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Astrotec Lyra Collection

Rating:
4.08333/5,
  1. davidmolliere
    A nice buddy for your ears
    Written by davidmolliere
    Published Feb 22, 2019
    4.0/5,
    Pros - Open soundstage, with very good separation
    Very natural mids, special mention to vocals
    Smooth treble presentation
    Superb cable build and ergonomics
    Doesn’t leak a lot for an open design (usable in a quiet open space)
    Isolation is better than expected even at moderate volume
    Cons - Lack of bass slam fails to deliver minimal sense of rhythm and limits engagement
    Fit could be an issue for smaller ears
    Disclaimer
    I have purchased and paid the full retail price for the Astrotec Lyra Collection, this is not a sponsored review. This is the 32ohm version of the Lyra Collection (299$), a pricier 150ohm version exist (399$).



    Packaging

    Astrotec has clearly been very serious about the premium positioning of the Lyra Collection, the packaging is up to par with the best there from the printed cardboard to the box material itself, you don’t feel like you’ve purchased a cheap product (granted, 300$ is quite a price for earbuds :p).

    The accessories are not plenty but well chosen with ear hooks and two size of Bose style fins. The only less agreeable item is the donut foams that I found to itch a bit. I also wished a full foam was provided, to play with more or less bright presentation. But I am knitpicking here, I was very impressed.

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    Introduction
    I must admit I hadn’t heard about Astrotec and found the Lyra Collection browsing the Penon audio website by pure luck and was curious to test out what the best earbuds could provide in terms of sound. I am not a huge fan of earbuds, but the Lyra looked sexy with good reviews and I kind of liked the idea of zero pressure alternative to in ears and the benefits of open back design. I wasn’t convinced by the iSine / LCD i4 ergonomics and I wondered how this would work out so I went and got a pair.

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    Fit
    I am blessed with pretty large ears, I had no issue fitting the Lyra without using any form of earhooks or fin, just the donut foams. It feels a bit strange at first, being used to custom in ears but you quickly get used to it and even enjoy at the office when you have to put them out and in quite often. I like that Astrotec has chosen to go for over ear wire, this makes for a secure and comfortable fit. The cable quality certainly help as well, I didn’t need the earhooks.

    Build
    Contrary to the usual earbud approach, Astrotec went for a nicely machined blue aluminium casing. The Lyra feels premium to the hand and I feel quite confortable it will take the beatings of nomad life without flinching.

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    Sound
    Unlike the few earbuds I have auditioned, the Lyra has a balanced signature, it has no bias towards bass quite the contrary the focus is on smooth and linear mids, while resolution and air is provided by well extended treble and a smooth delivery. It’s a very open sounding earphone with very good soundstage, featuring a realistic and precise image.


    Bass
    With a 15mm dynamic driver despite the open design one might expect a fair amount of bass but Astrotec has visibly chosen a very different path favoring speed (the bass is quite agile, fast and clean) and articulation over weight and slam. They probably went a bit too far in the approach as it doesn’t help the Lyra to convey sufficient sense of rythm especially if like me you tend to listen at very moderate volume levels. This improves nicely by pushing the volume a few notches up so your mileage may vary. It’s also less apparent on bass heavy genres that usually saturate the bass section, which suddenly have a clean bass section where a lot of detail pops up.


    Mids
    The Lyra’s mids are in my opinion the main course and the bread and butter of this earphone, as well as a very good surprise considering the typical lower mids tilt of earbuds in general. The midrange is fairly linear with just the right amount of lower mids to provide body and weight (a blessing given its bass light nature) and enough upper mids to provide a very articulate presentation. Vocals deserve a special mention, I really appreciated both male and female vocals and the slightly forward placement of vocals and the great separation highlight nuances of the interpretation and what I found to be accurate tone.

    Again, the driver has snappy attack and fast decay making up for a very clean presentation while avoiding being dry either so a nice balance has been struck there. To sum up, I found the mids very natural and timbre fairly accurate, although I think a tad more warmth wouldn’t hurt especially with bright to neutral sources.

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    Treble
    I really like what Astrotec has done on the treble front and I think it has both to do with the tuning and how fast the driver is. The snappy attack and fast decay which is true across the range benefits the upper treble refinement. Lower treble is absolutely safe and no hint of peaks whatsoever this is a smooth delivery. Some might find it lacks enough sparkle, Astrotec sure played it safe with lower treble there and focused on the upper treble providing air.



    Verdict
    The Lyra Collection is probably a niche product at its price point, given its earbud form factor although earbuds appear to make a comeback if I am trusting how many of those I see popping up in audiophile meetups. The benefits of open design, lack of pressure and very open soundstage, as well as the easy to put on and off (useful at the office) is probably the main factor for those going for earbuds.

    I can only praise Astrotec for the Lyra Collection build quality which is just top notch, this includes a surprisingly well built 4 wire cable with no microphonics, smart over ears fit, and a really audiophile tuning with strong technical foundations while remaining smooth. Astrotec clearly stayed off the usual warm, bassy with boosted lower mids on top tuning of most earbuds. I think the major let down of the Lyra Collection is that it went too far avoiding the bassy tuning. While the bass is fast, detailed and textured it lacks the minimal slam to provide a sense of rhythm and engagement. It’s really too bad as this would have made the Lyra Collection a perfect earbud in my book, its non fatiguing nature and open soundstage makes it a very enjoyable listen nonetheless.

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  2. Moonstar
    Beautiful sound in a Beautiful Shell…
    Written by Moonstar
    Published May 17, 2018
    4.0/5,
    Pros - Wonderful appearance and build quality,
    Lots of accessories,
    Great sound quality with high detail level,
    Easy to drive
    Cons - A bit Pricey,
    Non Removable Cable
    Astrotec Lyra Collection
    Beautiful sound in a Beautiful Shell…



    About Astrotec:

    Astrotec is a Hi-Fi brand which is specialized in production of audio products, since 2004 and is located in BaoAn area, Shenzhen – China. Astrotec has been involved in the development and manufacture of miniature loudspeakers, hearing aid components, car audio components, professional headsets, earbuds and In Ear Monitors (IEM).



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    Disclaimer:

    This sample was provided to me by Astrotec for the purpose of an honest review. I’m not affiliated with the Astrotec and all observations and opinions here are my own that are based on my experience with the product.

    The Price and Warranty:

    The Astrotec Lyra Collection (32 Ohm) is available for a price of 299.99 USD and is covered by a two year limited warranty.

    Purchase Links:

    Astrotec Web links:



    Package and Accessories:

    The Astrotec Lyra Collection comes in nice looking box, which is wrapped with a grey colored cardboard that sports the “Lyra Collection earbud” advertising and the Hi-Res Audio logo.

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    This box is including the following items;

    • Astrotec Lyra Collection Earbud (32 Ohm)
    • Leather Hard Box
    • 3 pairs of foams (1 full & 2 donut)
    • 1 pair of silicone ear guides
    • 3 pairs of silicone ear fins (s/m/l)
    • Leather cable strap
    • Airplane adapter


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    The Lyra Collection is a premium product of this company and you can easily see and feel why this earbud is classified in such a category. The first appearance is fantastic with the fashionable look of the packaging.


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    The box is including different types of foams, two pairs of ear guides (ear hooks) and pairs of ear fins which is a very useful addition for a better comfort and fit/seal that directly affects the sound performance of an earbud.


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    Inside the box is very nice looking leather warped Hard Box, which has a magnetic lid and the Astrotec branding. The inner side of this box is coated with fabric material, which reminds an expensive jewelry box.


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    There is also a leather strap and one airplane adapter.


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    Design, Fit and Build Quality:

    The Astrotec Lyra Collection is a very well-crafted earbud, which is made of aluminum material and has a satin blue finish, instead of a regular plastic shell which is more common for earbuds these days.


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    On the earpiece is a beautifully crafted voice grill, which has a very nice appearance. This grill sports also the Astrotec branding and is framed with a black plastic ring.


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    The rear end of the Astrotec Lyra Collection earbud is embedded with a labyrinth filter made of high-density copper ball die-casting, which is also called copper beads maze-filter. There are countless irregular labyrinth fibers inside the cavity, which can effectively filter the noise and suppress the refraction caused by the sound wave in the cavity.


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    On the sides are the left and right markings and some grills which are crafted carefully.


