Soma Lyra-8 Organismic Synthesizer – is it worth the hype (and the price)

There are so many hype cycles going on each and every day on the net. Most of the time it is about new synths. I tend to fall to these hypes, feeling an urge to buy synths immediately. Same happened when the Somy Lyra-8 came out. However I resisted – for a few months. Then I became weak and bought an used one. Was it worth the €550 used price (~$675)?

Soma Lyra-8 is hard to control

Yes, you can try to control the Lyra-8. Tune every oscillator to fit a scale. (I use the tuner plugin coming with Logic Pro X to tune the Lyra-8). However tuning takes time. And as soon as you start modulating the sounds everything is going chaotic. Here are five tips how to tame the Lyra-8.

So if you want some pure sounds with less modulation it is a good idea to tune each of the eight oscillators. If you want to drone and to build soundscapes there is another way.

You have to let it go

The second and more fun approach from my point of view is to let the Lyra-8 go. Start up with one or two oscillators and tune everything by ear. This needs some experience with the Lyra-8 and I haven’t accomplished yet. But this is a very fun way to find wonderful sounds. Yet, you will need some time.

Let the machine guide you. May the Lyra be with you.

Soma Lyra-8
Hard to tune: Eight oscillators with tons of modulation.

A great effect unit!

One thing I underestimated before buying the Lyra-8 was its capability as a delay and overdrive for other synths. Routing the sounds of my OP-1 through the Lyra-8 was a lot of fun. The clean OP-1 sound came to life though the delay and even better through the Drive which adds a lot of roughness if you want.

Does it ambient?

Oh yes! This is a perfect machine for ambient music. Imho you will need a reverb to let the sound flourish. The Lyra-8 is a wonderful tool for ambient soundscapes. In my setup it found a place beneath the melodic parts which stay in tune. The Lyra-8 adds nice surprises, wonderful textures and sometimes some dissonance and weirdness.

I think a bit of dissonance is wonderful for ambient because you have something to return from. Create a dialogue between weirdness and normality – you can always come back to normal, harmonic ambient. But you may need the Lyra-8 to move away from the all those pleasing sounds.

What is the status in my Setup?

I have three statuses for my synths: Always on the desktop, shelf and waiting to be sold. The Lyra-8 sits in the shelf waiting to be used once or twice a week.

Is the Soma Lyra-8 worth the price?

The Soma Lyra-8 is a very special synth for a very narrow target audience. From an ambient point of view the Lyra-8 is a wonderful addon to wide soundscapes, giving a lot of texture and a lot for delays and reverbs to gnaw on. After a few weeks I tend to keep the Lyra-8. It is worth its used price. And I think I could sell the Lyra-8 for a similar price if I wanted to.

What do you think about the Lyra-8? Let me know in the comments.

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