LYRA, “The World’s finest audiophile cartridges”

Based in Tokyo, LYRA is headed by Stig Bjorge from Norway, with American design engineer Jonathan Carr, and Japanese master craftsman Yoshinori Mishima making cartridges and supervising production. All products are manufactured in Japan with microscopic attention to detail under the direct supervision of these three.

LYRA products are characterized by advanced design engineering allied with Japanese artisanal craftsmanship and build quality. All our products are developed and crafted to be among the very finest available in their category.

Every detail of each LYRA product is thought through and executed with extreme care. LYRA is one of the few audio companies with truly original design development capability. Each new product is designed from the ground and up and introduces meaningful industry-leading advances.

Further Reading
DELOS
An analogue LP played back with an MC cartridge can sound exceptionally good. Normally, the more cost put into the cartridge, the better the sound. However, sometimes what is required is not more cost but more clever engineering, as with the Lyra Delos.

A major problem with most cartridges is that the signal coils are located so that applying normal tracking force restricts performance. The reason is that the cartridge’s signal coils should have the same angle as the magnetic circuit when the tracking force for playback is applied, but are nearly always designed so that applying normal tracking force pushes the signal coils out of alignment with the magnetic circuit. This impairs the sensitivity and linearity of the coils, and reduces the quality of sound.

The Delos solves this problem with a new body structure and pre-angled damping system. The pre-angled dampers work together with the angle of the body structure so that, when tracking force is applied, the signal coils are optimally aligned with the magnet circuit. The Delos also has a microridge stylus for outstanding tracking, a non-parallel solid metal body for low resonances, and nude construction for greater clarity. The result is clearly improved sound quality, particularly resolution, dynamic range, transient impact and immediacy.

  • Type: Medium Weight, Medium Compliance, Low-Impedance Moving Coil Cartridge
  • Frequency Range: 10Hz ~ 50kHz
  • Channel Separation: 30dB or Better at 1kHz
  • Cantilever System: Solid Boron Rod with Namiki Microridge Line-Contact Stylus (2.5um x 75 um) & One-Point Suspension, Directly Mounted to Cartridge Body
  • Coil: 6-N High-Purity Copper, 8.2 ohms Internal Impedance, 9.5uH Inductance
  • Output Voltage: 0.6mV@5cm/sec. (CBS Test Record, Other Test Records May Alter Results)
  • Compliance: Approx. 12 x 10 cm/dyne at 100 Hz
  • Vertical Tracking Angle: 20 Degrees
  • Cartridge Body: One-Piece Machining from Solid Aluminum Billet
  • Cartridge Weight: 7.3 Grams Without Stylus Cover
  • Optimal Tracking Force: 1.75 Grams (1.7g ~ 1.8g Acceptable)
  • Recommended Loading: 91ohms ~ 47kohms (w/o Transformer), 5ohms ~ 15ohms (w/ Transformer Connected to 47kohm MM-Level RIAA Input)
Delos MC – £1195
KLEOS

Although many MC cartridges have good performance, their sound is held back by how they are designed. The problem is, the signal coils should have the same angle as the magnetic circuit during playback, but MC cartridges are typically designed so that the opposite happens – applying normal tracking force pushes the coils out of alignment. This impairs coil sensitivity and linearity, and reduces sound quality.

Lyra’s “New Angle” technology solves this fundamental problem by compensating for how the signal coils are affected by vertical tracking forces, and optimally aligning the coils when it matters most – during playback. Introduced on Lyra’s entry-level Delos, the New Angle technology enables the Lyra Delos to perform well above its pricepoint.

But being audiophiles, Lyra wanted to achieve the next higher level – which is the new Lyra Kleos. Building on New Angle technology, the Lyra Kleos innovates with a stronger chassis machined from aircraft-grade alloys, narrowed mounting area to improve energy transfer, and pre-stressed construction combining multiple materials with non-parallel surfaces to inhibit internal body resonances.

The fully hand-made Lyra Kleos also has a Lyra-designed line contact stylus and platinum-plated output pins, achieving an exceptionally quiet noise-floor with superior immediacy, resolution and tracking, wide dynamic range and explosive transients, plus a warmer and natural tonal balance. The Lyra Kleos is a high-value cartridge that surpasses the sound quality of substantially more expensive cartridges

The Lyra Kleos is the lowest cost Lyra cartridge to feature the full fledged Ogura manufactured boron cantilever and coil system with Lyra original line-contact (3 x 70μm) stylus. This is similar to what is employed on even the most expensive Lyra models.

