Brand new Lyra Delos - skewed cantilever


Hi everybody, first of all thanks for the very insightful tips I've been able to gather over years of thread reading.

Today I am finally starting my own thread to ask a question about a brand new Lyra Delos I received this week. This is my first ever cart over 1K and I was expecting something amazing.

Well, the sound is indeed amazing! Even though after 2h30 of cart usage I am still struggling to find some meat to the bones. Sound is VERY precise but I expect it to become even better as hours go by.

However, as soon as I started aligning the cart I found the cantilever went slightly to the left. I have asked my dealer about this and he said it was nothing to worry about but I was hoping to get somebody's opinion on the forum, maybe even Jonathan Carr's. I have included photos.

Thanks a lot for your help everyone!

Photo 1

Photo 2

Photo 3

Photo 4

Photo 5

anthos314

HI @anthos314 : Improper anti-skating is a very common cause of cantilever skewing, but your photos seem to show some skew without the cartridge being on an LP, also I wouldn't expect improper anti-skating to cause the suspension to develop an offset to either side after only 2.5 hours.

In any case, you are welcome to return your Delos to us (via the dealer that you purchased it from) so that we can see and correct what is causing the issue.

kind regards, jonathan

Dear Jonathan, 

Thanks a lot for your very quick reply. I will advise my dealer immediately and will return the cart to you. 

Hi again @anthos314: Prior to sending the cartridge, please include a short note in the box with both the serial number and the nature of the problem that you are experiencing. Knowing this will help us focus quickly on the potential problem areas.

You can also email me with the same information as above through Audiogon's message system, so that I can keep an eye out regarding the status of your Delos.

kind regards, jonathan

Did you set it up or dealer ? i have a Delos, looks nothing like that. Good call on sending back. Jonathan is great.

Best to you

Jim

Hi everyone sorry was at work all day. I set it up but saw that skewed cantilever right from the start.

 

Anyway thanks a lot everybody! 

I have got news from my dealer, the Lyra is on its way back to me after a short trip to Japan. From what Lyra told me it seems the screw at the front of the cart had been squeezed too tight, skewing the cantilever and causing distortion. Thank you Lyra, can't wait to do some serious vinyl rediscovering.

Hi everyone, it has been a very long while. My SME IV was serviced so I had to wait a few more months to finally experience the Lyra sound.

First of all I thank all of you for your help. My Lyra Delos is now singing beautifully, and I am amazed at the amount of details it draws from the grooves. I found the sound was a bit lean at first so I decided to set the load at 116 ohms rather than the recommended 130 to 260 ohms.

We'll see when it is totally burnt-in.

That is very un Lyra like and most definitely wrong. I would send those pictures to your dealer. It should be replaced. Unfortunately, you should have reported it before you mounted it. The tendency is going to be to blame you for Fing it up somehow. But, if the cantilever is not bent midshaft it is their problem. Get to it ASAP.

@mijostyn : please be aware that the issue has already been taken care of, that Lyra has finished servicing @anthos314 Delos and he has received his cartridge back.

Incidentally, the reason why this Delos had a skewed cantilever was not due to a manufacturing issue. Rather, somewhere between us (manufacturer) and anthos314 (customer), someone re-torqued the screw holding the front magnet carrier (which corresponds to the front yoke of a conventional MC). This twisted the front magnet carrier, which affected the alignment of the cantilever and its freedom of movement.

We know this because when we received the Delos, in addition to the front magnet carrier being at an angle (which anthos3147s photos show), its mounting screw had been tightened with far higher torque than our specifications allow.

As to how, when, where or who fiddled with the front magnet carrier, this could have been occurred in the process of a customs inspection, it could have been something else, we have no idea. All that we can say is what the evidence on the cartridge tells us happened to it.

@anthos314, if you can use a very low-capacitance tonearm cable (preferably short), you are likely to find that the sonically optimal load changes.

hth, jonathan

@jcarr , Thank you for responding. Serves me right for not reading the entire post.

You might want to use some Loctite on those screws:-)  I'm sure you have seen a bunch of odd things happen to your cartridges besides broken cantilevers. We'd love to hear the stories! 

Anyway, like I said before, "Very Un Lyra Like." I have never heard anything but great quality and service from Lyra. 

2 questions. What do you think of transimpedance phono stages and When will the Lyra Atlas Lambda SL be available again?

@mijostyn , Lyra cartridges are hand-made, and as humans we can't claim to be infallible - but when there is an issue that could have been caused by our manufacturing, we try to work together with the customer, our dealers and distributors so that the customer is satisfied.

Regarding the Atlas Lambda SL, our cartridge models (more so the Etna and Atlas) are generally manufactured according to incoming orders from dealers which are then conveyed to our distributors. Some experienced dealers are able to gauge demand ahead of time and can therefore deliver when the customer wants a product. Other dealers may be more cautious and not wish to place orders via our distributors until they are sure that they have a firm sale. The availability of a given model therefore depends on the situation.

