Review: Schiit Audio Lyr 3 – Flexibility

Schiit Audio Lyr 3

The Lyr 3 is a fully discrete tube hybrid headphone-amplifier that features some Godzilla like power. Does it sound good too? Let’s find out!

Disclaimer: The Lyr 3 by Schiit Audio was provided for the purpose of this review. Schiit Audio is not affliated with Headfonia and not a site advertizer. Many thanks for the generosity and opportunity to test the Lyr 3 at an extended period.

About Schiit Audio

Schiit Audio is an American manufacturer of amplifiers, d/a converters and audio accessories. They have been around in the community for a long time already and have started out in 2010. Everyone in the head-fi world knows them for their wonderful performances and very good prices. My hat goes off to them especially for their simple yet effective marketing department. Their name is quite often used for word plays (I love them). This coupled with the great performing gear of theirs they have gained immense popularity.

Schiit Audio is one of the last standing companies that does not jump on any hype. In our scene I see it very often that people just demand the latest, and supposedly greatest, support for file formats (MQA, DSD) or the highest sample rates. Schiit does not give much for that, and I understand why. You won‘t run into a lot of DSD content, though DSD64 especially is gaining ground. Personally, I think it is not about the file-format or the sample rates, the mastering and engineering behind each track is way more important than that. All the rest to me is just marketing.

Now that that‘s off the chest, let‘s continue with some info about Schiit.

Schiit Audio is run by two people: Jason Stoddard and Mike Moffat. Two men that have a lot of audio background as each one of them was designing hardware (Stoddard – Amplifiers; Moffat – DACs) in their past. If you‘re interested to learn more about these two men, I suggest you read up on the massive Head-Fi posts Jason Stoddard regularly pushes out. Their history and way of doing things really is something.

All Schiit Audio products are built in the USA. If you’re not satisfied with your new toy, they give you 15 days money back guarantee. Nice!

It has been a while since we featured a Schiit Audio product here on Headfonia. Thank god the wait is over.

Schiit Audio Lyr 3

Schiit Audio Lyr 3

About Lyr 3

The Lyr 3 is a modular hybrid headphone amplifier. It is fully discrete, which means there are no integrated circuits (OpAmps) in there. I myself find myself very attracted to discrete designs and their sound signature. It is hard to achieve such a smooth and liquid sounding product with Operational Amplifiers.

The wonderful thing about the Lyr however is it’s Yoga like flexibility. Not only can you use dual-triode valves with this amplifier, you can also get something called LISST, which is a solid state tube that will change the sound of the amplifier. We will learn a little later how it changes it. Additionally to tube-rolling you can also get different modules for the Lyr 3.

You can get a solo analogue amplifier, a DAC/amp combo (multibit or AK4490 DAC) or even a moving-magnet phono-stage for your turntable. My unit came with the LISST and Tung-Sol tubes and the multibit card installed.

Schiit Audio Lyr 3

Schiit Audio Lyr 3

Functionality-wise the Lyr 3 is very easy. You get one analogue input (RCA), one pre-amplifier output (RCA) and depending on what card you have installed either USB B or RCA phono input.

The Lyr 3 practically oozes of power with its mind-bobbling nine Watts output (into 16 Ohms). At incredibly low 0.3 Ohms output impedance the Lyr 3 measures outstandingly. It brings two gain settings to the table and has only one single ended 6.35mm jack on front. Some people might scream now for a balanced connection, but I don’t necessarily agree.

An output is only as good as it is implemented. I have seen impressive single ended outputs (think Chord Electronics) and very bad balanced ones (FiiO’s X5iii comes to mind). Balanced does not automatically mean better.

The Lyr 3 uses Schiit’s CoherenceTM hybrid topology, which works with all 6N8S NOS as well as new 6SN7 tubes. The newly introduced ContinuityTM technology is a constant transconductance output stage which should provide superior performance.

The Lyr 3 costs 499$ in the base configuration and can set you back more, depending on the package chosen.


Schiit does not spoil their Lyr 3 customers with some luxuriously over-designed package. The amplifier comes in a simple cardboard box with some hard foam in it to securely transport the Lyr 3. You’ll also get a power chord, a short manual and the selected tube (s). That’s it. Simple yet effective. Sure a little more would’ve been nice, but do you really need it?

The review continues on the next page.

4.5/5 - (211 votes)

A daytime code monkey with a passion for audio and his kids, Linus tends to look at gear with a technical approach, trying to understand why certain things sound the way they do. When there is no music around, Linus goes the extra mile and annoys the hell out of his colleagues with low level beatboxing.


  • Reply September 4, 2018


    Thanks for the great review! How would you compare the Shiit to the ALO CDM? Would the CDM properly drive the HD650?


    • Reply September 4, 2018


      It can drive it power wise, but the synergy for me isn’t really there. The Woo WA11 made a far better pairing

    • Reply September 5, 2018


      Hi Jonathan,

      thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment.

