Cartridges: Kuzma CAR or Lyra on a 4-Point (11") arm


Hi there,
I have a Kuzma Stabi-M and 4-Point (11") first generation arm, and a CAR-40.
Used to own a Lyra Delos before upgrading to the CAR, and found that the CAR-40 has a more "grounded sound" while Lyra has a more "nimble & lithe" sound.  The CAR is a sturdier cartridge, as the Delos suspension did not last as long.  The Delos is still sitting in a drawer.

Looking to upgrade my 7 year old CAR-40 now.  New cartridge will be fitted on the said arm and turntable.
Considering CAR-50 and Lyra Etna Lambda.

What are your views and comments?  Thank you for your advice.

hamburger
Isn't there a very large price difference between the two??
$8,900 for the Lyra and $6,100 for the Kuzma
If you can wait for a week or so I am about to mount a CAR50 on the latest version of the Kuzma 4Point. The arm currently has a van den hul Colibri on it, and I have heard the CAR40 on it previously, which I thought was good value for money. I will let you know if the thread is still running.
I've had the CAR 40 and Lyra Etna on my 4 Point. I sold both and now have a DV XV-1S which I prefer to either.
Hi dover,
I will be looking forward to your CAR-50 comments! ;-)

Hi rossb,
That's an interesting choice. What is it that you prefer the Dynavector?  Just to get a rough idea.

Thanks
I found the Lyra nice but a bit too lean slightly soft. Other Lyras such as the Delos or Kleos are more dynamic but even leaner. The CAR 40 was good but a little dull.
The Dynavector is full sounding, very dynamic, tonally rich - for my tastes I cannot fault it. It is really the first cartridge I have tried that ticks all the boxes and has no downsides.

For reference, I have also had a Benz LPS, Phasemation PP2000,  Transfiguration, VDH Colibri and Black Beauty and a few others which slip my memory. All had something to offer, and some I really loved (such as the VDH Black Beauty), but the XV-1S is as close to perfect as I have heard. That is for my tastes, of course, and yours may be completely different.
@rossb
Thats great info - comparing the Phasemation/Colibri/Dynavector XV, which is the most revolving ? I’ve listened to the Colibri a lot, with multiple arms, but not the others.
@rossb 


I found the Lyra nice but a bit too lean slightly soft. Other Lyras such as the Delos or Kleos are more dynamic but even leaner.
I understand this because I felt so, too.
The CAR 40 was good but a little dull.
That's why I wonder if moving up to the CAR 50 could produce a more "lively" presentation. The CAR 40 is a bit "matter of fact" to me.

The Dynavector is full sounding, very dynamic, tonally rich - for my tastes I cannot fault it.
Yup, definitely the 3 qualities high up on my list. Will check out the Dynavector too.
The other cartridges that you mentioned, only the PP-2000 interested me. I want something that is modern and reliable for the long haul.

 

All three cartridges are resolving, and (from memory) I doubt any of them were obscuring detail. But then I am less interested in tiny details than in dynamics and tonality. The Phasemation errs on the warmer and more forgiving side but gives up some dynamics; the Colibri is dryer, faster and leaner; while the DV walks the fine balance between detail, dynamics and tone. If you're looking purely for a forensic examination of what's on your records, I would probably put the Colibri first, then the DV second and the Phasemation after that. But if you're looking for a more balanced presentation the DV has the perfect balance (for me) of tone, detail and dynamics.
@hamburger 
I can confirm I will be installing the CAR50 on the latest Kuzma 4Point early next week - will be able to let you know how that compares to the CAR40 & VDH Colibri. 
Thanks to everyone for helping me to clarify my own thoughts. At this stage, I will most probably continue heading down the Kuzma path than toward the Lyra path. However, saying that, I would like to check out the Dynavector too...

I have heard Benz Micro LPS and VDH before, but I also heard reliability issues about both. Well, it's hearsay, but I'd rather put my money on "reliability" and enjoy the music. That was what I meant by "wanting something modern and reliable for the long haul".

@dover  I will be looking forward to hearing your comments.

Thank you.
Hi @hamburger : Most likely the Delos suspension is still intact, but has stretched a bit and needs a readjustment to bring the ride height back to what it should be.

If you would like us to take a look at your Delos and readjust it if necessary, please return it to us (Lyra) via the dealer that you purchased it from. As long as there is no physical damage requiring component replacements or other serious issues, chances are that we will be able to perform the work gratis.

FWIW, a major cause of stretched suspensions is a tonearm lift that lowers the cartridge onto the LP too quickly - the repeated impacts over time will take a toll on the suspension wire and dampers, which will gradually degrade the cartridge performance. If there is a way to slow down the descent rate of the tonearm lift, all of your cartridges will likely thank you for it.

