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Schiit Lyr vs HiFiman EF5

post #1 of 20
Thread Starter 

I'm a little frustrated right now, so please, bear with me. And hopefully, I don't catch a lot of Schiit from Schiit fans for what I'm about to write, but it "is" my experience. I'm not trying to say that the Schiit is a bad amp or anything, so please, consider that. This is an "out-of-the-box" comparison of the EF5 and the Lyr with JJ tubes.

 

Recently, I'd ordered a HiFiman EF5, and was very pleased with the sound. However, one of the RCA jacks was defective, and I didn't want to just live with it having a physical defect. I also thought I'd like an amp with more output, and began reading reviews about the Lyr. I thought it was a slam dunk that I would enjoy the Schiit so much more, and that it wouldn't be prone to manufacturing issues (and there were none with the Lyr).

 

I ordered the Lyr with the JJ tubes (a mistake?). Both amps had over 50 hours of burn-in.

 

The HiFiman through Amazon cost a total of $400 out the door (no charge for tax and shipping). They accepted the return, no questions asked. I received a full refund. The Schiit cost me $500 out the door (including $40 CA tax + shipping). To return the Schiit, I assume I'll have to take a hit on their 5% return deduction. So, thanks for an extra $20+ of unhappiness and additional shipping costs. Looks like if I return it, playing with Schiit will cost me around $45.

 

Compared to the HiFiman, the Lyr with the JJ tubes, DEFINITELY sounds like absolute Schiit with more volume. There's such a tremendous veil over the sound, that it's almost unlistenable (using both 650s, which people have raved about on here, and Pro 900s). The sound of the HiFiman spoiled me against the Schiit (again, with the JJ tubes). Weighed against the HiFiman, it's major buyer's remorse for me. Schiit!

 

I'd noticed that Jason, from Schiit has been helpful to people on here in the past. And wrote about my dissatisfaction, wanting to see if he could offer any suggestions... maybe offering to swap the tubes to something else, or anything else he could think of. Money's tight, and rolling tubes until I find something I like cannot work for me. After all, I'm comparing sound quality of the Lyr with JJs out of the box to a less expensive HiFiman out of the box.

 

I really wanted to give the Lyr a better try, but the difference in sound quality, sound stage, definition, punch... SUCK on the Lyr with JJs. It's all blended in. Not a single genre of music sounds better. Seriously, the difference is unequivocally striking.

 

Jason's response put me off, particularly, the statement, "Your experience isn't typical--but no idea why." He offered no alternatives other than to return it.

 

Typically, on here, I noticed most everyone stating that the JJ tubes suck. So, can my experience really be that atypical? I wrote Jason back that I read about most people's distaste for the JJs, and that I'm sure if he listened to the Lyr with the JJs and the EF5, that he'd hear it the same way. It's so bloody obvious... That didn't seem to have any effect, and all I got was an RA number.

 

Based on this experience, if you have a choice between a less expensive EF5 out of the box, and a Schiit Lyr with the JJ tubes, HANDS DOWN, go for the HiFiman. The difference is so glaring, you wouldn't believe it.

 

And Jason, if you read this, if you want to keep customers in your product, it's not a good idea to say their experience isn't typical... It's insulting. Particularly since you didn't even try to problem solve the issue. After all, how many people really compared the Lyr with JJs and a stock EF-5? You're trying to sell a more expensive product, and the difference in sound quality is so glaringly obvious. The discrepancy is beyond, "typical."

 

I really wanted to believe in this Schiit. I really did. But the difference in sound quality and not being treated that well... well, Schiit.


Edited by MrTwyst - 2/23/12 at 2:09pm
post #2 of 20

wow this may help me a lot. i'm thinking of getting either a lyr or ef-5. i have an ef2a and it kinda sucks.. sounds good with a computer source but it cannot be used with a cd player or transport. maybe mine is defective but there is a tremendous gain issue in which i cant move the volume dial a half-an-inch before it gets deafeningly loud and unclear.

 

have you used the ef5 from a transport yet? (i.e not a pc setup). can you confirm that there is no gain issue?