      The CDM is a great device as well, but heavily held back by the stock tubes. When I had it, I changed to Mullard tubes which revealed the true potential of the CDM. Can’t speak about tube rolling with the Lyr…

      The CDM, imo, should be used fully balanced, that’s how it sounds the best. That way it sounds more spacious and open than the Lyr. The Lyr is more melodious and liquid.

      As for the 650, as Lieven said it should have the power to drive it loud, but not to its optimum performance. I don’t have the 650 (shame, I know), so I can’t speak for the Lyr pairing.

      Hope that helped.


  • Reply September 7, 2018

    Chel Illingworth

    I’m curious how the lyr 3 multibit would work with my pair of night owls. Looking to upgrade from dragonfly red. Or… would a chord mojo be better?

    • Reply September 7, 2018


      Hi Chel,

      thanks for your comment.
      The Mojo has higher resolution and sounds more technical overall. The Lyr follows a liquid and harmonic signature throughout. It really depends on how you want to use it. The Multibit Lyr is desktop only. The Mojo is portable and loads smaller. It also offers more digital inputs, whereas the Lyr 3 has only USB. The Schiit has an additional analogue input.

      What would the use scenario be?

  • Reply September 7, 2018


    Hey thanks for the comment, mostly I’d use it listening to music in my living room hooked up to a MacBook Air streaming tidal.

    • Reply September 7, 2018


      Do you need it for extremely hard to drive cans? If so, the Lyr 3 might be the better fit, as it has quite a bit more power.
      Do you also want to use it as a portable device? Then the Mojo is what you want.
      Do you need more than just the USB input? Again, Mojo.
      Do you want to play with different signature? Lyr 3 offers tube rolling.

      What are your sonic preferences?

      • Reply October 20, 2020


        Hello Linus.

        Bit of a delayed message for this older review.

        I am too looking for a headphone amp/DAC to power my Beyerdynamic DT 1990 Pros
        Want to mainly use it around the house to tote around with me listening to Tidal through my iPad.
        I tried the dragonfly cobalt and didn’t like it. No depth and lack of punch.

        I just ordered the Mojo but am wondering if the Lyr3 will sound better?

        I mainly listen to rock and classical but also enjoy some jazz.

        I want the sound to be lush , but punchy at the same time. Have realism to instruments. But I want that depth as well.
        I ask I don’t really like a thinner sound. But not so thick that it’s undefined. If that makes sense.
        I have a Marantz HD DAC 1. And that sits in my main setup so I can’t use that. Why I am looking for a desktop solution or portable. Whichever sounds best.

        Thank you

    • Reply August 22, 2020


      How would the Lyr pair with Mr Speakers Ether ‘0’ planar magnetic? Also wondering how the multi bit dac would stack up with external dac, Nad d1050?

  • Reply September 8, 2018


    I’m using the audioquest nightowls, most often with the hybrid pads. I listen to a lot of acoustic music. Looking for more detail, spaciousness and clarity over the DF red.

    • Reply September 8, 2018


      I think you might be better off with a Mojo then, because it has more than enough power to drive the Nightowls, you can attach it to your phone and take it with you when travelling with the MacBook.

  • Reply September 8, 2018


    Great review Linus! Could you be more spesific about grounding issue with iems? Is there any hum when you are not touching the chassis?

    • Reply September 9, 2018


      Hi Karifftosh,

      thanks for your comment.
      Yeah, it occurs when I touch the housing.
      Hope that helps.

  • Reply September 29, 2018


    Hi Linus,

    Great review on the Lyr 3. I have owned one for the last 2 months and can also confirm the grounding issue exists on my unit. Originally it was a nuisance and I contacted Schiit support. They said it was related to the wiring in my house but I confirmed it exists outside my home. You are the first to bring it up and glad you did as no one on the forums acknowledges its existence. Glad I am not alone in the issue. Fortunately, after a few months the issue doesn’t bother me anymore as the music has taken over. Thanks for sharing.

  • Reply November 17, 2018


    Final’s website shows that the D8000s weight 523g, rather than over 600. It surely is still within the realm of “torturing machine” though.

  • Reply December 9, 2018


    I currently have an HD700, and a Sony NWZ-ZW1 portable player bought years ago. Does the Schiit Lyr drive HD700 well? If not, can you recommend me a desktop amp good for HD700 (under $1,000)? I’m also confused if I need a DAC+amp or just an amp.

    I’d really appreciate it if anyone can answer my questions. I’m new in Hi-Fi and everything is confusing to me 🙁

    • Reply December 9, 2018


      Hi Yuang,

      thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment.
      I don’t think the Lyr 3 would have a problem driving the 700’s, it performs really well with my HD800S… It also drives much more difficult gear.

