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Anyone using the Schiit Audio Lyr as a preamp?

post #1 of 15
Thread Starter 

Anyone else using the Lyr as a preamp as well as a headphone amp in a standard, non-powered speaker stereo setup feeding a stereo amp? 


I've have mine setup as a single source (Parasound Zdac) preamp feeding either the Parasound A21 or A23 stereo amp in one of my two systems for just about a month now. Obviously the Lyr has a TON of gain yet thus far with either the NHT Classic Threes or Magnepan 1.6's I can use the volume control up to about 11 o'clock (tracking is PERFECT...balance is spot on) and I'm a bit surprised but it has a silent background. I need to try it with my more efficient B&W CDM-1NT's or 805's...at that point I may not be able to use the volume control beyond 9 o'clock or so which would probably be a pain in the butt.


The Lyr as a preamp gives a tube-like fullness to the sound and has a bit more dynamic jump than my remote controlled Creek OBH-22 passive. I'll have to see if I continue to enjoy/prefer the Lyr in that role over time, I usually end up going back to the Creek with its very transparent, nothing added, non-sound. We'll see but so far so good...haven't heard nor read anything about anyone using the Lyr as a preamp unless its to a pair of powered speakers. 


As a headphone amp its a keeper, it brought my K701's to life and put some meat on those AKG bones. Even with all its gain it has worked great with my Grado 325i's (Goldies) as well. I was using a LD MKIII in my office system and I really enjoy that amp but it just didn't have enough horsepower "in my system" to kick start the K701's. I didn't realize that the K701's COULD sound as full as they do now with the Lyr.

post #2 of 15

Dear KLJTech,

Thank you for starting this thread as I have been searching for similar info for some time now. I also have a Lyr driving my K701s and I too find it amazing. People really underestimate this combo.

Reading your post, I came across Parasound for the first time. After googling their models, I must admit i am impressed. Could you please give me some more info about the Parasound HALO A23? Looking at its specs, I find it the ideal power amp that I have come across so far. I am actually looking to get something similar to the B&W CDM-1NTs: the newer B&W 685s. 

Really.. how does the Lyr function as a pre-amp? Do you simply plug in cables to the "out" RCAs that connect it to a power-amp? I am very interested in putting together a rig that looks like this: Laptop > Bifrost > Lyr > (power amp) > (passive bookshelf speakers)

As i dont have any instructions on how to use my Lyr as a preamp (i got it second hand), could you please briefly explain how to hook it and how to operate it safely? The fact that the Lyr wasnt specifically designed to be a preamp worries me a little bit.

I was planning to hook it up to some Rotels this week, to see how it works.

Thanks again,


post #3 of 15
Thread Starter 

You simply hookup the Lyr as you would any preamp, the source (I'm using a Parasound Zdac) goes to the inputs of the Lyr and then the Lyr's outputs go to your amps inputs. Make certain that you turn the Lyr on and wait about 30 seconds before turning on your amp (you'll hear a click inside your Lyr at about 20 seconds)...once your done listening for the day, turn the amp off first and then the Lyr. This way you won't get any turnoff discharge hitting the amp and possibly your speakers. 


I wrote to Schiit Audio before I tried the Lyr as a preamp as I was almost certain than with all that gain that I would either have noise once it was feed through my amp OR I would have very little of the volume control that would be usable. If you can only use the very start of our volume control (say from 7 to 9 o'clock) that "can" be a problem as more often than not they don't track as well in the beginning. Well, Mr. Stoddard wrote me back and said that he happens to enjoy the Lyr as a preamp...so I've been giving it a go.


How much of the volume control you'll be able to use before the music is too loud depends on a few things, the output voltage of your source, the input sensitivity and power output of your amp...the A23 only requires 1V for full output power and lastly the sensitivity of your speakers. If you have very easy to drive speakers you may find that the Lyr's volume control barely usable before the music gets too loud. 


I'm having no trouble with noise from the Lyr at all and with my less sensitive (sealed box) NHT Classic Threes I can use the volume control up to about 11 o'clock before it get a bit loud. I'm also running a Velodyne DD-10 from the loop outs of the A23 so the smallish office will start to shake if I push it too far. The A21 and A23 have left and right input level controls on the rear near the input jacks that can be used to lower the input voltage from the source if needed. Richard Schram (President of Parasound) advised me that as long as the Lyr was tracking perfectly (balance is perfect all the way down to null <good job Schiit Audio>) that its best to left both control turned all the way up as this keeps them out of the signal path. They're there IF you need them...which is a good thing and they may be needed with easier to drive speakers like the ported B&W's. 


For nearly two years I've been using a Creek OBH-22 passive unit in place of a normal preamp and changing to the Lyr seems to give me better dynamics...more jump factor yet still has a quiet background. I can certainly see with its high output that it probably won't work for everyone but thus far I've been pleased and if it didn't work out as a preamp I'd still keep it for its main use as a headphone amp. It made my K701's sounds as good as I've always heard that they're capable of. 


Regarding the Parasound Halo A23, I LOVE that amp! For years I'd always used a 250 watt amp (I'm not sure why) but I already had then A21 in my living room when my office amp died and I needed a replacement. A couple friends suggested the A23 so I ordered one and have never looked back. It can drive my Maggie 1.6's with no problem and sounds great (sweet midrange and highs) driving either pair of my B&W's. I've since read that "maybe" its easier to get that sweeter sound from a slightly less powerful amp. Of course, I'm a HUGE fan of Parasound, even more so now that I've bought their new Zdac (best DAC I've heard under $1000) so you may want the opinion of somebody that owns less Parasound gear <grin>. 


