Well I have not played with the Liquid Platinum but went thru all the Lyr products and just got a new Lyr 3 in house this past week.
I have had approx 16 amps here in the past 12 months, down to about 10 right now, selling some of the herd…being an EE and having built many amps in the past they always have interested me in their design and implemention and of course the end result they were intended for.
The Lyr 3 is a totally different headphone amp from its siblings…So doing a direct comparison is possible if you have them side by side in a controlled environment. (and do some honest AB and or blind testing…)
There is only 1 tube to roll if thats your thing, so the cost is lower than many other amps here.
So Schiit has a design that they call Continuity ™ that is there way of dealing with the Class A to AB transition and its distortion). THX amps have a different way in dealing with this. Its based on Bob Cordell and John Broskie’s information if you care to get into the engineering stuff).
Lyr 3 is has a RCA inputs on the back do if you want balanced look elsewhere, ie Jot? And Power…well some of you indicate 6 watts is more than enough, well how about 9 watts at 16 ohms and 6 watts at 32 ohms, 4 watts at 50 ohms, almost a watt at 300 ohms and only 450 mw at 600 ohms…hmmm probaly would be able to drive those HE6s!! Oh yeah!
Specwise, the THD and IMD are reall decent…<.0007% and <.005%
SNR is 102db…output impedance .3 ohms worst case! Not “tube” shabby…add two internal power transformers with 72VA total rating and over 55,000uf of filter capacitance not to shabby as well.
Unlike the Lyr and Lyr 2 the Lyr 3 can house an additional card either a MB dac or phono preamp. Either of which I do not have in mine. I use a standalone Bifrost 2 and use the Schiit Unison ™ connection from my pc (ripped flacs) to the Lyr3.
I have a BH Crack, BH Mainline, Hagerman Audio EL84 Tuba (parafeed), a Schiit Vahalla 2 , and a dozen other SS amps)…I also got to test a ECP Audio T4 (12AT7) amp from Beezar Audio in Atlanta. So I think I can tell if a tube amp or most amps are really good, or mediocre.
Reading specs is great to get you in the ballpark but there is nothing like plugging into the real thing for several days to actually do a good honest assesment of a piece of gear.
I put off buying a Lyr 3 for months and didnt see anything about it that I really wanted in it that I didnt already have in another amp. So after months and seeing some B-Stock Lyr 3’s on the Schiit site I bit and bought one.
From the first time I put in the stock Russian Tung-Sol 6SN7 and pressing play on a Diana Krall favorite I was floored how well this amp was working…with first Focal Clears, easy to drive 55 ohm cans. No, none, zip, zero nada issues driving the Clears out of the park…more than enough power. Low gain. I swapped out several 6SN7 tubes I have here and all worked well and with minor differences. Some think the Sylvanis 3 rivet Bad Boys as the NOS tube for the Lyr. Dont have one and they are pricey. But with the stock tube the sound is just fine.
So the first impression is “hey this is not a tube amp!!” its too clean and clear…more like a nice SS amp. Hmmm. Good or bad? Well with the Bifrost 2 feeding it I was able to hear stuff (old cliche coming up)…that I never heard before or noticed before? Joni Mitchell hearing her fingers slide up and down the guitar frets, little back ground stuff. quite drum brushes and Diana Krall like “perfect” and inside your head good. Liver performance, piano tonality, squeeking chairs, piano pedals being touched with a foot…hand claps that sound like hand claps…simply amazing.
After several hours and a few days I put up a few of my amps for sale. It was a no brainer, this amp is up there with many ampy costing much more, and its a discrete hybrid, Class AB with some magic in the cross over area…that really works well. I have two other amps that I like as much and a bit better than this amp, the $2K ECP T4 and Hagermans Tuba…I bought the TUBA because it was that good and I could afford it…the T4 is just out of my budget (for now!!).
Comparing to the Hagerman AUdio EL84 Tuba:
Popping in my HD600s they came alive as well, getting real good deep base out of these cans can be a real issue, but the Lyr 3 again surprised me how well this pairing is…on HIGH gain here. Play some classical music with the notes going down real deep, the Trinity Sessions stuff and I was floored at what I was hearing.
Compared to the BH Crack, the Lyr 3 is more transparent and clean, less “euphonic”. You may like this more than clean sound from the Lyr 3. The Vahalla 2 is great with the 600’s almost like the Crack but again very different with the Lyr 3…
So why is this amp and paring with the B2 so good:
(posted this on other sites, B2 + L3 + Clears = Close to Perfection Here…)
"Any recording I play, I can instantly tell if its recorded well, or HOW its recorded, placement of mics, soundstange, absolutely uncanny accuracy in placement of stuff…and you can tell how well they did or HOW they did it…stunning IMO.
Listened to some real low freq organ music…and its like listening to speakers but actually better, ie more accurate…the Clears really surprised me here.
Add the tranasparency, articulation, tonality, gosh its just sublime.
Yes there are other “better” cans and gear but at this total price point its simply amazing to me."
Enjoy the music!