Lyr

HYBRID MODULAR HEADAMP/DAC/PHONO PREAMP

Voltage (?)
Plug Type (?)
Module
Tubes

$499

Backordered to 10-18

Description

Specs

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To improve on Lyr 2, we had to completely reinvent the amp, introduce two new technologies, and make it modular. Yes, that’s right. Not only is the new Lyr 3 a big sonic upgrade, it can be configured with the DAC or phono preamp of your choice—just like Jotunheim. 

Power and Finesse in One
Want to run IEMs? Sure. Need power for your HE-6? Sure. If this means nothing to you, just be confident that you can plug any headphone into Lyr 3 and get great sound. With full power delivered from the standard ¼” jack, you don’t need balanced headphones to take full advantage of Lyr 3. 
 
Unparalleled Flexibility
Select from the internal card or rear-panel analog input, and pick high or low gain with convenient front switches. Connect the preamp output to your powered monitors for a complete desktop system—or use it as a front end to your speaker power amplifier. Lyr 3 provides all the flexibility you need.
 
Single Tube, Two Complementary Technologies
Now, you can enjoy a serious tube amp—that only requires a single tube. Our Coherence™ hybrid topology makes the most out of the supplied NOS 6N8S tube, and also works with all NOS and new-production 6SN7 tube types. What’s more, Lyr 3 introduces Continuity™—a constant transconductance output stage which provides superior performance.
 
Configure Now, Ready For the Future
Select from two different DAC modules, a phono input module, or no module at all to tailor Lyr 3 exactly to your needs. Modular design means Lyr 3 won’t be dumpster-fodder when technology changes—just swap a card!
  • Multibit DAC Module. Choose the optional Multibit DAC Module to get Schiit’s unique digital filter and true multibit DAC architecture, as used in Modi Multibit and Bifrost Multibit, for $200.
  • AK4490 DAC Module. Or choose the more affordable AK4490 G2 DAC module for a world-class delta-sigma DAC for only $100. 
  • MM Phono Input Module. Or, choose the MM phono input module, for 42dB of gain and passive RIAA, for great phono sound, at only $100.
Made in USA. Really.
By “made in USA,” we mean made in USA. The vast majority of the total production cost of Lyr 3—chassis, boards, assembly, etc—goes to US companies manufacturing in the US. 
 
5-Year Warranty and Easy Return Policy
Lyr 3 is covered by a 5-year limited warranty that covers parts and labor. And if you don’t like your Lyr 3, you can send it back for a refund, minus 5% restocking fee, within 15 days of receiving it.
 
Frequency Response: 20Hz-20Khz, -0.1db, 2Hz-700KHz, -3dB, in gain = 1.5 mode
Maximum Power, 16 ohms: 9.0W RMS per channel
Maximum Power, 32 ohms: 6.0W RMS per channel (7.5W at <1% THD typical, one channel driven)
Maximum Power, 50 ohms: 4.0W RMS per channel
Maximum Power, 300 ohms: 900mW RMS per channel
Maximum Power, 600 ohms: 450mW RMS per channel
THD: < 0.007%, 20Hz-20KHz, at 1V RMS, high gain (worst case)
IMD: < 0.005%, CCIR at 1V RMS, high gain (worst case)
SNR: > 102db, unweighted, referenced to 1V RMS, in gain = 1.5 mode
Crosstalk: < -75dB, 20 Hz-20KHz
Output Impedance: 0.3 ohms, high gain (worst case)
Gain: 7.5 (17.5db) or 1.5 (3.5db)
Topology: fully discrete, current-mode noninverting 6SN7/bipolar hybrid with constant transconductance output stage
Protection: standard muting relay for delayed turn-on and fast turn-off
Power Supply: two internal power transformers with 72VA total rating, plus with over 55,000uf of filter capacitance
 
Optional Multibit DAC:
USB Input Receiver: C-Media CM6631A
D/A Conversion IC: Analog Devices AD5547
Digital Filter: Schiit Comboburrito Time- and Frequency-domain Optimized DSP filter
Input Capability: up to 24/192
Analog Output: fully differential, active summing and filtering
Frequency Response: 20Hz-20KHz, +/-0.25dB, 2-100kHz, -3dB
THD: <0.005%, 20Hz-20KHz, full scale
IMD: <0.006%, CCIR
S/N: >109dB, referenced to 2V RMS, unweighted
 
