Lyra Delos or Helicon versus Soundsmith Zephyr

My vinyl front end starts with the Soundsmith Zephyr, VPI Classic TT, ARC PH-8 phono pre (58db)and ARC Ref 5 SE linestage (12db). I was thinking about changing out the Zephyr just to mix it up a bit. Anyone have a chance to compare the either of the Lyra carties with the Zephyr? Would appreciate any comments or advice. Thanks
Lyra are a perfect example of moving coils benefits, fast,detailed and expansive soundstage, vpi zephyr specially new one mark II are a match made in heaven for vpi tonearms, they are more musical and as fast as lyra, in a long term soundsmith will a better choice.
I have your system too which is:
Arc ref 150 amp, arc ref5se, ph8, vpi classic 3 with 3d tonearm, vpi stands, meridian 808, transparent reference xl cables, martin logan clx loudspeakers, ml depth subs
Dear Byfwynne: You own the Kleos that's better than the Delos or Helikon. I can't see which your point here: " just to mix ? "

Well, try to find out the Linn Akiva ( designed by Lyra for Linn. ) and I can tell you that this is a truly great mix.

Regards and enjoy the music,
I have both the Lyra Delos and SS Aida. I would recommend going with the Lyra. The Lyra is warm, detailed and exhibits very good retrieval of low level details. SS Aida is very analytical detailed and has poor low level details. The best way to explain would be to to say SS sounds like good digital source. I have owned or tried a range of SS cartridges. Barring the SS modified Denon 103s, all other SS cartridges have the same house sound, that is like a very good digital source. Some may like the sound, after all digital has a lot of fans, it's up to you to decide. I however recommend going used because the new ones are no where worth the current prices (almost doubled in last 2 years), you can do better for the money.

Svenjosh - I find your comments about Soundsmith carts being "like a good digital source" to be 180 degrees off target - no offense intended. I have used the SS Zephyr and am currently using the SS Ebony Voice and found both to be delightfully musical, engaging, detailed, and ( dare I say) smooth. In direct comparison on a VPI table/arm, the Zephyr is far more involving and musical than the Lyra Delos and has more weight in the lower mids and better channel separation as well. As good as the Delos is ( and it is a very good cartridge), in the setup the OP uses, the Zephyr is going to be sonically superior. I would advise the OP to go for the Voice from SS if he wants to make a significant upgrade to his vinyl playback.
Jwpstayman no offense taken.

I do not have a VPI turntable, but have 3 tables in different rooms. I remain firm that SS cartridges have a Digital sound. The opinion is not mine alone, several friends who are critical listeners concluded the same. There is nothing wrong with liking digital sound. I am pretty sure you like that kind of a sound, hence your preference for SS, as I said nothing wrong with preferences. But I would advise the OP to carefully listen before buying. He already has SS so unless he tries something different he will not know the difference and what he is missing.

No one says it loud but this is what forums are for, SS cartridges sound good but are not accurate, they have a house sound and do sound different that I cannot put my finger on.

Happy listening,
I moved from the Zephyr to a Kleos about a month ago.
I was happy very happy with the Zephyr. My perception of modern hi-fi is that it too often sacrifices the pleasure of listing to music for the clarity of analyzing the quality of recordings. The Zephyr was a pleasure. It soothed the system's high-end edginess that I had never been able to tame.
But I'm an addict. If a $1K cartridge is good then a $3K cartridge must be better.
The Kleos is better at the "hi-fi" stuff: better definition, better clarity, etc. But the edginess has returned and the musical magic is gone.
I'm going to let the Kleos break-in for longer before deciding what to do.
Happy to revive this thread...

I have a VPI Super Scoutmaster and have had a Lyra (Argo) and a Soundsmith Aida, among others (Clearaudio, Benz-Micro) I find the SoundSmith to be amazing. It's the first cartridge I've ever heard that seems to be truly resolving. (I find the comment that it is like "good digital" to be bizarre and completely the opposite of what I hear). The Lyra never sounded right on my turntable - always a bit harsh. The Soundsmith is similar to Grado, sort of old-school "ultra-analog," but much more refined, and extremely natural sounding. It's the last cartridge I may ever buy!
I have a Scoutmaster and just moved up from Zephyr Mk II to Paua. I really liked the Zephyr--very musical and involving. The Paua is that but better--lower noise floor, more resolving, and sounds wonderful. I don't expect to buy another cartridge in the future. You may want to consider it if you already like the Zephyr. Rest of my system: Herron VTPH2, MuFi KW500, MuFi A3.2 CDP and TriVista 21 DAC, transparent reference cables and power, Wilson Sophia speakers.
I've got an original Aries Extended with a JMW-12 arm. I used to use a Clavis da Capo but switched to an AT OC9/II. My preference for the OC9/II is based on its weight and richness in the low frequency compared to the CdC. I know the CdC is a thin-sounding cartridge.