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    The Astrotec Lyra Collection sports a non-detachable cable which is protected with a black plastic strain relief. This cable is made of two types of wire material. Those are the 6N purity mono crystal cooper, mix braided with silver plated copper (SPC). The cable is protected with a transparent soft TPU material which looks pretty solid.


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    On the cable are the chin slider and Y- splitter, which has the Lyra Collection branding.

    This Astrotec Lyra Collection has a gold plated 3.5mm headphone jack, which is right angled. The housing of this housing is in black and sports an Astrotec branding.


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    The Astrotec Lyra Collection is very lightweight and comfortable earbud, which fits pretty well in to my ears with the help of the ear fins, which are included in the box.

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    Specifications:

    The Astrotec Lyra Collection sports an 15mm diameter single dynamic driver, which is very efficient with a relative lower impedance of 32 ohms (there is also a 150-ohm version of this earbud), which makes it ideal for portable sources without any powerful amplification like smartphones and tablets, etc.



    Technical Details:

    • Driver : 15mm Single Dynamic Driver
    • Impedance : 32ohm
    • Frequency response : 15Hz – 40000Hz
    • Sensitivity : 108dB/1 mW (S.P.Lat 1KHz)
    • Cable : 8 shares 19-core copper & silver-plated mixed cable
    • Plug : 3.5mm gold-plated plug
    • Cable length : 1.2m


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    Albums & tracks used for this review:

    • Opeth – Damnation (Tidal Hi-Fi)
    • Megadeth – Sweating Bullets (Flac 16bit/44kHz)
    • Metallica – Sad but True (Flac 24bit/96Hz)
    • LP (Laura Pergolizzi) – Lost On You “Live at Harvard and Stone” (Tidal Hi-Fi)
    • Saskia Bruin – The Look of Love (DSF)
    • London Grammar – Hey Now (Tidal Hi-Fi)
    • Diana Krall – So Wonderful (DSF)
    • George Michael – Older Album (Apple Music)
    • Bryan Adams – MTV Unplugged (Spotify)
    • Dire Straits – Money for Nothing (DSF)
    • Mile Davis – Kind of Blue Album (Tidal Hi-fi)
    • Emmanuel Pahud (Claude Debussy) – Syrinx (Spotify)
    • Otto Liebert – Bare Wood Album “Acoustic Version” (Spotify)
    • Alboran Trio’s – Cinque Lunghissimi Minuti (Tidal Hi-Fi)
    • Daft Punk – Get Lucky (Flac 24bit/192kHz)
    • Lorde – Royals (Flac 24bit/48kHz)
    • Michael Jackson – Billie Jean (DSF)
    • Future Heroes – Archangel (Spotify)
    • Deeperise feat Jabbar – Move On (Spotify)
    • Gothart – Jovano, Jovanke (Spotify)


    Sources used for this review:

    • Erabud : Astrotec Lyra Collection, NiceHCK EBX, K’S 300 Samsara
    • DAP/DAC : Cayin N5II, Hidizs DH1000, Chord Mojo, Hifiman HM603s
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    The Sound:

    I believe in burn-in and have written this review after a burn-in process of 120 hours.

    Please note that this is an earbud, which needs a good seal and fit to show its best and the sound quality (even character) can vary from person to person due the differences of our ear anatomies.

    I have used the stock donut foams and have use the ear fins which was included to the box for a better seal due this review.


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    Sound Signature:

    The Astrotec Lyra Collection earbud has a slightly warmer then neutral tonality with balanced presentation, which sounds transparent and clean.



    Frequencies:

    Bass:

    The sub-bass of the Astrotec Lyra Collection has moderate rumble, followed from a nice control and bass depth, which reachs surprisingly low for an earbud. The sub-bass extends good and is providing a nice sense of power to the overall presentation. But don’t get me wrong; don’t compare it with the power of a full sized headphone or an In-Ear Monitor.

    The bass is adding a nice sense of warmth to the sound without to make the sound veiled or too hot. The level of resolution and realism is in a high level for an earbud and you can hear this especially in some acoustic albums like Otto Liebert’s – Bare Wood, where the Lyra Collection really shines during the presentation of a guitar, which sounds in a very realistic and emotional way.

    Another example for the bass performance of the Astrotec Lyra Collection is the song “Move On” of “Deeperise feat Jabbar” where you can hear some nice bass kicks.


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    Midrange:


    The first noticeable ability about the sound presentation of the Lyra Collection is the transparency and detail level of its midrange. The midrange sounds clean and airy with a level of definition which makes the presentation of vocals and instruments realistic and effortless.

    There is enough space for instruments and even very complex songs like Alboran Trio’s – Cinque Lunghissimi Minuti are presented without any remarkable loss of control.

    The midbass tuning of the Lyra Collection makes it possible to add a nice touch of warmth and fullness to midrange, without to overshadow the overall clearness.

    The vocal presentation of the Lyra collection is upfront and intimate and this tuning makes it possible to represent, both male and female vocals in a quite realistic and emotional way. For example; Male voices in Gothart’s – Jovano, Jovanke sounding intimate and emotional.

    The upper midrange of the Astrotec Lyra Collection is slightly boosted, but without any considerable result of harshness and loss of control. This tuning affects female voices in a positive way, which is noticeable with some vocals like Laura Pergolizzi or Diana Krall which are represented in a quite realistic.



    Treble:

    The treble range of the Lyra Collection is vivid and with a nice amount of sparkle, without to sound harsh or sibilant. There is also a nice rendering of air which makes space for instruments. Instruments like cymbals, violins or flutes sounding quite realistic and fatigue free. For example; the cymbal performance of the Lyra Collection in Megadeth’s Sweating Bullets is pretty controlled and sounds very realistic.

    The upper treble extension of the Asrotec Lyra Collections is on a high level and the overall resolution improves the realism of some acoustic songs like Laura Pergolizzi’s live performance in Lost on You.


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    The Soundstage and Imaging:

    The Astrotec Lyra Collection benefits form its semi open back design with its maze filter system, which gives the Lyra an expansive soundstage with a quite natural presentation of depth. This soundstage characteristic gives also vocals and instruments enough space for an accurate imaging.


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    Comparison with other Earbuds:


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    Vs. K’S 300 Samsara Version:

    Please note that the K’S Samsara is a High impedance earbud which need lots of juice to show its potential. The Astrotec Lyra Collection on the other hand is a very effective erabud which doesn’t need such power to shine.

    The K’S 300 Samsara sounds warmer than Astrotec Lyra Collection, which has a more balanced tonality.

    The Samsara earbud has extra sub-bass quantity and depth, but missing some extension compared to the Lyra Collection, which sounds also more balanced. The Astrotec Lyra Collection has better bass speed and texture than K’S Samsara, which has the upper hand for bass impact.

    Both the K’S Samsara and the Astrotec Lyra Collection sounding very detailed in the midrange department, but there is a difference in tonality and presentation. The K’S Samsara sounds warmer and more emotional, while the Astrotec Lyra Collections sounds natural and transparent.

    Some male vocals like George Michael or Bryan Adams sounding quite good with the K’S Samsara earbud, but the Astrotec Lyra Collection has the upper hand for female voices, where it sounds more lifelike with its presentation.

    The Astrotec Lyra Collection sounds also more realistic with string instruments like guitars and violins and excels also better for instrument placement and separation.

    The K’S Samsra has slightly better upper midrange control, while the Astrotec Lyra Collection has the upper hand for transparency and sparkle in this area.

    The treble range of the Astrotec Lyra Collection is brighter and is rendering more air for instruments. Both earbuds sounding quite detailed and have nearly the same level of resolution. But the K’S Samsara is missing of some additional micro detail where the Astrotec Lyra Collection really shines. Both earbuds are sharing a great control in the treble range and doesn’t sounding too harsh in most situation.

    The K’S Samsara and the Astrotec Lyra have a decent soundstage performance. Both have earbuds have a quite expansive stage, while the Astotec Lyra Collection excel slightly better for depth. Both of this earbuds sharing a quite accurate, instrument positioning.



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    Vs. NiceHCK EBX :

    The NiceHCK EBX and the Astrotec Lyra Collection are very easy to drive earbuds, which are sharing the same impedance of 32 Ohm.

    The Lyra Collection has a slightly warmer tonality then those of the NiceHCK EBX.

    The sub-bass of the Lyra Collection has slightly more weight and reaches deeper compared to the NiceHCK EBX which has less body.

