Pure amplifier mode (LISST)
With the solid state ‘tube’ the sound changes to a more punchy bass, with even wider extension into lows and highs. You will trade musicality for linearity in the lower midrange. Don’t think you’d be getting a typical solid state amplifier then, because the discrete design of Lyr 3 will still give out a very harmonic and lush sounding amplifier with smooth mids. The biggest change to me though was the treble, which has gotten sparklier and crisper with the LISST installed. The overall sound lost some of its richness, but gained precision and accuracy in the end. Which is also very nice if you’re looking for that.
DAC plus amplifier mode (Multibit, Tung-Sol 6SN7)
Of course the multibit and the Qutest are two very different species. The Chord’s resolution, sound stage and information-richness are leagues ahead of the Schiit multibit module. However, the multibit to me is also something special, that matches very well with the Schiit analogue section. If you’re again moaning about the missing über-high resolution support, please keep in mind, that it is not fitting to Schiit’s philosophy of products. Audio quality before insane sample rate support.
I repeat myself, most available content today is anyhow maximum 24/192. DSD files are out there, sure, but most of them are only upsampled. Or do you really think Pink Floyd or The Beatles did record in 24bit/192kHz, let alone DSD?
The multibit module is using a 24/192 Analogue Devices AD5547 DAC chip. Analogue Devices nowadays has lost some fame with the gaining popularity of other silicone chip suppliers. However, the AD DACs have always been well respected for their, you guessed it, analogue sound.
Compared to the Chord-Schiit combo you will lose some sound stage dimensions and resolution, as well as extension. But you will gain a highly musical sound, that convinces even more with a natural timbre. It’s more of a kick back and relax sound than a head scratching technical.
Most of my review time I have spent with the Sennheiser HD800S, as it is my reference full sized can. What is the review worth if I don’t tell you how well the Lyr 3 handles different gear though? So let’s go over some over ears as well as some in ear monitors, which to my surprise were handled incredibly well.
I have used the Lyr 3 in pure amplifier (Tung-Sol) mode again with the Qutest as source playing from Roon.
Sennheiser – HD800S
The Senn is one of my long time companions, and one of the very few full sized headphones I can wear for longer sessions. Most other cans I have to get off after a while. The Senn stays put with its light weight and high comfort.
The HD800S is one of my favourites, it is very precise and has high resolution and one of the, if not the, biggest sound stages out there. One area I always found it lacking though is it’s bass. It is very light weight and misses some body for my taste. With the Lyr 3 that gets fixed (to some extent). Bass is well textured, hard hitting and well formed with good body. It extends deep with good rumble and slam.
The slightly warmer lower mids give the HD800S a very good sound appearance with a natural picture. The sound stage stretches wide and deep with similar dimensions. Upper mids are nicely rich and treble is laid back and not overly bright.
The Lyr 3 has absolutely no problem driving the Sennheiser to loud levels, even in low gain.
Final Audio – D8000
The D8000 is Final’s first planar magnetic headphone. With a weight of over 600 grams I have to take it off every twenty to thirty minutes because of wear-fatigue. The Lyr 3 gets the D8000 plenty loud in high gain with more than enough head-room available.
The D8000 sounds bloody fantastic with great rumble and dynamics. It is super realistic and fun to listen to. It has incredible resolution and a sound stage that rivals the HD800S’. The Lyr 3 drives it with perfect manner. Great layering, instrumental separation and imaging that leaves nothing really to desire. The midrange is smooth and lush with organic sound. Treble is rich and crisp, with good brightness that doesn’t get too sharp or piercing.
The finishing paragraphs of this review come on the last page.