Thanks for all the information guys.
I started playing around with amps and receivers. Here's some impressions that are troubling:
I've played my HE-500's from a Schiit Lyr, Schiit Asgard and an inexpensive Pioneer amplifier (total entry level VSX-521). Pretty much sounded about the same to me on the various recordings I tested. As in, nothing stuck out really to me. The only thing I noticed was that the Lyr obviously output more power since I had way more room to crank up the volume. I had to put the Asgard roughly from 1~2 o'clock to 5 o'clock depending on the recording. I had to nearly max my receiver's volume (it goes from 0 to 80 digitally, and 65 was good for most recordings, 70 for others, and maxed on some very quiet recordings that I have). The Lyr generally did the same with half the volume cranked. But the end result, when I tune all three to have the same perceived listening volume to me, sound relatively the same in terms of quality to me. That's troubling. As in, why is an inexpensive receiver doing the job of of the Lyr? Maybe my ears are not golden enough. But it seems to me that this receiver is doing the same job, for less, so I'm probably going to just stick with it and get rid of these other amps for the time being.
Edit: I take that back. After further critical listening, I'm noticing more noise on the receiver than the Asgard for example. Hrm. Back to square one.
Edited by MalVeauX - 11/19/11 at 7:04pm