How does the Lyra compare to the Soundsmith for imaging, soundstage and detail.

Given that the AT seems fairly close to the proper tonal balance in my system, would the SS end up being too dark? I would not want a "Grado" sound.

All my electronics are current units from Herron Audio. Phono Stage is a VTPH-2.

Can you mention the differences between the zepher and the voice sound wise.I was about to order a new vpi table with the zepher 2 cartridge.

The dealer said the zepher 2 would be on the low end of cartridges to put in my system.He suggested an ortofon cadenza black, so I held off ordering.I had read on the forums here that the zepher performs above it's price point.
Just picked this thread up again. Since posting this thread, I picked up the Lyra Kleos. IMO, the Kleos is much better sounding cartridge than the Zephyr or the Delos in my system. Having said that, the Zephyr is a very nice cartridge that I hold onto as a back up.

About 6 months ago, I sent my Kleos back to Lyra in Japan for a check up and adjustment, courtesy of J Carr. I really missed my Kleos and was very happy when it came back 6 weeks later.

My facility in audiophile-speak is a bit stunted, so I apologize that my use of audiophile adjectives is not as descriptive as I would like it to be. But I think the Kleos has a much rich and open sound. The mids and treble are more open and transparent. I thought the Zephyr was a bit thicker, maybe darker, than the Kleos.

My bottom line: Kleos over the Zephyr. I am curious how the next Lyra cartridge up the line sounds as compared to the Kleos. If anyone has tried the Atlas or Etna, please post your comments.


Bpoletti I have a herron2 phono and a Lyra Delos on a Vpi TNT with a jmw12. It is phenomenal! And I have heard a ton of good combos. IMHO I would put mine up against almost any of them. In the beginning after the dealer set it up it was just good, then I got a mint tractor and fussed over it for a while and improved it a lot. Another thing that made quite a difference was using a cinemag SUT into the mm of the Herron. Like the bobs devices one but if you get a parks audio one it looks identical with the same trannies for quarter the price.
Still interested in a head-to-head comparison of the delos or Helicon vs. ANY Soundsmith moving iton cart.
Since posting this thread, I bought the Lyra Delos and then moved up to the Kleos. Ain't no comparison. The Kleos is the best.
I had a Soundsmith Zephyr which was made and labeled for my VPI TT. Sounded great to me but I am always looking to upgrade so switched to a Lyra Kleos. I do prefer the Kleos but it is quite a bit more expensive.
Is the Parks AUDIO SUT using the same cinemag sut as the Bobs Devices sut.
Digital 3 yes they are the same although you can order either one with either tranny. Mine is the entry level with the 3440. Apparently cinemag has a better Tranny that I'm dying to use. It retails for 500 a pair.
Thank you Analogluvr,do you think the sound quality is as good as bobs devices cinemag 1131, the parks audio sut seems like a real bargain.
I haven't heard the bobs devices but seeing as how the trannies are exactly the same I can't see how they would sound any different. I love my parks audio SUT!
My opinion of the Soundsmith vs Lyra differs from Bifwayne.
I love the musicality of the Zephyr.
I have a Kleos that I will be trading for a higher end Soundsmith.
The Kleos is very clean but not right for my system. It is all about detail and not enough fun.
I have owned quite a few moving coil cartridges, and have heard quite a few more.
About 8 months ago a deal came along for a new SoundSmith Ebony Boheme, and I decided to buy it.
After about 30 hours of very casual listening, I started to listen very seriously.
This SoundSmith Boheme does something the moving coil cartridges just seem to miss, after living with them for a while.
When Ilisten to the Boheme, besides sounding fantastic, it is also so relaxing. I feel like i am listening to the master tape, and not an LP record.

I am a paid musician as a second livelihood (bass player, stand up and electric) and the SoundSmith just sounds like real music to me.
Voices just sound so real with this cartridge.

My two cents. Bruce
Hi Maxh, i had a Kleos too. (Delos before) I am absolute with you. The Lyra´s plays so wide and fast, but the warmth and musicality is not their strength.