replaced with ZDS/Utopia. While not as powerful or wide sounding as its much more expensive older brother, I also liked the Massdrop CTH and thought it was a great match with Code-X in its price range. I was planning to move up to something better than CTH + SDAC for the Code-X, and that's when the Lyr 3 got released.

    Upon comparing Lyr 3 and CTH + SDAC as DAC/amp combo, I was honestly rather disappointed with the Lyr 3. The first problem was that unlike the CTH + SDAC, the Lyr 3 was pretty noisy. At first I thought it was because the Lyr 3 is a more powerful amp (gain is similar at 7.5 in high gain vs 8 fixed gain, but 4W vs 1W into 50 ohm load), but the CTH was dead silent while the Lyr 3 presented a background noise regardless of the tube used, whether the gear was connected to the source, or volume knob position. I eventually realized the noise was coming from the Multibit DAC module, as the noise completely disappeared when the Lyr 3 was set to amp only mode. The CTH + SDAC, on the other hand, was quiet in both DAC/amp and amp only mode. I contacted Schiit for troubleshooting and tried connecting the DAC/amp to other outlets, but to no avail. Using the HumX ground loop isolator was not a viable option as it's only made for US voltages. At this point I cannot say whether my unit was defective, or that the DAC module is supposed to be this noisy.

    However, noise issue aside, I did not prefer the Lyr 3 to the CTH in terms of sound. Before going any further, I would like to make it clear that the Lyr 3 is NOT inferior sounding to CTH, but rather it was more of a tonality issue. The Code-X is one of my favorite headphones when it comes to tonal balance, but I find it still slightly bright. That's why the somewhat warm and laid-back LG (although it's tube dependent) was such a great match with it, and to an extent, the CTH with its liquid but not rolled-off-to-shit sound. While the Lyr 3 was more responsive to tube rolling than the CTH, the Lyr 3/Code-X combo was still too bright, aggressive and incisive for my tastes, even with a forgiving tube like Sylvania 6SN7GTB chrome dome. The TS BGRP, which was my reference tube with the LG/Code-X, was unbearably unforgiving with Lyr 3/Code-X. Another problem was that the Lyr 3/Code-X sounded too thin, and lacked body. The Lyr 3 is more resolving and technically superior to CTH, but for Code-X, I would take the CTH over Lyr 3 any day because the former's tonal balance is far better suited to this particular headphone.

    Since the Lyr 3 was at an disadvantage because its DAC section is noisy, I decided to level the playing field and compare both gears as amp only by feeding them to my warmed up Yggy A2, although it would defeat the purpose of an AIO solution. Not surprisingly, both amps benefitted significantly with Yggy as source, not to mention extra gain in volume compared to the built-in DAC's (the Yggy's SE RCA outputs were used). Still, my impression did not change; I preferred the tonality of the CTH to the Lyr 3 for the Code-X. One advantage the Lyr 3 had over the CTH was that it was more powerful and provided extra oomph for Code-X, which is elatively inefficient even for a planar headphone. This did help with a few of my recordings which inherently have a low volume, but when the CTH's volume is cranked to the max, it provides sufficient SPL with most of my recordings. Note that I tend to listen more loudly than most people.

    At this point, it was clear which amp was the victor, but to be honest I wasn't fair to the Lyr 3. I had only used the Code-X, which just happened to be a better match with CTH, but what about other headphones? So I brought my Utopia and also picked up an LCD-2C, since most Lyr 3 owners seem to claim that Lyr 3 and LCD-2C are an ideal match.

    For the Utopia, which is already an easy headphone to drive (low impedance/high sensitivity), it did not need the Lyr 3's extra juice. If anything, the background noise of the Lyr 3 was aggravated with the far more efficient Utopia. Also, the Utopia is another bright headphone in my book, brighter than Code-X. I didn't like the Lyr 3/Utopia combo, for the completely opposite reason of ZDT Jr/Utopia combo. On a side note, the ZDT Jr/Utopia combo was a bit too warm for me, even with the low Z output. I would personally take the CTH over Lyr 3 or ZDT Jr with Utopia, if I didn't have the ZDS.

    With the LCD-2C, the Lyr 3 finally began to shine. The non-Fazor LCD-2 Rev.2 was the first $1K+ headphone I bought 7 years ago, and the LCD-2C is undoubtedly a nod to the Audeze house sound that earned the company its good reputation in its budding days. While the Lyr 3/Code-X was bright and anemic, the Lyr 3/LCD-2C combo was powerful with excellent bass quantity/quality and a far more favorable tonal balance. Switching to the CTH, the LCD-2C lost some of its magic on the Lyr 3, and became relatively congested sounding. I also tried the ZDT Jr with the LCD-2C just out of curiosity, not with high expectations of course, but it was surprisingly also good, which makes it one of the few planars I would recommend with ZDT Jr. Still, if I were to pick one, the Lyr 3 would be the amp to go with the LCD-2C.

