The Titan i is one of the three most neutral and uncolored cartridges I've heard, perhaps the tiniest bit on the cool side - but put the emphasis on "tiny". A hundred other things in a system might conceal or counterbalance that. It's a neutral cartridge containing a tiny possibility of coolness.
The Olympos SL is a larger step away from neutral but, critically, it sacrifices nothing else when compared to the excellent performance of Lyra's current top model.
Take a Titan i and add 1/100th of the coloration provided by a Koetsu Onyx Platinum or above. Presto, you've got an Olympos SL. One Olympos owner summarized an A/B with my ZYX UNIverse very aptly: he said the Olympos added "a subtle brush of mink". I can't think of a better description IME.
The Olympos is a glorious sounding cartridge. Of course only you can decide whether you want a glorious sounding cartridge.
I agree. The Olympos is without doubt the finest cartridge that I have ever heard. It is amazing, actually.
I had the Titan i for 6 months in my system, and my friend Richard has the Olympos in a very different system so I really can't give you a valid side by side comparison. In my opinion, Doug is being very generous to the Titan i. I found it cold and clinical in my system especially after running the Lyra Helikon for 2 years. My biggest complaint with the Titan i however, was the complete lack of emotional involvement it was able to transmit. The Olympos did not suffer with this ailment........whether it is the equal of the ZYX Universe?.....well again I think Doug is being a little generous. But then, he is far more qualified than I to formulate a judgement.
With regard to the Titan i and it's ability to perform well. I personally think it is one of the most balanced cartridges available. I've listened to this cartridge in many systems and it is definitely a top performer.
With Skala owners mentioning, and reviews reporting, that it is significantly better than the Helikon in terms of how it scales and its refinement. Having listened to many very well regarded cartridges and believing that the Skala tended to be more balanced from top to bottom than many of the others. That's not to say that some of those cartridges did some things better. However, as stated before, the Skala was more balanced overall. Especially in the bass response and it's ability to portray what's on the recording in the low registers.
I mentioned all this to come to my thoughts on the Titan i. The Titan i, from my experience, is above the Skala (which is better than the Helikon IMO) in terms of refinement and detail retrieval. Of all the cartridges I've listened to, it has outpaced the other cartridges I've listened to for overall performance and refinement. However, the cartridge setup is very important with the Titan i. To get the most from this cartridge, there must be a good amount of care in setup. This is no different for any line contact cartridge although some are more forgiving than others. The Titan i is an extremely dynamic cartridge, there is a great deal of detail and refinement from this cartridge as well. IMO, every type of music seams to flow from this cartridge with ease.
Based on Jcarr's posts, my personal observations, and the posts of others above, I believe the Olympos to be I bit sweeter or slightly on the romantic side. This would be very slightly.
From my perspective with experience and knowledge gained I'd classify the Titan i as truthful, revealing, and very refined. I'd classify the Olympos as being the same, only providing a more favorable version of the truth.
In closing, I think it's very easy to not like the truth, or to not prefer the cartridge/arm/phonostage performance and attribute it to one device, or to not like the combination paired with downstream components that don't play well together, or a host of other things. As with any cartridge, the bottom line many be that the cartridge may not be a good match for the system.
Hope this helps,
Jonathan Carr once mentioned a Lyra Titan I SL. I know this exists in Mono. From what I understand this would surpass the Titan I but I tried to source one in Stereo to no avail. If that can be found it would be amazing. By the way, SL stands for single layer (of coils) or lower output. I assume slightly faster w. more detail but you need a better phono stage for the reduced output. And having owned tons of cartridges (about 10 in the same price range) it is currently my favorite and not in the least bit cool. If you set it up wrong it will be cool though. Actually, it is warmer than some others and warmer than the Skala for sure. It is very neutral but the Olympus leans to the Koetsu side of things ever so slightly. I find the Titan I a true bargain in comparison to many cartridges out there. I know it isn't cheap but I don't think more money will get you much better, just different. A lot of the best rooms at RMAF were using either a Skala, Titan or Titan I. On a Graham Phantom I am able to get a perfect resonant frequency of 10 hz vertical & horizontal which is quite impressive. But.. putting it on my SQ just brought up the level of performance to something special. It for me is a very well made cartridge that is reference grade. I prefered it to my ZYX Universe as it was more natural & musical sounding w. better bass & dynamics in my setup. The ZYX had a touch more detail and better microdynamics (not macro). But I do miss my ZYX for that last bit of detail. So if a Titan I SL could exist then wow. The detail w. it all. If your system is full or thin then the Titan I won't be the best choice.
Mosin may have misread my response, or else I miswrote it.
The Olympos is not the finest cartridge I've heard and I did not say so. I said it sounds "glorious" and then asked the OP to consider whether that's what he's seeking. In short, I agree with Dre and Dgad regarding its sound.
