try an entry level Lyra to hear house sound?

I am intrigued by the glowing reviews of Lyra cartridges, but wonder if any that I could afford - it's not likely I would ever invest in a Titan - would be good in my system. Reviews and online opinion imply that they may be on the bright side, and I do not care for sibilance. Would buying a lower end Dorian or Delos be a good way to find out whether I like the "house sound"? I live in Houston, there is no hi end stereo store here for auditions. This doesn't work with margaritas - the house drink bears no resemblance to the real deal.
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If you did try out a Lyra (and I'm not necessarily saying that it would be right for your ears and your system), I'd suggest the Delos rather than the Dorian. The Delos introduces new asymmetrical damper technology, and *partly* as a result, has a somewhat different sonic personality than most previous Lyras. The new hallmarks are a greater sense of presence to the sound, and a wider timbral as well as dynamic range. Both I and Yoshinori Mishima (who builds my cartridge designs) quite like this new direction, and we intend to expand on this from now on.

*I used the word "partly", because when we build the initial simple test prototypes I and Mishima can hear and understand the essence of what the new dampers are doing, and in the final design we are making various other design, building and voicing decisions to optimize the potential of the dampers.

Normally the price-performance ratio of an audio product goes down as the price increases, because as the level of sonic performance goes up it tends to takes progressively more effort and cost to squeeze out progressively less sonic improvement (I wish the law of diminishing returns weren't so dominating, but that's what experience shows). With the Delos, I think that to some extent we've managed to counter that trend (or at least I'd like to think so - grin), and I believe that the price-performance ratio of the Delos clearly surpasses that of the Dorian, despite that the Delos is the more expensive cartridge. In the present Lyra line-up I have little doubt that the Delos has the best cost-performance ratio, and in terms of absolute levels of performance, I'd place it around Skala territory (better-performing in some ways, worse in others).

I can't comment on how it is with other cartridge manufacturers, but with Lyra I think that the "house sound" has clearly shifted several times as progressive major design generations were introduced (each based on a somewhat different way of thinking, and each taking the lessons from the previous generations into account). The Spectral MCR and Tsurugi were the first generation, the Clavis and Parnassus the second generation, the Clavis DC and Parnassus DCt third generation, the Helikon, Titan and Dorian fourth generation, the fifth generation is represented by the Skala, and the 6th generation starts with the Delos.

hth, jonathan carr
Thanks, Jonathan! I called Needle Doctor to order a Delos and try it, but am waiting to hear back on when they would have one to ship.

Wanted a Fosgometer, too - might as well set it up properly - but wait-listed on that too, est. 3-4 weeks.

audio is a weird business.