Lyra Delos - Dirt Build up on the cantilever


Hi folks, hoping that someone (Jonathan ? :-) may be able to shed some lights on my problem. I am a long time user of Lyra cartridges and love their sound. I bought my first Argo i back in 2008 from Acoustic Sounds. that cartridge has served me well to this date. Then on Oct 2014 I decided to buy the Delos since I read excellent reviews of it and its comparison to the Argo i. I bought my Delos from HiFi Heaven. for the first couple of years the sound was excellent and all that I expected. then around 3 mounters ago i noticed mistracking  on some of the records. I have to mention that with both the Argo i & the Delos I re-check the settings once a year (these cartridges are very sensitive to correct settings). Also its worth a mention that I am extremely finicky with cleanliness of my records, the treatable set up and care of the cartridges. I never play a side before throughly cleaning the record and alway clean the stylus with the SPT liquid and brush only.
Then around a month go one day the arm just slide right across the record.
I immediately contacted HiFi Heaven and they said that they are no longer a Lyra dealer and suggested i contact the distributor, Audioquest. I did this and they offered to send my cartridge back to Lyra for examination and review. This they did. In the meantime I put back my Argo i and started enjoying music again. before doing that I examined the stylus and cantilever of the Argoi by a X60 magnifying glass and everything was perfect. this cartridge is currently installed on my Clearaudio Performance turntable.

The yesterday I received the result of Lyra examining my Delos which was:
 "Lyra have informed us that this cartridge is not eligible for service under warranty. Due to a build up of dirt, the cantilever is unable to move. An attempt to repair this would result in damage to the cartridge"

......and here is my frustration and confusion.  I have no doubt that Lyra have done a through job in the examination of my cartridge. However, I know that it is impossible for the dirt build up to be caused by me and my use. The Argo i after 9 years of service in my system, playing my records and being cared for by myself at all times is still performing well and the stylus and the cantilever are shinny and clean.

The Delos has had the same treatment and been in the same system and played the same records for much lesser of time (less than 500 hours in under 3 years).

To be honest I feel like I am being accused of something that I have not done. How could I cause such a level of dirt build up to prevent the movement of the cantilever on one cartridge and not the other one.

Any thoughts on this or similar circumstances will be appreciated.
 
    
D5481169 bb28 4f16 8c34 eb454337b1ccmgolpoor
My thought is that the shape of the diamond is different on these 2 cartridges. Is it possible that record wearing from being cut by a different diamond caused tiny particles to clog up the hole the cantilever is poking out of? Do you use a long hair bristle brush? or a short hair dense brush? when you clean stylus. Also, I think always using a wet cleaning brush could cause the moist cantilever to attract dirt!

Matt M
Send the cartridge to Soundsmith and see if he can clean it.  It sounds as though you accuse yourself of the problem.   Stuff happens....I bet Soundsmith can take care of it.
Hi. Could you send me a message, with the serial number of the Delos? Once I know the serial number, I can look into our service records to find out more about what has happened.

The reply that you quoted doesn't sound like how we would normally respond in such situations. We usually perform cleaning, and adjustments to the cantilever or suspension without charge. And when correcting a problem requires a rebuild, we will communicate that and ask if the customer is willing to accept the rebuild cost (assuming that the customer has not already given permission for a rebuild if such is deemed necessary).

I will refrain from additional speculation until I get a chance to check our service records.

kind regards, jonathan carr
These types of end-user's issues plus seeing my friends Lyra is why I will not ever invest in a Lyra.
Thank you Jonathan, 
I replied to your email and provided you with the serial number of my Delos.

Appreciate the offer to look into this issue. 
Hope it works out - never had that happen before, but I have never owned Lyra.  Keep us in the loop.
I've known Jonathan for many years.  He's a wonderful man and will surely do what he can.  Lyra is one of the best companies that I have ever dealt with, so hopefully, your issue will be resolved.
An UPDATE: After providing Jonathan Carr of Lyra with the serial number of my Delos he took a couple of days and then wrote the most detailed emails explaining what has happened to my cartridge and why it was not possible to clean or re-build it. This was accompanied with several very large and detailed photographs that he had obtained from Lyra's service department. Jonathan was also working with Audioquest (Lyra's distributor in USA) to come up with an offer which would be satisfactory to me and my situation. I am extremely happy to say that within a very short period of time that offer was made and today I received my brand new Delos.
I can't praise Jonathan highly enough for his attitude and dedication to get to the bottom of the issue and very quickly proposing a solution together with Alasdair Patrick of Audioquest, their distributor.

In my particular case both Lyra & Audioquest went well over my expectations (and believe me my expectations are very high) to provide after sales care and service that was exemplary!  

Thank you guys I really appreciated all your efforts and help.

Glad to have the Delos back in my system! 
I’ve been in this business for a really long time. I want to reiterate how much I totally praise both Jonathan and Alasdair. Two of the finest gentlemen in this biz we call high-end audio.
Can you say what caused the build up and why can't clean it? I also have a delos and want to void what happened to your cartridge.
The reason why Mine could not be cleaned: 
"is that a build-up of dirt has effectively glued the cantilever of your Delos into the red magnet carrier, making it impossible for the cantilever to move. Attempting to extract the cantilever would almost certainly damage the cantilever, magnet carrier, or both."
......So be very gentle with the stylus & the Cantilever when cleaning.

Hope it does not happen to yours! 