Nevertheless, the most important element of the new Lyra Kleos is it’s sound. Lyra firmly believe that the Kleos is capable of extracting more information from the vinyl grooves than it’s predecessors, and that the reproduction of music is both more dynamic, more detailed, and more natural than the models preceding it. Lyra also are of the opinion that the Kleos will set a new standard for sonic performance at it’s price point.

Today there are only a small handful of master cartridge builders in the world, and Lyra’s Yoshinori Mishima belongs to this elite group of individuals that are capable of crafting the highest level MC transducers on the planet. His assistant Akiko Ishiyama, who has undergone several years of apprenticeship, is also involved in the building process leading to each Kleos. The Kleos is not only hand made, but each cartridge is listened to extensively and “voiced” by the master cartridge builder, like the finest musical instruments.

Lyra offers a unique combination of capable, advanced cartridge design by Jonathan Carr and complete handmade execution by the above mentioned individuals. Investing in a Lyra Kleos through an authorized retailer will offer you an unparallelled analog experience from your stereo microgroove vinyl records.

– Type: Medium Weight, Medium Compliance, Low-Impedance Moving Coil Cartridge

– Stylus: Lyra-Designed Long-Footprint Variable-Radius, Line-Contact Nude Diamond (3um x 70um), Slot-Mounted

– Cantilever System: Solid Boron Rod with Short One-Point Wire Suspension, Directly Mounted into Cartridge Body

– Coils: 2-Layer Deep, 6N High Purity Copper, Square-Shaped Chemically-Purified High-Purity Iron Former, 5.4 ohms Self-Impedance, 9.0uH Inductance

– Output Voltage: 0.5mV@5cm/sec., zero to peak, 45 Degrees (CBS Test Record, Other Test Records May Alter Results)

– Frequency Range: 10Hz – 50kHz

– Channel Separation: 35dB or Better at 1kHz

– Cartridge Weight: 8.8g

– Recommended Tracking Force: 1.65g – 1.75g

Kleos MC – £2495
Kleos SL – £2795
Kleos Mono – £2795
ETNA
It is always a challenge to design a worthy heir to a successful product. For the Lyra Etna, however, that challenge was twice as difficult as normal. On one hand its primary goal was to replace the popular Titan. On the other hand, the Etna design project had a second goal, which was to achieve as high levels of performance as possible. If this meant that Etna would give stern competition to the flagship Atlas, so be it.

As a model intended to retail for significantly less than Atlas, but having similar aspirations to the pinnacles of performance, Etna was designed with a strong emphasis on engineering efficiency, so that its performance would be as far beyond the sum of its parts as possible. For this reason, although it shares some of its design philosophy with the Atlas, the concepts are executed rather differently.

Etna employs a solid titanium core structure machined with non-parallel surfaces to inhibit internal reflections wherever possible, but unlike Atlas (and Titan i before it), this is mated to a slightly undersized, asymmetric duralumin outer body that is designed to lock over the core like a very tightly-fitting jigsaw puzzle. The core and body are augmented with bronze and stainless-steel resonance control rods, then everything is pressure-fit together into a pre-stressed, solid, void-free structure which is comprised of multiple materials and complex internal shapes. The constrained-layer nature of this construction dramatically reduces the resonant signature of each material and creates a far more neutral-sounding body structure than otherwise possible, while the high body stiffness benefits transients, dynamics and resolution.

Linear transducers such as loudspeakers and phono cartridges are inherently inefficient devices – on the order of 5 to 10%. In other words, of the vibrational energy that enters a cartridge from the LP groove, only 5 to 10% will be converted into electrical signal. The cartridge’s internal damping system will dissipate some of the remaining 90 to 95%, but much of the excess vibrational energy will reflect inside the cartridge, creating internal echoes, smearing, and a general diminishing of fidelity. It is easy to demonstrate this with many cartridges – play a highly modulated LP with the power amp turned off, and bring your ear close to the cartridge. The “needle-talk” that you hear is excess vibrational energy which isn’t being controlled properly.
To help conduct this excess vibrational energy into the headshell, where it can be safely dissipated within the greater mass of the tonearm and turntable plinth, Lyra has traditionally mounted the cantilever directly into the cartridge body, resulting in a rigid, seamless connection between the cantilever assembly and tonearm headshell (as it happens, we remain the only manufacturer to do so).

In the process of designing Atlas, we discovered that in addition to coupling the cantilever to headshell with a rigid, unbroken path, further sonic gains could be realized by removing all objects and voids from the path. Atlas’ asymmetric shape was conceived partly for this purpose, to move the front magnet carrier, mounting screw and screwhole out of the way of the mechanical path connecting cantilever to headshell.

