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Lyrita audio,n.delhi

Wharfedale Diamond 12 Series

Kamal

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Mar 27, 2007
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Location
New Delhi
Delhi based Lyrita Audio is a one man show.
Viren Bakshi, designs & manufactures a range of Valve based Amplifiers & Fostex Driver based Single Driver speakers.
I have had the pleasure of reviewing his equipment extensively, over several sessions.
Here are some reviews that I had written:-

LYRITA AUDIO??S PUSH-PULL INTEGRE AMP& FOSTEX DRIVER BASED HARMONY ONE SINGLE DRIVER SPEAKERS
?.
1.THE EQUIPMENT-Lyritas Integrated SS Amp-50 W /channel ,Lyritas Integrated Valve Amp-15 W RMS/ channel ,&Lyritas Harmony Two, Single 4.5? driver( FOSTEK) Floorstanders ,Marantz CD Player.
2. THE LISTENING ROOM- as described in the beginning of this thread; briefly-
10 ft x 12 ft room, door to the right and 4 ft wide entrance to a hall on the left, two couches each along the side walls, two ??Roman ?? chairs abt 8 ft in front of the speakers , door to balcony & shelf abt 6.5ft high behind the roman chairs. A chatai nailed to the wall between the speakers & also a 3 ft tall potted plant between & near the right speaker( I guess next time around we??ll just take a digicam along !). The speakers had a Toe In of abt 15 Degrees from the vertical to create a sweet spot at the two roman chairs.
3.THE LISTENING EXPERIENCE. Having set us up with big mugs of fresh brewed coffee ( drool, boys !)& a plate of cookies, we started the audition (NOTE ;each track was played on the SS Amp & then on the Valve Amp for comparison; diff perceived by us mentioned while discussing the tracks)
1.ART FARMER-Tracks-*Blame it on my youth* &-*Fairytale Countryside*.
An old Jazz Album from Virens collection.The main instrument was the Flugelhorn( somewhat like an Oboe), slow/ medium paced tempo. While the SS was good, the Valve Amp( V ) brought out the unique timbre ,the distinctive harmonics of the flugelhorn better-e.g. on a lesser setup, the tonal difference between the flugelhorn and a trombone would not have been so immediately apparent-the sound was richer, the transients more THERE-. The V Amp & Harmony Two ( H 2) provided a lush, compact sound stage full of fine detailing a sense of presence, across the dynamic range of the recording; as with good speakers, the H 2 promptly disappeared, leaving us to enjoy this great recording. ( a really nice couple of tracks- highly recommended Album).
2.Toccata & Fugue-J S BACH -Westminster Cathedral Organ-Paul Scott-Organist
I then pulled out the Cd containing this track ,to give the setup something to chew on.
The first few notes dramatically revealed the diff between Tubes & SS; the echoes & reverberations thru the V seemed to go on &on ! (Ac to Viren , this is one of the primary reasons why tubes sound more warm & mellow as compared to SS-the sound decays to silence longer, the diff between two fine , delicate sounds is more apparent ).Then the Organ opened its throat and let loose the entire mass of sound its capable of(think of the THX signature tune, only much ,much more intense).Of course, this aspect of the recording could not be fully reproduced by the setup, the actual sound is so loud that the doors, windows your chest and your heart reverberates! But the delicate aspects of Paul Scotts playing brought tears to the eyes, the naturalness, the transparency of the recording was palpable .And the magic of the tubes was in full play-the dying echoes in the cathedral stretched on & on & on?..!
3.CARL ORFF- CARMINA BURANA-INTRO PASSAGE-In this piece the V & H2 were in their element.Each voice in the chorus seemed to be separate ,the fullness of the massed choral voices beautifully brought out & the wide dynamics of the track , from the soft single voice to the entire chorus swelling in one massed sound ! The recording beautifully displayed the focus of the set up- no feeling of vagueness, the voices pinpointed in the image thrown up Here again the diff bet the SS and V was in the clarity, the PRESENCE, the sense of being there ,the clean delineation of the subtle portions of the track which make for a much more satisfying listening experience.