    The bass of the Lyra Collection extends better and has also more control in fast passages with instruments like bass guitars. The lower frequency region of the Astrotec Lyra Collection sounds fuller and is adding more body and warmth to the song without to make the sound veiled.

    The NiceHCK EBX is missing some mid-bass weight, which make the overall presentation a bit too dry. Astrotec Lyra Collection is also superior in representing bass texture and resolution.

    Both NiceHCK EBX and Astrotec Lyra Collection are very transparent and clean sounding earbuds, which is most noticeable in the midrange department.

    Astrotec Lyra sounds fuller and warmer in midrange, which is a result of better weight in the bass area. Female vocals’ sounding very clean and transparent with both earbuds, but the NiceHCK sounds a bit more dry with some voices like Saskia Bruin and Aretha Franklin. The male vocal presentation of the Astrotec Lyra’s sounds more emotional and realistic compared to the EBX earbud, which is missing some fullness in this area.

    Instruments like guitar, piano or violin sounding slightly more realistic and intimate with Astrotec Lyra Collection, compared to the colder and slightly dryer sounding presentation of the NiceHCK EBX earbud.

    The upper midrange of both the Astrotec Lyra Collection sounds cleaner and more controlled, while the NiceHCK EBX earbud has some sibilance and harshness problems with instruments like piano, violin or flutes, etc.

    The treble range of the NiceHCK EBX is more pronounced, then those of the Astrotec Lyra Collection. The detail level of both earbuds is in a high level, but the Lyra Collection is rendering more micro detail than NiceHCK EBX which is otherwise a good performer.

    The Astrotec Lyra Collection has more upper treble presence, which gives additional sparkle and air to the sound.

    Both earbuds sharing a quite expansive soundstage and they are one of the best TOTL earbuds in this regarding. But they are some differences; The Astrotec Lyra Collection has the upper hand for depth, while both are nearly identical for soundstage wideness. The NiceHCK EBX and Astrotec Lyra Collection are pretty good for imagine and definition, where the Lyra Collection is slightly more accurate.

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    Conclusion:

    The Lyra Collection (32 Ohm) is maybe not a very affordable earbud and has many competitors at the market; but Astrotec offers an product with solid build quality, in a luxurious package, with impressive sound quality, that outperforms many IEM’s with almost twice the price.



    Summary (Pros and Cons):

    • + Wonderful appearance and build quality,
    • + Lots of accessories,
    • + Great sound quality with high detail level,
    • + Easy to drive
    • – A bit Pricey
    • – Non Removable Cable

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    This review was originally posted on "Moonstar Reviews" :
    https://moonstarreviews.net


    ...
  3. Wyville
    Astrotec Lyra Collection - Attention to Detail
    Written by Wyville
    Published May 2, 2018
    4.0/5,
    Pros - Detailed and clear sound, crisp and clear vocals, build quality, accessories
    Cons - Not the most transparent sound, price
    Astrotec Lyra Collection - 32 Ohm

    Disclaimer
    I would like to thank Astrotec for providing me with the Lyra Collection in exchange for my honest opinion. No incentive was given for a favourable review.

    Lyra Collection
    • Drivers: 15mm dynamic driver
    • Frequency response: 15Hz - 40kHz
    • Sensitivity: 108dB/1mW (SPL at 1kHz)
    • Impedance: 32 Ohm
    • Cable: 8-wire 6N copper/silver-plated copper hybrid
    • Price: US$299

    Links:
    https://www.astrotecglobal.com
    https://www.facebook.com/astrotecaudio

    Preamble
    ...And there it was. One of those moments where you have an epiphany and the penny drops to hit with the thunderous presence of "a realisation". Let me go back a little and explain. I first came into this hobby because I was looking for a more engaging music experience and optimal isolation to help me find some form of escape from the hectic environment that is London. I wanted some sense of privacy while being packed like a sardine in the Tube at rush hour, and the only place where I would find that was in my music. IEMs were the solution, CIEMs even better, and from that time onwards I saw myself as strictly an IEM-guy. Unfortunately, biology was not so kind to me and gave me weird ears and a tendency to unconsciously tense my jaw muscles all the time, giving me pressure related issues with my first set of CIEMs. So in order to allow my ears to recover I bought a cheap set of VE Monk+ earbuds. They were obviously a novelty item for short-term use only because I was an IEM-guy. So I gave it little further thought and I went on my merry way to drool over all the new and shiny IEMs, because "I am an IEM-guy". ...And then Realisation tapped on my shoulder. All this time, while suffering from IEM-induced mouth dribble, I had actually been using those "novelty items" every single day and I was really liking the form factor and the openness and my ears recovered and... and... And as the penny dropped I realised that I was in fact "open"-minded as well. There started my journey to find high-end, open-back, small form-factor things I could shove in my ears. I found bell-shaped things (Final Piano Forte), web-shaped things (Audeze iSine), more expensive grate-shaped things (Audeze LCD-i4) and finally "Hey, look! Astrotec actually makes high-end earbuds that are not made of the ubiquitous cheap plastic shells." Enter the Astrotec Lyra Collection.

    Hailing from the fast-growing city of Shenzhen, Astrotec is a Chinese company with global aspirations that aims to produce innovative and high-quality products. They hold various patents, including for a hybrid BA/DD design, make aviation headsets for the military, and offer IEMs, headphones, earbuds and adapters. A wide range of products, but it was the earbuds I was most interested in. One of the main things I was curious about was whether or not high-end earbuds would be able to provide a quality sound where the open nature of them would work especially well for classical music such as large-scale symphonies. There are few options in this price range, especially in Europe, so the Lyra Collection presented me with quite a rare opportunity to explore this.

    Build quality and fit
    The Lyra Collection comes in a very nice presentation box stocked with lots of extras, including hooks for wearing the cables over your ear, hooks for keeping the earpieces secure in your ears and foams for added comfort when you wear them all day long (and you might well end up doing that). Also included is an airplane adapter, a leather strap for around the cable and a small and genuinely useful leather storage case. That last one I really like and is just so practical in use. I love it when companies put thought into the practical use of their products and Astrotec clearly did that here.

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    The Lyra Collection themselves are something I have been waiting for. No more of those plastic fantastic shells that seem so ubiquitous among even very high-end earbuds, but a light-weight aluminium shell that looks and feels beautifully crafted. Attached is an 8-wire hybrid cable that combines 4 copper with 4 silver-plated copper wires. The braiding on this cable is very well done and although the individual wires are quite thin, the overall cable feels strong and incredibly supple. The y-split is made of a simple and durable plastic that means that the cable as a whole is nice and light so that it does not pull on the earpieces.

    The fit is quite good and should work comfortably for most people, as they stay in my weird ears quite well by themselves. Just for added security and to get a consistent fit, I used the smallest of the earhooks and found those very comfortable even after wearing them for nearly a whole day non-stop. The Lyra Collection are a joy to use and I found myself using them for everything from listening to music, to watching YouTube (Head-fi TV, obviously) and playing games on my PS4.

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    Source
    All critical listening was done with the Astell & Kern AK70.

    Presentation
    Because earbuds are clearly affected by how they sit in the ear, I used the included donut foams and smallest ear hooks to try and get a consistent fit. Using the foams gave a slightly warmer sound that I personally felt offered the most pleasant and balanced sound.

    To put it succinctly, the Lyra Collection are detailed and balanced. In fact, I was quite surprised by just how much detail they were able to convey considering the form factor. Emphasis seems to be on creating an articulate sound that has quite a short note decay in order to allow those details to come through clearly even when there is environmental noise. While the Lyra Collection offer a slightly warmer sound, they still maintain great clarity throughout and I found it easy to shift my focus to different sections in classical music. So for instance the bass section was never overbearing, but still easy to pick out.

    The clear presentation of the different sections was further aided by the large and airy stage, one of the reasons why I wanted to explore the "open" form factor. In terms of depth I did not quite get what I was hoping for, perhaps I was a little too optimistic there, but in terms of width the Lyra Collection offer a wonderfully natural sense of space. Instruments separate very clearly, yet the notes have enough body that the overall image remains coherent. This works very well for classical music and I really enjoyed it. Where the Lyra Collection fall a little short, for my taste at least, is in their tonality. I don't feel it is the most natural sound and instruments lack body when compared to some of the IEMs I use. That said, I will admit that I am quite an obsessive compulsive tonality nerd these days and the Lyra Collection sound really pleasant, so it is very much relative to my particular disposition.

