Lyra Delos review after a couple of weeks with it.

Discussion in 'Audio Hardware' started by fly4x4, Feb 10, 2014.

  1. fly4x4

    fly4x4 Active Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    Saint Albans, WV
    Hello,

    It has now been a couple weeks since I received my new Lyra Delos and mounted it on my VPI Classic 1 and decided it was time to post a review.
    I use a Jolida JD9 with NOS Telefunken smooth plate 12ax7 tubes into a McIntosh MX113 then into a McIntosh MC-2105 speakers are Definitive Technology BP2000 modified with all new and different drivers.
    I first mounted up the lyra and set the JD9 to recommended default settings and gave it a listen. At first everything was was to bright and sounded brittle to the point of being annoying. I was really worried for a bit that I made a mistake but with much help from a member on another forum I hung in and decided to dig in and get this properly dialed in. The initial set up was with the VPI jig provided with my TT and to say the least it is not the best for a cart of this caliber. Per a recommendation I tried the DB systems protractor and discovered it was not for me and returned it. I then ordered a MintLP best protractor built specifically for my TT and this was by far the best purchase I have made to date. I spent 4 to 5 hours one day with the mint to get the cart set up to a perfect overhang and alignment of which was way off with my previous attempt. Now with the cartridge perfectly set up i decided to give it a listen and I was completely blown away.
    The Lyra is very quiet in the groove and it tracks like I have never experienced on a rig before. Small clicks or pops that used to be front a center on older LP's are now somehow moved to the back and the music is front and center. I am not really sure how it does this but WOW. I still felt it was a little to bright for my taste and decided to change the setting on the JD9 from a 70ohm load to 100ohm load and the magic was there. This cart is much more sensitive to even the slightest changes in VTA, VTF azimuth and loading and takes awhile but it is so worth it. I now had beautiful highs in full detail along with a rich full mid-range while slamming a deep tight but pronounced bottom end. I don't know all the lingo for this but the cart seems faster if that makes sense, as it feels more snappy in having the instruments start and stop quickly as they should. I hear more instruments now in very complicated recordings and even when there is a bunch going on there is air/separation between the instruments. I have heard these beautiful subtle nuances and bits of music in albums that I never heard before. Cymbals have a amazing crash to them now that can make you jump out of your seat when it is cranked up, there is just this level of realism I have never experienced before, it gives me goose bumps.
    Previous carts I have tried on this set up was a Grado gold 1 and a Dynavector 20x2H which both were great but the Lyra is amazing. I cant find anything that it does wrong however I have never heard anything in the higher classes above this to even know what it could do better if anything.
    I could not be any happier than I am right now with the sound and tracking ability of this cart. I apologize if this is a bit all over the place as i am not very good at doing a review like this but I wanted to share my experience with this cart and the jump up to a expensive cart.

    Best regards

    Jeff
     
  2. LeeS

    LeeS Audio Research Fan

    Location:
    Atlanta
    Thanks for the review Jeff. I may get one of these before long.
     
  3. fly4x4

    fly4x4 Active Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    Saint Albans, WV
    This is just the entry level for the Lyra carts i could only imagine what the higher end ones in their lineup sound like but for me, my budget and my TT I am very happy.
     
  4. j.barleycorn

    j.barleycorn Well-Known Member

    I've had mine for a year now. I love it. Best cart I've ever owned ( and the most expensive). Prior to this I owned two Dorians over several years. I'm a big fan of the Lyra "house" sound now and they happen to mate well with my setup. I load mine at 500 ohms, which is the lowest setting on my phono preamp and I don't find it too bright. The Delos is a big improvement over the Dorian, and I really enjoyed those ( though I think my first one was the better sounding of the two.) The Delos is a more balanced sounding cartridge with a smoother midrange, and yes it's a very good and quiet tracker.
     
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  5. fly4x4

    fly4x4 Active Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    Saint Albans, WV
    Mine is still breaking in and is just getting sweeter with every play. Once it settles in all the way i will then try a few more settings on my JD9 but i just cant see how it can get much better than what i am getting from this cart.
    What tracking force are you running on yours? I have mine right at 1.75 and i noticed when i change just a little it has a pretty big impact on the sound
     
  6. j.barleycorn

    j.barleycorn Well-Known Member

    1.75 I think. I'll check it tomorrow. Probably due for a recheck anyway, my counterweight can be very finicky.
     
  7. fly4x4

    fly4x4 Active Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    Saint Albans, WV
    Thank you! I have read that the change in seasons will change the VTF so it is best to check regularly with these carts.
     
    ThorensSme likes this.
  8. harmonica98

    harmonica98 Forum Resident

    Location:
    London, UK
    Nice review Jeff - shows how important loading is for carts.
     