4.LAKHYA-MAIN AISA KYOON HOON-This is one the rare Indian Cds which has been well mastered
The Rich voice of Shaan was crisply rendered and the backing chorus was reproduced as a group of singers with distinctly INDIVIDUAL voices instead of a massed HEEEAAAAYOOOO!!! This recording seemed to be tailor made for V & H2.
5.AMJAD ALI KHAN-SAROD-RAAG PILU??ALAAP. Another recording to which the setup brought its strengths-also one where the diff bet SS & V was so manifest. The strike of the mizraab to the strings the harmonics generated by each note played slowly & lingeringly in the Alaap-magical indeed ! Amjad appeared to be sitting right there, between the speakers, near the potted plant, in front of the chatai!
I would say this was one of the standout pieces we heard during the audition-just we the listeners & the glorious music, nothing in between, before or after !
6.JAGJIT SINGH-THE UNFORGETTABLES-BAAT NIKLEGI TO PHIR.
Fast becoming one of my auditioning favs. Here the diff bet SS & V was starkly apparent; the SS gave a very competent rendering but the sound thru the V was something else! Such a rich lush voice seemingly emanating from the depths of his chest ,his heart! SS-Bahut acchha, V- Jadoo! And the H2 were there to bring the richness faithfully to you?.All the details were there ??the chest vibrations, the throat sounds, the lip sounds, the movement of the air?very clear detailing..
7.PINK FLOYD-DIVISION BELL-COMING BACK TO LIFE &
8.FLEETWOOD MAC-RUMOURS-NEVER GOING BACK AGAIN
In deference to the tastes of Stevieboy! Two great tracks of Classic Rock. Sit back ,close your eyes and listen..Played at a moderate volume, the magic we had felt when we had first heard these recordings came rushing back; of course , in my case it was then thru Dads Philips Radio & a Gerrard Changer, but then it was the combination of youth and the music & now it was the music and the memories?.FleetMac& Never going..are old, old favouries and the simplicity of the arrangements, the vocals & the guitar rhythm sounded so sweet! It was indeed yesterday once more?The mids & highs are the real strength of the Harmonys??and this track esp highlighted that aspect.
9.AEROSMITH-* Crazy* & *Blind Man* &
10.NIRVANA -* Come as you are * & * All Apologies*
More up Sanjays?? street! What I perceived here was that my ears had started to hurt! Viren explained that this was because most Rock groups set their rig to distortion levels deliberately to heighten the rock experience. To each his own? But this much I??ll say , this kind of music is not really to the strengths of the setup we auditioned. But Sanjay should have the last word on that.
11.BEETHOVEN- 5th & 6th ?? Pastoral-Berliner Phiharmonic-Karanjan, conductor.
Here the majesty of the Symphony filled the room from the initial DH-DH-DH-DHAAAAAN, loud crescendos to the faint passages; all the nuances were brought out ; Again ,we experienced the eerie feeling that we were there and there was the music ?time seemed to stand still?.I guess this is the hallmark of a good system.One of the timeless pieces of music and the system like Jeeves, quietly effaces itself from the room?
12. TIBETAN INCANTATIONS- *Om Mani Padme Hum *-A beautiful Cd, heard it first at Sanjays, highly recommended, fills the ambience with a sense of peace & harmony ??another recording which played to the setups?? strengths. The Choral voices sounded sweet and full, all the nuances of the vocalization were there ?the different timbres of the individual voices, this one clean, this one slightly ho****, you could swear that you could predict the ages of the singers! This was another one of the recordings to highlight the diff bet SS & V. the V??s seemed to give an altogether more realistic sound.
