You're pretty funny. Thanks for the new info I had no idea such flawless arguments were out there. Can you recommend me a amp that can do exactly 85 decibles for the HE-500? I don't believe in any headroom and anyone who says otherwise doesn't understand science and math. I listen around 75db~85db max so I don't need anything more than that. Oh wait... I think my ipod might do this. Problem solved! Selling all my useless gear now. Just awesome. It's definitely loud enough, which is the whole point of amps, to make things loud.
Hey, don't let facts get in the way
But seriously, I'm just trying to help out. The Asgard packs sufficient punch to take the HE-500 beyond painful volumes. The Lyr certainly has enough to drive the HE-500 as well, I'm not denying that. All I'm saying is that if you have an Asgard, then you can already drive the HE-500 to ear damaging levels. Therefore, loudness is not the reason to get a Lyr. Lyr would offer a different, customizable, sonic quality, and that is a perfectly valid reason to get one.
If you were talking about the HE-6's, the story would be different.
Why don't you look at what I've got? I've got a Modi (1.5V rms i.e. +3.5 dB)+ Magni (14dB gain) and HD280pro (114dB/V sensitivity) and these are loud at the full software volume and the minimal pot setting that is still channel balanced (about 9 o'clock ~ -35dB). If you add it up, that's 114+14+3.5 - 35dB = 96.5 dB rms at the minimum pot setting and at full software volume.
If you wanna be practical about it, I use replay gain which sets the rms volume at -14dB from full scale. That gives me a minimum listening volume of 82.5 rms, which is right at the edge of hearing loss for long term exposure. I'm not asking anybody to listen at 85dB rms MAX. It's totally fine to have an amp that can get too loud. The only thing is, now you have no useable range on your volume pot, or you have to settle for using software volume control to get a reasonable useful range out of your volume pot.
If you've got a 2V DAC (ie Bifrost ie +6dB)), an Asgard( +16.5dB), and an HE500 (102dB/V), you'll get 126.5dB SPL at max volume. Add replay gain and you're sill in excess of 112 dB SPL rms!
I stand by the fact that the Asgard can get HE-500's to be really loud.
PS. check the math for the Asgard configuration and see if you can identify a limitation---there's a subtlety there.