Lyra Delos Cartridge - Underrated?


I have wanted to buy a destination cartridge for a couple of years now and in this time. In this time I have used 3 cartridges and have research to the point of "paralysis through analysis" and I was almost afraid to buy. What if I spend $2k and don't love what I bought?  Basically my system consists of:

B&W 803S
Musical Fidelity M6prx Amp
ARC LS-27 Pre
ARC PH-8 Phono Pre
Music Hall mmf 9.1 TT
Kimber KCAG Interconnects
AQ Niagara Interconnects
AQ Pikes Peak Biwire
PS Audio power conditioning
Previous Carts:
Denon DL103R modded by Paradox Pulse
Dynavector DV20x2H with Sound Smith ruby cantilever
Lyra Dorian.

I loved the sound of the Denon Cart but I anted more detail and openness. I tried the Dorian and really liked the detail but I missed the warmth and boogie factor of the Denon. I then used the Dynavector and man this very nice but there was a certain darkness or congestion. All three of these carts had strengths and my hope was to get these strengths rolled up into 1 cart.

Enter the Lyra Delos. I have a Dr. Feickert protractor and I am anal about cart set up but for the Delos, I decided to have it professionally set up by Jon at Ultrafi in Milwaukee, WI. where I bought the cart. The reviews that I have read really hammered home how important set up is and Jon at Ultrafi is the guru in my area. I took my turntable to Jon and he set up the cart and I brought it back home last Saturday.

I was expecting the typical break-in period but I was happily amazed at how good the cart sounded with only a few hours on it. This thing is everything I hoped for and more. I cannot find any weakness to this cart and I am happy to say that there is not one standout strength. To me, this is great praise for a cart as it means everything is good. The Delos simply blows away my last carts and I am surprised at how much more I like than I had thought. 58db gain, loaded at 500 and it sings. I won't go into the babble but I can tell you that when I listen now... it is to the music and not to the system. Everything sounds so good now that I am happy and just want to hear music without any thought to what is missing or emphasized.

I am now wondering the following things. Are less than glowing reviews for the Delos due to people not getting these things properly set up or not having a phono pre not up to the task? Are professional reviews influenced by the fact that the Delos is the LEAST expensive cart Lyra makes? If a Delos is "class A" what do they do with a Atlas or Etna?

I would like to hear any opinions if they are out there regarding the Delos from owners that hile or hate them. I know that this is not a new cart but I love it and I cannot recommend Jon and Ultrafi enough. Don't buy a Delos on-line. Get it from the best source and get it professionally set up.

 

pilrem
Lyras are all nice cartridges - (my fav is the Etna) - as for setup, I don’t trust anyone to set up MY turntable. It takes lots of time to do it properly and carefully.....it will take weeks later to check again and see if it has changed.
The Delos is a ripper of a cartridge.   I own the Delos and Atlas.
stringreen

When you check again later are you just checking VTF? What else can change?

I've owned a number of Lyra cartridges, including the Delos and the Kleos. I'm not sure why I keep buying them because I really don't like them. I generally find the Lyras very fast, but lean and with a hot treble. The Delos and Kleos were no exceptions to this. (I actually thought the Delos was better than the Kleos, the latter being strangely bland. At least the Delos had some character.)

I  understand why people like Lyra cartridges, and there is certainly nothing wrong with this. Personally, I prefer a fuller, richer sound with less treble emphasis, such as the Benz Micro cartridges. I am currently using a VDH Black Beauty which has the speed of the Lyras but with some of the warmth of a Benz and a more balanced sound.

