Lyra Etna Lambda SL tracking force

On another thread @newtoncr posted a question about VTF for the Etna Lambda SL cartridge: he queried whether his preferred tracking force of 1.8 - 1.9 g (mounted on an SME Series V arm) was OK given this was outside Lyra's recommended range of 1.62 - 1.72 g. 

The instructions that came with the Etna Lambda SL I've just had installed on a Linn Ekos SE arm state: 

‘Note that Etna SL (Lambda) features a new high-performance asymmetrical damping system, designed to make the signal coils precisely parallel to the front and rear magnets during play. The angle between signal coils and magnets is affected by tracking force, and we strongly advise not to deviate beyond our 1.68-1.78g guidelines. Setting tracking force so that the cantilever is exactly perpendicular to the (yellow) front magnet carrier during play should result in the largest dynamic range and best sound.’

For me the sweet spot appears to be 1.75g, at which setting the cantilever is still not exactly perpendicular to the magnet carrier (see photo) – suggesting that there is scope for further increasing VTF.

As the cartridge is breaking in I'm reluctant to increase tracking force. I'm wondering if anyone on here with experience of Lyra cartridges has used the 'perpendicular alignment' method?  





my Lyra etna sl now sounds best with tracking force of 1.68 as recommended.


i ordered a Lyra atlas lambda sl about 5 months ago and haven’t heard any updates on eta from my local dealer … the us distributor is not responding to me either . Do you know any other methods on how I can get an eta on the cartridge. For Eg contacting Jonathan carr ? Thank you


My wait for the cartridge (here in the UK) was more than six months, with no information on eta from the importer ... so I think you'll just have to be patient. It will be worth it in the end!

This is slightly off topic - but I've found that fine-tuning azimuth on my Lyra Atlas was well worth it. Even though it only needed a small change (which I can do in the arm base of my SME V arm, allthough officially it doesnt have azimuth adjustment). We are a group of  audio friends who bought a Fozgometer v2 together, so the cost was reasonable for each. It is not a thing you need very often. I think it is easier  to get other parameters right if azimuth is spot on. Other methods can be used, e g an oscilloscope (the Foz makes it easy). I think most agree that this should be done measuring the cart output. Visual methods are not good enough.


cannot agree with you more . I have the analogue magik software which do the same but easier with a computer program .

I start by setting up the sme v with a spirit level to be horizontal at the level of the head( we all know there is a play till you tighten the screws )

then I use thin sticky aluminum tape to gradually rotate the head ie adjust azimuth till I get the most balance in crosstalk between rt and lt . Works miracles spending an hr or 2 doing it . Sound stage and center focus improves significantly.

Search these archives and the internet on azimuth. There are good arguments to be made for simply setting the stylus tip perpendicular to the groove, regardless of electrical measurements.


in God we trust, all others bring..Lyra. J Carr in past has responded to threads and PM via this site. Shane is g USA distributer, has been very responsive w my correspondence.


Dear @newtoncr ​​@p_vincent_jones   You could contact himthrough Agon here where you go to " marketplace feedback " and and send a personal message:


jcarr | Audiogon Discussion Forum



Regards and enjoy the MUSIC NOT DISTORTIONS,


While you’re waiting on a response from jcarr, you might try lowering your tonearm height just a small touch with the recommended VTF applied. Since this tonearm should be a perfect, dynamically stable performer in it’s vertical plane, VTF will most likely not be affected by VTA/arm height.

My thinking is through suspension/cantilever deflection, the heavier VTF may be giving your ETNA the VTA it’s wanting. Just a thought . . .

The sweet spot is normally 1.69 to 1.71 assuming you have all other parameters correct. I am the original owner of one of these, though it is not an SL. I think you need to let this cartridge break in at the recommended VTF and then and only then experiment without deviating that far outside the recommended range. I agree that eventually Mr. Carr will give the final word. 

FWIW, Peter sent me an inquiry through Audiogon's private messaging system, to which I sent a reply on Dec.11.

Although Peter has therefore had the information that he was looking for, let me quote the relevant text from my reply, for the benefit of other users of the Etna, Atlas, Kleos or Delos, and have similar questions.

"I consider it more important to keep under 1.75g than make the angle between cantilever and cartridge body 90ª. Adding stress to the suspension is never recommended, and it is common that the suspension will settle somewhat over time."

"FWIW, the tracking force that gives the best sound seems to vary depending on the tonearm (the turntable suspension is likely to also play a role). It will further depend on the ambient temperature in your audio room, with 22~23ºC being optimal, higher room temperatures potentially benefitting from less VTF, and lower room temperatures potentially benefitting from more VTF (without exceeding 1.75g)."

"I haven't heard of too many customers preferring 1.75g. Some of our customers prefer the sound at 1.72g, while others prefer 1.68~9g."

A secondary query: is there any theoretical/practical advantage to using shorter mounting bolts than the ones my dealer has chosen to fit the cartridge to my Linn Ekos SE?