Etna utilizes the same asymmetrical concept, but whereas Atlas offsets the screw and screwhole to one side, Etna moves the screw / screwhole all the way to the front of the cartridge – and interposes an additional bronze damping barrier between the screw / screwhole and the mechanical path linking cantilever to headshell.

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The Lyra Etna SL is a special version of the standard Etna, but with a single layer (hence, the “SL” designation) of coils, resulting in lower mass.

Lyra describes the SL series as follows:

For expert users with very high-gain, extra low noise phono stages, or alternatively a step-up transformer designed for phono cartridges of 2 – 3 ohms or less… [It] may provide extra pure and pristine sound from an audio system that is optimised for a low-impedance, low-output cartridge. However, this may be accompanied with a lesser level of energy and power.

Hands-down one of the most superb and lifelike-sounding phono cartridges ever made, the Lyra Etna MC SL phono cartridge uses unique engineering to remove resonance. Not reduce it. Remove it completely. Yes, it’s a big step up in price from most cartridges, but one that yields gains in transparency, the removal of distortion, and remarkable accuracy. In short, the advanced design principles allow the focus to be placed on the music buried in the grooves of your records. A winner of The Absolute Sound’s Product of the Year Award as well as a Stereophile Analog Component of the Year, Product of the Year, and Editors’ Choice pick, Etna SL is simply a work of art. A prestigious musical instrument.

If weight of sound and dynamics are your priorities, go for the non-SL version. But if high resolution and speed are what you’re seeking, and you’ve got a suitable phono stage or step-up transformer, the SL version may be ideal.

While Etna is second from the top in Lyra’s line, one listen will demonstrate that this cartridge’s performance would define the very top of any other cartridge line. Atlas has a very refined, elegant and voluptuous sound while Etna’s personality is more outgoing. We truly believe that choosing between these two exceptional performers will come down to one’s tastes and the system in which it will live. For many customers Etna will be ideal and become their preferred Lyra.

Type: Medium weight, medium compliance, low-impedance, low-output moving coil cartridge
Stylus: Lyra-designed long-footprint variable-radius line-contact nude diamond (3um x 70um profile, block dimensions 0.08 x 0.12 x 0.5mm), slot-mounted
Cantilever system: Diamond-coated solid boron rod with short one-point wire suspension, directly mounted into cartridge body via high-pressure knife-edge system
Coils: 2-layer deep, 6 N high-purity copper, chemically-purified high purity iron X-shaped former, 1.52 ohm self-impedance, 1.9μH inductance
Output voltage: 0.25 mV@5 cm/sec., zero to peak, 45 degrees (CBS test record, other test records may alter results)
Frequency range: 10 Hz-50 kHz
Channel separation: 35 dB or better at 1 kHz
Compliance: Approx. 12 X10 cm/dyne at 100 Hz
Vertical tracking angle: 20 degrees
Cartridge body: Multi-material (titanium, duralumin, bronze, stainless steel) self-clamping construction with reduced-surface higher-pressure headshell contact area, predominately non-parallel shaping, phase-interference resonance-controlling mechanisms, body threaded for mounting screws
Cartridge mounting screws: 2.6 mm 0.45 pitch JIS standard
Distance from mounting holes to stylus tip: 9.52mm
Cartridge weight (without stylus cover): 9.2g
Recommended tracking force: 1.65 ~ 1.78g (1.72g recommended)
Recommended load directly into MC phono input: Determine by listening,
Recommended load via step-up transformer: Use a step-up transformer designed for 2 – 3 ohms cartridge impedance. The transformer output must be connected to standard 47kohm MM-level RIAA input, preferably via short, low-capacitance cable
Recommended tonearms: High-quality pivoted or linear tangential tonearms with rigid bearing(s), adjustable anti-skating force, preferably VTA
Etna MC – £5895
Etna SL – £6495
Etna Mono – £6495
ATLAS
Lyra’s new flagship phono cartridge, the Atlas, features a revolutionary new asymmetric design. By literally misplacing the “barriers” to great sound that are present in every other cartridge today, the Lyra Atlas achieves a number of important performance benefits. Different-shaped structures on the left and right sides of the cartridge body suppress the formation of standing waves within, resulting in a significant reduction of resonance-induced colorations. Music comes through the Atlas with a greater purity and sense of purpose than standard-model MC cartridges are capable of producing.