  9. jeff kleinberg

    jeff kleinberg Active Member

    Location:
    Ct
    Jeff,
    As you go up on the ohm number for loading you are DECREASING the effect on treble, thus it should be brighter. IE 100ohms would be more attenuating of the treble than 500ohms, I have a Kleos and yes they are very sensitive to loading. Experiment, it is worth the time. Are you using any damping fluid in the well? Enjoy your new cart.
     
    jupiterboy likes this.
  10. whaleyboy

    whaleyboy Forum Resident

    Location:
    San Diego, CA
    Pretty sure that this is correct, the Delos likes 1.75 Grams.

    I have one on my Classic and, like you, just love it. Congratulations!
     
  11. fly4x4

    fly4x4 Active Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    Saint Albans, WV
    Thank you for the description as I did not know which effect more loading had. I currently do have the arm slightly damped to where I get a very fine ribbon of fluid for about a half inch before it breaks. I have not yet tried it without damping but have plans to do so as time allows.
     
  12. fly4x4

    fly4x4 Active Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    Saint Albans, WV
    Thank you, and yes this cart seems to really like the 1.75 VTF the best .
     
  13. fly4x4

    fly4x4 Active Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    Saint Albans, WV
    Here is a couple pics of it rocking out on my VPI
     

    Attached Files:

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  14. VinylRob

    VinylRob Forum Resident

    I'm curious, did you use a USB scope and set SRA at 92°? All line contact stylus and most certainly the Lyra Delos are extremely sensitive to being spot on in this regard . The designer Jonathan Carr has set a rather narrow operational VTF for this cart to operate properly, so you need to follow directions on this as well. No wounder you remarked that even the slightest VTA setting created a change.

    Happy Listening!
     
  15. John Moschella

    John Moschella Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Christiansburg, VA
    Because Benz is basically out of business, I'm thinking about this cart as an eventual replacement for my Woodbody. Kind of in the same price range.
     
  16. moon unit

    moon unit Active Member

    Location:
    Detroit
    I just installed one on my friend's turntable and was shocked at how well it tested as far as crosstalk and channel balance go, easily the best readings I have seen. Super impressed by the build quality as well. I will definitely be switching to Lyra for my next cartridge.
     
    VinylRob likes this.
  17. conjotter

    conjotter Forum Resident

    How difficult was the Delos to properly install on the Classic 1?
     
  18. VinylRob

    VinylRob Forum Resident

    I'm on my forth Lyra over the years and find their build quality second to non. Especially when it comes to cantilever/stylus positional tolerance to the cart mounting surface which is critical for many who can not, or do not know to use a USB scope and properly dial SRA in to the critical 92° degrees for this Line Contact stylus. Jonathan Carr is truly a gifted designer and Yoshinori Mishima a gifted craftsmen and make this cart an absolute audiophile bargain.. Ortofon is the only other cartridge maker that I have experienced that holds such a consistent build quality throughout their product line. On Audiogon there is an extensive thread "New Lyra Delos Cartridge" started on 091121 which is very worth while reading. Jonathon joins the thread and is both open and very nuanced about his design practice and the Delos design, specifically answering inquiries from the members. Needless to say, what's paramount, I love the Lyra sound, as they work extremely well in my kit, and I will continue to reward their gifted insight and skillful quality with my hard earned dollars...
     
    Last edited: Jan 13, 2015
    moon unit likes this.
  19. patrickd

    patrickd Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Austin TX USA
    Does the Mint alignment tool have to be built specifically for your arm/cartridge combo or is it specific to the arm only? Can you say a little more about how different the results are between it and the VPI alignment jig? thanks
     
  20. VinylRob

    VinylRob Forum Resident

    Like anything that is extremely precise, it requires some effort to match that build quality with precision installation. The closer you are with a cartridge install, the better the sonic results in general. I will say with these carts though, that they are not tweaky, but there is no wiggle room in positioning. That said, they are designed and built to offer no unnecessary effort on the part of the installer and are very consistent and predictable in their results. When you reach their recommended positioning, it will be sonically obvious, and you will be rewarded for your efforts.

    What I will say about stylus/cantilever to cart mounting surface positional build tolerance is that I have experienced many cartridges for the same or greater dollars than Lyra (big names), that are impossible to set azimuth or SRA because they very so far from proper alignment position (these carts were sent back to manufacturer or dealer), AND I have never had a Lyra that was built to those standards of error and poor tolerance.

    Not a single one.
     
    Last edited: Jan 13, 2015
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  21. ggergm

    ggergm Forum Resident

    Location:
    Minnesota
    As a Delos owner for over a year now (here is my own, long journey with this cartridge, including sending it back to Japan for a rebuild), I've found VinylRob's description to be spot on.

    As I changed overhang, I could hear the differences between the different schemes. I ended up with Baerwald (aka LofgrenA). Stevenson or LofgrenB just didn't track as well.