Regarding transimpedance phono stages, I've used various types over the years. I recall all of them as sounding satisfactory.
OTOH, I cannot recall any of the transimpedance phono stages that I've heard as delivering a revelatory listening experience. (Caveat: it is entirely possible that some of the phono stages that have impressed me have had transimpedance input stages, but I wasn't aware of this.)

The situation with voltage-input phono stages has been the reverse. The phono stages that my ears have had an aversion to have primarily been voltage input, but the phono stages that I felt sounded markedly better than most have also been voltage input. (Caveat: that's with my ears, others may feel differently.)

One must accept that with semiconductor current-input, semiconductor voltage input, tube voltage input (I'm not aware of any tube-based current-input products), SUT input etc., there can be substantially different types of implementations.
Local NFB current input, global NFB current input, complementary input semiconductor, non-complementary input semiconductor (or tube), BJT voltage input, JFET voltage input, tube voltage input, SUT into MM stage with an input load capacitor, SUT into MM stage sans input load capacitor etc.
How the RIAA equalization is accomplished (one-stage active, two-stage active, passive-active, passive-passive, passive with inductors rather than resistors, having an active RIAA network shape both the open-loop and closed-loop response simultaneously) is another major variable, not only by itself, but because of how it interacts with the signal input approach.
Each implementation of signal input approach and RIAA equalization approach will have its unique issues and pitfalls.. that hopefully the circuit designer understands well enough to avoid, or at least mitigate.
Unfortunately adequately grasping the strengths and weaknesses of the various approaches and implementations is beyond most customers unless they have EE training. And even so, there are dedicated books on phono stage design that leave gaping areas unanswered.
Therefore I suggest that the most productive way is visit audio shows, dealers, and other audiophiles until you encounter a phono stage that you really like the sound of. Reviews and forum comments can be useful to form a candidate shortlist, but at the end, it is your ears that need to be satisfied.

hth, jonathan

Great thread!  

@anthos314 I have used three different Lyra's over the past several years. I started with a Delos, then an Atlas and now an Etna SL.  Haven't had the chance to listen to a lambda version in my system.  They all share a "house" sound and the Delos is an amazing cart.

I wanted to briefly address the issues that you and others with Lyra carts have brought up, the unique sound of their carts and the impression of being a little lean in sound.  While I don't disagree with adjusting your cartridge loading but this has a very subtle effect with my phono pre (PASS XP-27). I have found that I get a more full bodied sound without sacrificing the amazing top end clarity when I have the SRA/VTA optimized. My lyra is mounted on a Kuzma 4point 9. I use the Wally Reference tools to find the level at which the cart is parallel to the record and then a USB scope to adjust the SRA to 92 degrees. When you get the SRA close to 92 degrees, you can make further small adjustments by listening.  You will find the meat on the bone you are looking for.  

Enjoy.

 

Hi everyone,

thank you for all your very useful advice and info.

I am very happy with my Lyra, some surface noise which was present with my old Hana sl has disappeared and it is very nice!

However, something I did not expect: a couple of my records have a skip or a loop that was not there when I used to read them with the old cart. It happened this morning on one record I had never had problems with, so I took the antistatic brush and brushed the record again (my records are clean and stored in antistatic sleeves, but you never know) and everything was fine. So it seems the cart is very sensitive to dust in the grooves, even tiny particles.

I took two pictures of the stylus with my phone just to be sure it wasn't the stylus (it has 20 hours under its belt now).

 

Photos are nicely done but useless for evaluation of the stylus tip, nevertheless I’d suggest a cleaning.

@lewm , I just got a WallyScope and plan on publishing pictures of styluses once I get use to it. 

@jcarr , Thank You for your input. I have already ordered a Channel D Seta Plus which will provide both a voltage and current input. It is a very wide band version of the circuit used in the Lino C which got uniformly rave reviews. I ordered it with an RIAA board but I also have the option of using digital RIAA correction.  I plan on ordering an Atlas lambda SL shortly. Thank god you did not mount any diamonds on it :-)

OK now I don’t know what to do. Another record, another skip.

Now I’m afraid of listening to another record for fear of damaging it.

Is there any product I could use to completely clean this stylus?

I’m wondering if it is a problem with the stylus, my records or my setup. Arm is parallel to the record, antiskate is 1.75, VTF is also 1.75 and I have tried to set the tonearm and cart very precisely.

Maybe I should send the cart back to Japan for an inspection of the stylus? I am really confused.

All my records used to be fine before I had all those skips. Now I've got to replace 2 of them! 

@anthos314 , couple of things to consider, I am a Delos user for several years.