Optional Dual AK4490 G2 DAC:
USB Input Receiver: C-Media CM6631A
D/A Conversion IC: AK4490 x 2
Input Capability: up to 24/192, including 24/176.4
Analog Output: fully differential, passive summing and passive filtering
Frequency Response: 20Hz-20KHz, +/-0.1dB, 2-100kHz, -3dB
THD: <0.0015%, 20Hz-20KHz, full scale
IMD: <0.002%, CCIR
S/N: >110dB, referenced to 2V RMS, unweighted
 
Optional Passive Filtered Phono Stage:
Gain: 42dB
THD: <0.01%, A-weighted, at 1V RMS
SNR: >80dB, A-weighted, inputs shorted
Crosstalk: -70dB, 20-20kHz
Sensitivity: 2.3mV for 400mV output
Overload Margin: >20dB
Input Impedance: 47k ohms 
Input Capacitance: 100pf
RIAA Accuracy: +/- 0.25dB, 20-20kHz
Topology: Fully passive RIAA network with AD8599 gain stages and PET film capacitors throughout, DC coupled, with DC servo
 
Power Consumption: 30W
Size: 9 x 6 x 2.25”
Weight: 6 lbs
 

Hey, wait a minute, this is completely different than Lyr and Lyr 2!
Right. Like we said, we had to reinvent the whole thing in order to improve it significantly.

But…but…but…I have about $4,537 in tubes for my Lyr 2, but now you changed the tube type!
Well, leaving aside the sanity of spending 10x the amount in tubes as on the amp, yes, life is unfair; change is the only constant; you have to break eggs to make omelets, and all those platitudes that you probably don’t want to hear. So, here’s the deal: we changed tube type (from noval, 6DJ8-family tubes, to octal, 6SN7-family tubes) because they sound better and perform better. In fact, the 6SN7 tube family is one of the most linear tubes ever made—as evidenced by the amazing performance of Lyr 3 in high gain mode. 
 
But…I’m just not happy with better performance!
We also changed because the tube world is changing. Rolling two tubes is becoming more problematic, as tube prices increase. With Lyr 3, you don’t have to worry about matching two tubes, or the need for two tubes inherently doubling the price of your rolling adventures. Plus, there are some quite decent new production 6SN7s out there, which makes them viable well into the future.
 
But…I still have all these tubes for the old Lyr!
Yes, and if you want to use them, you can still use them in Lyr 3, with an adapter. Lyr 3’s plate voltage isn’t very different than Lyr or Lyr 2. 
 
But, er, I still…ah, schiit, can you use LISST in Lyr 3?
Yes, either the noval LISST (with an adapter) or the new octal LISST will be fine. They’re the same internally.
 
Sigh. Okay. I get it. If I’m using one of your preamps like Saga and Freya, can I use the same tubes there?
Absolutely.
 
Okay, so tell me about these crazy new technologies you’re pimping. Coherence™? Continuity™? What the hell are those?
Cool. Let’s start with Coherence™. This is our unique current-mode, noninverting tube/BJT hybrid topology that eliminates the need for interstage coupling capacitors. These two disparate devices work seamlessly together in this topology, hence the name. Coherence debuted in Vali 2, but Lyr 3 uses an insanely upgraded and tweaked version of the Vali 2 stage. Unlike Vali 2, Lyr 2 has no input or output capacitors, no interstage capacitors, and an overkill 5-pole bias servo. 
 
So what’s this horseschiit Continuity™ constant tranconductance output stage? How is this better than the old “Dynamically Adaptive” output stage?
Whoa, that’s two questions in one, plus an insult. Let’s take this a step at a time. Sit down and buckle up, because this is important—maybe the most important subject for a Class AB amplifier, like, ever.
  • It ain’t horseschiit. Transconductance nonlinearity in the transition from Class A to Class B is an inherent problem baked into literally every Class AB amp. Take a look at Bob Cordell’s amplifier design book for a great tutorial on the subject. Also, online, reference John Broskie. Both have written many words about the problem of transconductance nonlinearity. 
  • When you bias a Class AB amplifier, both transistors conduct at low levels. When the output goes outside of this low level, though, only one half conducts. Effective transconductance is halved. You can pursue an optimum biasing strategy for Class AB that minimizes this transconductance discontinuity, but it is absolutely there. You can squint your eyes and say that the emitter resistors swamp the effects, but it’s still there. You can use a ton of feedback to squash it flat, but, again, it is absolutely still there. Sumo addressed this with its Transconductance Linearization error servo based on the work of Hawksford and Cordell. This was a complicated way to get around it, but it did work. Another way to address the problem is to bolt on huge heatsinks and crank everything as far into Class A as possible, so the transconductance is always doubled. That’s great, except for the fact you end up with huge, heavy, hot amplifiers.
  • Our Continuity™ constant transconductance output stage is a serious attempt to solve this problem. It uses both N-channel and P-channel devices on both positive and negative sides of the power supply, all conducting at the same time, and it uses additional devices that linearize the transconductance outside of the Class A bias region. It addresses both the problem of transconductance doubling and of mismatch between N-and P-channel devices. 
  • This isn’t just hand-waving—the Continuity output stage measures 10dB better THD to clipping.
  • And finally, Dynamically Adaptive output stage, RIP. That was a sliding-bias arrangement that worked well to increase power, but its performance is significantly worse than Continuity. 
Well, like, that’s cool and all, but I don’t understand all the engineering.
Hey, you know, that’s your choice. But if you want to start selecting products based on something more than marketing buzzwords, it might be cool to read up a bit more on this. Again, try Bob Cordell. Or not. It’s your life.
 