Roundabout this time( while playing the rock stuff, to be exact) we set up a comparison between Harmony One??s ( 6.5?) and Harmony Two??s- Difference ? Tad ( 25 to 30 %) more mellow sound, greater bass extension, rest was the same-this is for your benefit, Stevie!
13.NORAH JONES- * Come Away With Me *One of my favs from her award winning album. The softness, the huskiness, the LUSHNESS of her voice were startlingly brought out. This is a Gentle track, and needs to be played with warmth, something that Valves appear so good at. We sat mesmerized.? Come Awaaaaay with me (breath in), to the niiiiiiight (breathy voice out softly, softly?)?
System & Album Made for each other , like filter& tobacco, like rum & coke, like youth & romance.
14.VIENNA BOYS?? CHOIR??We played a couple of tracks from this CD. The presence of the choir, the purity of the voices, the gentle rising and softly falling away, away, of the voices-the choir was THERE, the transparency was such as if the last veil between you and the music had been removed. Pinpoint image, sharp focus, the transients. This CD & the Cathedral Organ one truly demonstrated the extended decay, the long Fading away into silence, of notes , where Valves triumph over SS.
15.GENE HARRIS/JACK McDUFF-Album-(down home ) Blues -* Cayenne Blues*
Another Jazz number from Virens?? collection This trackbeautifully displayed the rhythm, the swing, the Excitement, that great Jazz generates.-the double bass laying down the rhythm in the background, the drummer providing the percussion-drumsticks striking the rim instead of the skin, the piano providing the melody, the Hammond organ intruding time & again with chordal wails?all combined to weave a mesmerizing tapestry of sound. Whether you wanted to or not, your foot started to tap, the head nodded in time, your body began swaying, you wanted to get up and DANCE! The set up brought out the atmosphere of the nightclub very well-you were there and enjoying yourself!
16.STING-Album-BRAND NEW DAY-Track *Desert Rose*
Lastly, we did a ??blind? test of the diff bet an original cd and a FLAC of the same cd. Sanjay & I did the listening & Viren was requested to play this track from the 2 cds, hiding the cd player so that we would be unable to see what was being put inside the CDP.He played the track from one CD then the other CD 6 times --& we could??nt make out the Diff ! So much so, even Viren had difficulty remembering in the end which he had played first & which second which third & so on??he had to think hard to recall.
IN CONCLUSION-
-Lyritas Integrated valve Amp & Harmony Two speakers are truly a Budget introduction to HiFi sound, what I had felt before, reaffirmed.
-Clean & pure mids/highs are their forte alongwith sufficient, controlled bass for moderate level listening.
-The rig will fill a small room like the one we auditioned in, or maybe a bit more ,with sound, so long as you don??t expect body vibrating effects.
- Jazz, vocals, Symphony w/o very low bass , Quartet music, soft/classic rock, Indian Classical music ,old hindi film songs, SRB, would sound pretty good on this set up.
-hard rock which NEEDS to be played at a high volume for impact, and music that delivers punches to the guts, any Dhishum, Dhishum are not for this baby.
If the above fits your bill, this represents incredible VFM; if you can stretch your budget by another 10 k Harmony Ones?? will give you lower bass, more mellow midrange.
-For the sort of music mentioned above, & , barring hi db rock stuff where delicacy and transients and transparency does??nt matter so much, Valves are better than SS , at least at the quality level of the eqpt we auditioned .
.It Is Virtually imposs to make out the diff between Original CDs & FLAC. Unless Virens , Sanjays & my ears are truly flawed, I can confidently state that , in a blind test , you cant make out.
Would like other younger ears to also honestly try this out.
Lastly, plz do remember that what we experienced IS NOT THE GOSPEL! Please do bring your own music and listen for yourselves?