    Which boils down to the final showdown... which DAC/amp setup should I ultimately keep: Lyr 3/LCD-2C vs CTH/Code-X? It didn't take more than few seconds to decide, the CTH/Code-X was the clear winner. While the Lyr 3 drove the LCD-2C with excellence, the headphone was the bottleneck here. The Code-X wasn't even driven to its full potential (to do so I should use something like LG), and yet it pulled ahead of LCD-2C in almost every areas except for bass. The Code-X outresolved the Lyr 3-driven LCD-2C by a good margin, had a much wider and deeper soundstage, less veiled and congested, and had an overall more favorable tonality. My impressions were the same regardless of whether the built-in DAC or Yggy was used.

    To summarize,

    For Utopia: ZDS >> CTH > ZDT Jr > Lyr 3
    For Code-X: CTH > Lyr 3 > ZDT Jr
    For LCD-2C: Lyr 3 > ZDT Jr > CTH

    As a whole system: ZDS/Utopia > CTH/Code-X > Lyr 3/LCD-2C

    If I had an LCD-4, it would be interesting to compare Lyr 3/LCD-4 with CTH/Code-X. However, the LCD-2C simply cannot compete with Code-X when both headphones are properly driven. Bottom line is, while the Lyr 3 is not a bad amp per se, I simply have no reason to keep it given my current collection of headphones. Of course, if my only headphones were LCD-2C, the Lyr 3 would be no-brainer.

    P.S. I don't mean to generalize, but there seems to be a consistent synergy with amps designed by Cavalli and classic Hifiman headphones (those with SMC connectors that came before HE-560, including Code-X). Although it won't come as a DAC/amp combo, I'm particularly eager to try out Monolith Liquid Platinum with the Code-X once it becomes available.
     
    Last edited: Jun 22, 2018
  7. m17xr2b

    m17xr2b Friend

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    So roaming mid-fi purgatory until something sticks.
     
  8. zeissiez

    zeissiez Turn that Schiit down - acquaintance

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    Great write up. U have a great DAC in Yggdrasil Analog 2 and great headphone in Utopia, why not a better amp than CTH/LYR3?
     
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  9. songmic

    songmic Gear cycler East Asia edition

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    You mean something like ZDS? I already mentioned it in my post.
     
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  10. Skyline

    Skyline Double-blindly done with this hobby

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    So, @yotacowboy was kind enough to hook me up with a Psvane UK-6SN7 for dirt cheap. This isn't a tube you see around a lot, and I haven't heard much feedback on it since they aren't widely available used. New, they are often sold in pairs for over $100, so it's a steep price for tubes that don't have a well-known track record.

    It looks a bit silly in the Lyr 3, though it thankfully fits perfectly without a socket saver. I mean perfectly.

    [​IMG]

    Until now the majority of my listening was with the stock TS, which I find to be perfectly listenable. The major complaint I've seen regarding the Lyr 3, however, is that it can sound a bit too polite due to a lack in dynamics. Perhaps a bit too dry or too neutral.

    If you're in that camp, then this may be the tube you're looking for. My first impression was of being hit over the head by a hammer. Alive, energetic, and exciting, but ultimately fatiguing. I let it run straight for 24 hours and the fatigue-factor has vanished. Relative to the TS, you'll certainly notice an increase in bass (quantity if not quality), a slightly more spacious sound, and more drum punch/impact. I don't notice any downsides in relation to the TS unless you simply need/want something that is super smooth. It can sound harsher than the TS with bad recordings, but that's not a flaw in the tube.

    The biggest bonus to me is that the Lyr 3/HD650 synergy that has been widely panned (a criticism I agreed with) has now been solved for me. The extra bass and punch seems to bring the 650s alive in a way that pushes the Lyr 3 more towards Jot/Valhalla-like synergy. They sound a little leaner, quicker, and punchier compared to the TS which just felt a little...limp(?) in comparison.

    Others may disagree, so don't rush out and buy this tube expecting a mind-blowing experience. Tastes and synergy are too important to overlook. But, for whatever reason, it works for me.

    All listening done with the gear in my signature. The 650 is stock, but of the newer/"brighter" variety - a.k.a. the earpads aren't compressed beyond recognition yet.

    I hope some other people are able to test it out to confirm/dispute what I'm hearing. I look forward to the impressions!
     
