Review of Kyra Argo cartridge
Just spent the last 4 days snowed in and listening to my new Lyra Argo cartridge. It's mounted in a Linn LP12 (1997 vintage), valhalla, trampolinn, Ekos (1 year old). It's going into a Denon AU320 transformer at 3 ohms and then into my hafler DH101/200 and LS3/5a speakers (crossed over to an ADS subwoofer). The cartridge replaces my ageing Linn Asaka which, though the stylus was not worn, was beginning to sound a little "flat" (probably the suspension ageing).
Anyway after initial setup (maximum recommended tracking force of 1.8 gm and antiskating somewhere between 2.5 and 3 gm - I'm still fine tuning that, and the VTA) the cartridge sounds wonderfull! Much more "life" than my old Asaka. Reminds me very much of the Akiva I spent a weekend listening to last year. I just couldn't justify spending $3000 on the Akiva and my dealer didn't have a Klyde to demo. Tracking is not as good as the Asaka. It mistracks on level 5 of the Shure Audio Obstacle Course Era III (all bands) and there's a trace of mistracking on a couple of bands at level 4 (sibilance and bass drum). Then again, so did the Akiva!!! Ordinarily, this wouldn't bother me but it mistracks on one of my favorite record, Dave Grusin - Discovered Again - track 2, Keep Your Eye on the Sparrow - the first LOUD bass note! Seems maybe a little better than the Akiva fared on this track, but not much. The Argo is also MUCH more prone to footfall than the Asaka or the Akiva - I think it may have a higher compliance that it's rated 12cu.
So, at the end of the day, a less expensive alternative to the Akiva? I think so! There's definitely a family resemblance in sound between the Akiva and the Argo (the Akiva is made for Linn by Lyra). If I had the choice between the two, I'd probably pick the Akiva (three point mounting, flying leads - there's not much room for cartridge leads in the Ekos headshell, etc) but, at the price, it's the Argo.
Anybody else out there have any experience with this cartridge??? I considered the Shelter 901, Benz Micro L2, and most other ~$1200-$1500 cartridges but eventually settled on the Lyra because of the Linn/Lyra connection and the good reviews the rest of the Lyra cartridges have received.