I have never owned any tubed equipment before so this is new territory for me, especially with the whole tube rolling thing.
I have read somewhere that HE-500 needs 1 Watt @ 38 ohm, Magni outputs around 1 Watt @ 38 ohm and Lyr 2 outputs around 6 Watts @ 38 ohm. Others may disagree but I think you will see an improvement with the Lyr 2 on paper.
I don't trust tubes though.If you want a tube amp, buy a cheap Chinese one.I personally prefer SS amps. with 500 bucks you could buy the G109-S or Violectric V90....your money your choice...
Tubes in an amp color the sound by creating distortions .. they give you colored sound . If you prefer transparency buy a SS amp. if you want a warm sound signature with rolled off highs and lows buy a tube...
If you want to experience tubes buy a little dot amp, but then again HE-500 needs at least 1 Watt @ 38 ohm none of Little dot amps would be suitable...which brings us back to SCHIIT lyr 2 I guess...
I own a Magni and a Lyr. I don't have the HE-500, but do own the HE-400. I also own the Mad Dog 3.2 which is a planar.
I love my Lyr and think its bests the Magni in all areas of SQ.
Let me know if you'd like me to go into any further details about specific qualities of the amps.
The Lyr drives my headphones with absolute authority whereas with some of my cans (Mad Dog, Q701, HE400) I feel like the Magni is lacking a bit. The Magni doesn't sound anywhere near as full as the Lyr which I would assume is a combination of the added power and the tubes. I find soundstages are larger on the Lyr and the imaging is more accurate/defined. The Lyr's sound provides more air between the instruments and the sound separation is superior. I also find the bass is much more impactful, defined, and reaches lower on the Lyr. I dislike the highs on the Magni as I feel they can be a bit peaky or sloppy at times whereas the highs on the Lyr sound much more natural. I find because of the brighter highs on the Magni it doesn't match very well with the HE400.
Also, the Lyr gives you the option to tube roll which opens up an entirely different can of worms. If you think tube rolling is something you'd be interested in then the Lyr is perfect for getting your feet wet in the world of tubes. The stock tubes are good, but with some research and some extra cash there are certainly better tubes to be had.
I would take this feedback in terms of refinement though rather than complete game changing sound. I'm sure the HE500 will still sound like the HE500, just a more refined version of it. I personally love my Lyr and think it bests the Magni in every way possible in terms of SQ. Whether that's worth a $450 upgrade? That's up to you
You're welcome. I should also clarify that I have the Lyr and not the Lyr2. Outside of the functional changes, I don't know if the sound has changed on the Lyr2 compared to the Lyr. I can't imagine the SQ changing for the worse though. The Lyr is also supposed to pair very nicely with the Bifrost. Unfortunately I haven't heard the Bifrost so I can't comment there.