High End cartridges and the built quality

I had some cartridges in the past with some quality failure. Only one, an EMT was perfectly built.

Here some pictures of Lyra Skala and Kleos cantilivers/diamonds:






I think in this price range not acceptable.

I know a Dynavector Xv-1s with the same problems.
28b69eae 808e 4ce4 a3ad 94fad30f474bninetynine
I got 99 problems but a high end cartridge ain't one.
Big up JZ! ;^)
And you wonder why different people have different opinions about the same cartridge! Now ya know!
The discriminated Audiophile is born to suffer ...
What camera are you using?
I have always suspected that the sample to sample difference between cartridges of the exact same brand and model can be about as large as the difference between one of those samples and that of an entirely different brand and model, given both are similar in electrical parameters and stylus shape.

Someone ask me about how i made this pictures.
I use a Dino-Lite AM-4815ZT. The pictures with the crosshair are made on a CNC milling machine with optical lense.

Pictures with this quality are possible:


Back to the problem with the cantiliver/diamond allignment.
I also had two Audio Technica cartridges which had a azimutfailure of 2°.
I wrote it, a Dino-Lite AM-4815ZT.

I was very dissapointed about the fact, that i have a 3000€ cartridge with a 4-5° twisted diamond.
What is the sense about exact adjustment with such a diamond?

(sorry about the english, i am german)
Yes, at these prices there is no excuse, except audiophile tolerance.

I have seen many microscopic pictures of Peter Ledermann's work at Soundsmith and they look a great deal more precise than the ones you show.
I had to exchange an Ortofon Windfield because the cartridge was wired wrong internally (left to right, v/v) and if that was the case, what else could I expect. Back it went and am now happy with my new one.
For reasons that probably would not stand up in court, I have the impression that Ortofon, at least in their higher end offerings, maintains better quality control than most, despite Stringreen's justifiable lament.
I had a pair of new Dynavector 17D3s fail due to quality issues. One was a cracked cantilever and the other was a failed internal wire at the contact pin. That failure wasn't isolated until the cartridge was one month out of the warranty period. Delicate electronics can fail, and DV understands that. They were very, very good about both issues. They offered full replacement or credit toward another model. Went with an XX2 Mk II and am thrilled with it. Major kudos to Mike Pranka at TOFFCO (the US distributor).

Lyra should be just as supportive as long as you purchased through an authorized retailer. Most high-end makers stand behind their products, so you should ask.

Good luck & happy listening!
99- The picture quality is quite amazing, the quality control not so much. These are very delicate items, but the failure of QC to detect these problems is very disappointing.
No problem Melm, ich do not earn my money with these pictures.
All producers get those cantilever/styli combo's from their
suppliers. This means that quolity controll is questionable
on both sides.
Good work bringing this isue up, 99. Lets hope that the manufactures are seeing this too and make a better quality control.
Clearaudio offers inspection and measurement of most cartridges. I do hovever not know the price for this service.
Next time i buy a highend cartridge i will make some pictures and control the quality more precisely.
Wow, is all I can say.

Back in the day we would have never known. These tools in the hands of consumers are going to mandate a change from manufacturers.

Melm was saying that Peter Ledermann's styli work are a great deal more precise than what you showed of Lyra styli, not that his pictures are better than your photography.

Thank you for the "heads up."
Those are some great pictures.
We all strive and look for perfection in not only what we do but also in what we buy. But nothing is perfect. I'm not saying the pictures of the styli orientations are acceptable. But I do wonder just what is 'acceptable'?
What are the tolerances allowed. Is it + or - 1 degree? Perhaps it is 5 degrees? I don't know. I'm someone with knowledge in this regard can clarify this a bit.
Sorry for the typo

My last statement should have read I'm hoping someone with knowledge in this regards can clarify this a bit
These photo's while great are magnified 220x. So how much are they off really? You take anything and magnifie it that many times, you will never have perfection at any price. I am pretty sure the diamond is set by hand. I would be interested in seeing the same photo of a Lyra atlas. Then make a comparison. Has the cartridge been set up properly? Is there a issue with sound quality that can be pinpointed at the cartridge being the cause? Or did you inspect first then voice your disappointment? Some time we know to much and it clouds our thought process. I'm just saying.... ✌️
Not surprising, but disappointing. I see all manner of cartridges in the alignment service I perform, and although one would expect more expensive ones to be built more carefully, which they often are, there is no assurance. A while ago I encountered an EMT cartridge which the manufacturer eventually admitted had a defective stylus, and to their credit they took care of the problem, although it took months to do. More recently I encountered a cartridge costing a few thousand dollars with 6dB of channel imbalance, finally described as a 'manufacturing error' (why didn't they catch it?) and another sent after being examined by the head of the company, albeit nearly two months later.

