The Astrotec Lyra Nature Limited Edition is a revised version of the original high-end Nature single 15mm dynamic driver earbud. It is priced at $399.
Disclaimer: The Astrotec Lyra Nature Limited Edition sent to us is a sample in exchange for our honest opinion. We thank Astrotec for this opportunity.
To learn more about Astrotec products we have reviewed on Headfonics you can click here.
Note, this 2-page review follows our new scoring guidelines for 2021 which you can read up on here.
There are times where I look back upon myself, sometime around 2011, where I had said to myself “how long before Hi-Fi earbuds actually become Hi-Fi?”. Little did I know that it wouldn’t be until the 2020-2021 season that I would finally be able to meme myself from a decade ago and say, “you did it, Hi-Fi world…you finally did it.”
We super nerds for the hanging-style earbuds have been waiting patiently for so many options to come into the market that completely obliterates the earbuds from 10 years ago. We never got our flying cars from Blade Runner that I always wanted, but we did get some amazing high-end hanging-style earbuds!
Astrotec is one of few companies that I hold dear these days, all in all, for continuing to produce this style of earbud in a world jammed with inner-ear variant headphones. Now, their $399 Lyra Nature Limited Edition tips the scales at the peak of Mt. Earbud, the most expensive earbud I’ve heard in a long time.
The Lyra collection is a lot like Goku to Anime fans. Every now and then, you’ll see the Lyra gain a new form and get stronger, better, faster, and cooler with spikier hair. If there ever was a Super Saiyan Earbud collection, the Lyra’s are it.
The Driver Mount
The Astrotec Lyra Nature Limited Edition has a cool 360-degree center-mounted sound cavity, which allows the earbud to breathe more and typically lends a wider and more physically aired out imaging experience.
The internal structure is a dense metal, I am told, and highly dampened to allow for minimal reverb inside the chamber. It also houses what they are calling a labyrinth filter, which acts as further dampening material made of copper.
The Lyra Nature Limited Edition was designed with a 15mm dynamic driver system, which in the earbud world is still a standard and improving seemingly on a monthly basis.
I am not so sure we require any innovation here, as we have only just begun to tap the potential of what real audiophile-grade earbuds like this can offer. I begin to wonder what a dual driver system would sound like in a hanging style earbud.
This Astrotec Lyra Nature Limited Edition is not designed as a typical earbud would be. This is an over-the-ear loop system, which is supremely rare in the earbud world. In fact, it is so far, that this is the first one I’ve used since the last Lyra model I received back in 2018.
These are really awesome if you are asking my subjective opinion on design elements. Hanging style buds tend to slip easily. However, this over the top of the ear design is much more stable when moving around, and especially for nibbling on snacks and eating while I listen to my music or a podcast on YouTube.
I prefer this style, I think. I find it much more user-friendly once the earbud is properly set in place.
Comfort & Isolation
I personally find the comfort level of the Lyra Nature Limited Edition in my ear very enjoyable, however, I am not a fan of the ease at which the MMCX adapters let the earbud housing itself rotate.
It would actually prefer some type of rubber ring around that connection point to limit the swivel factor of the entire earbud housing that rests on the MMCX connector. It is not uncomfortable, but I find it dislodges itself from being set properly in my ear if I move too much up or down, causing me to shift the position of the earbud to get it centered again in my ear.
This causes the ear loop area to either move too forward and off my ear or press too close to my head. This is a bother, not a comfort issue. So long as I am stationary for music enjoyment, or lying in bed watching TV, this is not a problem.
I noticed this when bouncing around in a car as a passenger, or on my walks outside. Sometimes, the loop area of the cable over my ear will feel like it is leaning too far off my head and coming loose. Also, the Lyra Nature Limited Edition offers little to no isolating qualities at all. It is a hanging style and rests on the outside of your ear.
Astrotec did a great thing here by offering two sets of detachable cables with the Lyra Nature Limited Edition. One is a standard and very nice braided 3.5mm cable termination, with about 3.5ft of length. The other is a heftier cable with a different Y-junction piece, as well as a balanced termination.
Both of them are high quality and I really enjoy the MMCX options here, as I have so many cables I can swap with. But I don’t feel the need to. The stock silver-coated Astrotec cables are always fantastic.
I am not quite on board with that larger balanced adapter, most of my gear is 2.5mm balanced or XLR balanced, so I had to grab an adapter because I don’t have any amplifiers or sources that offer a 4.4mm balanced connection. A 4.4mm to 2.5mm or 4.4mm to XLR adapter included would have been enjoyable.
But that is my problem and not yours. A lot of the newer portable music players have this 4.4mm balanced option and some new amps and DAC’s do as well. If you are old school, you probably won’t have anything with this adapter though, so plan ahead.
You can grab a cheap 4.4mm balanced to a 2.5mm balanced, RSA/ALO balanced, or an XLR balanced adapter on Amazon or any number of other websites. My DAP of choice is an older xDuoo X3 and I typically connect that to an Ultrasone Panther, which has a 2.5mm balanced output. So, for me, I needed an adapter, so go shopping for the right one if you need it.
Packaging & Accessories
For $399, you are met with a nice little package that comes complete with some foam inserts to protect the earbuds in the box. Also in the box, you get a small hard case that has a flip-up topside design.
Some ear hook guides if you are into that sort of thing, yet smaller rubber ear guides that wedge in your ear after being applied to the earbud, a small mesh bag, a set of foam covers with no center (they are donut-style), and interestingly…an IEM brush cleaner tool.
I’ve never seen that included in a hanging-style earbud, but I would assume we all should be using the brush end to clean our hanging-style earbud faceplates. I never thought to do this until I saw this included. I’ve waited 15 years of earbud life without knowing the basics. Dang…thank you, Astrotec, for showing me I’ve been a moron and not cleaning my faceplates.
The Cool Case
I wanted to chat a little about this Lyra Nature Limited Edition case because I love this style. I am not a fan of the classic carrying cases often included with small IEMs, I do not like extra heft.
The earbuds gently rolled up and folded in the cable fit snuggly into the case and I enjoy that it is not extra-large to make it cumbersome to carry about during my day. The smaller, the better, the more pocket-friendly.
The case has a leatherette/pleather appeal to it and it shouts premium when it sits on my desk, that’s for sure. I enjoy these little things, and you will enjoy them too if you travel at all and take this with you. That extra small case is appreciated. As I do not enjoy my products clanging around in larger than needed carrying cases that don’t grip the product well.
Click on page 2 below for sound impressions and select comparisons