    Last edited: Jul 11, 2018
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  11. atomicbob

    atomicbob dScope Yoda

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    I rather enjoy several systems utilizing HD650 with Lyr3 and PS Vane 6SN7-UK or 6SN7-SE as can be seen here and below:

    20180711 Eitr Modi_MB Lyr3 HD650 - small.jpg
     
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  12. Skyline

    Skyline Double-blindly done with this hobby

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    @atomicbob Do you stick with high gain for the most part?

    At first I thought I detected a slightly more spacious sound on low gain, but I'm beginning to suspect it's placebo. I doubt I could A/B any differences given appropriate volume matching.
     
  13. atomicbob

    atomicbob dScope Yoda

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    High gain, volume control runs 0800 to 1200 depending on track sound level when using Modi MB. With Soekris dac1421 I set the Lyr3 volume control to 1200 which is approximately unity gain. Volume is then controlled with dac1421 gain knob.
     
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  14. rott

    rott Secretly hates other millenials - Friend

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    After spending time with the Auteur, just want to comment on the differences between the Lyr 3 and Liquid Carbon which I had previously (naively) stated were hard for me to detect. Comparatively the LC seems flatter (more 2D vs 3D) and has U-shaped tone with a bump in the low and high. (The latter I already new to some extent, but really stuck out with Auteur.) It doesn't work well for the Auteur, though I still think works for the LCD-X.

    With the Lyr 3 I've tried using high gain but keep switching back to low gain (using Schiit TS). Dunno, no explaino.
     
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  15. cskippy

    cskippy Creamy warmpoo

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    I realized I never posted this here...

    These are in a stream of consciousness style:

    RME> Lyr 3 Tung Sol tube
    good tonality, not harshness or etch, not dark or bright but vivid and clear, engaging
    definitely better than RME headphone output

    Lyr 3 Mulitbit DAC Tung Sol tube
    similar to above but clearer room ambiance and slightly better layering a la Schiit Multibit DAC sound
    there is some etch and sibilance stands out

    Lyr 3 Mulitbit DAC unkown OTK Russian tube?
    Great clarity, no etch or sibilant issues, great combo. Can be bright but has excellent dynamics

    I was originally not going to bother connecting Lyr 3 to Yggy and Holo Spring but it sounds so surprisingly good that I feel I need to see how the amp stacks up using the big boys.

    Well it doesn't fall apart with Yggy, sounds really balanced, just a touch lean yet super dynamic and alive sounding, not polite. Bass is still very powerful.
    Reminds me of Jot dynamics without the glare or one plane sound stage
    Excellent leading edge gives an immediacy to the sound, which helps with sound placement.
    Gaming is a treat, I can close my eyes and not only know exactly where someone is but also have a better idea of how far away they are from me, even Aficionado falls behind in this regard.

    Yggy is a touch bright and Spring a touch mellow or dark, so this agrees with me being really neutral, whether that's your thing is up to you.

    Of course this is all tube dependent.

    Yaggy > Lyr 3 Sylvania red letter tube

    Pretty dry sounding compared to the others, kind of bright. Pretty characteristic of Sylvania tubes. Not sure it works here unless you are using darker cans like Autuer or Audeze

    Yaggy > Lyr 3 Tung Sol tube

    This is pretty good. Slightly polite with less attack so sounds aren't as sharp but it's also a little more realistic, instead of this hyper clarity of the Sylvania. Bass is soft and more mid focused. Treble is sweet without grain and slightly rolled but natural.

    I think the Sylvania is the best of the three tubes

    No issue running Lyr 3 as a preamp from Yaggy to Vidar>Philharmonic AAMs, no noise.

    So is it all roses? Not quite. I don't think this hyper detail or clarity is natural sounding, and can get fatiguing. Aficionado has a much more natural sound and timbre, more elegant and sophisticated.

    I also have to say that I'm used to more than one input so one input and output could be considered a con depending on your usage.

    Also, as usual with Schiit amps, the gain is too damn high. I could barely get past channel balance and had very little usable volume range with Utopia on high gain. Low gain, felt leaner and brighter but had less bloom or euphoric sound so that is a nice option to subtly tweak the sound.

    I didn't find a huge difference in tube rolling but they could push the sound in a direction. Personally I would want to try an RCA or National Union tube to warm it up and smooth it out a bit.

    Well I enjoyed this little amp so much I decided to buy one myself. I'll update with additional info on tubes that were included with the sale.

    Thanks to SBAF for the loaner!
     
  16. Brad Tombaugh

    Brad Tombaugh Acquaintance

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    Chris, which headphones did you use? Did you prefer different headphones with different tubes?
     

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