Why the hell do you need a 6 watt headphone amplifier?
Why the hell do you need 400 horsepower? Why the hell do you need bacon-wrapped hot dogs? Why the hell do you need anything that’s fun and exciting in life? Face it, you don’t need anything. You should renounce all your worldly possessions and become a monk.
No, seriously, why do you need a 6 watt headphone amp?
Because you want unbelievable dynamics and openness, the kind that only near-infinite headroom can provide. Or you have orthodynamic headphones like those from HiFiMan and Audeze. Most orthos need a ton of power. They may not even blow up if you crank Lyr all the way.
Wait, you mean my headphones might blow up?
Dood, 6 watts is more than enough to let the magic smoke out of most headphones. Lyr packs a serious punch, and we expect that you’re grown-up enough to use it with respect. Lyr has a 20-second slow-start and fast-acting turnoff output muting relay, but we still recommend caution, especially if you’re tube-rolling. We will not be responsible for headphones damaged by Lyr.
Does Lyr sound better than Asgard and Valhalla?
Does a bear schiit in the . . . nevermind. Short answer: yes. It’s much more dynamic than either amp, and will drive inefficient headphones with power and finesse. Until you’ve heard a headphone amp that’ll do 40V p-p into 32 ohms, you haven’t lived. Or, well, maybe you have lived, maybe you’ve scaled Everest solo, maybe you wrestled a grizzly bear, maybe you’ve paid $20 million to be a space tourist . . . but you still haven’t heard our 6-watt headphone amp!
Why don’t you make a reeeaaalllly big power supply in a separate box and make Lyr sound even better?
Whoa. You’ve been brainwashed by the Two-Chassis Mafia, haven’t you? About 2/3 of Lyr’s total internal volume is already power supply. We’re talking two separate transformers (one for the tube stage, one for the MOSFET outputs), over 35,000uF of filter capacitance, and quiescent current of 130mA–which is more capacitance and higher quiescent current than we used to run in our 60 watt speaker amps! If that’s not enough, well, hell, I don’t know, maybe we sell a pallet of lead-acid batteries and a charger as an option. Or not.
What is this marketing bullschiit known as a Dynamically Adaptive Output Stage?
It’s an ancient Teutonic magic trick, known only to 4 people in the world. It was passed down by Dieter Burnhard III to Mike Moffat through direct mental transfer.
It’s a current-sensing adaptive output topology which allows the amplifier to dynamically adjust to the headphone load. The primary benefits are essentially single-ended Class-A operation for high-impedance headphones, moving seamlessly to push-pull Class A and finally into Class AB as current needs increase. This provides much higher overall efficiency.
That doesn’t help!
I’m sorry, we only speak engineering here.
Hey, I see an op-amp in there, I thought you said you’d die before using op-amps, and can I swap it for another one to get better sound?
Yep. Lyr uses an op-amp for its DC servo, so we can be DC-coupled at input and output. For a DC servo, op-amps are fine. Theta used ‘em. Sumo used ‘em. Swapping it for some super-expensive part won’t change the sound–the servo is essentially out of the circuit by 1 Hz.
Why tubes? I want an all-solid-state 6W headphone amplifier!
Sorry, gotta use more engineering-speak here. We chose to use tubes for voltage gain because they allow us to use a single stage to deliver huge voltage swing at low distortion without feedback. The JFETs we use in Asgard would go “pop” in a big hurry if we used them here. Yeah, we tried high-voltage BJTs, but they didn’t sound as good. Yeah, we’re playing with depletion-mode MOSFETs, but they’re noisy. Sorry guys, in this case, tubes are best for the design, so that’s what we went with. Also, you can change ‘em up, see below.
Which tubes does Lyr use, and can you roll ‘em?
Lyr uses two 6BZ7 or ECC88 dual triodes, and yes–you can substitute any 6DJ8/6922/ECC88 type tube, including NOS, cryo-treated, voodoo-blessed, hand-assembled by elves, etc. Some of those may sound better than the stock tubes. Some might sound a lot better.