      You should be safe with the Lyr 3 imo.

      If you need a DAC/Amp or Amp comes down to what you already have in your chain. If you want a desktop setup you might want to either get a DAC module from Schiit, or buy a separate DAC. I prefer the Lyr 3 in amp mode, fed by one of my DACs (mostly the Chord Qutest).

      You can also use your WM-1Z though, but then you would do double-amping (first in the DAP, and secondary in the amp). You might want to avoid that. If the Sony offers a Line Out function use this one.

      Hope that helped and didn’t add more confusion 😉

  • Reply February 15, 2019


    in a straight side by side direct comparison between the lyr 3 and Continental Dual Mono for headphones that done need a whole bunch of juice ,any difference in musically joy sound signature ?

    • Reply December 8, 2020

      Glenn Shaikun

      My 3 mos experience with the Lyr 3 makes me think it will drive your SONY Beautifully (I have the multibit DAC too) Its a joy It drives beautifully my difficult HD560’s, and I find I can’t pull myself away from the computer once I start listening It also drives my Audio Engine 2+’s to heights I didn’t think possible. A sheer joy for not a lot of money I did tube roll twice, don’t even think about keeping the stock tube, the tung sol for $25 is pretty decent, and the Shunguang I now use even better.

  • Reply February 17, 2019


    alo audio cdm is the other name for it ?

    • Reply February 17, 2019


      Hi Star,
      thanks for your comment.
      Yes, CDM = Continental Dual Mono.
      The CDM to me has higher resolution and better imaging, its bass is also tighter, more like a solid state amplifier. The Lyr3 is lusher and more musical, with a softer tonality. CDM should be used fully balanced imo, that’s where it shines.

  • Reply April 22, 2019

    Lars Christensen

    Thanks for a great review. Will it make sense to use a Dragon Fly Red as DAC and combine it with the Lyr 3 in pure AMP mode? Or does the Lyr 3 DAC do a better job than the dragon fly red? Thanks.

    Yes, I have the dragon fly red and a pair of Hifiman planars. But is looking to upgrade. Had the Mojo for a while but did not fancy it.

    • Reply May 3, 2019


      Hi Lars,
      thanks a lot for your comment. Real sorry about the delay in responding, work has kept me pretty occupied. 😀
      Personally I would get a DAC card for the Lyr3 instead of using the DF Red. It’s a great performer, no doubt, but I feel the multibit card and enjoy that.
      Hope that helps.

  • Reply July 29, 2019

    Joe G

    Hi Linus,
    So I’m currently running my Audeze LCD-2C off of my Chord Mojo, which I do seem to have at around 85-90% power all the time and I’d add some bass in the Equalizer APO (Peace GUI). Do you think the Lyr 3 as an amp would help me gain more punch, bass, and volume in my chain w/o having to use the EQ?

  • Reply September 26, 2019

    Shane D

    Hello. Would the Lyr 3 (amp only), be a good match with very efficient headphones? My hardest to drive pair are the HD58X’s. And I don’t listen very loud.
    I would mainly be using Grado GH2’s, Beyer T5p.2’s, Meze 99 Classic’s and Shure 1540’s.
    Music choice is rock with some pop, horn jazz and blues. LOVE horns and vocals.

    Thank you.

  • Reply December 8, 2020

    isabel greymount

    I currently have HiFiMAN Arya. Does the Schiit Lyr perform better than HiFiMAN Arya well? I’m also confused if I need a DAC+amp or just an amp.

    I’d really appreciate it if anyone can answer my questions. I’m new in Hi-Fi and everything is confusing to me.

    • Reply December 29, 2020


      The HifiMan Arya is a headphone. The Schiit Lyr is a headphone amp. They are two completely differently things. The Lyr would drive the Arya. IE, you’d plug the Arya into the Lyr and then turn up the volume on the Arya to listen to it.

      If you’re planning on just using your laptop headphone jack to send audio to the Lyr, then you already have a built-in DAC on the laptop and don’t need any other DAC (unless you want a nicer, more expensive, better sounding DAC than what’s in your laptop).

  • Reply March 7, 2023

    bren kjernisted

    Can you EQ the Schiit Lyr using the peace equalizer when it is connected to a PC?


  • Reply March 25, 2024

    Deepa singh

    I’m currently using an HD700 headphone along with a Sony NWZ-ZW1 portable player that I purchased years ago. I’m wondering if the Schiit Lyr is a suitable amplifier for driving the HD700 effectively. If not, I’d appreciate recommendations for a desktop amplifier that pairs well with the HD700 and falls within a budget of $1,000.

    Additionally, I’m unsure whether I need both a DAC and an amplifier, or if just an amplifier would suffice.

    I’m fairly new to the world of Hi-Fi, and I find everything quite confusing at the moment. Any guidance or suggestions would be immensely helpful. Thank you!

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