Lyra Helikon

There is a special low output version of the Lyra Helikon available, the " SL ".

Did anyone with a premium phono stage listened to it ?
Or owns it ?
Can anyone describe the

s o n i c a l

differences between the regular one and ths " SL " type ?

( Please NO technical discussion, I know this ...)

According to the people at Scantech, there is no sonic difference between the low and high output versions of this cartridge. Having said this, the main difference is fewer windings on the coils, hence lower moving mass for the coil assembly. One might conclude that this would increase speed and low level detail.
Every cartridge manufacturer claims that the Hi output version of a cartridge is the same quality as the low output version. If that were really true, they'd only put out a high output version. Common sense usually triumphs over hype.
I agree. Go with the low output version. The lower, the better, provided that you have a phono stage which is up to the task.
@ Bluesman,
of course you are right.
I know, here in this section are a few who know more than the others, that's a reason why I like this forum.
These high output units are made for marketing, because most users have average phono sections which cant't handle "low outputs ".
( But this is a own story ... )

Same sound = fairy tale !!!

All systems which are on the market , which were made with higher output are sounding worse than their originals ( Benz Ruby II, Transfiguration, Cardas .... )

That is really no secret.

But back to my question ....


I have the "SL" version of the Helikon. I was unable to make a direct comparison with the standard version though. Originally I was going to get the standard version, but my dealer suggested that the SL was more suitable for the phono stage on my equipment (Naim Audio)

I am upgrading from a Lyra Lydian and there are signifcant differences in higher levels of resolution, wider dynamic range, less groove noise and faster bass. All this is in comparison to a Lydian though. My dealer has heard both Helikons and felt that there was a significant difference between the two, with the SL having the advantage. Specifically he mentioned wider dynamic range and better resolution.

Don't know that you're going to find a dealer who has both, but all the information I got led me to beleive the SL was a better choice.

So far I have been quite pleased with about 30 hours on it. It seems broken in, but of course I won't know unless there is a further change.

Arthur Bye
@ Arthur,

thank you very much for your info.
Without ever listening to a Helikon, I know, there must be a difference.
NO Designer develops 2 Designs when both are equal.
Congrats for your Dealer ( Using his ears, rare today, - for a customer, more rare, - and making a honest decision , amazing ).

With this info my interest for this "SL" Version is growing now.
Thank you
The Cartridge+Phono has to be taken more into consideration than the cartridge comparison. Lyra Helicon has low-enough output to have a great dynamic performance. Right now this is my "dream" cartridge and I'm waiting on my budget for that. I have an AR PH3 phono stage wich is a very good match with regular version which has ~.4mV output.

Yes there are differences but not as significant as it would be between Benz cartridges. Helicon is all-the-way Ruby killer!
if the lower output version sounds better than my regular version, wow, it is worth it. i certainly would get the lowest output available if i were to do it again.
Yes, but isn't there a disadvantage to running the lowoutput through a stepup transformer?
Gladstone, if the device is quiet enough it shouldn't be a problem. I think?!?
Sure, it's quiet. But is the sound as good going through a builtin stepup device in a phono stage. I wonder.
Many years ago I owned a tube preamp that required an outboard step up device for the low output cartridge that I was using. I tried a number of different outboard transformers including a Denon, a Cotter and finally a Koetsu which was by far the most musical of the group. In the end I preferred the sound of the cartridge going straight into the preamp even given the higher noise level and loss of dynamics. IMHO, I would reccommend going with the higher output Helikon rather than using a step up transformer; however, if you must use a transformer, use the one made by Lyra.
Thomas, I subscribe to Fcrowder's views, both 1st & last. The reasoning follows:

A)The lower the output the higher the (pre) amplification required, i.e. an extra "step" to the standard 47 RIAA equalisation.

B)The lower output cartridge, "outputs" better sound.

C) We are faced with a balancing act: do we place the onus on the phono OR on the cartridge -- i.e. where is the least danger of compromise, pre side or cartridge side??

Otherwise stated, will the extra info from the lower output be audible or degraded thru the pre? OR will my phono perform best with the higher signal -- so, at least, I'll get all of what the higher cartridge outputs (which is marginally less than its low output mate)...

It's usually the latter, IMO!

Hello friends,

thank you very much for your kind and good info.
Indees I am not really shure to do.
I use a Klyne 7 phono amp and this one has no problems with low output cartridges.
I use at the moment a cartridge with 0.2V, super, really.
Fefore that I used a Benz Ruby without body, their first with .25V, and this one sounded definetly better than the later ones with higher outputs.

Thomasheisig, if I can ever get my Clavis DC to wear out I will go with the SL in my Rockport into a Vendetta SCP2-T.....The Clavis DC is going to be four years old in March which is setting some sort of record according to Carr and Perkins both.....My partner, John Curl, had a blowout on his Clavis today and will run over and pick up the SL in a couple of weeks as Immedia is out of stock on these...John has the updated Vendetta in his Blowtorch preamp....Output BTW is .22mV.....Hope I get the same sort of service out of the SL and maybe the vacuum hold down on the Rockport has something to do with that.....Oh, Allen advised he thought the SL sounded a touch better than the regular one as long as you have the gain to handle such a low output....Hope this helps.....
I have only a limited number of hours on my Helikon, but continue to be very pleased. A friend suggested that I try damping (apparently the Helikon puts significant energy into the tonearm which can effect image focus and bass). My arm uses a silicon trough/paddle damping arrangement that allows one to vary the amount of the paddle making contact with the silicone. A small amount of damping resulted in a significant improvements to the sound (better focus, more image density, fuller midbass, more stable image) and in trackability (particularly highly modulated vocals). More damping reduced highs. Would be curious with respect to the experience of others with respect to damping and any other suggested tweaks.