    Bass
    The bass was quite surprising when I first heard it. I had expected a bass that was loose with more mid- and upper-bass emphasis, but found it to be much more linear, even quite conservative in the mid- and upper-bass. There is not a lot in the way of sub-bass, but the sub- and mid-bass do give an impact that I had not expected from earbuds. Not growling or particularly hard-hitting, but with enough presence to define the bass section. It is not a naturally resonant bass, instead the Lyra Collection present a very detailed and textured one that is quite dark. A cello for instance lacks some of its natural resonance and body, yet you will still hear the playing techniques come through very clearly. It effectively pushes the bass section back while providing it with enough presence that it does not get lost in the background.

    For my tastes I would prefer a more resonant bass, but that would likely slow down the perceived speeds and this is where the Lyra Collection do a good job. Because of the tightness of the bass, instruments such as drums and bass guitars feel agile and it works well for metal or pop music with the beat being well defined and engaging.

    Mids
    The mids of the Lyra Collection are really quite beautiful and vocals come through especially crisp and clear. To my ears there seems to be a lift around the upper mid-range/lower treble favouring female vocals slightly over male vocals and adding a hint of sharpness to some instruments. I did feel this sharpness was more pronounced straight out of the box and seemed to settle down after around 100-150 hours of use. At no time was it offensive, just noticeable. Male vocals lack a little in their lower density, which was especially noticeable with Disturbed front man David Draiman's characteristic guttural voice that just lacked a little in its usual impact. Similarly I found that Eric Clapton sounded a little less warm and smooth compared to what I am used to. Female vocals however sounded very clear and natural, working especially well for intimate vocals such as Agnes Obel. Vocals are not especially forward, but their clarity means they separate especially well, something that has advantages beyond vocals in music, as I will explain later on.

    I also found that the tonality in the mid-range was better than in the bass section, with typical mid-range instruments sounding quite good and it was easy to separate them when in classical music similar instruments such as clarinet and oboe would play similar notes. Not only was their position clearly different, the tone itself helped to create the typical transition from one instrument to another when a piece jumps a little from one side to the other, or climbs in tone from one instrument to another. This can easily get lost in congestion, but the Lyra Collection do it with ease.

    Treble
    The treble of the Lyra Collection is really quite good, be it slightly attenuated overall to give them a warmer sound and just a lift in the lower treble to aid clarity. Like the bass, the treble is articulate and perhaps not the most natural sounding due to the relatively short note decay. Still, as I put on one of my favourite classical pieces, Tchaikovsky's Nutcracker, I am impressed by the amount of detail in the upper registers. It does not quite reach the delicate sparkle and twinkle I hear with my IEMs, the Lyra Collection's transparency is not quite that good, but the celeste in 'Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy' still sounds smooth and delicate without any harshness to the tone.

    Instruments such as cymbals in rock and metal sit a little further back, yet are still easy enough to hear and they sound pretty good, although their decay is short. It doesn't add heaps of sparkle, but is certainly not dull as dishwater either. It is "pleasant". With some reviews I get a single word that keeps popping up to describe what I hear and with the Lyra Collection that word is either "detailed" or "pleasant". The treble is smooth with a little sparkle, but nothing exuberant or too splashy, just well balanced and a joy to listen to for as long as you like because it never gets fatiguing.

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    Other uses
    Usually when I write a review I will concentrate on music even though I often use IEMs for other things, which can sometimes be loads of fun, like gaming with bass-heavy IEMs. Still, music is usually my sole priority. With the Lyra Collection I found that I ended up using them all the time for everything from music to movies to games. I think that is partly because of the form factor, but also certainly because of their detailed sound and clear vocals.

    One of the things I dislike about modern TVs is that the flatter they are, the worse the sound becomes and the audio quality of British TV networks is not helping there either. Half the time voices are being overpowered by the background music. I tried EQ-ing the darn thing, but that reached a point where my wife became concerned I was developing a disorder called OC(EQ)D. While the Lyra Collection do not offer a solution for movie night with the missus, they do help when gaming and there I find that the detail, clarity and large stage really provide benefits. It sounds more like the game is happening around you and that can be quite a big benefit if you are masochist like me and play a game like Fallout 4 on its notoriously brutal 'survival' difficulty level with added self-imposed restrictions because... Why did I think that was a good idea again?! Anyway. The clarity and positioning works really well, and I enjoy hearing storyline dialogue come through crisp and clear. I have not tried it with online First Person Shooters, but I can imagine that the Lyra Collection work really well to let you hear footsteps of an enemy close by (just before someone snipes you off from half way across the map). So I think not a bad option for those who do not use a mic.

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    Conclusions
    I always rate products in terms of how much I have enjoyed them, it is my honest opinion after all, and the value I think they offer. I feel the Lyra Collection are a bit more difficult to rate than usual because I am not too familiar with earbuds in general and have not yet had the opportunity to compare them to others in this price range. I think the price is quite high, but because they offer something that at this point in time is quite rare, I think they might still be interesting for those of us who really like their earbuds. Overall, I feel the Astrotec Lyra Collection are great high-end earbuds with a very pleasant, clear and detailed sound and a build quality to match. I have enjoyed using them tremendously and they have made me hopeful that more companies will start to develop earbuds of this quality.
  4. ExpatinJapan
    Nuanced Smooth Detailing
    Written by ExpatinJapan
    Published Apr 8, 2018
    4.0/5,
    Pros - Great expansive sound, detailed, smooth, fantastic resolution, coherent, great cable
    Cons - Quite pricey, large size - may need to use the ear hooks.
    Astrotec Lyra Collection 150 Ohms Earbuds Review
    - Expatinjapan

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    Astrotec Lyra Collection 150 ohms earbuds review
    - expatinjapan

    https://www.astrotecglobal.com/lyra-collection
    https://astrotec.aliexpress.com/
    www.lazada.com.my/shop/astrotec1

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    Astrotec Lyra Collection 150 ohms earbud and Opus#2

    Unboxing

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    Excellent and beautiful packaging

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    the earbuds themselves are a sight to behold. Technical and organic.

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    The carry box is stylish and the cable itself pure audiophile jewelry.

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    Build

    The build of the Lyra Collection 150 ohms earbud is exquisite.
    Starring a solidly built elegant housing and a remarkable copper and silver (6N single crystal copper and silver) mixed wire.


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    Accessories

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    It comes with a beautiful flip top box to transport your precious earbuds about town.

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    Warranty and double airplane plug etc.

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    An assortment of ear hooks/sharks teeth to help get a decent fit and a selection of covers.

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    Simply beautiful

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    Opus#3 and Lyra Collection 150 ohm earbud

    Specifications


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    Astrotec Lyra Collection Limited Flagship Edition Dynamic High-Fidelity Earbuds Earphones

    *via Penon Audio:

    Description

    Lyra Collection 150 Ohm can get unexpectedly relaxed nature with plenty of thrust

    In the case of large thrust, the sound could be generous without distortion. High frequency loud without stimulation, mid-frequency makes the human voice more stable and solid low frequency control pop & classical easily. This is a new generation of Lyra - Lyra Collection.

    Enduring collection, sincere and natural

    The three generations of sediment bring a sincere voice of nature, combined with Lyra Series earbuds unique 360-degree three-dimensional surround sound cavity structure of the inherent advantages, bring generous and rich and unique hearing experience under the high resolution.

    Copper ball die-casting, Labyrinth filter

    The rear end of the cavity is embedded with a labyrinth filter made of high-density copper ball die-casting. There are countless irregular labyrinth fibers inside the cavity, which can effectively filter the noise and suppress the refraction caused by the sound wave in the cavity, making the sound more pure and innocent.

    New wire, upgrade from core

    Copper and silver 8 shares (6N single crystal copper and silver) mixed wire make the loss of sound transmission lower, more details, a more intense sense of musical atmosphere, high-frequency extension more abundant, bringing more pure black background, create a transparent generous presence.

    Gentle fit and more comfortable

    Food-grade shark fin eartips gently fit the ear contour, wear comfortable and stable, not easy to fall off, allowing you peace of mind to enjoy the fun of music, harvest comfortable pleasure.