ANOTHER AUDITION OF LYRITA AUDIO??S SET UP-
1.LED ZEPPELIN-*Stairway to Heaven*-I guess everyone is familiar with this timeless track-the slow start " Teres' a lady..."abs clear sounding intonation coming thru ,with the guitar strings caressed gently-each note crisp & clear,pace of the music picking up,until the 6th minute, when with a DHA DH DH DHA of the guitars, the track reaches the hi vol levels-turned up the vol here to very loud( viren smiling, wife wincing)-no distortion each guitar strum still clear,then the end portion where as put by steve, they "go crazy"; sound at very hi level but still abs clear-experiencing the excitement of the great finish sound at extreme pace & intensity-then the track fades away to the sedate levels of the beginning..
2.BEATLES- *Hey Jude* one of my fav tracks of all times-the magic of the Beatles takes over all( even the wife nodding her head), the music souded so clear & fresh-this rig brings oit every subtility of the vocalising, each pluck of the guitar, making for a very pleasant revidsit to this old favourite.
3.U2-JOSHUA TREE-*With you without You*-Another great track, tempo builds up sloowly, with the deep muted bass lending a soft depth to the vocals,the clarity again bringing forth the full magic of this number-this track was heard at moderate levels and felt that there was nothing lacking , it was all there.( this audition was with the Harmony Two's, except the Led Zep track which was first in the H1 & then repeated on H2).
4.IRON BUTTERFLY- * In A Gadda Da Vida *-bet you guys have'nt even heard of this rock group/track !( 70's, german group)-played this track esp for the portion where there is just the drums weaving a mesmeric pattern-D duh D duh D duhduhduh ! here the drummer takes centrestage, for abt 4-5 mts, then switches to the background rhythm support pattern-dikytakuh a tikidikitakuh a dikitakuh, and then, softly softly ,the organ comes in with notes so sweet & pure playing a soft melodic pattern clean and then reverb...brings tears to your eyes..truly a great track do listen to it if you can-had a lot of joy listening to it with all the subtle nuances, the magic reproduced.
5.QUEEN-*Its A Kind Of Magic*,* I Want To Break Free*, *Bohemian Rhapsody*-I am very fond of the music of this group & listened to the fav 3 tracks with joy-yes the listen was magic what with melodic harmonic vocalising being the standout features of this old group; was keen to see how Virens rig would standup to the sharp rise in vol levels in the Bohemian track-you know it starts out with the long drawn out "Mamaaaaaa oooo oooo ooo a ooooo " then you have some wonderful harmonising vocals and then.." thunder& lightning" the music hits a v high intensity, the rig didnt falter one bit, "Bismillah, dont let him goooo"!
a great number indeed & we all enjoyed it a lot.
6.CLARENCE `GATEMOUTH` BROWN-ALBUM-THE MAN-*You Can Disagree*- we ended the session with this Jazz track from Virens collection, which has some great guitar play, some thing which Stevieboy wanred to be sure of.Great track with the double bass laying down the back rhythm, drums & rhythm gutars providing the patterns, piano coming in with the melody-beautiful vocals by CG Brown, echoed by the tenor & alto sax, an entrancing, swinging number! theres a portion where the elec & acoustic guitars hold centrestage, great strumming each pluck resonatingly clear, and then another part where the trumpets, trombones & the Saxes come into the foreground...very melodic very exciting, foot tapping stuff-a great way to wind up the audition.
VERDICT- the rig easily stands up to all the demands of soft/classic rock , the transparency & mid/high clarity & tight, sufficient bass which are the strenghts of the rig making every listen a pleasurable experience.
Took leave of Viren with some more of his great coffee inside as well as the musical experience.