Whether one wants a glorious sounding cartridge is a personal question. IME not all recorded music is well served by "a brush of mink". For my ears, recorded music is served best when reproduced as accurately as possible. The Olympos is certainly good at that, better than 90% of the cartridges out there, but compared to the very best its "glorious-ness" means that it's less than (or maybe more than) honest. Your choice whether that's what you want.
I would never describe the best turntable I've heard (Mosin's own Saskia) as sounding "glorious", since that would be an insult which it did nothing to earn. What his table sounds like, more than any other I've heard, is no table at all. I rarely pay audio compliments, preferring descriptors instead, but "nothing" would be the highest compliment I know.
The OP didn't ask about other cartridges, but if he had I'd have said what Halcro did, assuming well matched components and a willingness to do the work that a UNIverse requires to give its best. IME no other cartridge, including an Olympos or a Titan, is quite as demanding of (or responsive to) exacting setup and fine tuning.
Dear Tora: As always the quality performance in cartridges is system dependent especially on tonearm and Phonolinepreamp.
It is system dependent because every single home audio system is different from others due ( mainly ) to owner priorities that in the best cases are good priorities due to owner in deep know-how on audio and music but normally is not in this way and several audio systems are really with out synergy and heavy colored and that's why there are big differences in the individual opinions.
I heard the Titan-i in at least five systems ( including mine ) and I like what I heard only in two of them where IMHO the systems have real/true synergy, what I heard?: a natural performance with very good tonal balance top to bottom with no frequency range superior to other fast attack/transients and with transparency all over the frequency spectrum, it is perfect: no, nothing is and you can detect that the Titan is not the best tracker and time t time you can hear tracking distortion that can give to the high frequency range a false spark that heard like over-detailed.
The Olympos is totally different ( very low output say to start against the Titan. ) and here as important as is the tonearm the Phonolinepreamp has to be first rate nothing less.
The Olympos IMHO is way better performer than any of the other cartridges named here ( I already heard all them ), when you listen the very first recording notes you know with out any doubt that everything is right on target forget about the cartridge and all the hardware and start to enjoy the music alone, this fact makes that the Olympos is on other level than the Titan that when you are hearing it you know is a cartridge/hardware because its performance remind you it is a cartridge what you are hearing,instead with the Olympos you are inside the music.
The Olympos is very near/nearest I can say almost there to the best 2-3 MM quality performers including: no tracking ( or very low ) distortion.
Tora, btw which is your analog rig? are you prepared for the Olympos needs? or the Titan needs? Why don't you share with us your system components and what you are looking for on cartridges, as a fact there are several and very good alternatives about.
Regards and enjoy the music.
I would like to thank Dougdeacon, Halcro, Mosin, Dre j, Dgad and rauliruegas for their replies. They are all very helpful to give me an idea of what to expect from the sonic differences of these two cartridges, especially in relation to the Lyra Olympos. Here in U. K. it is almost impossible to be able to hear these two fine cartridges in an A-B comparison in a hi-end shop. Hence I seek for advice from members of Audiogon. I wish you all a merry Christmas and a happy new year... and as they said,'keep those black discs spinning!'
As Rauliruegas said, cartridges can be system dependent. For instance, if u have a bright system, then a rolled off cartridge will help balance it, etc.
One thing that is probably of the utmost importance in regards to the Titan is the choice of arm. The better the arm, the better the sound of the Titan. In other words, besides just matching mass, how the cartridge and arm interact eg. how the arm treats the arm energy produced by the cartridge tracing the groove will have a huge effect upon the resultant sound. You can get out of phase reflections that among other things, greatly affect dynamics.
how did the story go on?
Other, newer impressions about and comparisons between Titan i and Skala and Olympos?
The Titan i has endless details and the Olympos is one step ahead and sounds so close to the real thing like nothing else out there.
But to get the best out of it, it really needs a very good System. I listened to it twice before in different Systems (even very expensive ones) and it was very disappointing. I needed some time to discover, that this cartridge works in a different way.Left side Titan i, Right side Olympos
It is very funny with the Olympos. Most people who listen to it the first time do not get the spirit of this wonderful system even when it is precisely adjusted. This is ok. I have experienced this many times. So it looks like one needs a personal access to the Olympos because it really sounds different to most common cartridges.
Maybe the designers of the Olympos do know this very well.
On the other hand it is true not every arm and TT matches with the Olympos. In the Copperhead on the Continuum Criterion the Olympos feels very well!
On the other hand it is true not every arm and TT matches with the Olympos. In the Copperhead on the Continuum Criterion the Olympos feels very well!
That's because Continuum used Lyra cartridges (particularly the Olympos and Titan i) to 'voice' both the Cobra and Copperhead arms.
You're a luck man Tuchan!