 

btw i have a bifrost that i truely love. so schiit as a whole definitely has some great products, but the lyr may not have been for you. thanks for the input

post #3 of 20
Thread Starter 

I've used them both direct from an iPod's Apple connector to RCA splitter, through a Pure Audio i-20, and direct from an Xbox 360 Slim... Also did some noodling to see if going straight from 1/8 iPod output split to RCA stereo did anything (of course, it sounded worse, as you'd expect).

 

I had no gain issues with either amp. The Lyr has a "better-feeling" volume control knob than the EF5, by the way, definitely smoother as you turn it.

 

Just to reiterate, regarding sound quality, the Lyr with the JJs stock totally sucked against the EF5 stock. The EF5, MUCH better punch, clarity, sound separation, soundstage... Plus, the EF5 costs less, no shipping charges, and if you return it you get a full refund. So, between the Schiit with JJs and the EF5, forget that Schiit.

 

I've heard good things about Schiit, so my experience surprised me. But I also feel as though I wasn't treated that well when push came to shove after I raised the issue.

 

The only reason I returned the EF5 in the first place was because one of the RCA connectors was "fat." You had to work to get the cable on and off, simple manufacturer's defect.


Edited by MrTwyst - 2/23/12 at 2:03pm
post #4 of 20

I'm sorry you're unhappy, but from the tone of your email, I assumed you simply wanted to return it. Also, with no information on the associated system (source, headphones, etc), it's impossible to offer any real insight.

 

If you're interested in trying to improve Lyr's performance in your system, contact me again with details on your source and headphones and I'll see if I can help. 

post #5 of 20
Thread Starter 

 

Jason,
 
In my first e-mail, my last sentence was: "Do you recommend that I return it or do you have any other suggestions? "
 
In my second e-mail my first sentence was: "Since you haven't come up with any alternatives, I will return it."
 
That was me preferring NOT to return it in both e-mails.
 
I sent you another e-mail.
post #6 of 20

Apologies for misunderstanding your tone, but the last sentence came after a long email in which you stated that you are not enjoying listening to music through the Lyr, that tube-rolling was not financially feasible for you, and that you preferred the HiFiMan. So yes, I assumed you just wanted to send it back.

 

If you'd like, send it back for a full refund, including shipping. Alternately, as I stated in another email, I can send you some GE tubes to try.

 

 

 

post #7 of 20

I have both amps, and i love them both. EF5 is more sweet sounding and versatile, while Lyr has fabulous bass and more power.

 

I didn't like the old stock JJ tube. While the bass is awesome, the mid is simply too veil for my taste. The GE tube is definitely better, and i think that's the reason why Jason has since changed the default tube to be the GE ones.

 

There are certain headphones i prefer to be driven by EF5 while some other sound better with Lyr. 

 

Again, both are good headphone amps, and can easily match the performance of much more expansive amps.

 

This is just my experience. :-)

 

 

post #8 of 20

Amps are personal so there can be no real right answer. If I were in the situation, I would buy both amps and audition for a week and sell the amp that is secondary to my choice. One thing that I learned when I ventured into the amp hobby is that other people's opinions were worthless. My ears and my opinions were best and the same should apply if possible for everyone. 

 

I know, I know, it's easy to say this but no one said that this was an easy hobby.

post #9 of 20
Thread Starter 

Well, it looks like the miscommunications are behind us, and I appreciate Jason's assistance. Thank you, Jason.

 

Spareribs, I understand. Things have just gotten so tight, I have to make decent decisions and can't afford to start going through a few hundred dollars worth of tubes and amps before finding one I love. For me, the Lyr is an investment, knowing that upgrading the tubes and different componenets would affect the sound. It's just that the JJs, out of the box, are so incredibly veiled, with both my dark 650s and my bright/punchy 900s. The difference in sound quality was a big letdown. I'm guessing that switching out the tubes, until I can afford to experiment with rolling more expensive ones, will take care of the discrepancy between the two amps.

 

As much as there is no right answer, I haven't seen anyone on here say they like the JJs... quite the opposite. But, I discovered others' feedback after buying the amp and reading the tube rolling thread. I figured they were more expensive on Schiit's site, so the sound quality would be better.