    Hi-Res high resolution audio certification

    High-quality audio product design standards developed by JAS (Audio Society of Japan) and CEA (Consumer Electronics Association). The Hi-Res standard is designed to pursue high-quality music and soundtracks that give people a real musical element on stage or in a recording environment, a new high-quality standard that surpasses existing CD standards.

    Model comparison

    Lyra
    Highs: Transparent
    Mids: Fresh and sweet, good at female vocals
    Lows: Less

    Lyra Classic
    Highs: Transparent and delicate
    Mids: Both male and female vocals, more comprehensive
    Lows: Low-frequency just right

    Lyra Collection 150 ohm
    Highs: Improved high frequency extension and detail performance
    Mids: More density, more clear
    Lows: Increase the sense of low-frequency atmosphere


    Specification

    150 Ohm

    Brand: Astrotec
    Model: Lyra Collection
    Driver: 15mm Dynamic Driver
    Impedance: 150 Ohm
    Frequency Response: 15Hz-40000Hz
    Sensitivity: 102dB/1 mW (S.P.Lat 1KHz)
    Plug: 3.5mm L Plug
    Cable length: 1.2M
    Package

    Astrotec Lyra Collection Earbuds

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    Echobox Explorer and Lyra Collection 150 ohm earbud

    Sound


    The Astrotec Lyra Collection 150 ohm earbuds ended up with 200 hours on them before commencing with this review.
    An assortment of 16/44 FLAC tracks was used to divine the essence of this pricey wee bud.

    The 150 ohms of the Lyra collection earbud demands a decently powered source to drive them adequately to reach their possible peak performance.

    The Lyra Collection earbud is a high performer and comes across as detailed and a tad linear.
    bass isn't hard hitting on these, just slightly in the background. Yet still hits where it counts.

    The Lyra Collection 150 ohm is very smooth, surprisingly so.

    It is a mids and treble focussed earbud.

    Soundstage is expansive for an earbud. More than some in ears
    Imaging and instrument placement is great.

    It is easy to listen to and coherent that it is true pleasure to use.
    No distortion or annoying artifacts to disturb ones listening sessions.

    It is fairly well balanced, despite the lack of strong sub bass.

    It presents itself as an airy earbud, with delicious mids and soaring treble.

    Clarity, resolution and detail within an airy sound scape make listen sessions a blissful experience with the Lyra Collection 150 ohms.

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    iBasso DX200 and Lyra Collection 150 ohm earbud

    Comparisons using full bud covers.
    (iBasso DX200 using amp 1 to Head phone switcher box)

    HE 150 ohm:
    Low Gain. Medium soundstage, a tad bit enclosed/focussed sound stage, Good bass, medium tightness and lingering. light. Upper mids. fairly linear.
    High Gain: More improvements: more full, linear and consistent.

    TY Hi-Z 150S:
    Low gain. More space, great clarity, good imaging and instrument separation. Mids are warm. good sound stage. Deep.
    High Gain. Smooth, good detailing and resolution. Depth and warmth. Full bodied sounding.

    Lyra Collection 150 ohm.
    Low gain. Large sound stage. deep bass, smooth and fast, good resolution.
    High gain. Deeper, warmer.


    Donut foams
    Lyra Collection 150 ohm; High Gain: Clear and transparent resolution, detailed, great imaging, large sound stage. Hard hitting bass, lows are rich. Technical. Excellent extension in the highs.

    At first the general signatures seemed a bit similar, but when i switched from rock to more detailed, slower or classical music was when the Lyra Collection really started to shine and show its technical ability and the reason for its price. It really can bring out the details and has excellent resolution and space when paired with delicate music.


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    Headphone switcher box for comparing and testing to get a sense of the Lyra Collection


    Price

    USD$ 390.00

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    Shanling M3S and Lyra Collection 150 ohm earbuds

    Overall
    The Lyra Collection 150 ohm earbud is a stellar performer.

    It has a gorgeous cable, and the packaging, presentation and accessories are top notch.

    The price may cause a few potential buyers to wilt.

    The sound is largely mid and treble focussed with a lot of air between them.
    Sub bass is largely absent, but it has enough upper bass body to please.
    The smooth and coherent presentation will satisfy most listeners as the clarity is excellent.
    The soundstage is quite expansive for an earbud.

    They are largely comfortable, some might find the ear hooks useful or even wearing them over ear to attain a good fit.

    When playing some Beethoven and Mozart only then did I finally appreciate the finesse of these earbuds and their ability to convey nuance and express detail.

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    Opus#3 and Lyra Collection 150 ohm

    Thank you to Astrotec for sending head pie the Lyra Collection 150 ohm for review.
  5. ryanjsoo
    Superior Expression
    Written by ryanjsoo
    Published Jan 24, 2018
    4.0/5,
    Pros - - Class-leading design & build
    - Great soundstage
    - Excellent treble extension for an earbud
    Cons - - Not especially transparent
    - Value
    Introduction –

    The early 2010’s marked the transition of hybrid driver in-ears from proof of concept to affordable luxury. It was during these formative years that we saw some small OEMs rise to become the industry titans they are today and others fall into obscurity. And among them was Astrotec, a small but promising company with huge aspirations. They became most renowned for pioneering fresh designs and innovative technologies, and the original Lyra was a testament to that sentiment. At the time, affordable hybrids were just popping onto the market and earbuds were mostly confined to complimentary units provided with MP3 players.

    And it was within such a market that Astrotec launched a triple hybrid driver earbud with a premium $165 USD asking price, it was disturbing and unheard of. Astrotec have since taken a small hiatus from the international market but have recently re-emerged with a strong range of earbuds and in-ears. The Lyra Collection is perhaps most outstanding, representing absolute refinement of the original Lyra and the pinnacle of earbuds with its hefty $300 USD asking price. Once again, Astrotec deliver an innovative package at an adventurous price, but can their earbud complete amongst the most expensive and prestigious on the market? Let’s find out.



    Disclaimer –

    I would like to thank Astrotec very much for their quick communication and for providing me with the Lyra Collection for the purpose of review. All words are my own and there is no monetary incentive for a positive review. Despite receiving the earbuds free of cost, I will attempt to be as objective as possible in my evaluation.



    Accessories –

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    The Lyra Collection stuns with its premium and, dare I say fashionable unboxing. A minimalist vectored outer sleeve makes way for a fabric textured inner hard-box that magnetically latches open to reveal a complimentary message from Astrotec.

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    Just below lie the earbuds and accessories within protective foam and card, the Lyra’s are stored in the shape of a heart, contouring the cable to better conform to the ear. Below is a beautiful leather carry case. It’s well-sized and feels both solid and protective with a soft interior and magnetic lid.

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    Astrotec also provide buyers with a leather cable organiser and an abundance of covers to tailor the fit and sound to user preference. The Lyra is packaged with 3 pairs of thin donut foams, 3 sizes of silicone covers with Bose-style fins and a pair of earguides. I was especially impressed by the foams as most included foams have uneven cutouts, the Astrotec units are likely custom ordered.



    Design –

    The Lyra Collection is a gorgeous earbud that makes an instant statement within a sea of generic mediocrity. Where most earbuds assume a basic plastic shell, the Lyra instead employs meticulously finished aluminium enclosures that even rival 1More’s high-end products in fit and finish. Top this off with one of the best cables that I’ve ever handled regardless of price and this earbud does a lot more than most to earn its asking price.

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    The housings themselves are smoothly sculpted and ergonomic, designed to be comfortable both with and without foam covers. They employ an aluminium construction with a satin blue finish over the brushed silver of the original Lyra. That said, like 1More’s purple/gold concoction, it’s an interesting look executed through good taste. Otherwise, the Lyra Collection does very much resemble the original in design with the same micro-mesh vents at the rear and checkered metal grills traced by rubber rims at the front.

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    In wear, the very rounded Lyra Collection produces an ergonomic fit. And, being an earbud, it forms minimal seal with no pressure or isolation as a result. Still, this does contribute to their comfort, with no fatigue or hotspot formation during extended listening. They aren’t the most compact earbud, protruding a fair amount from the ear. This makes them somewhat uncomfortable for sleeping with, but their over-ear design is very stable despite their shallower fit.

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    The Lyra Collection has one of the best cables I’ve ever handled. It is fixed, but I can’t imagine anyone wanting to swap out the 6N OCC copper/silver hybrid that comes attached. It’s 8-core braid is even and incredibly supple with zero memory and absent microphonic noise. Furthermore, the cable has a terrific right-angle 3.5mm plug that is case-friendly and well-relieved. The cable is continuous through the y-split for increased reliability and terminates with a beefy rubber sheath at the earpieces.



