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Review and Measurements of Schiit Lyr Tube Headphone Amplifier

Dismayed

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#21
Nice review, Amir. Thank you.
 

amirm

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#22
Magni 3 needs to be compared vs JDSLabs Objective2.
That's my plan. Now that I have a decent set of tests, I can do a better job on that.
 

garbulky

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#23
Nice test! What do you think caused the smoke to come out? That's alarming. Also in the channel matching test of the Lyr am I correct in seeing that's a 0.4-0.5 db difference?
P.S. by the 0.1 db criteria it looks like your AP fails perfect linearity somewhere between 105 and 115 db.
 

Blumlein 88

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#24
What’s the point of distortions in the first place? The AHB2 is a close to zero distortion box. Why not try and improve those AHB2 specs incl. size and heat, instead of taking comfort from mediocrity?
I think Dr. Lamm's idea is the sound of a triode well designed is subjectively more pleasing than straight wire with gain. If you accept that premise, then the question is what parameters within what limits maximize the pleasing quality. Some designs have frequency regions where distortion is different than others leading to chameleon that satisfies on some music and interferes with others. Some have distortion that acts sort of tube like before eventually rocketing upward much like SS does. Some transformers have deficiencies that interact with these. His determination was you need even distortion at a given power level across the audible band and gently progressively rising THD up to some modest level of distortion at max output. Manage this and you'll be rewarded with the pleasing seemingly clear, clean, enjoyable result. Something artfully colored in a way you can't notice, and something that has the hardly noticed color to enhance reality. So the point of the right distortion done in the right way is he (many or at least some) find it more pleasure than pure high fidelity distortionless reproduction.

Or in more modern cynical parlance, the right distortion is a feature and not a bug.
 

amirm

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#25
Nice test! What do you think caused the smoke to come out?
It is a big puzzle. I opened the Magni and there is no sign of that! Maybe was my imagination! :D
 
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#26
Interesting review. I have no idea what you set on fire in your Magni. I have two of them and neither has caught fire or smoked. I'll be interested in exactly what condition you find the board in after your teardown.
 

amirm

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#27
P.S. by the 0.1 db criteria it looks like your AP fails perfect linearity somewhere between 105 and 115 db.
I just put the cursor on it and there is only one deviation >0.1 db (at 0.15) which occurs at -115 dB. It goes back to -0.09 after that so it is remarkably good. I plan to get the same result on their latest box to see if it does better.
 

Blumlein 88

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#28
That's what I'd say, too, if I found that my amplifier did that.:)
He has and does design many different topologies of amplifiers. He found if I understand him correctly that a superbly well done triode with these characteristics was the gold standard in his opinion.

The one he considers his reference has a distortion with level curve like this.



Distortion over frequency like this.



https://www.stereophile.com/content...nature-monoblock-power-amplifier-measurements

Of course such is typical of well done no-feedback triodes.

Here is an SET headphone amp with similar characteristics into 1 watt.
https://www.stereophile.com/content...ted-amplifierheadphone-amplifier-measurements

If one wished for the sound of 300B's using the headphone out as input to a clean powerful SS amp would give you that sound.
 

mindbomb

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#30
Amir, if you still have the lyr, can you check DC offset? There has been some controversy with that and schiit amps in the past.

Also, schiit states that this is a hybrid tube amplifier. Does that mean the tubes are only used for gain?
 

amirm

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#31
Amir, if you still have the lyr, can you check DC offset? There has been some controversy with that and schiit amps in the past.
Sure.

Also, schiit states that this is a hybrid tube amplifier. Does that mean the tubes are only used for gain?
I don't know yet. Will try to tease out its architecture once I tear it down. I see four power transistors mounted to the chassis so that may be the case.
 

svart-hvitt

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#32
I think Dr. Lamm's idea is the sound of a triode well designed is subjectively more pleasing than straight wire with gain. If you accept that premise, then the question is what parameters within what limits maximize the pleasing quality. Some designs have frequency regions where distortion is different than others leading to chameleon that satisfies on some music and interferes with others. Some have distortion that acts sort of tube like before eventually rocketing upward much like SS does. Some transformers have deficiencies that interact with these. His determination was you need even distortion at a given power level across the audible band and gently progressively rising THD up to some modest level of distortion at max output. Manage this and you'll be rewarded with the pleasing seemingly clear, clean, enjoyable result. Something artfully colored in a way you can't notice, and something that has the hardly noticed color to enhance reality. So the point of the right distortion done in the right way is he (many or at least some) find it more pleasure than pure high fidelity distortionless reproduction.