Currently on my third Lyra - this time an Etna. Very realistic indeed. Fast and - to me - a controlled treble and is exceptional on percussion (you can hear the tuning of the drum skins).
I had a Micro Benz - nice cartridge on classical, but I find the Etna a bit more fulfilling as an all-rounder, but it's down to taste at this price bracket.
  Like rossb, I found the Delos fast and lean.  When I first got it I loved it because I wanted extended highs.  But when using my Ayre K-1xe there was a little too much top end, not much at the bottom. Plus it lets one know of any dirt and tiny defects on my vinyl.  Switched out the Ayre with a Modwright LS-100 and that helped some.  Recently bought an Audio Technica AT33Sa and have been happy with this.  No vinyl ticks, just great sound across the board.  Sold the Delos.
It is all relative.   If your system leans towards lean/bright - the Lyra will sound bright.
  Personally I find Benz and the lower level Koetsu coloured, almost like syrup.

 I also prefer the Delos to the Kleos. Almost as if J Carr has tried to make a less neutral revealing cartridge. 
I have a tube phono pre and pre with a solid state amp. I have always liked that combination... I cannot attest to how a Delos would work in a all solid state system. I have never heard an all solid state system that I can listen to long term.
Regarding dirt and defects on a record, I have had the opposite experience. The Lyra Delos is extremely quiet in the groove and ticks and pops that would have been up front with my previous carts are now minimized into the background. I think that this is one of its strengths. Perhaps it is not so much the cart but the ARC LS-27 and PH-8 combo that is doing the job. Perhaps using sub a $3k phono preamp or anything solid state is causing the groove noise and glare? I know that when I had a Project Phono Box RS it was good but always too bright and etched no matter what carts, setup or tweaks I threw at it.
Right now I still have and using the old out of production Lyra Argo. It's very detailed, clean, clear, good soundstage, and great separations. This cartridge sound so much better compare to some of those that cost 3 times as much. I am now planning on upgrading to the either the Delos or the Koetsu Roswood Signature but I think I will end up withtheDelos.
Had all Lyras.... the Delos has the best overall tonal balance.
It has a wrong calculation ....  done right by accident.
Delos is a fantastic cartridge and a great tracker.
(Never posted here, but have a little input...)
Replaced my Lyra Argo (i) with the Lyra Delos ~1.5 yrs ago.
(Scheu Premier MK II, Morch UP-4 (Yellow), CODA FET 03P)
Great deal with the Lyra trade-in (via Needle Doctor) at the time; not sure what the latest deal is.
I really liked the Argo (i), as I had it for 9+ yrs and probably >2500 hrs., and going strong, which greatly influenced my decision to stick with Lyra.  Argo (i) was detailed (never struck me as strident; replaced an Ortofon Kontrapunkt A), great tracker, quiet; Delos is also fuller, great clarity, low end is improved.  And I like the looks (esp. with a Reprise Gold Label LP on...)
Lots of good cartridges out there, I'm sure, but I'm very satisfied with the Delos for the money.  I would certainly have paid full $ knowing what I know now...
I've owned my Delos for 4 years now.  It replaced a Benz Glider, which was another great cart.   I've been very pleased with its performance and quality.  My C-J EF1 phono stage has a limited amount of gain and loading, and the Delos works well within its output.  Something to consider during a purchase. The Delos was also within my 'target' price range.  I believe that you don't necessarily have to purchase the top of the line within a particular brand name.  The best technology of a brand trickles down into the lower end of that brand.  I believe this to be the case with the Delos cart.  It was no more difficult to set up than other nude cartridges, but be careful you don't clip the Boron cantilever off! 
I also have a glider which is a very good cartridge.  May be the one of the best Benz cartridges.
I too, just replaced my Lyra Argo to the Delos. When I get done setting it up, I'll post back here.
I owned a Delos with a VPI Aries, and it was a fantastic combination. I liked it so much, I decided to upgrade to a Kleos (got a great deal on a very lightly used one right here on Audiogon). While I like the Kleos (rich mids), I think the Delos had a little more punch to it. If I had to do it again, I'd probably stick with the Delos.
Ortofon 2M Black
Ortofon Quintet Black S
Audio Technica AT-OC9 II/III

Are all better IMO.