Astrotec Lyra Nature
Astrotec is a manufacturer well-renowned for their genre-defining earbuds; revolutionising the once-looked-down-upon, humble canalphone with exquisite packaging and build, unique diaphragm designs and superb sonics. THL has reviewed their products previous times in the past, but this Lyra Nature is my first encounter with the brand. And, from the classy box, to the premium accessories, to the top-flight build and clear, resolving sound, what a first impression they’ve made!
- Driver count: One dynamic driver
- Impedance: 32Ω @ 1kHz
- Sensitivity: 110dB @ 1mW
- Key feature(s) (if any): N/A
- Available form factor(s): All-metal earbuds
- Price: $169
- Website: www.astrotecglobal.com
The Lyra Nature possesses a gorgeously smooth, warm tone with heaps of clarity, openness and air. Its form factor and open-backed design serves dividends in spatial performance, offering an image that’s clearly more headphone-like than anything else. While a fully-sealed in-ear monitor may find these sorts of signatures impeded by muddiness, dullness or congestion, the Lyra Nature sounds outstandingly open and airy despite its warm, smooth, euphonic instruments. And, they’re imaged precisely as well with strong stereo separation, background blackness and layering. Paired with an ultra wide, tall stage, the Lyra Nature is like a cinema screen for the ears; airily vast and resolving, yet warmly intimate too.
Given the Lyra Nature’s earbud design, one shouldn’t expect huge amounts of lows. Accordingly, it’s neither the heaviest nor the fullest bass in the world. Bass guitars and kick drums certainly sound airier, lighter and higher-pitched than they should. Impressively though, the Lyra Nature’s low-end maintains an admirable amount of presence. It fills out any mix’s bottom-end capably, serving as a foundation for the instruments and as a contrast to the airy top-end above. It’s a bud that manages to never come across hollow, thin or top-heavy, which is a massive achievement. While it isn’t (and never was meant to be) in the ballpark of EDM-ready, the presence, punch and warmth the Lyra’s bass does bring is exemplary.
The Lyra Nature’s midrange has an exceptionally gorgeous timbre; wet-sounding, vibrant, open and clear. Instruments like acoustic guitars and pianos sound wonderfully pristine. The synthesisers that open Javo Berrera’s Arrival showcase this quality beautifully. Because of the Lyra’s open-backed design – and subsequently lighter bass response – the mids have tons of room in the mix to breathe too; radiating in a speaker-like way. And, with the earbud’s upper-mid tilt, the Lyra is extremely well-suited for more stripped-back arrangements with female vocals, like Tori Kelly’s Sorry Would Go A Long Way or Carly Rae Jepsen’s All That. Wet, airy and light, this is a midrange soothing and engaging in equal measure.
Up top, the Lyra Nature is vibrant, effortless and smooth. Again, the Lyra’s relatively light lows means the treble doesn’t have to work extra hard to cut through. As a result, Astrotec gets away with having highs that are both organically thick-sounding and pristinely clear. At the same time, it’s not entirely free of its own colourations. There’s a slight low-treble peak around 6kHz for articulation that may not play nice with certain source or track pairings. But otherwise, it’s a clear and pure-sounding top-end that remains smooth into the highest registers. Dave Weckl’s cymbal and hi-hat work on ‘Dis Kinda Place with Oz Ezzeldin is gorgeously natural and pristine; a great showcase for a thoughtfully-executed top-end.