    Sound –

    The Lyra Collection utilises a single 15mm dynamic driver over the triple driver setup of the original. That said, Astrotec have focussed more intensely on the surrounding acoustics, with extensive modification to the chambers creating a superior sound. In addition, the Collection implements an irregular copper filter that reduces internal refractions to deliver a cleaner sound. I put the Lyra Collection through 150hrs of burn-in to ensure that they were performing optimally during review.

    As the Lyra Collection was designed to be used with foam covers, the following comments will be with donut foams equipped. I found that they slightly smooth off lower-treble and extend and lift bass. Without foams, the earbud still sound quite natural but they become notably brighter. Those wanting more treble attack will find a more agreeable experience without covers.

    And, much like the similarly fitting Ourart Ti7, the Lyra Collection’s sound can also be slightly altered by varying its fit depth. Pushing the earbuds deeper into the ear netted a darker, fuller sound with greater bass impact. Conversely, letting the earbuds sit loosely in the outer air granted them with increased clarity and air; and I found the generally warmer Lyra Collection to sound most balanced when loosely fit.


    Tonality –

    The Lyra Collection isn’t neutral, but it does possess great balance from top to bottom. To further clarify, each frequency range possesses the potential to draw equal attention but its signature remains clearly sculpted. In particular, the Lyra Collection has slightly elevated mid and upper-bass, increasing vocal density, and similar emphasis within the upper-midrange and treble enhancing clarity and air.



    Bass –

    Bass forms the foundation of any sound and it’s for this reason that many ill-sealing earbuds fail to deliver a convincing image. Luckily, the Lyra Collection is among the best earbuds I’ve heard in terms of low-end balance and detail. With foams, the earbud delivers an agile bass response that prioritises focussed mid-bass attack over sub-bass slam. Its sub-bass extension is only modest, delivering softer impact and rumble, but the Lyra sounds more linear through its lower frequencies than the vast majority of earbuds. It has a slightly bolstered mid-bass response, creating its warmer tone, and a similar upper-bass elevation that grants the Lyra’s midrange with its syrupy vocal body.

    That said, the Lyra’s bass emphasis is more subtle than most, and its greater linearity from mid-bass to lower-midrange enables high bass definition. This is augmented by quicker transience and great tightness that produce textured notes and an articulate listen. Though they are still on the warmer side, with larger notes, their quicker decay effectively mitigates bloat while aiding separation; creating a concise and detailed image. Again, this isn’t a neutral earbud nor is its low-end especially transparent, but as no particular emphasis compromises its presentation, it is a very balanced one.



    Mids –

    From analysis of their bass presentation, it is evident that the Lyra Collection will have a similar midrange tone to most earbuds; one of increased warmth and density. However, as the Lyra carries greater overall balance, its sound is cleaner and more transparent than the majority of rivals; if not especially transparent by in-ear standards. In particular, the Lyra’s midrange is evenly weighted throughout and well-proportioned to its bass response; with some colouration by way of added body to both male and female vocals. Additionally, as the Lyra’s lower-treble has hints of attenuation, it sounds very smooth and slightly laid-back.

    Consequently, the earbud does not possess the most forward vocal presentation or the highest definition to each note, but it does sound very clean and refined. Instruments are also well present and have a nicely realistic timbre, in fact, they excel in this regard compared to the vast majority of earbuds. The Lyra’s midrange is also very natural and a slight upper-midrange lift imbues its sound with clarity. They, therefore, avoid sounding dull or overly laid-back and their excellent resolution enhances detail retrieval. The result is a natural, balanced midrange whose smoothness is counterbalanced by high resolving power and dynamics.



    Treble –

    It is within the higher frequencies that the Lyra Collection most excels. As aforementioned, lower-treble is slightly smoothed off, contributing to the cleanliness of their presentation and crafting slightly laid-back detailing. More specifically, cymbals, guitars and strings, though very detailed, have slightly shorter decay and lack a little attack and crispness. The earbud’s more sedate lower-treble is offset by a slight middle-treble lift that infuses the Lyra’s sound with additional top-end energy; producing enhanced air and greater sparkle. This is compounded upon by some of the best treble extension I’ve ever heard from an earbud; with impressive linearity into the upper-treble frequencies.

    The Lyra Collection also has a small accentuation within its highest registers; a similar tuning to some high-end IEMs that emphasizes the finer nuances. Accordingly, the Lyra retrieves a lot of detail extending to a crisp albeit thin presentation of smaller micro-details and high-hats at the very top; especially impressive as most earbuds don’t resolve these details at all. Their extension also greatly contributes to their high levels of resolution that serve to improve separation and background detail presentation. As such, this is a very resolving earbud despite its smoother nature, and its timbre is far more realistic than similarly revealing competitors.



    Soundstage –

    The Lyra’s open form factor, open-back housing and extended, airy treble response form a recipe for success. The Lyra Collection comes into its own with regards to soundstage, with immense space and projection that bests some closed over-ear headphones. This is a gloriously expansive earbud much like the Rose earbuds. But, unlike those models, the Lyra isn’t diffuse but perfectly coherent and densely populated with detail. This mainly comes down to the Lyra’s linearity, it is a far more balanced earbud overall than competitors like the VE Asura 2.0S and Rose Masya and imaging is far more accurate as a result. The earbud also delivers quick transience and high-resolution forming great separation throughout.



    Driveability & Synergy –

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    The Lyra Collection has a reasonable 32ohm impedance with a 108dB sensitivity. As a result, it is one of the more sensitive earbuds out there, delivering just slightly less volume than the lower-impedance Shozy earbuds. And, as the Lyra Collection assumes a single dynamic driver setup, it sounds fairly consistent between sources of differing output impedance. I didn’t find the Lyra to require additional amplification but due to its warmer tone and more laid-back midrange, I found best synergy with more neutral sources of high-resolving power.

    HTC U11: The U11 has nice driving power for a smartphone but also a higher output impedance and a slight bass emphasis. Accordingly, the Lyra Collection sounded nicely balanced from the HTC but with noticeably heightened bass impact. Highs were also lacking some extension and detail but the overall image was sound. Dynamics and soundstage space did notably suffer, I would suggest that the dongle has a fairly mediocre channel separation.

    Fiio X7 II: The X7 II provides a more neutrally orientated sound with hints of additional engagement. It provided a fine companion to the Lyra Collection, delivering great end to end extension and thus, high resolution. The X7 II pairing produced the most balanced sound with a large stage and accurate imaging. This was my preferred pairing used for review.

    Hiby R6: The R6 is a slightly darker, fuller source but one with high resolving power. Unsurprisingly, it produced a darker sound than the X7 II; bass was slightly warmer and mids were slightly smoother but with simultaneously higher resolution. Treble had less air but a little more detail and bite around lower-treble. The Hiby’s higher output impedance didn’t hugely affect the Lyra Collection’s signature beyond the actual player’s signature.

    Echobox Explorer: The Echobox is a vivid, U-shaped source with great driving power, this was also a nice pairing. The Explorer delivered increased bass impact and larger notes, with smooth but slightly recessed mids. It produced a more aggressive lower-treble presentation before a progressive decline into a neutral middle treble and slightly smoothed off upper-treble. As such, it has high attack and air but a dark background. However, it also missed out on some smaller background and micro details.



    Comparisons –

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    Rose Masya ($110): The Masya doesn’t fit as well as the Lyra Collection due to its larger housings that sit shallower in the outer ear, but its design is just as distinct. The Lyra also has a far better cable as the unit on the Masya is quite tacky and thin. That said, the Masya’s cable is very supple and removable, a feature that the Lyra, and most earbuds in general lack.

    The Masya produces slightly more bass extension with greater deep-bass emphasis. As a result, the Masya has more bass impact, but it has a very neutral if slightly attenuated mid and upper-bass presentation granting it a cooler tone overall. As such, the Lyra sounds fuller and more defined but the Masya does sound cleaner and more transparent if lacking density.

    The Masya has much more midrange clarity at the cost of timbre; it’s just a little thin, bright and forward. The Lyra is more balanced but also a lot mellower; where the Masya is exceptionally revealing and clear, the Lyra is laid-back, warm and smooth. As the Lyra is more evenly weighted, it has notably more lower-midrange presence and body. Upper mids are slightly more present on the Masya, but similarly thinner than the Lyra. Clarity is excellent, but the Lyra’s sound is more natural and carries more detail even though it is more laid-back.

