Schiit Audio introduced the Lyr headphone amplifier today, a high-power hybrid design producing 6W RMS per channel into 32 ohms—10X more power than a typical headphone amplifier. Lyr is aimed at power-hungry orthodynamic headphones, as well as other difficult-to-drive designs. “The popularity of orthodynamic headphones such as the Audeze LCD-2 and HiFiMan HE-4, HE-5, and HE-6 has created a need for very high-power headphone amps,” said Jason Stoddard, Co-Founder of Schiit. “Lyr exceeds the power needs of these low-impedance, low-efficiency headphones, while also being easy on the wallet.” Lyr, priced at $449 direct from the manufacturer, is a hybrid (tube-MOSFET) fully discrete, no-feedback, noninverting headphone amplifier with a unique Dynamically Adaptive output stage. The Dynamically Adaptive output stage allows Lyr to operate essentially like a single-ended Class A amp into high impedance loads or at low volumes, then seamlessly transition to push-pull Class A and Class AB at higher output levels. “The upshot of the Dynamically Adaptive output stage is that it gives us much higher efficiency,” said Jason Stoddard. “We can pack almost 6x the output power of our Asgard Class-A amp in the same size chassis–and, at the same time, have it run slightly cooler.” Lyr’s hybrid design uses JJ ECC88 tubes for voltage gain. The tubes are exchangeable (“rollable”) for any 6DJ8, 6922, or ECC88 type, up to and including 6N1Ps, which allows owners to fine-tune the sonic characteristics of the amplifier, with literally hundreds of different tube choices, from NOS American to new-build Russian and Chinese tubes. Other details of Lyr’s topology include a single voltage gain stage, and DC-coupling at the input and output, for exceptional transparency and enhanced dynamics. “Lyr shouldn’t just be considered a ‘ortho’ amp,” Mike Moffat, Schiit Co-Founder, adds. “It’s also a good choice for high-impedance, 300-to-600 ohm headphones that need high voltage output.” Lyr is covered by a limited 5 year warranty, with the exception of the tubes, which are covered by a 90-day warranty. Replacement JJ ECC88 tubes are available from the manufacturer for $40 for a set of two matched tubes, or from many other resellers. Lyr Quick Reference One of the highest-power headphone amps available: 6W RMS (40V p-p) into 32 ohms Unique Dynamically Adaptive output stage provides high power with high efficiency Tube rollable to permit use of hundreds of different tube types and brands Hybrid tube/MOSFET discrete design, DC coupled at input and output, with no overall feedback Low cost for high performance: $449 The Lyr is available for pre-order now, with a targeted ship date of March 1, 2011. Like all Schiit products, Lyr is made in the USA, primarily of USA-sourced components. Innovative engineering allows Schiit Audio to keep the overall prices of their products similar to those from Chinese companies.