How’s it going fam? In today’s review we take a look at the Astrotec Lyra Nature earbuds. The Lyra is a long standing series from Astrotec and brings with it quite the legacy. In fact, the first generation was produced way back in 2012-2013 and the Nature is the 5th generation. With this release Astrotec have improved the shell design for better comfort and introduced detachable MMCX cables. Is the Nature worthy of the Lyra name? Let’s find out.
Look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better.
Quality, detachable cable
Tonality, expansive soundstage
Great accessories with very good carry case included
Cable forces you to wear the earbuds over ear
This sample was provided for the purpose of an honest review. All observations and opinions here are my own based on my experience with the product.
Package and Accessories
The Lyra Nature box comes with an external grey cardboard sleeve that is adorned with star patterns, branding and a Hi-Res logo. This is the first earbud I’ve seen with the Hi-Res certification. Is that a regular thing now? (Let me know in the comments if you have seen other earbuds with the logo.)
Under the outer sleeve is a grey coloured box with a flippy lid. Opening it up reveals the earbuds seated in a foam insert with a very lovely storage case just below it. To the right side of the case is another smaller box which contains the accessories. Let’s check out all the contents of the box.
Lyra Nature earbuds
Silver plated OFC cable
3 pairs of doughnut foam covers
Silicone ear guides
2 pairs (M, L) of silicone wings
Something I’ve learned from previous Astrotec products is that they tend to add a generous amount of quality accessories and that is true of the Nature’s bundle as well. The carrying case, in particular, is especially nice. It has a magnetically sealed lid that snaps shut in a very satisfying manner.
Build Quality and Design
The Lyra Nature’s shells are all metal, something that was carried over from previous generations.They are gunmetal grey in colour with gold accents. One feature that stands out right away is the copper ball die-casting on the rear of the housing which Astrotec calls a ‘Labrynth Filter’. The purpose of this filter is to suppress refraction and ultimately deliver a purer sound.
Attached to the side of the rear housing are the MMCX connector sockets which have an L or R marking denoting left and right sides. The dynamic driver enclosure has a series of vents on the back side and is encircled by a rubber ring for improved comfort.
Apart from that, this is your typical earbud shape but the premium materials and ‘Labyrinth Filter’ give it a unique and recognizable appearance.
The cable that comes with the Lyra Nature is the same one provided with the Astrotec BX70 (review here). I am a big fan of this cable but in this case, I find it a little strange to have the pre-formed ear guides which force you to wear the earbuds over the ear.
The cable is a little thin but the TPU sheath is very supple and it feels great. On the top end are the metal MMCX connectors which are colour coded (red for right, blue for left).
Next we find the pre-formed ear guides that help to provide a more
secure fit. There is a transparent plastic chin slider that works really
well despite the ease with which it slides up and down the smooth
A cylindrical aluminium Y-splitter is next down the line. This is small and unobtrusive and has some low-key branding printed on one side. Finally, the cable terminates with a right-angled, aluminium 3.5 mm plug.
Comfort and Noise Isolation
For the most part, I find earbuds to be generally the same when it comes to comfort. That is to say, not great but not bad either. I tend to get hot spots after an hour or so with earbuds and feel the need to take a short break or at the least readjust them fairly regularly. If you wear earbuds more often you most likely won’t have any issues.
At first I was using the included silicone wings for a more secure fit but I found it a bit cumbersome because of the over ear cable. Of course, I could change to a different cable but not everyone has spare cables lying around or would be willing to go out and buy another one on top of the cost of the earbuds. In the end, I switched to using the foams because with the earbuds naked they never feel quite stable enough in my ears.
The Nature fares about as well as any earbud when it comes to noise isolation. That is to say, it doesn’t have any whatsoever. However, what you do get as a result is that famed earbud openness and soundstage, which we will talk about more later. Naturally, (no pun intended) there is also significant noise leak so these won’t be perfect for all environments which is something to keep in mind.
Gear used for testing includes the FiiO M6 and iBasso DX120 for portable sources. On the desktop, my usual setup of late has not changed, thus I used the FiiO K3 which is connected to my PC via USB and used MusicBee to play FLAC files.
Overall, to my ears, the Nature has a balanced sound with a touch of added warmth and prominent midrange. Please be aware that your experience might be different as earbuds are extremely sensitive to fit and positioning. Even the slightest adjustment can have a drastic effect on the tonality.
The bass is north of neutral but I still would not call the Nature a bass-heavy earbud as the quantity is fairly moderate. A case in point is Daft Punk’s “Lose Yourself To Dance”. With certain monitors, this song’s bass can have a massive, physical impact, whereas with the Nature it actually sits behind the vocals and midrange.
One thing you’ll notice is the excellent bass extension that the Nature is capable of. Its bass is deep-reaching and it’s fun to hear those deep rumbles in the back of your head.
The Lyra Nature’s midrange is rich, coloured for warmth and vocals are really emphasized. Male and female vocals alike pop like crazy, lifting right out of the music to make you sit up and take notice. Despite its warmth, the Nature’s midrange notes don’t feel thick at all. On the contrary, transients are fast and there is good articulation.
Female vocals get special attention and are incredibly vibrant and energetic. In Utada Hikaru’s “Sakura” the vocals stand out before everything else in the mix even though the entire track has a lot of competing, bright instruments throughout the chorus.
With a claimed frequency response reaching up to 40 kHz you would hope the Nature’s treble would extend well. It does. The Lyra Nature has a crisp high end with good density and a little airiness. It’s not bursting with details but rather more laidback and smooth. It peaks at around 9 kHz and never shown any signs of stridency or harshness.
The stage presented by the Nature is expansive and feels natural. It’s well-rounded and goes wide as well as deep with good height to boot. The stage is quite stable for an earbud too with solid, defined boundaries and strong imaging. Instrument separation is only average but the sound doesn’t get congested unless the music gets particularly frantic or complex.
After seeing the Lyra name pop up so often for such a long time I’m glad I finally got to hear it for myself. Although I don’t have any experience with previous generations, the 5th gen Astrotec Lyra Nature showed me why the series has kept a solid foothold in the earbud space.
With its high standards of build quality, unique styling and warm, clear sound the Lyra Nature is an earbud that I’ll be keeping handy, especially for those times when I want to maintain awareness of my immediate environment. However, I will be wearing them with the cable down!