AUDITION OF LYRITA??S SET AMP WITH HARMONY ONE SPEAKERS

Sanjay, Viren & me got together yesterday to audition the prototype SET Amp tweaked to Virens' satisfaction,thru the Harmony One Single driver speakers.The Regular Lyrita Integre 15W RMS/PC based on the push-pull design was also warmed up for an A/B comparison.

After the statutory fresh, home brewed coffee & some slices of home baked banana bread(Yummy! we polished off the lot & only our cultured breeding prevented us from asking for more-culture can be a pest at times!), we settled down for the session.

We heard Kari Bremnes-Norwegian Mood-Coastal Ship, Nils Lofrgen-Keith Don't Go, Rebecca Pidgeon-Spanish Harlem, Dadawa-Canton Story, Louis Armstrong & Ella Fitzgerald-Summertime, Paul Simon-Mardi Gras, Eagles-Hotel California(XRCD)Brother Jack Mcduff-Hammond Organ, 2-3 Classical tracks incl one of a Cathedral Organ, a bass "Torture" track from an album by a musician with an unpronounceable name( fill in, plz,Viren, I liked it very much)& finally,the famous thumri "Jab se Shyam sidhare" by Kalpana Zokarkar(Album;Rasiya).
In most of the tracks, we switched back & forth between the SET & the PP Integre.

Sanjay has very nicely summarised what we experienced, so I'll just add a few words on what I think would be the hallmark of the SET- the musicality or ,the experience of the flow of the music. With a SET as compared to a push/pull Amp, you experience an effortlessness, a sort of inevitability while listening to music. The notes & the harmonics are more palpable, the attack & the decay is more prolonged-this is esp apparent with low intensity notes/harmonics/transients, and it is this capability which gives the SET its sense of musical flow, just as if you were listening to real instruments up close.

I did experience what all the brouhaha abt SET Amps is all about; to my mind it would be about the best way to listen to most genres of music except hard/metal rock and where one would want to physically feel the throb of the sound-only in one track viz, Hotel California did I feel that the PP Amp did a better job because of the 5 times greater power, otherwise most of the listening was done at abt 1.5 watts which was enough to generate enough spl's in Virens 10'x12' sized living room, & the SET shone in comparison.

Viren did say that he planned to look into a SET with the 845 tubes which would take care of the power aspect too.
I too think, like Sanjay, that Viren has a "killer" of an Amp here.
Virens' website address is Lyrita Audio
 

RB9

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Dear Kamal, it was a nice review. Gr8 afforests !! But how much each setup is for ?
Warm Regards
 

Kamal

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RB9, thanks for the good words.
As regards pricing/other details, please do visit Lyritas' website for the contact details, -just click on the link at the end of my review- & mail/call Viren .
 

ruenigma

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With these kind of experiecnes its becoming difficult for me to wait till the purchase date, I guess i need to fly before that just for an audition, gotto "feel the difference".

Nice review there Kamal, very practical and understandable for a noob, without all the jargon, and most importantly fair selection of tracks. (I did find the all time "reviewer favourie" diana krall missing though, Welcome change indeed!!).

If you include some new-age and world music in your next review that would give it a more rounded selection. IMHO someone like Enya, Nicholas Gunn, Klaus Schulz, or even some deep forest tracks could make the equipment show some muscle.

Another very imoprtant aspect of the review for me was the inclusion of FLAC. At the risk of being verbally flagged by some purists here, I'd say the most comfortable listening for me is through FLACs with my PC as source. As i am saved from the hassle of scouting for the CD i need, also no worries of damaging the disk and risking precious content. I am against piracy, but if some technology could save you a few precious moments of the dying desite to listen to the track which perfectly suits your mood, why not!!

Regards,

Sarang
 

persiflage

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Add me to the list. The Delhi trip will be not a day too soon.

Kamal, thanks for the informative reviews, obviously a lot of effort has gone into these.. which set-up do you have personally?

I hope the 845 SET comes out soon.

Also had a question: have you heard Viren's valve pre-amp paired with a solid state power amp?
 

Kamal

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Thanx Persi.
No, I have'nt heard his Tube Pre thru a SS Amp.
I've heard Lyritas SS Pre thru their SS monoblocks & Valve Pre thru Valve Monos' but not the combo you asked abt.
But I believe many audiophiles prefer the Valve Pre & SS Power combo, hoping to get the best of both the worlds!
I myself have an Enbee SS Pre & Power Amp 100W RMS pc & Enbee Bass Reflex 3 way speakers( 12" woofers, Mylar dome Midrange & tweeter.
Plz do let me know when you come to Delhi to audition Virens' setup, would love to meet you at the audition.
 

reignofchaos

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Add me to the list. The Delhi trip will be not a day too soon.

Kamal, thanks for the informative reviews, obviously a lot of effort has gone into these.. which set-up do you have personally?

