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.
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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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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