updated 09:50 am EST, Tue December 28, 2010
Warns that lesser headphones may suffer damage
Schiit Audio has announced its Lyr headphone amplifier, capable of 6W, 32 ohm output. The Lyr uses a hybrid tube/MOSFET design that the company claims will drive virtually any headphone, although the unit's high output and 0.1 percent THD (total harmonic distortion) are aimed at low-impedance and low-efficiency orthodynamic models. The company warned that the power is uncharacteristically high and capable of damaging some headphone designs.
The company chose to use JJ ECC88 vacuum tubes in the input stage because they allow the high voltage swing at low distortion required by the design specifications. This also allows the sound profile to be altered to the end-user's taste with any 6DJ8, 6922, or ECC88 type tube. Schiit estimated the tube life at approximately 5,000 hours.
The Lyr can also adapt its output to the headphone load by sensing the current flowing through the output stage, dynamically reconfiguring from Class-A single-ended to push-pull Class AB. The company claimed this will allow the amp to drive almost any difficult to drive headphone, such as high-impedance 300-to-600 ohm headphones that require high voltage output.
The Lyr is made in the US and primarily of US-sourced components. Schiit is taking preorders now and expects to ship the Lyr in March 2011. The headphone amp retails for $449. [via Engadget]