Astrotec Lyra – Sublimation

The Sound

Unless you’re out to hear Starbucks’s playlist behind  your own music, Lyra’s not an out-and-about earphone. You’ll have to kill your ears in order to drown out background noise. Don’t. We love you here, commenting, reading, and interacting with our reviews. It’s not quite time to graduate to www.HearingAidFonia.com. Stay with us a while. And enjoy Lyra at home, windows closed, with the fan off.

No matter what’s going on around you, what comes through loud, clear, and strong, is bass that is both youthful and punchy. If you can fasten Lyra real close to your ears, it is massive. If you fasten it loosely in your ears, it approaches neutrality. At the bottom this bass is dry, nearly-chalky. Its thwack is crazy satisfying for trance, less so for hip hop. Bass hits hard, fast, and with great resolution, but is pretty one-dimensional. Low-voiced instruments stand shoulder to shoulder, and in macro, are distinct. But as when viewed a few meters back, are basically just a wall of ooomph. That wall is pretty wide, standing just outside of each ear, encroaching as far in as your inner eye sockets.

Space is biggest in the mids. Contrast between them and bass is stark, but decently graduated. This contrast digs an amazing chasm where fast electronic music turns to trance (the feeling, not the genre) pretty fast. Mids have a lot of pressure of their own, and are distinct. They float in their own stratosphere. Low mids are as taught as Lyra’s bass. Mid-to-high mids stand out well, even against exciting treble elements.

Vocals don’t stand out all that well against strong bass. And leading male vocal edges, clear as they are, are dry, and nearly weightless. Too weightless, in fact: effectively reversing male puberty, and exulting the clarity of his female counterpart.

Apart from that, tonality is pretty good. If you’ve got Peter, Paul, and Mary’s Flora running, you’ll be amazed by the bell-like clarity between the three. But Peter and Paul get a bit of a neuter. Cymbals clash and shimmer with great speed. Their decay is fast, and there’s no splash. Cymbal shimmer is probably the neatest high-frequency sound to spit from Lyra. Neat not in absolute accuracy, but in its penchant for scrubbing smooth certain resolving details artefact-free fades to black. It’s almost Disneyland in its exalting of the faux to near real levels.

Those fades to black are like your daughter in a bright Easter dress handing the last egg to poor, egg-less Walt, a perennial slowpoke with flowers in his hair. It’s reedy here, fast there, super-smooth another place. All together, it’s a real treat, if one whose flavor isn’t the norm.

End Words

Lyra is a fine earphone. It’s made well, outfitted well, and decently branded. Its fit is so-so. Where is its website? Who makes it? What’s their plan for the future? My guess is Tomorrow Land: good, if sublimated reality, and a penchant for crazy designs. AX-60 rocked. Lyra recreates. I love its bass, and its idealistic highs. Its dry mids lack bite in the oboe, the male vocalist, the riffing bass guitar. But they’re super clear.

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Back before he became the main photographer for bunches of audio magazines and stuff, Nathan was fiddling with pretty cool audio gear all day long at TouchMyApps. He loves Depeche Mode, trance, colonial hip-hop, and raisins. Sometimes, he gets to listening. Sometimes, he gets to shooting. Usually he's got a smile on his face. Always, he's got a whisky in his prehensile grip.

16 Comments

  • Reply May 16, 2015

    dalethorn

    Lyra is currently $99 on Massdrop.

    • Reply May 18, 2015

      ohm image

      Thanks for the update, Dale. I’ll have to mention that.

  • Reply May 20, 2015

    digitldlnkwnt

    Question: They look well made, but based on your impressions they sound like ill-fitting and rather uncomfy IEMs.Given the fit is only “so-so” and given that fit is literally everything, especially where bass is concerned with an IEM, I’m not sure why you recommended these. I can improve the bass on any IEM by pressing it a bit tighter to improve seal, but i can’t walk around that way.

    • Reply May 20, 2015

      ohm image

      I’m not sure where you got the idea that I ‘recommend’ these. They’re okay, sometimes good, seldom great. They’re so-so. A nice try.

      • Reply May 20, 2015

        digitldlnkwnt

        Mostly from the last paragraph, but perhaps I miss interpreted.

    • Reply May 20, 2015

      dalethorn

      These are IEM? Look like earbuds to me.

      • Reply May 20, 2015

        digitldlnkwnt

        Same difference unless you want to play the marketing term game. They go in your ears correct ?

        • Reply May 21, 2015

          dalethorn

          IEMs have to seal in the ear canal and contain special tips for that purpose. No such eartips for earbuds, and, much less critical accordingly.

          • Reply May 21, 2015

            George Lai

            Hi Dale. Then there are the half-in-ears like the Dunu Titan-1.

            • Reply May 21, 2015

              dalethorn

              I would definitely regard that as an IEM since it has the obvious eartips. Whatever the case, if it connects to the ear canal it’s trouble for me, so those that don’t touch the ear canal and don’t have those tips – earbuds. Seems to me to be the major distinction, unless someone has a chart breaking it down.

              • Reply May 21, 2015

                George Lai

                The Lyra is definitely an ear bud of course. I tried the Titan-1 as, like you, I can’t use universal IEMs with ear tips. The unique thing about the Titan is that the bulk of the weight is taken up by the ear bud portion resting in your ear, whilst, if you use a smaller than usual ear tip, I figured that the ear tip is more to help the positioning or stability of the whole device. Try a demo, Dale. I was pleasantly surprised.

                • Reply May 21, 2015

                  dalethorn

                  Thanks George – I have both of these on my list. It should be an interesting learning experience.

  • Reply May 26, 2015

    independentskeptic

    I’m a fan of earbuds as IEM’s have never felt comfortable. Any comparisons to other earbuds like Yuin?

    • Reply June 3, 2015

      ohm image

      I don’t have any Yuin about which to comment. Sorry.

  • Reply June 24, 2016

    golov17

    Fully gree with review, thanks ????

  • Reply June 24, 2016

    golov17

    Agree, btw, sorry ????

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