    My Delos is on a Classic2 so I can adjust tonearm height on the fly and it's easy to hear if it's right with this cartridge. I don't want to oversell this, though. There have been plenty of nights with friends when we've been swept away by the music and tonearm height wasn't changed over the evening. Still, on other nights I've used my 'table's tonearm height adjustment as a focus control. Everything just snaps into place when it is set right.

    The most critical adjustment is tracking force. You have to nail 1.75 grams for the Delos to sound good. I've never figured out how tracking force gets out of adjustment, not just with the Classic but with any 'table I've owned, and fortunately by now it seems locked in for my set-up, but a few months ago I felt the sound wasn't right. It turned out somehow I was tracking too heavy. Resetting the tonearm back to 1.75 grams returned the sound to what it should be.

    Great cartridge. It's surprisingly durable. I was worried about owning it with the way the needle sticks out, unprotected, but that simply hasn't been an issue, even with my using a Discwasher SC-2 stylus cleaner on a consistent basis.

    The only problem with this cartridge? Now I really want to own a Kleos. :agree:
     
    Last edited: Jan 13, 2015
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  22. VinylRob

    VinylRob Forum Resident

    I could not agree more on the point of 1.75g absolutely required.

    I'm afraid, your problem is mine as well... Next up? Kleos stereo AND Kleos mono in this next year. It's great to have these kind of problems.

    Interesting tidbit: Jonathon recommends an incandescent light local to the TT as the Delos (like most other's suspensions) is very temperature sensitive, and prefers it a little warmer. But use OBVIOUS CAUTION in keeping the warm light source a safe distance from everything. Common sense needs to prevail. If you live in a climate anything like mine, this makes a big difference as my old 1926 home is a bit more than drafty and like most sensitive things, me, my cat Wheels, the girl friend, single malt scotch, and phono cartridges, EVERYTHING has a preferred temperature for happiness and maximum performance!

    Life is short, so little time, so many vinyls. Happy Listening!
     
    ggergm likes this.
  23. fly4x4

    fly4x4 Active Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    Saint Albans, WV
    I agree and I will be staying with Lyra from here on out for sure.

    It is a bit of a chore as this cart needs to be spot on or it just does not impress. The issue with the Classic or any other Uni-Pivot arm is any adjustment you make to one setting effects the other settings. This makes for some very time consuming tuning sessions but as others have mentioned here you will be greatly rewarded for your efforts when it comes to this combination.

    The Mint is by far the best alignment jig I have ever used to date and yes it is built specifically to your TT and tonearm. You can use it to mount any cart as the geometry that the protractor is set to is for the specs of the TT and arm. The issue I had with the factory Jig was it was to easy to be off and I could not get the Delos to sound good. Depending on where you lined up your head to sight down the jig would determine everything and there is no way to ensure your head is properly aligned to in turn ensure proper alignment. With the Mint you have 2 grids and inner and an outer to ensure uniform alignment as well as it being mirrored you are able to clearly see any paralax by seeing a double line reflected if your head is out of place. So once you have the cart fully aligned paralax free for both grids with the stylus tracing the line of the arc you have perfect alignment. The only left to do is double check you tracking force and then tune in your Azimuth then sit back and listen. I highly recommend a Fozgometer to dial in the azimuth as you can get it nearly perfect with this cart and once you do, you will have a holographic 3D soundstage well worth the cost of admission.

    I have found the same and have gotten into the routine to check my tracking force monthly. It seems to be effected most by changes of the seasons so I assume it is due to barometric changes or possibly humidity changes but either way when the weather changes so does the tracking force of this cart. I use the Sound Smith counter intuitive and have the different settings noted now for easy change back and forth which makes it a snap to adjust to keep it at the 1.75
     
    VinylRob likes this.
  24. moon unit

    moon unit Active Member

    Location:
    Detroit
    I eyeballed the cartridge mounting plate to be parallel with the platter and then set it up, assuming that it would need a slight adjustment in azimuth to get the crosstalk equal in both channels like most other cartridges. I then hooked up the Fozgometer and played the test record. Channel balance was absolutely perfect, the dial did not move at all and stayed below zero for the entire track. I initially thought something was wrong as the dial stayed exactly where it would be when the Fozgometer is off/not in use. Turned out nothing was wrong. I played the left channel and right channel azimuth tracks and they were perfectly even, and I mean perfectly. Unhooked the Fozgometer and I was done, didn't have to touch a thing.

    That is what I call a perfect cartridge!
     
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  25. fly4x4

    fly4x4 Active Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    Saint Albans, WV
    I agree and kudos to getting it perfect by eye. I have tried and can get it close but I always need to tweak it a bit. Must be that I am getting older now have to use bifocals to see anything. LOL
     

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