I hope the 845 SET comes out soon.

Also had a question: have you heard Viren's valve pre-amp paired with a solid state power amp?

I have the combo... Viren's pre with stock tubes replaced by NOS Sylvania tubes and EZ81 rectifier tube connected to a McCormack DNA-125. Its a match made in heaven :D.
 

viren bakhshi

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Hi guys,

Since it's my equipment being talked about, I thought I'd put in a word.

You really have to listen to a valve system to appreciate its strengths. No description can convey the sense of emotion that comes through. Valves reproduce low level signals very clearly, and its here where realism in music reproduction is felt - in the nuances, the fine ebb and flow of music. It has to be heard!

And please think in terms of systems. No component acts in isolation - its the whole system that reproduces music. That's why I make both amplifiers and speakers. To compliment each other.

I started out designing solid-state amplifiers too. It was after listening to two vintage valve amps that the switch occured. There was magic in those amps; that solid-state coudn't come close. Now, there's no going back. Sure, you can use a valve preamp with a solid-state power amp - but you'll be at a halfway house!

There's only one way to tell whether its the way for you - listen!

Regards,
Viren
 

Kamal

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Well ,there you have it Persi!
A response to your exact query from ROC,
& a response that goes beyond your Qn & ROC's respone.
Take your pick-
or even better, come down to Delhi & let your ears decide!
 

persiflage

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Dear Kamal, ROC, Viren,

Thanks for the insights. Will definitely have a listen soon.

Regards
Persiflage
 

dillihifi

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Hi all,

This is what I call Customer Delight. I had bought a pair of valve power amps and a lync preamp (push pull) alongwith the Harmony One speakers more than 3 years back.

Recently when I was listening to the Turntable I felt that one channel was not having the proper body to it. Then I started tweaking the TT and finally upon switching the RCA leads to the TT in L + R and vice versa I concluded that the preamp had a lower gain in one of the channels.

When I spoke to Viren about it he understood what the problem was an immidiately sent a couple of replacement tubes for the phono section. He has also promised to upgrade the tubes from his next consignment. When I enquired about the price Guess what ? He said that Don't worry regarding cost it is FOC. I am sure impressed and think people like Viren will surely have a nice faithful band of listeners
 

thevortex

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Very true. Such gestures go a long way towards smoothening the relationship and instilling trust. I was also the beneficiary of such a kind gesture. Viren selected and sent a couple of Jazz CDs to my home and just would not accept any payment for those.

It is not the money but the gesture that matters - at least so I figure. I have been lucky so far when it comes to dealing with people in Hifi matters. My dealings with Raghu of Decibel too have been pretty satisfying.
 

Amarbir[Lynx-India]

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Dec 25, 2009
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Hi guys,

Since it's my equipment being talked about, I thought I'd put in a word.

You really have to listen to a valve system to appreciate its strengths. No description can convey the sense of emotion that comes through. Valves reproduce low level signals very clearly, and its here where realism in music reproduction is felt - in the nuances, the fine ebb and flow of music. It has to be heard!

And please think in terms of systems. No component acts in isolation - its the whole system that reproduces music. That's why I make both amplifiers and speakers. To compliment each other.

I started out designing solid-state amplifiers too. It was after listening to two vintage valve amps that the switch occured. There was magic in those amps; that solid-state coudn't come close. Now, there's no going back. Sure, you can use a valve preamp with a solid-state power amp - but you'll be at a halfway house!

There's only one way to tell whether its the way for you - listen!

Regards,
Viren


Viren ,
Thats a Good Effort ,Its Also Not a Bad Idea to check What People Abroad Are Doing ,Might Be If You Design Something Regularly You Can Get in Touch With Me Also ,I Might Be Able To Sell Some Of The Material .
 

viren bakhshi

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May 6, 2008
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Hello Amarbir,

I design all of my equipment. No design effort is ever done in isolation - inputs of work done earlier is a great part of the effort.

Stop by in Delhi sometime.

Regards,
Viren
 
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