SOMA Labs Lyra 8

Are there Lyra 8 users here?
I would have thought so… I’m surprised there isn’t a dedicated thread here.

I tried one in 2016. Passed it on to a friend and then recently found my self keen to try again and I’m getting some unique (I think) sound that I’m enjoying… but some behaviour is perplexing.

Keen to discuss.

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Regards, Lloyd!

I love mine. I have a Moscow-made one and adore it immensely. I find the AND/OR function of the Hyper LFO module in the top left to be the absolute best part of the thing. You can get it chiming away like a sewing machine making weird engine noises.

I know the Pulsar 23’s coming up but the Lyra has a lot of GREAT percussion inside of it.

I agree with you about the perplexing parts. Sometimes I’ll get a good setting that is just perfect or bizarre … or even lovely and tranquil … and find myself less inclined to change much of anything for a while. Part of this is because I’m never quite sure what adds up to what and can lose a sound inadvertently through too much adjustment. That said, it’s a total wonder. One of the best pieces of electronics I’ve ever encountered. And the drone with occasional AND/OR is total Buchla territory.

I don’t really care for the echo but I know a lot of people who really like it. But I tend to mostly use mine mostly dry and play with the overdrive.

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Good to hear.
Are they making them over here, now? (I’m in USA)

I have a question about the mod controls. I can’t seem to get the mod inputs, be it the LFO or the FM to zero with the knob CCW. In fact at CCW there is significant, not subtle, modulation. I found a patch today with your beloved LFO and it was quite wonderful, but i think it would have been even more wonderful if I’d been able to make the modulation more subtle… but I couldn’t. I’ve written to Vlad, but I know he’s pretty busy all the time, these days. Does your Lyra behave the same way?

Mine behaves as you describe.

Vlad replied to my email very quickly! The behaviour is normal.
“Mod knobs for voices has no zero. It’s another principle of regulation. So only with the switch in the middle no modulation possible.”

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Awesome machine. Great for building scales on the fly. Versatile on stage but needs some eq or will blow the speakers when you loose it.

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Hello! Longtime lurker here, and (now there is a Lyra 8 discussion) first time poster!

I love this instrument with a passion, partly for the reason @lloydcole highlighted: “some behaviour is perplexing.” :wink:

There is always something further to explore with this box of possibilities, and I question whether it can ever be “mastered”. But after many months of exploration I am beginning to feel more confident that this is a real instrument with a distinctive voice, that rewards TECHNIQUE at least as much as CHANCE.

For instance, those apparently unreflexive, unyielding contacts can respond quite differently to (1) a full bridging of the contacts with a heavily imprinted finger compared to (2) a gentle touch of the contact with the tip of a finger nail. Whilst you could get a similar response in any moderately capable keyboard synth by applying velocity and/or aftertouch to amplitude (and drive? release? and possibly pitch also? - there’s a lot going on with those key contacts and the Lyra tone!) it does feel different in the Lyra 8 - more like how one would instinctively pick a string harder on a “traditional” instrument than tweak modulation routings on a synthesizer. And, of course, each set of key contacts on the Lyra 8 can respond differently to different touches at the same time, akin to polyphonic aftertouch.

I agree with @EPTC that the Hyper LFO is a highlight. @lloydcole if you are after more subtle Hyper LFO modulation than you can get just applying MOD to the voices, I find that you can dial in lower amounts using the MOD DELAY settings, allowing one or both lines to be modulated by the LFO - not completely the same effect but possibly close enough to get you where you want to be. My Lyra behaves as mentioned above with the MOD knobs fully CCW.

I too am looking forward to the Pulsar 23, and how it will interact with the Lyra 8.

It would be great to get a discussion going of Lyra 8 technique, I am sure there are a lot of Lyra players (and curious potential players) out there who would value that.

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Also a Lyra-8 player here. It really is a very performative instrument. It’s slightly unpredictable nature does mean it can be hard to get the same exact sounds on it 2 days in a row, but once you let go of that, it really is a wonderful instrument. I completely agree with @EPTC on the point of its Buchla-ness. I had an easel for a while and while I didn’t love it enough to keep it I really loved the thick timbre of the oscillators, and the Lyra almost that exact same flavor, it’s quite lovely.

I’ve performed with it on stage 3 times or so and you do really need to be careful of the level as well as just the EQ. The low end is massive and I got some walls shaking in a warehouse-type space while playing it (was unintended, but also a bit awesome).

I’ve enjoyed playing it with my RS-09 and running the RS through the Lyra to use its effects, really makes the RS sound huge.

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The Lyra is in my home for about a year now. A Poland unit. It’s a stunning instrument, a huge universe to loose yourself into. Very touchy and responsive. I enjoy playing the sensors with eyes closed once I dialed a scale that sings to me. It’s also incredibly effective for abstract/industrial evolving/pulsing soundscapes. I love the LFO/Delay interaction as well.
The Lyra is kind of a mysterious thing that you don’t need to fully understand (who does ?) to enjoy.
My last use of the Lyra was last week for a folk album by a french singer-songwriter who asked me to add some weird background textures to his classical folky material. And it worked really well.
(Sorry for not writing in English very well)

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I’ve had it for a year now and use it at every gig. The expression, especially through large PA’s, is fantastic. I love to play it ‘solo’ but it also blends particularly well with my digital osc’s.

I first got to play one at Superbooth last year and it was love at first sight/touch/ear. My buddies also tried it but did not like it at all (I’ll spare you their remarks). I find it a deeply personal instrument. One that encourages exploring and ‘keeps giving’ new sounds and textures. Even after a year of using it.

Final tips

  1. Mine sits on a speaker stand. Perfect and very stable fit.
    2 I got the Decksaver cover. No dust issues so far.

Here’s my Lyra-8 expert. She too loves the machine:

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Sigh. I’m going to have to get one, one of these days, aren’t I? The design, and the sounds, really seem right up my alley.

I’ve told myself I don’t need it because I can make those sounds with my modular, but I know that’s a half-truth at best.

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Speaker stand is a great idea.

I just got the decksaver cover yesterday - I have had some dust issues - still do (at least I assume that’s why my FB and Drive knobs crackle so when the respective Mix knobs are cranked…)

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good to know to protect

I really really love all SOMA instruments. The Lyra-8 have something so special, almost mystical ! A lot of sounds can be discovered with it, it’s a living thing.

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exactly the same impression. Seems to make good friends with Noise Engineering and Harvestman modules.

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I ordered one last week and it’s on its way. Can’t wait to try it out :slight_smile:

Is there a ready way to tell Russian vs Polish manufacture, and is there any build difference?

I second this.

Tried this. Good idea! Thanks.

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Zero difference in the build quality or features, just an indicator of when it was assembled. The first few Lyras came from Moscow and then they shifted to SOMA Europe for most order fulfillment. They have different serial number stickers under the heavy cabinet, indicating either Made in Russia or Soma EU. Same thing, just indicator of what run they might come from.

Vlad is involved with approving quality on both Poland and Moscow orders. I have an ETHER from the Polish division and it’s top rate quality.

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I don’t generally want non-modular stuff. I want a Lyra 8 and Pulsar 23.