Cartridge manufacturers must inspect every cartridge they ship, but it's also incumbent upon the dealer to install and check each one sold in the customer's system as a crucial part of earning his commission, and customers should expect such service at no additional charge.
What Whatthe said.
How do we know that any styli magnified to that degree will look much the same, or not.
The magnification used to make the measurement and take the photo does not affect the extent that the diamonds are not "plumb and square". The only thing the microscopy does is allow the user to see and measure the degree (pun intended) to which the stylus is "out of spec". With respect to a line contact or micro-ridge or other exotic stylus shapes, where the contact patch is so small, a 4 or 5 degree error is, IMO, substantial.
Whatthe, you have it backwards. Cartridges are assembled under very powerful microscopes, with far higher magnification than that shown in these photos. The higher magnification should make more accurate stylus alignment not just possible, but easier and more consistent.
Thank you Cantgetnosat for the information about Melm!
I understood it wrong.
Hi Whatthe,

i had problems with the Kleos, because it tracks only 40-50my lateral and playing loud sibilants.

So my dealer send it in the warranty time to Japan and after it tracks about 70-80my. Certainly the compliance was to high for my 12" Reed 3P.

At this time i got a Skala from a friend and looked it under the microscope, because he had problems with it. After i saw the crooked diamond i had a look at my Kleos and was horrified.

I wrote an email to my dealer and Lyra Japan, but got no answer of both.

The problem is that the diamond is glued askew on the small plate you can see here
Apparently Lyra does not look at the diamond when building it.

Now i have a perfect built EMT JSD 6. All is perfectly aligned.

I think every manufacturer of those highend cartridges has to make a measurement report for it like EMT.
I do not want to make Lyra bad. The have very well produced cartridges. See here

Thanks for the info 99, it is disturbing to me. To Markpao and Whatthe's point, how much do we really know about anything unless it is magnified? And how much do we want to know? I now feel like I have been lucky with my 2 cartridges since both play with no "known or detected errors."

I know cart are built by hand by craftsmen and as such there has to be a margin of error. But once complete how does he/she inspect and determine that it is ready for consumer use and enjoyment?

I am in the market for a cart and it is already a daunting decision because of the numerous options, things like this give me great pause....

To the cartridge designers and builders I say "Come On Man!"
I think it is not so difficult to align a diamond within 1 degree. The problem is, nobody of us users was interested in this case and we have payed the money. I earn my money with milling miniature pieces for aeronautic. If i have such tolerances, i really would have a problem.
M = hight of gravitational center
Y = quasi static lateral force
? I am just asking ✌️
Very interesting thread. I recall meeting Dr Feickert and he told me that Ortofon are in fact the most consistent cartridge - perhaps due to the fact they are one of the bigger manufacturers.
Whatthe, what do you mean with this question?
Parrotbee, i know Chris Feickert very good. The programm i measured the azimut is from him. I know he selected the good Ortofon´s and send the bad back. He is a very pleasant man and i am very pleased with a Blackbird.
Is there a photo of the perfect EMT cartridge? not just from the side, but from the Lyra's.

very good photo of Atlas stlys in WBF

Hi Downunder,

i have made only one picture. I had alligned the headshell with a pencil lead to adjust the VTA and verified the SRA with the microscope.


If you don`t trust my words, i can make some pictures of the EMT.

On the second picture of you link, you can see the diamond is a bit twisted in azimut, but it is absolut acceptable.

The important picture frontal to the diamond he doesn`t make.
Not being funny but if you are unhappy why not send it to John Carr. He's a good guy and will not want an unhappy customer, and as a matter of pride I'm sure he will rectify the problem
"Tracks only 40-50my"? M= ? Y=? Never saw this before so I did some research (I googled). Well? Is this good or bad. Please enlighten me. Inquiring minds wish to know.
I just saying ✌️
After the first repair the warranty was expired and i contacted my dealer and Lyra Japan. I got no answer to this problem from both.

I hope mr. Carr is reading here and he reconsiders the quality management.
Hi Whatthe,

i talk about the tracking ability of the groove in µm.
A time ago Lyra talks about min. 60µm
Today i do not find this secification on their internetside anymore.

The tracking ability is declared in horizontal and vertical direction.