kind regards, jcarr
The 4 Point is too heavy for the Lyra. The Ortofon Anna and any of the stone bodied Koetsu's. The Dynavector XV 1s would also be a great match. I have to hear one of those one day. People do love them. I you want to run a Lyra the 4 Point 9 is the way to go.
Sorry about my typing. Both wrists are in splints. Don't ask.
I wouldn't sell the EMT line short. I admit only having a Tsd-75, which retails down near $2K US... But it's performance on my Kuzma Ref 2/Ref 313 VTA is quite satisfying. I'm not suggesting there are any free rides here, but the upper tier EMT carts could be worth adding to your "should check out" list. 
Looking forward to the comparison. I am running a 4P with the CAR 50 on the Ref 2, but have not had the urge to try a different cartridge on that arm yet. 
I think the Lyra cartridges get a very bum rap with the folks who are saying they are lean...YES they are lean..IF they are not set up and loaded correctly! ( incorrect set up and loading is how a lot of folks have heard them...and jumped to their conclusion) Otherwise, that is not the case. The new angle technology seems to be highly sensitive to very accurate set up, get it wrong...or get the load incorrect- and all the naysayers are going to have a point. Get it right, and the ’leanness’ goes away and the cartridge is highly resolving across the entire frequency spectrum, IME.
I had a CAR50 on a 4P Ref2 and it didn’t do anything for me. Extremely well built cartridge with the utmost in clarity, quiet in the groove, but I felt it was boring. 
I'm surprised people don't talk more about Clearaudio cartridges. They really are quite excellent.
Thank you all for the comments, and especially to @jcarr  for the explanation on how the Lyra could have been damaged.  Much appreciated!
@hamburger
Hi,
Have installed CAR50 Kuzma 4Ppoint on the Kuzma 4Point, and can report back.
Previous cartridge on arm was the Van Den Hul Colibri Black Grenadine.
To give you some background I have set up the Colibri in 3 tonearms in the same system - Morch DP8, Helius Omega & lastly the Kuzma.
On the DP8 the Colibri was very quick, agile relatively neutral. On the Helius the Colibri was quite different, midrange much more expansive, more body. The Helius is very low mass. Finally on the Kuzma, very fast and dynamic, the best overall in terms of speed, coherency and transparency.
So then a few weeks ago tried the CAR40 on the Kuzma. Whislt not in the league of the Colibri, thought it offered good performance for the money ( Colibri twice the price ).
Based on that strong showing the owner purchased the CAR50.

Installed the CAR50 a day or so ago and have done about 5 hours on it.
From the getgo the CAR50 on the Kuzma presented an expansive sound, very tight punchy bottom end. The CAR50 offers considerably more transparency and performance over the CAR40, it really is a big jump in performance. Compared to the Colibri swings and roundabouts. The presentation is quite different - the Colbri fast and agile, the CAR50 presenting a more majestorial sound - bit like a Benley Turbo vs a Ferrari.

To give you an idea, listening to Ry Cooder on slide guitar with the Colibri you get speed, coherency, superb rendition of the acoustical space. With the Kuzma CAR50 you get speed, coherency, but the emphasis is more on the body of the instrument - what stood out was that as the notes went up and down the scale, you could more easily hear the body of the guitar across the full range. What impressed me was that the CAR50 presents the full frequency cut from one cloth. On music I know the CAR50 presented very similar sonic signature to my reference Dynavector Nova 13D.

Looking back at your original post, you commented that the CAR40 was more grounded than the Lyra, which you describe as lither, more nimble.

What I can say is that the CAR50 is a massive step up from the 40, still has that grounded quality. What impressed me was that the CAR50 presents the full frequency cut from one cloth. The speed and transparency is up there with the Colibri. The owner of the 2 cartridges is going to run the CAR50 and keep the Colibri as a back up. To be fair the CAR50 is probably a better match for the arm, but that the CAR50 is at the level of the Colibri, to me suggests it is doing the business.

I suspect if anyone found the CAR50 "boring" it either doesn’t match their system or they prefer more emphasis on "hifi" type presentation of music. I wouldn't describe the CAR50 as "polite", a better description in my view would be that it is very even handed.

Hope this helps. Let me know if you need any more info.

@dover
Thank you for reporting back and your detailed comparison has been very helpful.
- bit like a Benley Turbo vs a Ferrari.
That sort of nail it on what I want. If I had just compared a Lyra to CAR50 as titled, I would have said the Lyra is a Ferrari. I do not have any experience on the VDH Colibri. The Bentley is more my type of car than a Ferrari, as I am no more a spring chicken. And in that same sense, the sound I am seeking is a more "matured evenness" rather than focusing on "fast and dynamic".  And yes, the word "majestic" that you wrote also sort of captured the essence.

On music I know the CAR50 presented very similar sonic signature to my reference Dynavector Nova 13D.
Interesting that you mentioned the similarity with Dynavector. As far as I know, Kuzma, Dynavector and Lyra are all made in Japan. I guess my ears are unknowingly "tuned" toward this group of cartridges. Unfortunately the Kuzma arm is too heavy for Lyra, but I really appreciate J.Carr for responding to this thread.

What I can say is that the CAR50 is a massive step up from the 40, still has that grounded quality.
I seriously hope for the massive step up, as the price difference is massive too. ;p

Well, I think this conversation thread sort of confirmed the direction that I am heading. Hope I settle my purchase decision at the latter part of this year. 
  Cheers!

“I suspect if anyone found the CAR50 "boring" it either doesn’t match their system or they prefer more emphasis on hifi type presentation of music.“

I’m a fan of Kuzma but it was boring to me. I thought the Air Tight PC7 at less than 50% the cost was better. I assume since my analog rig was all Kuzma and my phono pre had many loading options this was not a matching issue. Definitely consider my preference to be strongly anti HiFi. 
@vortrex 
I have heard the Air Tight PC7 on a very good front end - $60k worth - muddled in the mids. CAR50 in my experience far more resolution, more coherent. Can only assume it didn't match your system. 
Or the PC7 didn’t match the $60k system? Sounds like that’s the case since the PC7 was muddled sounding. I don’t think the CAR50 sounded bad, it actually sounded great, just boring and not engaging for me. There’s nothing that was “wrong”.