Or in more modern cynical parlance, the right distortion is a feature and not a bug.
I guess I don’t buy the premise of euphonic distortion.

That is, however, more of an intellectual stand. In reality, I suppose I would like many an intentionally distorted setup!

:)
 

mindbomb

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#33
Sure.


I don't know yet. Will try to tease out its architecture once I tear it down. I see four power transistors mounted to the chassis so that may be the case.
okay, thanks. Speaking of heatsinks, do you have a thermal camera? If so, can we see thermal images of this amp, or would that be too far off topic?
 

Blumlein 88

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#34
I guess I don’t buy the premise of euphonic distortion.

That is, however, more of an intellectual stand. In reality, I suppose I would like many an intentionally distorted setup!

:)
I agree with the premise of euphonic distortion. I think good triodes (my preference is push-pull not SET) do prettify the music. Seem to add apparent increased dynamics, a sense of 3D, and spatial qualities that aren't actually in the recording. If you get to compare a transparent substitution you'll notice it, and will find that prettified sound while not objectionable can cover over some good low level details of the finer recordings. As the huge majority of recordings aren't of enough quality to sound terrific in a highly transparent setup I don't consider euphony a bad choice at all. I just dislike when euphony is used to cast aspersions upon accurate gear as being inferior or inadequate.

Maybe it is a little bit like food flavoring. A well cooked meal can be delightful, tasteful and interesting. Yet food companies from MickieD's to snack purveyors have zeroed in to preferences of most people for food with a certain combination of salt, sugar and fat when the food lacks other valuable attributes. Many don't realize the slathering of tastiness from this research (all fueled and guided by DBT and economics btw) covering up the flavor of really good food. Yet if I am down to slurfing down nutrients from a snack machine these preferred ratios of salt, sugar and fat are definitely preferable to yucky snacks without them. Most recordings of music are closer in quality to a snack machine than a gourmet meal.
 

amirm

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#35
That's a good suggestion. I do have a thermal imager but changed phones and the new one has USB-C which doesn't mate with it. I thought I ordered an adapter cable but don't remember for sure. Will check.
 

Blumlein 88

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#36
That's a good suggestion. I do have a thermal imager but changed phones and the new one has USB-C which doesn't mate with it. I thought I ordered an adapter cable but don't remember for sure. Will check.
Thermal amp imaging! WooHoo! You don't get testing like that from other sources on audio gear. Way to go Amir!
 

amirm

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#37
Speaking of distortion, here is a bonus measurement which I forgot to include in my original post:

Schiit Lyr Headphone Amp vs Magni 3 Noise and Distortions 1 kHz.png


We see that Magni 3's distortions spikes are lower than the baseline noise of Lyr! They Lyr does have lower ratio third order harmonic than second but that doesn't do it any good when their so elevated above that of Magni 3.
 

flipflop

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#38
Both the official Magni 3 specs and your measurements show a maximum power output of 0.4W (rounded) at 300 ohm. At 33 ohm your measurements show a power output of 1.5W while the official specs list it as 2W at 32 ohm.
This major discrepancy obviously isn't the result of a 1 ohm difference in load. What are your thoughts on this?
 

L0rdGwyn

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#39
Thanks for the review, Amir. I used to own a Lyr 2. Maximum potential of the amp was reached with higher quality than stock tubes, subjectively of course. The crème de la crème for the Lyr amps, in my opinion, are the Western Electric JW 2C51/396a. Would be very interesting to see how these measurements change with tube rolling. The stock tubes provided but Schiit are just that...Schiit.
 

Dismayed

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#40
Keep in mind that this product is Schiit, so it is not representative of a competently designed tube amp!
 
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