    Treble is an interesting affair, the Masya is more aggressive and almost as well-extended but a lot less linear. The Masya has a neutral lower-treble response that offers slightly more attack than the Lyra. However, details are thin on the Rose earbud and the Lyra retrieves a lot more information. This is followed by a notable middle treble emphasis on both earbuds, the Masya especially so. Resultantly, both have a focus on air and space, but the Lyra is more balanced and more natural. The Lyra also has a little more extension, retrieving more micro-detail even though it isn’t as forward in its presentation.

    Both the Masya and Lyra create huge soundstage presentations. The Masya has a slight edge in terms of width but lacks the depth of the Lyra. Most notable is imaging, the Masya sounds diffuse due to its thinner sound, lacking the foundation of the Lyra. As a result, the Lyra sounds a lot more coherent but the Masya does sound hugely separated. These are two different presentations, but ones with clear traits that enhance similar qualities. And though considerably more expensive, the Lyra does offer the refinement, balance and coherence that the Masya lacks.


    Shozy BK ($160): The BK is smaller and has a slightly deeper fit. Both have excellent cables, but the unit on the Lyra is suppler. The BK’s plastic Yuin shells don’t offer much competition to the custom fabricated aluminium housings on the Lyra.

    The Lyra has better sub-bass extension and delivers more impact as a result. It also sounds slightly tighter and more linear where the BK has a small mid-bass hump with relatively attenuated sub and upper-bass. As such, the Lyra is more defined and separated within the lower-frequencies but also tubbier due to its greater upper-bass emphasis. The BK is also a little faster and similarly well controlled so it sounds just as articulate if less dynamic.

    The BK has a similarly balanced midrange, but lacks the added density of the Lyra. As such, it is more transparent and often a little more defined. It has slightly more lower-midrange presence and clarity on account of its more reserved upper-bass that mitigates spill and excessive colouration. By comparison, the Lyra Collection has a fuller lower-midrange, but also has higher resolution and better separation. That said, the BK sounds a little more focussed where the Lyra may be slightly too warm for some. Upper mids are more comparable, the Lyra has a little more presence but is slightly smoother and more laid-back.

    Both have similar clarity, the BK sounds slightly more transparent due to its lesser upper-bass colouration and more neutral lower-treble. As a result, the BK has more treble attack but the Lyra Collection is easily the more detailed earphone. The BK also lacks a lot of the extension of the Lyra, smoothing off quickly after lower-treble. The Lyra resultantly has a lot more air and separation, it also retrieves a lot of background detail that the BK glosses over.

    This culminates to a rather single-sided soundstage comparison. The Lyra is more spacious, more precise in its placement and more separated. The BK does have a little more midrange separation due to its higher transparency, but it lacks the end to end extension and resolution of the Lyra. Of course, it is just over half the price, but the Lyra offers more technical ability and much higher build quality without compromising the wonderful tonal balance of the BK.



    Verdict –

    The Lyra Collection is the most expensive earbud I’ve ever reviewed and easily one of the most premium models on the market. Diminishing returns is definitely in full effect, but there’s no denying that the Lyra delivers a strong performance; with much of the musical charm earbuds have become renowned for realised through great technical aptitude. The Lyra Collection also features a stunning build that matches and exceeds the meticulous machining of corporate giant 1More.

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    However, though very balanced and refined, the Lyra Collection does have some qualities that compromise transparency. Most notably, they have some upper-bass emphasis that makes their midrange quite full-bodied, and their smoothed-off lower-treble may lack some bite for clarity lovers. And, though undoubtedly outstanding amongst earbud, their comfort and cavernous soundstage will likely be their greatest asset compared to more resolving in-ears around the same price.

    Verdict – 8/10, The Lyra Collection features a balanced sound and class-leading build. Though very price prohibitive, it is the most extended, detailed earbud I’ve tested yet and I don’t expect that to change in the near future.

    Thanks for reading! if you enjoyed my review, please see my website for more just like it!
    1. Dobrescu George
      Naisu review! Those seem pretty nice!
      Dobrescu George, Jan 29, 2018
      ryanjsoo likes this.
  6. B9Scrambler
    Astrotec Lyra Collection: Prime Clarity
    Written by B9Scrambler
    Published Dec 7, 2017
    4.5/5,
    Pros - Detail – Clarity – Premium design and build quality
    Cons - Fixed cable
    Greetings!

    Today we are checking out the all new Lyra Collection earbud from Astrotec.

    Astrotec isn't new to the audio scene and has been producing products in one form or another since 2004. When I was first getting into the hobby, they were one of the few companies producing affordable hybrids and unique flagship earbuds like the original triple-hybrid Lyra. The version of the Lyra we're reviewing today eschews the complicated triple driver setup of the older model and takes things back to basics with a single, expertly tuned 15mm dynamic. This earbud's crisp, detailed sound and luxurious build quality more than warrant the 300 USD price tag Astrotec has attached to it. It is a premium experience from start to finish.

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    Disclaimer:

    A big thanks to Astrotec for reaching out to see if I would be interested in reviewing the Lyra and for arranging a complimentary review sample. The thoughts within this review are my own and are not representative of Astrotec or any other entity. There was no financial incentive for writing this and I was given free reign to share my honest opinion.

    https://www.astrotecglobal.com/lyra-collection

    https://www.facebook.com/astrotecaudio/

    Personal Preferences:

    I listen primarily to various EDM sub-genres (liquid drum and bass, breakbeat, drumstep, etc.), hip hop, and classic rock. While I enjoy a variety of signatures in my headphones I generally lean towards slightly warm with elevated treble and sub-bass, an even and natural mid-range response, with reduced mid-bass. The HiFiMan RE800, Brainwavz B400, and thinksound On2 offer unique examples of signatures I enjoy.

    Source:

    For at home use the Lyra was powered by a TEAC HA-501 desktop amp or straight out of my Asus FX53V laptop. For portable use it was paired with an LG G5, HiFiMan MegaMini, or Shanling M1. The Walnut F1 also made it's way into the rotation at times. While this version (32 ohms) of the Lyra is pretty easy to drive, I found it more dynamic and lively when amped and as a result it was at it's best paired with the TEAC and Walnut.

    Specifications:
    • Driver: 15mm dynamic
    • Impedance: 32 ohm
    • Frequency Response: 15Hz-40kHz
    • Sensitivity: 108dB/1mW
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    Packaging and Accessories:

    The packaging has a luxurious air to it's design starting with the exterior sleeve which features a simplistic gray and white colour scheme and wire frame image of the Lyra on the front. Text advising this is a 'Lyra Collection earbud' is written in cursive, a style of writing that sadly seems to be fading away. In the bottom left corner and sticking out due to it's bold yellow and black colouring is an official 'Hi-Res Audio' certification logo, earned though the Lyra's wide frequency response of 15 Hz – 40 Khz. Flipping to the back of the sleeve nets you discussion of some of the Lyra's features and a specification list. Some notable features are Astrotec's use of a special filter module that utilizes micro beads to purify “unpleasant frequencies and suppress internal reflection.” The cable is also not only drop dead gorgeous, but is also a quality piece fusing 6N crystal copper and silver plated copper cores, 8 cores in total, into a braided masterpiece of construction. This cable screams quality with it's only downfall being that it is permanently affixed to the Lyra, something that will undoubtedly be a deal-killer for some potential buyers.

    Removing the exterior sheath reveals a plain textured gray box, adorned only with the Astrotec brand name. Cut the security seal and flip back the magnetic flap and behold, another slip of cardboard. This one thanks you for choosing the brand;

    “Thank you for choosing Astrotec and we hope you enjoy the listening experience.”

    Underneath this final insert you are presented with the Lyra itself, safely nestled within a foam pad. Below is Astrotec's premium protein leather earphone case which gives Campfire Audio's gorgeous case a run for it's money. In general the construction of Astrotec's case is quite good with cleanly stitched lines and a lid which clasps securely closed via a fairly strong hidden magnet. The remainder of the accessories are tucked into a cardboard enclosure neatly hidden beneath the foam pad. It's a pretty comprehensive accessory kit too, giving you plenty of opportunity to secure an ideal fit;
    • 3 pairs of foams (1 solid, 2 donut)
    • 1 pair of silicone ear guides
    • 3 pairs of silicone ear fins (s/m/l)
    • leather cable strap
    • airplane adapter
    The airplane adapter is a somewhat odd inclusion in my opinion. Being the Lyra is an earbud, it does not isolate at all and as a result using it in such a loud environment would net a severely compromised listening experience. The volumes you'd likely need to listen at would also mean sound would be bleeding into you environment. I'm sure your music is fantastic, but guaranteed not everyone around you will be in the mood for it.

