Review: Schiit Audio Lyr 3 – Flexibility

Schiit Audio Lyr 3

 

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.

Driveability

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.

Schiit Audio Lyr 3

Schiit Audio Lyr 3

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.

Review: Schiit Audio Lyr 3 – Flexibility
4.6 (91.82%) 154 vote[s]

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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.

    21 Comments

    • Reply September 4, 2018

      Jonathan

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

      Cheers!

      • Reply September 4, 2018

        Lieven

        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

        Linus

        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.

        Cheers!

    • 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

        Linus

        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

      Chel

      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

        Linus

        Alright.
        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 September 8, 2018

      Chel

      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

        Linus

        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

      Karifftosh

      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

        Linus

        Hi Karifftosh,

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

    • Reply September 29, 2018

      James

      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

      Arthur

      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

      Yuang

      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

        Linus

        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

      star

      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 February 17, 2019

      star

      alo audio cdm is the other name for it ?

      • Reply February 17, 2019

        Linus

        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

        Linus

        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.
        Cheers,
        L

    • 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?

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