J. Carr , I and I am sure all of us are glad to see you back!


Great news - J. Carr honorable and estemed businessman!
mgolpoor
The reason why Mine could not be cleaned:
"is that a build-up of dirt has effectively glued the cantilever of your Delos into the red magnet carrier, making it impossible for the cantilever to move. Attempting to extract the cantilever would almost certainly damage the cantilever, magnet carrier, or both."

I'm glad that this was resolved to your satisfaction. Can you please explain what cleaning protocol you used that resulted in this condition?

Hi Cleeds:

Well to this date we are not certain what would have caused this type of condition.

For what is worth I alway sweep the record with Audioquest Carbon record brush before playing (BTW the new one is outstanding totally eliminating static and releasing the dirt particles). I then only use the hard brush that is supplied with the Delos as well as a softer brush that I have from the time I had an Audio Technica. about every 5-6 sides I use the Lyra SPT cleaner with its own brush. Although I have always been very careful I am going to be even more conservative in the use of SPT liquid and try not to touch the Cantilever at all. I am not at all heavy handed with cleaning, in the past 8 years I have only purchased 2 buttons of SPT. As I said in my original post I also have an Argo i which is playing perfectly.

I know you were probably looking for definite answers but I don't have that, However, hope this helps and if anyone thinks I am doing things wrongly feel free to let me and everyone else know ! 
Hi Cleeds, Hi mgolpoor :);
mgolpoor's unfortunate and unusual issue, was caused not by a buildup of dirt on the stylus, but because the narrow space between the cantilever and the front magnet carrier (which needs to be free in order for the cantilever to move), became clogged up with some kind of hard, solidified substance.
While a photo of the stylus wouldn't show the problem, looking at the cantilever from the front (into the cartridge) would reveal that the cantilever was no longer capable of moving.
The rest of the Delos (including the washi dust cover, which tends to pick up discolorations fairly easily and is thus a credible guide to how much and how carefully a Lyra has been used) was fairly clean, which suggests that mgolpoor's cleaning regime is pretty good.
'Tis a mystery...
@jcarr thanks for the explanation!
@jcarr 
When I was a dealer in the 80's we used Garrott Bros for cartridge servicing & upgrades.

"Gumming up cantilevers" were sometimes caused by excessive use of products like "stylast". Also received feedback from John & Brian that they often found small fragments of carbon hairs from brushes. Presumably these carbon hairs can become brittle as they age.

More recently I saw a cartridge completely gummed up with dark grey green sludge. Working backwards we found that the owners records when cleaned were generating similar effluent of grey green sludge -  we think it was coming off a graphite mat shedding onto the record surface. The stylus was effectively collecting the sludge off the record, so much so it wicked up the cantilever into the guts.      

When I first dove into TT ownership 10 years ago, it was all so daunting but the local dealer "Pete" was a great guy (if a bit exhausted with running the shop, and all the changes occurring in the once popular 2ch hobby) -- a lifelong analog guru, and extremely knowledgable/helpful to me as a young but loyal customer.

I vividly remember him showing me to use a long-bristle brush to also brush all the way up the cantilever (not just on the stylus), to where it goes through the hole in the front plate. He specifically mentioned that he’d seen cases of dust accumulation there, over time, affecting the cantilever’s ability to move properly. I was surprised with how relatively forceful & fast his brush movement was (on an old cart he had lying around), and at the small puff cloud of dust clearing out.

I see guys post pictures all the time of their carts with a grungy beard of dust and filth on that front plate -- it makes me cringe a bit! And in most of their cases, I'm sure the rest of their vinyl/stylus cleaning regimen is impeccable.
Whst about those electronic cleaners would they be an alternative to prevent build up
As a Delos owner, I have only the highest of praise for Lyra and AQ. They serviced my Delos after I identified a possible issue and it was returned to me in better condition than new.
As long as I have a TT, I will use Lyra carts.......
Love my Delos and am not in the least surprised how well you were accommodated by Lyra. Class act!!! Lovely sounding carts.
I have high regard for Lyra cartridges having owned several over the years, and did use the Lyra liquid because Lyra provided it and obviously condoned its use. But, is it possible that in applying it, it migrated up the cantilever and dried, causing a build up?
Herr Fremer posted a pic of his Lyra - think it was an Atlas- several years ago, in a confessional that said, in effect, that having examined the cartridge under a digital microscope-(I think this is when Michael was fooling around with SRA settings using a digital microscope), his stylus, and as recall, cantilever, looked like it had been dunked in crystalized liquid that hardened. He didn’t expressly state that he used a liquid cleaner but did state that one should be careful in its application.

Here’s the piece: [url]https://www.analogplanet.com/content/dont-let-happen-you[/url]
My reaction at the time was that he was probably using a liquid cleaner, and it picked up little bits of lint, dust, stuff that is floating around in your room (and landing on your spinning record) that you ordinarily wouldn’t notice (take a small powerful flashlight and look at your turntable in a dark room and you’ll see what I mean).

I’m not saying you did anything wrong-- I avoid liquid stylus cleaners generally, dry brush after each side; occasionally a dunk in ME- even that makes me paranoid given the little loops in the melamine foam- and on the few occasions where my stylus got gunked from a cleaned record- I put a small amount of 99% alcohol on a stiff cleaning brush and was very careful. Clean records are essential, so it sounds like the OP is doing everything right. I am not currently a Lyra owner- been using Airtights, which gel well with my system, but have heard the Atlas in other people’s system and it is impressive.
I’m sure Jonathan will do what he can to help--he seems like one of the few designer/manufacturers that can participate in a forum discussion about questions or issues with his product without rancor or self-promotion.