Recently, I’ve been exploring Strauss & Wagner’s IEM upgrade cables, which are a new addition to their small but reasonably successful line of audio products. The Lyss is one of their more handy MMCX cables, featuring a USB-C termination with a DAC, and making it a promising choice for use with Androids and the latest iPhones. But what can you expect in terms of resolution and sound profile? Will your IEMs still sound as good or better than they did before, or is this upgrade cable just a cable?
Look and Build
The visual appeal of the Lyss is an obvious choice for those who like a fancy looking wire. Robust and lustrous, the well-insulated braided silver strands on this $70 cable give it a much more premium appearance than the price tag would suggest.
In fact, the only unfortunate design element is that the Lyss only comes in an MMCX version. Given that most IEMs these days are 2-pin, it would have been great if S&W produced a 2-pin cable of similar quality. Luckily, according to S&W, the 2-pin is set to be released soon.
The connectors take some force to attach and detach the IEMs, but the connection is super firm and secure. And the wires stay in place, rather than rotate around the shell, which I always find annoying.
While the Lyss looks like an average USB-C IEM cable (though radiant and pretty), it’s got some impressive goodies under the hood; equipped with a 32-bit DAC and the S&W’s 5686 chipset, The Lyss allows you to access hi-res files, no dongles required. And this high-resolution capability is part of what separates the Lyss from the sea of other IEM cables that feature a USB-C termination.
The Lyss stays pretty honest to the source, and you won’t hear much manipulation to the sound signature of your IEMs. What it may do, is moderate any unpleasant harshness or sharpness in the mids and higher frequencies. And it tends to provide a slightly rounded out sound, which works especially well with a bright IEM, or a highly active sound profile that could use a little more restraint.
That said, the Lyss doesn’t remove any width, sparkle or vitality, allowing the natural qualities of your IEM’s character to remain the central focus of the sonic experience.
If you need a hi-res MMCX cable to connect to your Android or latest iPhone, this is pretty much a no brainer. The Lyss delivers solid resolution through its DAC without the bulk and inconvenience of a traditional and often, pricey DAC dongle. Certainly, for a reasonably affordable 70 bucks, this cable is an ideal entry point into realm of hi-res sound. And for those who have already dipped their toes into the audiophile world, the Lyss is a worthy on-the-go alternative to a more complicated portable setup.