The Atlas’s asymmetric construction offsets the front magnet carrier and its associated mounting system so that it is no longer in line with the cantilever assembly. This opens up a direct, solid path between the cantilever assembly and tonearm headshell so that vibrations from the cantilever can be quickly drained away once they have been converted into electrical signals, again suppressing induced resonances.

The Atlas uses Lyra’s “New Angle” technology, which mechanically pre-biases the signal coils so that they are perfectly aligned to the front and rear magnets when LP playback takes place. This equalizes out discrepancies in vertical and horizontal compliance, and enables the Atlas’s coils to move with equal ease in all directions for optimal performance.

Lyra remains the only cartridge manufacturer to mount the cantilever assembly directly into the cartridge body, thereby achieving a totally seamless, rigid connection between the cantilever assembly and headshell. The effectiveness of this system has been enhanced as a result of the asymmetrical structure of the Atlas. Control over spurious resonance is further assisted by the use of a narrowed mounting area, which couples the Atlas more tightly to the headshell and facilitates the transfer of vibrational energy into the tonearm.

While the Atlas retains the yokeless dual magnet system, diamond-coated boron rod cantilever, and variable-radius line-contact stylus of the Titan, the rigidity of the double knife-edge cantilever assembly mounting structure has been increased, and the signal coil system is completely new. Rather than a square, the coil former is in the shape of an X, which allows each channel to operate with greater independence from the other. This gives better tracking, tighter channel matching, improved separation, and lower distortion due to crosstalk.

At the same time Lyra was able to increase both the performance and efficiency of the generator coils. The Atlas has 12% higher output voltage than the Titan, but accomplishes this while reducing the amount of wire in the coils by 22%. This reduction in mass further improves tracking performance, while the enhanced output and electrical characteristics allow phono stages to perform more efficiently.

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The Lyra Atlas SL is a special version of the standard Atlas, but with a single layer (hence, the “SL” designation) of coils, resulting in lower mass.

Lyra describes the SL series as follows:

For expert users with very high-gain, extra low noise phono stages, or alternatively a step-up transformer designed for phono cartridges of 2 – 3 ohms or less… [It] may provide extra pure and pristine sound from an audio system that is optimised for a low-impedance, low-output cartridge. However, this may be accompanied with a lesser level of energy and power. If weight of sound and dynamics are your priorities, go for the non-SL version. But if high resolution and speed are what you’re seeking, and you’ve got a suitable phono stage or step-up transformer, the SL version may be ideal.

  • Designer: Jonathan Carr
  • Builder: Yoshinori Mishima
  • Type: Medium weight, medium compliance, low-impedance moving coil cartridge
  • Stylus: Lyra-designed long-footprint variable-radio line-contact nude diamond, slot-mounted
  • Cantilever System: Diamond-coated solid boron rod with short one-point wire suspension, directly mounted into cartridge body via high-pressure knife-edge system
  • Coils: 2-layer deed, 6N high-purity copper, cross-shaped chemically-purified high-purity iron former, 4.2ohm self-impedance, 11uH inductance
  • Output Voltage: 0.56mV@5cm/sec., zero to peak, 45 degrees (CBS test record, other test records may alter results)
  • Frequency Range: 10Hz – 50kHz
  • Channel Separation: 35dB or better at 1kHz
  • Compliance: Approx. 12 x 10-6cm/dyne at 100Hz
  • Vertical Tracking Angle: 20 degrees
  • Cartridge Body: One-piece machining from solid titanium billet, with reduced-surface higher-pressure headshell contact area, predominately non-parallel and asymmetrical shaping, phase-interference resonance-controlling mechanism, and body threaded directly for mounting screws.
  • Cartridge Mounting Screws: 2.6mm 0.45 pitch JIS standard
  • Distance From Mounting Holes To Stylus Tip: 9.5mm
  • Cartridge Weight (without stylus cover): 11.6g
  • Recommended Tracking Force: 1.65 – 1.75g (1.72g recommended)
  • Recommended Load Directly into MC Phono Input: 104ohm – 887ohm (determine by listening, or follow detailed guidelines in user manual)
  • Recommended Load via Step-Up Transformer: 5 – 15ohm (Step-up transformer’s output must be connected to 10kohm – 47kohm MM-level RIAA input, prefereably via short, low-capacitance cable)
  • Recommended Tonearms: High-quality pivoted or linear (tangential) tonearms with rigid bearing(s), adjustable anti-skating force, preferably VTA adjustment
Atlas MC – £8495
Atlas SL – £9395
Atlas Mono – £9395