 

Blankdisc, hmmmm... my experience with bass between the two is a little different than yours. Again, I've only listened to the Lyr with the JJs. But the bass is so blahhhh. With the EF5, the bass had a lot more definition and impact... very tight and well defined. I feel obligated to keep repeating that the JJs are not popular on this site, so, they might be the bottom line issue I'm experiencing. Keeping my fingers crossed.


Edited by MrTwyst - 2/23/12 at 9:55pm
post #10 of 20

very true. EF5 and Lyr are two different sounding amps, so it's no surprise that someone would prefer one on top of another.

 

I consider both are very good amps. I just think that the words used here are a little too harsh. If you don't like it, that's fine. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, and should be respected.

 

But it's does mean that Lyr is SUCK, especially considering how well it was received by this community. I am sure if it really sucks, someone would have mentioned it before. :-) 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Spareribs View Post

Amps are personal so there can be no real right answer. If I were in the situation, I would buy both amps and audition for a week and sell the amp that is secondary to my choice. One thing that I learned when I ventured into the amp hobby is that other people's opinions were worthless. My ears and my opinions were best and the same should apply if possible for everyone. 

 

I know, I know, it's easy to say this but no one said that this was an easy hobby.



 

post #11 of 20

sorry, i have never tried Lyr with HD650. Most of my headphones are orthos, and i am sure you know this already. Lyr matches very well with those power hungry orthos.

 

I am glad that things worked out for you. ^_^ I am also glad that you enjoyed EF5. I am also a huge fan of Hifiman products. 
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by MrTwyst View Post

Well, it looks like the miscommunications are behind us, and I appreciate Jason's assistance. Thank you, Jason.

 

Spareribs, I understand. Things have just gotten so tight, I have to make decent decisions and can't afford to start going through a few hundred dollars worth of tubes and amps before finding one I love. For me, the Lyr is an investment, knowing that upgrading the tubes and different componenets would affect the sound. It's just that the JJs, out of the box, are so incredibly veiled, with both my dark 650s and my bright/punchy 900s. The difference in sound quality was a big letdown. I'm guessing that switching out the tubes, until I can afford to experiment with rolling more expensive ones, will take care of the discrepancy between the two amps.

 

As much as there is no right answer, I haven't seen anyone on here say they like the JJs... quite the opposite. But, I discovered others' feedback after buying the amp and reading the tube rolling thread. I figured they were more expensive on Schiit's site, so the sound quality would be better.

 

Blankdisc, hmmmm... my experience with bass between the two is a little different than yours. Again, I've only listened to the Lyr with the JJs. But the bass is so blahhhh... smoothed out over everything. With the EF5, the bass had a lot more definition and impact... 



 


Edited by blankdisc - 2/23/12 at 9:38pm
post #12 of 20

Is Jason sending a pair of GEs? If not I can let you test out my set biggrin.gif

post #13 of 20

Thank you Jason Stoddard for being a first class act!

 

You are the Schitt!

 beerchug.gif

 

Your response has convinced me that I will be a future customer of yours, just need that tax refund check now. smily_headphones1.gif

post #14 of 20
Thread Starter 

xxhaxx, 

 

Thanks. That's very kind of you. Jason is sending out the GEs.

 

Oh, Blankdisc, you misinterpreted my post. I never said the Lyr sucks. Even when I initiated this thread, I said, I'm not saying that the Lyr is a bad amp. If anything I've been saying with the JJs tubes, it lacks a tremendous amount of definition, impact and sound stage next to the EF5. Honestly, after the EF5, the Lyr with the JJs is very difficult to listen to. It's just mushy and muffled. The tone of my post partly reflects my disappointment in the difference in sound quality, and the miscommunication me and Jason had in our first few e-mails. Jason thought I wanted out of the amp, and I wanted to improve the sound quality, because I thought the difference between the two amps was disproportionate.

 

On here, pretty much every post I read referring to the JJs, had people saying, "Don't get it with the JJs." I wish I had read those posts before I purchased the Lyr!

 

Please don't interpret my post as saying anything about the Lyr in general... it's only with the JJs.

 

 

post #15 of 20

I'm also interested in buying the Lyr, already got my Asgard. Please give an update when you receive the GE tubes, I would like to know how it will turn out.

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