  • The LP may be damaged and the Delos is simply picking that up since it may be digging deeper than the previous cart was able to.
  • Make hyper sure that azimuth is as perfect as can be, the Delos will perform at a very high level once you achieve this, as well tracking will be positively affected. I use a FozMeter to do this, NEVER my ears as the adjustments are so minute you need to do it electrically.
  • Regarding loading, do what JCarr states and that is make sure you are using the lowest cap cable you can get so you can load higher at the phono stage. I went from night and day performance originally using a very high cap cable (550pf) and loading at 121ohms on my Musical Surroundings Nova II. The sound was fine, I honestly thought is was really good!. Then I read an amazing thread on WBA forum that JCarr contributed to and I purchased a phono cable with 70pf/mt and set loading at 475 ohms (per the Delos instructions) and holy smokes!!! The seas parted, my jaw dropped....more resolution than I could imagine and the dynamics were insane, still are. The low end shakes my bones.....
  • To extract the most from what the Delos can do requires patience and virtually perfect setup. The New Angle design means the top of the cart must be 100% parallel with the surface for magnet/coil alignment. If you do what Lyra suggests you will be rewarded with amazing reproduction.

Enjoy!

On what part of the record does the stylus skip? If it skips towards the lead out groove, then I would try a slightly higher anti skate ( this was happening on my Kleos on a few pressings, the fix was to increase very slightly the anti-skate). Remember, the Lyra’s do not track at a high VTF, as such they are probably a tad prone to anti skate issues.

BTW, just because the stylus skipped on the record does not mean it has damaged the groove, it is possible, but not always. You should listen again once the anti-skate is dialed in correctly.

I am sorry you are having so many issues that are no doubt diminishing your enjoyment of analog playback, but a record player should not have to be set up with NASA-level precision to perform reasonably well. Something is wrong and I suggest you call your dealer and have them straighten it out for you. Records should be playable with any in-the-ballpark turntable setup.

Thanks a lot everybody. It is true that kind of thing can make you wish you'd never chosen vinyl in the first place... 

The thing that bothers me is the needle. Either it is really small, or it is damaged (which would explain the skips). I'll try and look at it under a microscope at work. 

@chayro   You are not dealing with a set it and forget it type of product when you are getting into upper end analog. There are plenty of out of the box set it and forget it solutions in analog, but all of them are not designed for ultimate performance. The Lyra cartridges are all expected to be utilized on a higher performance platform, if one wants a simple and easy set up, there are any number of MM cartridges ( most with replaceable styluses) that are a lot more in line with your points. The OP decided he wanted a higher level of performance, and is now going to have to learn a little about set up requirements, or have his dealer set up the cartridge for him…in a more accurate manner.

@anthos314  Your stylus is a very small diamond which along with the cantilever tracks barely above the record surface! This is always a little odd looking at first, but the Lyra models exhibit this behavior…which is part of their design.Remember, you bought a Lyra as it is a high performance cartridge, as such it is not going to look or behave like a typical mass produced MM cartridge with a aluminum cantilever.

OP, It is a real shame the problems you have had with this cartridge. Nice that the manufacturer quickly stepped in.

But honestly, I do not like futzing with things like turntables and cartridges. This is why. My dealer loves turntables, and sets them up all the time. He is master certified in Linn and others I am sure. When I bought my last turntable we worked together to determine the sound I wanted and he assembled everything and installed at my home. He verified it sounded like it should. If it had not… he would have fixed it. He came over a couple months later to verify no adjustment was necessary.

While buying a DAC or other electronic (no mechanical components) is ok via the web (I still wouldn’t do it on a high end system). Unless you are a gifted person that loves to play with incredibly tight tolerances… then best left to people that do it all the time and are good at it.

Hi everyone, thank you for you comments and advice. I have taken the Lyra away from the turntable to have a look at the needle under a microscope. I also have a CBS STR100 record, I might use it to assess the state of the needle (if it looks fishy). After dropping the needle from the equation I'll turn to antiskate. 

It does to me too, was afraid it had been damaged. I'm now on my way to check antiskate. 

Yesterday I re-aligned the cartridge, tonearm was very very slightly off. I'll check with other records if the problem is still there but for the moment it reads the records beautifully.

I'll check with the problem records at the end. 

Tiny amounts of error in alignment are very unlikely to be audible, let alone the sole cause of gross misbehavior of the cartridge, e.g., skipping. I suppose gross over- or under-estimates of AS could do that, but the cruel fact is there is no absolute correct value for AS, because the skating force varies across the LP surface, from outer grooves to inner.  So most of us seek a happy medium that does not result in a deviated cantilever or "skipping" or other forms of misbehavior that we ascribe to the skating force issue.  It's not that hard to get there.  I take issue with what daveyf wrote in comparing MM cartridges to MC cartridges, implying that the latter require a rocket scientist for maintenance. The skating force will be related to VTF, stylus shape (as it affects the size of the contact patches), and the moment of inertia of the tonearm/cartridge assembly.  These all affect friction between stylus and groove, and friction does not know or care whether the cartridge is an MM, MC, or MI type, albeit we do find the more exotic stylus shapes on latter day MC or MI types, mostly.