It is interesting, the more expensive or rare a unit is, the more it is hyped. This is more or less normal ("..I never was mad for their cheaper models but THAT one is really something special, a revelation... I can't be without it....try to get it...highly recommended..." but what does it show in reality?
In most cases you can use the same descriptions for a 1.5k cartridge, no big difference. Some of the real expensive ones are indeed nothing special, more or less good for the Ego of the owner only.
I compared all my cartridges among themselves and I never had a problem to use one which is "only" 1k$ and lots of them are much better than most think.
I sold more expensive ones based on low performance than I expected, sometimes it was frustrating. And not because I didn't "like" it, most lacked in Performance or were quite simply wrong in the frequencies. They simply do not sound like music, the "High end" was only their price tag.
Of course most love the Olympos (because it is so rare and you can't get it when you want...) but after all my years in analog I know, most don't know why that one is special. Even when they buy it, they won't hear it. Because their System can't show the difference.It is not more of detail, deeper bass than others, the abilities are somewhere else.
Cartridges are mostly a tool to compensate something in the Playback System, sometimes I wonder what would happen when a cartridge would do everything right and the price would be "only" 2k$.
For most it would be uninteresting, because wouldn't be a task to get it. And listening to music would be boring.
Syntax, with all due respect,
"the more expensive or rare a unit is, the more it is hyped" can't argue with that one!
"Some of the real expensive ones are indeed nothing special, more or less good for the Ego of the owner only." I know you said *some*, but I have never heard any of these. Excepting the case of MM vs MC, where the cheaper MM is often a match for the more expensive MC (both well set-up, of course).
"Cartridges are mostly a tool to compensate something in the Playback System" You've lost me here.
"sometimes I wonder what would happen when a cartridge would do everything right and the price would be "only" 2k$."
I'd be queueing up along with you and most of the others here, no doubt :)! Regards
Syntax I love quoting you. It is so much fun.
"Of course most love the Olympos (because it is so rare and you can't get it when you want...) but after all my years in analog I know, most don't know why that one is special. Even when they buy it, they won't hear it. Because their System can't show the difference.It is not more of detail, deeper bass than others, the abilities are somewhere else."
Man you are the best. Our poor deaf ears, poorly resolving systems. We just don't know how to listen or what we are doing. We of course (thankfully) are not you. Please come & teach us what we do not know.
How about using an uncolored turntable? It helps to rate something properly.
I am getting a bit tired talking always about the price issue. In fact it is an issue. but dear friends who is paying the prices the dealer next door wants from you? Come on be serious, I gues no one among us - or he has a problem on how to spend money...
And here we end up with the wonderful Ferrari against Toyota race. Nothing is wrong with both cars, maybe the faster one is a little overpriced for bringing you from A to B. Nevertheless do you like it? Year! You like it, come on. Or are you telling me you enjoy driving a reasonable car? In this case you are no Car Afficinado? What are we, Audio-Afficinados, of course. So please pull the plug regarding the price/marketing topic. I stressed it long time too.
Competition between fast cars is nice but isn´t it better to focus on the driver sitting in the fast car. Drivers are different and styles are different as we are listening in different ways. I would never be proud to be different to other audio listeners. Of course I am different but so what? Am I the better Audio Man? No, not all. But who feels better believing so it is ok. Let em do.
Ok, let's do the audiophile ShootoutMary had a little lamb..
... with empty boxes... ? :-)
I know an audiophile who has his wife write the checks for his audio "stuff", does not play in the rega arena more like Kondo, 47lab, etc....
I wonder if his wife writes the check for the Ferrari, oh yes maybe she drives it....
Only place for "money" hear I guess is from the beatles, pink floyd and......writing about its place in life, outside of this place.
The money will never bring you the pleasure, music will....
Syntax, have you some advise how to get the most out of a Titan i?
Maybe with step up transformators? Or passive phono units?
PMJI but here's my two cents on the Olympos/Titan discussion. It's kind of a moot point to be talking about the Titan i -- and I own one -- since it's a four or five year old design that has held up well to the test of time. I'd however, be waiting to hear the new gen of Lyras, esp the Titan i successor that will be coming out this year as I'm told (as we know in high-end, things rarely get released as planned!).
Syntax, Is that a huge, thick acrylic "mat" sitting atop the copper platter of your Micro Seiki tt, or is that the platter on another turntable situated right behind the Micro?
Myles_b-astor, the Titan i is one of the most successful and best designs in cartridge building, I have a demo sample which was delivered to Garrard (whatever that means and if it is really making a difference, who knows?). This one is playing very good. But also the Titan i Mono is a great design. I love it. If Lyra can beat the Titan i design in this price range I doubt a little...at the moment they have some stocking problems as I heard.
Breezer, try the syntax ! you will like it