So why didn’t you put balanced on this, like Jotunheim?
Because there ain’t no way it would fit. To do balanced (real balanced—don’t assume that every amp with a 4-pin XLR on it is really balanced), you’re looking at two tubes and twice the output stage and a whole lot more connectors. That simply wouldn’t fit. No way, no how. Look at how much transformer and power supply has to go into Lyr 3.
 
But I want balanced!
Cool, there’s Jotunheim.
 
But I want balanced and tubes!
Cool, there’s Mjolnir 2.  
 
You know what I mean!
Yes, we do. And that’s why we say that more people should learn a bit about engineering. Sometimes wanting something isn’t enough.
 
Okay, fine. So let’s talk about this modularity. It’s like Jotunheim?
Yep. It even takes the same modules. 
 
But what if I want two modules?
Then you need a chassis that is a tesseract, because we don’t have that much space in this dimension. Talk to Doctor Who.
 
Can I change the modules myself?
Like all of our products, there are no user-serviceable parts inside. However, if you are a qualified electronics technician, or know a qualified tech, you can order the boards separately, under “upgrades.” They just plug in. But it’s not like you’d want to leave the top off and drop in the DAC card, then pull it out and put the phono card in again, then pull that out and drop the DAC back in. That’s a bit silly. 
 
Let’s talk practicality. Is this quiet enough for IEMs?
Yes, in low gain mode. 
 
And it has enough power for…
…any headphone, yes.
 
So can I leave my headphones plugged in all the time?
Yes, Lyr 3 has a muting relay which delays output on first turn-on, and mutes the output on turn-off.
 
Does the volume control adjust the preamp outputs?
Yes.
 
Can I turn off the headphone outs when I’m using the preamp outputs?
The preamp outputs are automatically turned off when you plug in your headphones. Unplug your headphones to use the pre outs.
 
You know this sucker runs hot, right?
Yes, though technically it dissipates 12W less at idle than Lyr 2, and about 10W more at idle than Jotunheim. All of these dissipations are well within the capability of the parts we’re using, so there you go. 
Third Time's The Charm
The Master Switch, Rob Boffard

"It more than stands up to its competitors in the space. If you’re looking for a good tube amp, one that can handle just about any headphone you throw at it, then the Lyr 3 is an excellent place to start."

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A Leap Ahead
Gary Alan Barker, Headphone Guru

"Unlike many tube headphone amps that exhibit the rolled off high frequencies and bottom end that a seeming majority of electrical engineers think is the “tube” sound, the Schiit Lyr 3 produces a true audiophile sound with extreme linearity in both the low bass extending into the subsonic and the upper registers, while retaining the musicality of midrange to tame the occasionally aggressive precision of the Schiit Multibit DAC. Despite the use of a shared tube for both channels, the stereo separation was competitive with many dual mono amps I have heard, and while the soundstage is a bit shallower than I prefer, it does depend a lot on which headphone you listen to, as listening through the Katanas put me exactly where I wanted to be. As to power and dynamic range, I can’t imagine a headphone that the Lyr 3 couldn’t drive easily and produce clean clear concert level volumes for those who wish to damage their hearing. I did find myself listening to higher volumes than I would normally without any fatigue, and could easily get lost in the music for hours."

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Schiit Audio Lyr 3 – Flexibility
Headfonia.com, Linus

"The Lyr 3 to me is a highly musical sounding device that really gets you into the music again, where you lose all sight of critical listening and just enjoy what is in front of you."

"Take into account the immense elasticity of the product, letting you configure it to your needs, and the extreme output power you will be faced with one tough decision not to get the Lyr 3 when you’re looking for a new affordable desktop amplifier."
 
"For the price, the flexibility and the sound it is highly recommended and gives every other amplifier of this year a serious run for Best Amplifier 2018."

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