Best of luck and if I left anything out or you think of something else feel free to ask. 

Edited by KLJTech - 6/4/13 at 11:13am
post #4 of 15

Using the Lyr as a pre-amp seems pretty tempting. I don't have a technical degree (no technical aspirations at al l) so any help would be appreciated. I have a passive pre-amp driving my Dynaudio Acoustics BM6a MKII - active studio monitor speakers - using RCA -> XLR.


I wonder what will happen if swap the passive pre-amp by the Lyr. Will this ruin my Lyr/Dynaudio's ? :confused:



Edited by Jobbing - 12/20/13 at 2:22pm
post #5 of 15

In addition: would it provide a better tube sound than the Musical Fidelity X10 V.3 (+grotto PSU) buffer I am currently using?

post #6 of 15

Bumping an old thread, but I was just looking into this.


I have no line-out from my PC, and I was looking for a way to get a clean signal to my powered Klipsch Promedia 2.1. I emailed Schiit, and they suggested using the preamp function.


However, the fact that you must keep the speaker amp off until the Lyr is warmed up doesn't work for me - the Klipsch have no "ON/OFF" switch.

They also suggested using a RCA Y-Cable to get line-out from my DAC....so I might try that.

post #7 of 15



Sorry for bumping this thread, but I don't want to start another one.


I got some 'newbie' speakers questions. Appreciate your help.


I just got the MicroLab Solo6c powered speakers, I have the Schiit Lyr2 and Schiit Bifrost(with analog stage and usb upgrade)

I don't know if I set the speakers like It should be and would like your knowledge.


it goes like this: schiit lyr and bifrost together-->rca from Lyr preamp outs to speakers inputs-->Bifrost USB goes to computer

I get sound from both channels and everything seems to work fine, but the sound is muddy and thinny, and you can barely hear quiet passages during songs.

I set the Lyr2 volume buttom to 12 o'clock and set the speakers volume to medium-high levels.. should I put the lyr volume button to max? or minimum and control the volume from the speakers alone? should I just use the Schiit Bifrost dac and forget about the Lyr? will it damage my bifrost dac? maybe the lyr is not powerful enough for the speakers?


I just don't wanna use my cheap onboard pc soundcard. that's all..




Edited by latimerfripp - 9/23/14 at 2:13pm
post #8 of 15

I'm using mine as a preamp to my Truth B3031A's. PC > Bifrost > Lyr > speakers. Sounds a lot better than the amp/dac combo I had before. Is the gain on the Lyr on high or low? I'd have the speakers at max volume and use the Lyr to control them.

post #9 of 15

Should be: PC (100% volume) --> Bifrost --> Lyr (your main volume control) --> Powered speakers (full gain/near full).

post #10 of 15

I have a Lyr 1 and am considering getting powered monitors, but have a few questions before I pull the trigger...


Will the preamp outputs to the powered monitors be muted when headphones are plugged in, or will both play at the same time?


Can that clicking noise upon on/off damage the speakers?  I always unplug my headphones but that won't be as convenient/feasible with speakers.


Thank you for any help!

post #11 of 15

I'm going to answer my own question incase it benefits someone else stumbling across in the future.  The response from my email to Schiit:



Me: Hi, I have an original Lyr and am considering getting powered monitors to hook up to its outputs.

I'm struggling to find detailed information about how this works.

Would the speakers be muted when I plug headphones in? Or would both play at the same time?

Schiit: Yes, the speakers will be muted when headphones are connected.

Me: Also, do I need to worry about that clicking sound on on/off with speakers? I usually just take my headphones out but that's impractical with the speakers.

Schiit:  It shouldn’t be a problem but we recommend powering of your powered monitors before powering off the amp as good practice.
post #12 of 15
That's interesting. When I looked into this the recommendation to keep the speakers powered off was stronger.

I actually never started using the Lyr as a preamp Because my powered speakers don't power off, and also because I wouldn't want to leave the Lyr on all the time.

What I'd really like was just a simple pass-through, I think.
post #13 of 15
Yeah, I'm going to get a pair of powered monitors over the holidays. If the on off click is so loud it worries me, maybe I'll just split my DAC signal into a SYS or similar passive preamp.

But them being not terribly concerned about safety makes me feel OK enough to try it
post #14 of 15
A simple pass-through would be great, yeah. Having my Lyr 2 on all the time would just be a waste of electricity and money. I usually have the Schiit bypassed, going straight from my Apogee Duet soundcard into Adam A7 monitors. When I'm thinking about listening with headphones I just switch the cables to go through the Lyr - it's done in seconds. It's nice to be able to switch between speakers and headphones on these occasions.

My HP setup: iMac - Duet - TRS mono cables out of Duet's main outs - TRS-RCA plug converters - RCA cables into Lyr 2 - Lyr's outs - RCA-TRS converters - TRS cables into monitors.

When bypassing the Schiit I need to unplug two cables and put a pair in their place.
Edited by sikki-six - 10/26/15 at 10:25am
post #15 of 15

I figured i'd live dangerously and try the Lyr 1 as a preamp with active speakers (klipsch promedia 2.1)


Turning the amp on produced a LOUD "pop" that I don't want to hear ever again. Lesson Learned.

Also, the subwoofer was rumbling most of the time, though it did go away once I turned the subwoofer down.


I'm considering upgrading to the Lyr 2, hopefully that can sort out some of the issues.

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