AKG Lyra Review: Dual Stereo Microphone and USB Audio

The AKG Lyra is an effective all-in-one USB solution for basic recording duties.

Its desktop form factor and onboard USB interface capabilities will appeal to those who don’t already own an audio interface and need a microphone that performs well in a wide range of situations.

That makes it perfect for podcasters, streamers, vloggers, interviewers and musicians who want a straightforward recording device with realistic sound.

Price: $149 USD

At just under $150, the Lyra is impressively cost effective for its capabilities.

There are USB microphones available at higher and lower price points. But few have the rich history of microphone design that AKG brings to the Lyra.

The dual microphone array is also unique. It allows the Lyra to bridge the gap between USB mics and handheld recorders.

At just under $150, the Lyra is impressively cost effective for its capabilities.

The onboard audio interface completes the package and makes Lyra an attractive one-stop shop.

Fit and finish

AKG have gone with a distinctive style for this mic that falls somewhere between a vintage broadcast microphone and a sci-fi droid.

It’s the kind of presentation that looks good enough to show on camera in a YouTube video or leave set up on your desk.

The base and tilting mount are made out of robust brushed metal while the microphone body and grill are plastic.

The mic portion of the Lyra can rotate a full 180 degrees vertically and the angle locks by tightening the fasteners on either side of the housing.

Although the base cannot swivel horizontally, it can screw into a regular microphone stand if detached.

Although the base cannot swivel horizontally, it can screw into a regular microphone stand if detached.

The mic connects via a USB-C jack at the bottom of the housing where the ⅛” headphone output is also located.

I found that while both were plugged in they interfered slightly in the range of the mic assembly’s tilt.

The front side of the Lyra features a four LED indicator for the stereo mode, an illuminated mute button and an endless rotary encoder for the headphone volume.

All three encoders feel tight and well built, but the mute button was slightly finicky to engage. I found it required a precise press in the center to toggle on or off.

The rear panel features a three stage stepped encoder for selecting the mic pattern and a finite gain control to adjust the analog input stage.

During my testing I noticed the mute button toggling off unexpectedly at times. This created occasional bursts of ambient sound that made it slightly difficult to evaluate the headphone sound quality.

Features

akg lyra usb headphone jack and controls

Despite its retro stylings, the Lyra houses an impressive microphone array.

There are two pairs of stereo microphones that can capture sound in four different configurations.

You can easily cycle through the capture modes using the rear encoder. The four types are front, front and back, tight stereo, and wide stereo.

These are obviously not typical stereo methods. Users who are more familiar with traditional microphone terms like cardioid or XY might find the naming convention a bit strange.

Even so, the mics can create a compelling sense of space, especially in the wide stereo mode.

The headphone output monitors the incoming mic signal at zero latency and the mute button toggles it on and off.

This is a simple and effective setup that I would imagine works well for the majority of monitoring situations.

The only drawback here is that the Lyra’s I/O does not directly support external monitor speakers.

If you already own a pair of studio monitors you’ll probably find a dedicated audio interface more suitable for your setup.

That said, Lyra also works well as a basic audio interface over USB.

I was able to plug it in using the supplied USB-C to USB-type A connector and get up and running instantly on Mac OS X.

Lyra can also be used this way on Android or iOS devices making it a convenient option for mobile recording.

Sound

akg lyra profile

Overall, I found the sound of the AKG Lyra to have a realistic quality that translated what I was hearing in the room naturally and faithfully to my DAW.

The stereo modes are very interesting and capture a surprisingly good sense of the depth and size of a 3D space.

The stereo modes are very interesting and capture a surprisingly good sense of the depth and size of a 3D space.

I imagine the front and back mode would be effective for one-on-one interviews and the tight stereo could be useful in some situations too.

The Lyra also performed well in “front” mode for recording voiceover and instruments although the sound might take some getting used to for people more familiar with traditional microphones.

Listening on headphones, I found the audio quality as good or better than other budget interfaces when using the Lyra as a USB interface.

Conclusion

The USB microphone market is getting crowded as more content creators turn to one-stop shop audio solutions.

AKG’s foray into that space marries its rich history of microphone design with solid functionality and attractive aesthetics.

If you’re on the hunt for a simple and versatile USB mic with premium sonics, the AKG Lyra could be your best choice.

The post AKG Lyra Review: Dual Stereo Microphone and USB Audio appeared first on LANDR Blog.