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    Build Quality and Comfort:

    As already mentioned, the cable on this thing is glorious. Not only is it perfectly braided and with contrasting silver and copper cores that make it very nice to look at, nearly everything else impresses too. First of all, microphonics are basically non-existent regardless of whether you choose to wear the Lyra cable up or down; either orientation works perfectly well by the way. Despite it being fairly thick with it's eight individual cores, it's extremely supple and flexible. Strain relief is excellent too, well, everywhere but the y-split that is. There you get a very effective chin cinch instead of strain relief.

    This impressive build continues to the ear pieces themselves which are all metal, painted in a soft blue and accented tastefully in black and silver. There were some glue artifacts left over from the manufacturing process, but once that was easily wiped off with a smooth swipe of my finger some top tier fit and finish shone through. Gaps between parts are nonexistent and everything fits together with precision and accuracy. I especially love the attention to detail paid to the grills covering the back and driver. The rear grill is made up of finely pebbled metal that really gives the Lyra a unique aesthetic. The front grill does much of the same with the vents made up of a series of small + signs. I fully expect both of these areas to be dirt magnets and tough to clean without a small brush, but really, who cares when it looks this good?

    In terms of comfort, the Lyra offers up pretty much what you'd expect from the earbud form factor. The 15mm driver means it has a wide and fairly deep footprint, though it's not quite as thick as other buds like the OURART Ti7 or Penon BS1. They fit me well and I find them stable and easy to wear over long periods. The Masya and Mojito from Rose are better for me in terms of comfort, but those earbud's unique design seems to be somewhat divisive in terms of fit.

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    Sound Quality:

    The Lyra sounds about as good as it looks too. With a treble and mid-range focused signature that leans towards a thinner presentation and is rife with detail, it makes for a truly impressive listen. It's upper end is very well extended, as you would expect from a 40KHz rating, with no apparent roll off. Yet, somehow they're non-fatiguing. It's not overly sharp or aggressive, nor dull and lacking energy. It's also a very tight and well-controlled presentation that I found very helpful with quick cymbal work and busy orchestral pieces. I've been using these a fair bit with film as well as game and movie soundtracks as of late. The control combined with a high level of layering the separation means every aspect of a track remains coherent.

    The Lyra's mid-range has a mild touch of warmth to it which combined with a forward nature gives it a very emotionally engaging presentation. On tracks like “Touch” from Daft Punk, Paul William's vocal performance shines and allows you to paint a picture or a robot remembering what it was like to feel, or whatever your personal interpretation of the lyrics happens to be. On “The Girl is Mine” by Michael Jackson, his back and forth banter with Paul McCartney has a playful and genuine feel to it that is simply lacking through many headphones. Instruments have a weightiness to them as well that is especially apparent as you transition down into the lower mids. This carries over into vocals too with exceptionally deep notes reverberating beautifully.

    The Lyra's low end varies greatly in quantity depending on whether you're running the Lyra free of foams entirely, with donuts, or with full foams. As you would imagine, foam-free nets the least bass presence and to my ears restricts extension slightly. Running them with donuts is my preferred method. It does not affect treble or mid-range presence and raises mid- and sub-bass quantities to be more or less in line with the rest of the signature. Full foams warms up the Lyra, increases mid-bass presence a touch more, and slightly reduces detail and clarity. Regardless of the foams you choose, or if you prefer to roll with none at all, the Lyra's bass is extremely nimble and punchy with awesome texturing.

    As you would expect from a open back earbud with additional and ample ventilation around the base of the housing, the sound stage is fantastic. I often find myself saying this a lot when reviewing earbuds, but music coming through the Lyra really does have a headphone-like presence to it. It feels open and airy with sounds travelling around in a vast space. Unlike other products with a great sound stage, the Lyra's imaging is actually quite accurate. Add to that positional accuracy some impressive layering, separation and overall depth and you've got yourself a very immersive earbud.

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    vs. Rose Mojito

    In a vacuum the Lyra is a wonderful experience, but how does it sound when you start introducing competition such as Rose's Mojito? Pretty darn well actually. If you've read my review of the Mojito you'll know it's one of the best products I've covered this year. While the Lyra takes a very different approach to the TOTL earbud world, they both sit content at the top of the heap.

    In terms of style and build the Lyra is pretty much untouchable. The Mojito's 3D printed plastic housings with pasted on Rose logo plate simply feels cheap in comparison. Durable and perfectly functional, but cheap. The Mojito's stock cable feels like a DIY inclusion (and looks it too upon close inspection) and cannot compare except for the fact that it is removable. It's noisier, has poor fit and finish, and lots of memory and microphonics. The upgraded cable is a much better comparison for the Lyra's, though it still doesn't feel quite as premium.

    In terms of sound the Mojito, with it's dual dynamics (10mm + 15.4mm), offers a warmer, thicker and more lush experience than the Lyra's single 15mm dynamic. The Lyra's mid-bass, even with full foams, is less present. Treble clarity and micro-details are in the Lyra's favour, along with overall control. The Mojito's treble is far from splashy, but it lacks the tightness of the Lyra. In terms of mid-range, both are more or less equals. The Lyra has a slightly larger sound stage with more precise imaging, but the Mojito gives a better impression of depth and makes improvements in overall layering and separation. Dual drivers at work?

    Choosing between the two comes purely down to preference I feel. If you like a more crisp and detailed sound with a treble and mid-range focus that's supported by a massive sound stage and killer build quality, go for the Lyra. If you want a bit more meat to the low end and a thicker, more lush sound with improved technical prowess, go with the Mojito. I also find the Mojito more comfortable than any other earbud (except the Masya...same housing) but fit is very personal so that might mean nothing for you. Either way, they're both TOTL earbuds and they certainly sound like it.

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    Final Thoughts:

    Handing someone the Lyra and telling them they're holding a 300 USD earbud more or less nets a gasp of disbelief and them questioning why anyone would spend so much on “this”, proceeding to dangle the Lyra mockingly in your face. You show them the packaging and premium accessories. You let them hear it. Then you hand them their headphones and tell them to take a listen to let you know which is better. A smile crosses their face and they hand back the Lyra with the statement, “Those have no bass and they're too quiet.”

    The point of my little story is that these are not for your average Joe. Premium headphones and audio products are a hard sell to a regular consumer at the best of times. The Lyra is for someone that truly appreciates their music and the finer details a quality product can pull from it. It's for someone who doesn't mind spending that little extra to feel like they're getting something special, even if few around them will know what it is or appreciate it like you do. This will only be a statement piece among your inner audiophile circle, and maybe to those that appreciate a piece of electronic art when they see one.

    If you're in the market for a premium earbud, definitely give the Lyra some consideration. It might also be good for those that was a detailed portable that has the sound of a headphone with the portability of an iem. As long as you don't mind sacrificing isolation, earbuds kinda offer the best of both worlds.

    Thanks for reading, and thank you once again to Astrotec for the opportunity to review this gorgeous new product.

    - B9Scrambler

    ***** ***** ***** ***** *****

    Some Test Tunes:

    Aesop Rock - Skelethon (Album)

    Daft Punk - Random Access Memories (Album)

    Elton John - Yellow Golden Brick Road (Album)

    King Crimson - Lark's Tongues in Aspic (Album)

    King Crimson - Starless and Bible Black (Track)

    Supertramp - Crime of the Century (Album)

    Infected Mushroom - Converting Vegetarians (Album)

    Infected Mushroom - Legend of the Black Shawarma (Album)

    Gorillaz - Plastic Beach (Album)

    Massive Attack - Mezzanine (Album)

    Fleetwood Mac - Rumors (Album)

    Run the Jewels - Run the Jewels (Album)

    The Prodigy - The Day is My Enemy (Album)

    Tobacco - F****d Up Friends (Album)

    Felt - Felt 2 (A Tribute to Lisa Bone) (Album)

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