"As long as the mounting bolts are long enough to engage the screw threads of the Etna body completely, it is fine to try shorter bolts than what your dealer fitted. Personally I try to choose bolts that are no longer than necessary."

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to all!

kind regards, jonathan

Thank you Jonathan for this very helpful information (btw, I could not open your PM response to my direct query – labelled as ‘Junk’ with no content in my AG inbox!).

It’s taken a while breaking in, but I think my new Etna Lambda SL is now approaching optimum performance. I’m finding significant all-round improvements (in detail, weight, and musicality) compared to my previous Kleos SL. The Etna excels at revealing subtle nuances, such as the timbre of instruments and vocal inflections. Though it does not flatter poor/thin recordings, well-recorded rock music is rendered with power and conviction.

I’ve experimented a bit with VTA, VTF and anti-skate, but have left things alone for a while, settling on a tracking force of 1.7 g. I think that the cartridge may have benefited from a slightly higher VTF during the running in period.

There is no way of adjusting azimuth with the Linn Ekos SE tonearm – all I can say @o_holter is that everything seems perfectly located in a wide and deep soundstage.

No surprise that I am thrilled with this upgrade. I don’t know @rauliruegas if you have yet received your new cartridge, but I think you will find it worth the wait.

(BTW, I placed my order for the Etna Lambda SL without listening to one, having been unconvinced by the new Linn Ekstatik which I had on home-dem for a week. Though good in many respects, I was missing something with the Ekstatik which I enjoyed with the Kleos – a quality unsurprisingly retained/enhanced with the Etna).

Here are some of my benchmarks, all of which (in different ways) showcase the strengths of the Etna Lambda SL:

Grant Green: Born to be Blue (1962) ‘Born to be Blue’; ‘Cool Blues’

Thelonious Monk Quartet: Monk’s Dream (1962) (2013 Waxtime reissue) – ‘Monk’s Dream’

Cream: Cream 2 (1969) – ‘Those Were the Days’; ‘World of Pain’; ‘Dance the Night Away’

John Martyn: One World (1977) – ‘Certain Surprise’

Ten Years After: Cricklewood Green (1970) – ‘Love Like a Man’; ‘Circles’

Earth Wind and Fire: Earth Wind and Fire (1971) ‘This World Today’

Led Zeppelin: Led Zeppelin III (1970) (reissue) – ’Tangerine’; ‘Born-Y-Aur Stomp’

Traffic: When the Eagle Flies (1974) – ‘Walking in the Wind’

Steely Dan: Pretzel Logic (1974) – ‘Any Major Dude Will Tell You’

Jimmy Cliff: Island Reggae Greats (1975)(1985 compilation) – ‘Vietnam’; ‘The Harder They Come’; ‘You Can Get It If You Really Want’

Weather Report: Tailspinnin’ (1975) – ‘Indiscretions’; ‘Confiance’

Fleetwood Mac: Rumours (1977) (2009 re-issue) – ‘You Make Loving Fun’

Dire Straits: Dire Straits (1978) – ‘Water of Love’; ‘Six Blade Knife’; ‘Wild West End’

Dire Straits: Communiqué (1979) – ‘News’

Suzanne Vega: Solitude Standing (1987) ‘Wooden Horse (Caspar House’s Song)’

Crusaders: Rhapsody and Blues (1980) – ’Soul Shadows’; ‘Rhapsody and Blues’; ‘Sweet Gentle Love’

John Martyn: Grace and Danger (1980) (2016 reissue) – ’Sweet Little Mystery’; ’Some People are Crazy’

John Martyn: Piece by Piece (1986) – ‘Piece by Piece’

Hugh Masekela: Waiting for the Rain (1985) – ‘Run No More’; ‘Ritual Dancer’;

Robert Cray Band: False Accusations (1985) – ‘Porch Light’

Bob Dylan: Oh Mercy (1989) – ’Where Teardrops Fall’; ‘Man in the Long Black Coat’; ‘What Was It You Wanted’

Eek-a-Mouse: Mouse and Man (1983) – ‘Terrorists in the City’

Van Morrison: No Guru No Method No Teacher (1986) – ‘Got To Go Back’

R.E.M. Murmur (1983) (2020 reissue) – ‘Catapult’; ‘West of the Fields’

Eels: Beautiful Freak (1996) – ’Novocaine for the Soul’; ‘Your Lucky Day in Hell’; ‘Not Ready Yet’

Calexico: Carried to Dust (2008) – ‘Slowness’; ‘Bend To The Road’

Leonard Cohen: Old Ideas (2012) – ‘Going Home’

Leonard Cohen: You Want It Darker (2016) – ‘You Want It Darker’; ‘Travelling Light’

Eric Church: Desperate Man (2018) – ‘The Snake’

Robert Plant and Alison Krauss: Raising Sand (2007) 'Fortune Teller'; 'Please Read the Letter'


System: Linn LP12 (Radikal, Karousel, Keel, Urika 2), Linn Ekos SE, Lyra Etna SL; Linn Klimax Next Generation DSM Hub, Exakt Akubariks.