So, all of this said, I am beginning to wonder whether there is an occult problem with the OP's tonearm related to bearing friction or the like.

Forgot to mention that I focused on friction, because friction is the root cause of skating, for the few who don't already know.

@lewm  when I am discussing the new Lyra cartridges with the new angle technology designs, set up is ultra critical. Get it even the slightest bit incorrect and the performance suffers. This really is not the case with the typical MM cartridge, which is perhaps where we would agree. I am not aware of any MM cartridge that employs the new angle technology…

Thanks a lot everyone for chiming in.

I reset tonearm angle (SME IV), made sure that the arm was parallel to the record surface, and the rest. I also reset azimuth which was a bit off, but that is the difficult thing with the SME.

No record has skipped since then, but I am going to go through my collection before trying the two faulty records again.

@lewm is correct. Any cartridge including the Lyra can be out a bit and most if not all of us would not notice it. I think the major determinant of how import proper set up is is the type of stylus. The effect of the set up being off would be loss of very high frequencies and smearing of the image. 

@anthos314, maybe it is just the records?

Mijo and davey, Just to be clear, I am not claiming that set-up is not important. I am just saying that the gross malfunctions experienced by the OP would usually not be due to small errors in geometry, regardless of the stylus shape.  Also, I forgot to mention groove tortuosity as another factor that affects the magnitude of the skating force, but that doesn't matter here.  I really think something is hanging up the tonearm, maybe the wiring, if not also a pivot bearing problem.  Sometimes these issues are easy to hear but hard to find.

@lewm : your message gave me an epiphany this morning and I checked the arm lift. It was set too high, so my raising the tonearm by one fraction of an inch the other day actually made things better because of that.

So I guess there is no mystery anymore!

However the two problematic records I have still skip, possibly because of a tiny groove wall rip which the hana sl could not go through (too big a needle).

I’d love to repair that but have no equipment. Shame though, everywhere else they’re fantastic records.

I am not sure I understand your hypothesis to explain the skipping of two LPs that apparently still exhibit skipping, but I am gratified to know you found a problem that certainly could cause skipping, and other unpleasant effects. If it makes you feel better that problem with the height of the queuing device is not uncommon. It occasionally happens to the best of us.

Hi @anthos314 : Thank you for your photos dated 06-21. In my opinion they show a worrisome level of dust; the heightened distribution of dust closer to the LP surface indicates that this dust comes from the LPs being played rather than a generally dusty environment.

If this is truly what your Delos looks like after a scant 20 hours, there is a chance that you may experience longer-term problems, including mistracking, shortened stylus life, and eventual constriction of the cantilever's motion as dust builds up inside the cartridge's inner workings (your photos show that dust is already accumulating inside the cantilever exit hole).

I therefore recommend that you strengthen your record cleaning regime, either with a liquid-based or ultrasonic record cleaning machine.

But the stylus should also be kept clean. Normally I would recommend a water-based stylus cleaner, but with the photographed level of dust deposition, there is a risk that water may cause some of the dust to solidify into a mud-like substance, which could be very challenging to remove without damaging the cantilever.

Regarding stylus cleaning in your particular circumstance, I therefore suggest dry-cleaning the front of the Delos' red magnet carrier and the rear section of the cantilever (close to the cantilever exit hole) gently with a small paint-brush with very soft bristles, trying to flick the dust away from the cantilever exit hole.
Once the red magnet carrier and rear section of the cantilever look clean, work your way forward on the cantilever until you reach the stylus (again dry cleaning only, very gentle motions with a small paint-brush that has very soft bristles).
Once the cantilever looks completely clean, only then would I suggest using a water-based stylus cleaner (such as Lyra SPT), but use it very sparingly so that only the stylus gets wet; try to avoid getting any liquid on the cantilever.

Unless something significant can be done about the dust deposition, you may find that your Delos needs a mid-life thorough cleaning. If it starts to sound like the performance is clearly "off", likewise for the tracking, send it back to us and we will do our best to restore it to proper working order.

If you suspect that something is not right, you could also email us updated photos of the front of the Delos (like your photos from 06-21) so that we can notify you if there are any warning signs.

kind regards, jonathan

Hi everyone, sorry for the delay but I was burglared so had to spend much time at the police station. Fortunately not much was stolen, even though they tore the cover for my Beatles in Mono box set, the b*st*rds!!! 

Thanks a lot for all your advice, I do not have an ultrasound RCM but will definitely be on the lookout for one.

I have used the soft brush provided with the old Hana SL and the stylus looks much better.