Country of Origin


Lyra S

Reviewer: Marja & Henk
Financial Interests: click here
Sources: PS Audio PWT; Dr. Feickert Blackbird MKII/DFA 1o5/Zu DL-103; Gold Note Mediterraneo, B-7 Ceramic, Gold Note Donatello [in for review]
DAC: Phasure NOS1 DAC; T+A DAC8 [loaner]
Streaming sources: XXHighEnd; iTunes; Devialet AIR; La Rosita Beta; Qobuz Desktop, Tidal Desktop; Sound Galleries SGM 2015 [loaner]
Preamp/integrated/power: Audio Note Meishu with WE 300B (or AVVT, JJ, KR Audio 300B output tubes); dual Devialet D-Premier; PTP Audio Blok 20; Hypex Ncore 1200 based monoblocks; Trafomatic Kaivalya; Trafomatic Reference One; Trafomatic Reference Phono One; Music First Passive Magnetic
Speakers: Avantgarde Acoustic Duo Omega; Arcadian Audio Pnoe; Podium Sound One; WLM Sub 12; Sounddeco Alpha F3; dual Zu Submisson MKI; Soltanus Virtuoso ESL
Cables: complete loom of ASI LiveLine cables; full loom of Crystal Cable cables; full loom of Nanotec Golden Strada; Audiomica Pearl Consequence interconnect; Audiomica Pebble Consequence
Power line conditioning: PS Audio Powerplant Premier; PS Audio Humbuster III; IsoTek Evo 3 Syncro; AudioMica Allbit Consequence
Equipment racks: Solid Tech and ASI amplifier and TT shelf
Indispensable accessories: Furutech DeMag; ClearAudio Double Matrix; Franc Audio Ceramic Disc Classic; Shakti Stones; Kemp polarity checker; Akiko Audio Corelli,Costello and Phono Booster; Pink Faun LAN Isolator
Online Music purveyors: qobuz.com, tidal.com, bandcamp.com, amazon.co.uk 
Room treatment: Acoustic System International resonators, sugar cubes, diffusers
Room size: ca. 14.50 x 7.50m with a ceiling height of 3.50m, brick walls, wooden flooring upstairs, ca 7 x 5m with a ceiling height of 3.50m, brick walls and concrete floor downstairs
Price of review item:  €1'528/pr (other options: €1'149 in matt standard colors, €1'299 in high gloss standard colors, € 100 for custom color matt or gloss, €289 for matching stands in matt, €379 for matching stands in high gloss)

At audio shows, most the attention goes to the big expensive stuff –  huge overly powerful amplifiers at times boasting kilowatts of output, immense loudspeaker systems which only a very few can house and afford. Those who can to have such systems hauled to their mansions are too often not audiophiles or music lovers at all. Instead they purely go for looks and prestige. Trophy hifi. The audio gear matches their Ferrari which hasn't seen 200km/h more than once; and their gold Rolex Submariner which never submerges more than a few feet in the bath tub.

Fortunately there are more real audio systems meant for more common music lovers, even the audiophile. These systems are not the mass-produced big brands flooding the shelves at the Saturns, MediaMarts and similar franchised megastores worldwide. Not intended for the more demanding music lover, the customer satisfied with such mass production enjoys one big benefit. He or she just hits a shop, looks at the most impressive things on offer and checks the price to fit the budget. Awesome looks with many blue LEDs, buttons and knobs do the talking as do big numbers on the spec sheet. Would sir care for an extended service warranty? In fact this type shopping is the same for the über systems, just on a smaller less costly scale.

A bona fide music lover has a tough job finding the next hardware addition or swap for the home hifi. For every budget there is a wealth of brands small and big which offer something attractive. Where to start? Then there is the problem of matching. Will the new thing make friends with the other components in a system? With the decline of specialty dealers, the music lover's only external guide in these matters are review magazines in print or on-line. In many cases the review is read after a component is purchased, just to confirm the buying decision.

As reviewers ourselves, we always try to find something different which in our opinion deserves some attention. Be it special materials, a new solution to an old problem or just great sound…  that is what we scan for. At a few audio shows over the past two years, we encountered Czech brand Shan Audio. They date back all the way to 1991 and from that time on were focused on loudspeakers. Examples of their earlier Aztec and Emotion range models can be found on the second-hand markets of the web mostly in Eastern Europe.