Lyra Dorian or Lyra Delos cartridge?

I ordered a Lyra Dorian instead of the Lyra Delos because a sales rep at the company I called said there was really no difference in sound quality so the Dorian would save me some money. I would appreciate it if anyone who is familiar with these cartridges could let me know if the Delos is the better cartridge. My turntable is a VPI HW-19 MK-3 and the tonearm is a Audioquest PT-6. Thanks,Montgomery
Dorian was discontinued some months ago and some retailers have stock remaining.

Delos is frequently backordered.


Dealer disclaimer
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I auditioned many cart's before buying the Lyra Dorian. It was in my opinion, the best sounding cart, on my VPI ScoutMaster, of all the carts I listened to under $2k.
I didn't listen to anything over 2k, as I didn't want to spend that much. But I was positioned to spend up to $2k, and it was better than anything else I listened to, and 1/2 the cost of some.
It also was regarded by many reviewers as being a phenominal cart, and I believe it won "best in category" in a number of publications, a few years back.
The best thing I would advise, is to listen to all you can. What sounds best to you, is all that really matters!
I'm not sure why Elizabeth made those comments, but with Audiofiel it's obvious...
I hope you find what you're looking for.
Happy listening!!!
You can get Dorian for about $800 plus shipping from the UK.
Nor am I sure why she made those comments.
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So, dealers mostly lie in one way or another, so do people here. Let the paranoia reign with Elizabeth taking the lead.
I had a Delos and upgraded to the Kleos. The Delos is a great cartridge for the money, and could easily sell for 500 more and get away with it. It is a newer design than the Dorian. I traded a LydianB , I have never heard the Dorian but I am sure it is good too. I love the Lyra sound, but if you are willing to spend the extra, why not get the latest, newest design? You never said what he is charging you for the Dorian. If it is a great deal, you can get it now and Lyra has a good trade up program. I got 700 for my Lydian that sold for 1000 new and I had paid 900. So that could let you try both over a period of time.
Just my opinion, not to offend anyone else, only answering your original question.
IMHO, the Delos is clearly the superior performer, but by today's pricing standards, the out-of-production Dorian can also be an attractive bargain.

The Dorian was phased out because higher fuel, energy, raw material etc., not to mention the Yen's rise against pretty much every other currency meant that it was no longer possible to keep it in production without seeing prices increase significantly.

Some of our distributors in particularly price-sensitive markets still deplore the loss of the Dorian, but the reality is that if it had been kept in production, its retail pricing wouldn't be too far off from the Delos (unless the distributor was willing to reduce margins substantially).

In return for its higher price, the Delos offers higher performance, particularly in the areas of dynamic range and gradation, and timbral range and gradation. The differences are a bit like comparing multiple-exposure HDR photos to single-exposure shots. The Delos also tracks better than the Dorian.

Some listeners even prefer the Delos over the Kleos, but IMO, this is due to the fact that the Delos has a more incisive treble, which works better in certain types of audio systems.

As to whether the Dorian or the Delos is the "better buy", my personal opinion is that its the Delos, but if your tonearm prefers a lighter cartridge, or you want to save money and you don't think that your audio system will benefit much from the Delos' higher resolution, you may prefer the Dorian. There are valid reasons for either choice.

hth, jonathan carr
We don't give a damn about currency fluctuations, cost of fuel, raw materials etc. We want excellent fairly priced products and will not listen to any kind of "business excuses". This is all about enriching themselves at our expense feeding on our audiophile sickness.
Jonathan Carr is one of the good guys in the industry. He's a straight shooter and tells it like it is. I, for one, appreciate his honesty.

I am going to buy a used Dorian because I can't afford the new Delos. Thanks for giving me the Lyra experience at a price I can afford.
Tthe yen has gone up in value by 30% against other currencies over the past few years. JICO is raising USD prices as of April 2 by 30-40%. Why? Because this Japanese company, making products in Japan, paying people in yen, now has USD prices which are 25-30% cheaper than the yen prices, simply because they haven't changed prices while the yen has gone up (the dollar has gone down). If the dollar goes down by 30%, your sales go down by 30% when you are a yen-denominated company.

Lyra is also a Japanese company, making products in Japan, with production/design/parts/fuel/distribution/etc costs in yen. If you want to buy them in yen, please do - the price increase of the Delos vs the Dorian is smaller here so Inna can feel much less righteous indignation if he denominates himself in yen. As far as I can tell, the USD MSRP of the Delos is STILL cheaper than the Japanese MSRP of the same cartridge (yen MSRP converted to dollars), so thos

I, for one, heard a Lyra Kleos for the first time today, and on the tonearm it was mounted on, it worked really, really well. I thought it was really excellent. Kudos Jonathon!
I have owned the Dorian, Argo and now the Delos.

The Delos is better in every way...bass, resolution and especially detail.

The above Lyras were mounted on a Linn Ittok, you may experience differing results on the VPI/Audioquest but again to me, Dorian is worth the extra cost, very much so!

"I'm not sure why Elizabeth made those comments"

Because it's true. If you folks do not believe there is mostly truth in what she said than you may be naive or delusional. I have sold audio and other electronics and know the ropes. Most salespeople are either selling what makes the most money or as Elizabeth indicated, something they need to get rid of. Often stuff that needs to go is "spiffed". That means there is extra money given to the sales people to sell it. When I sold audio in the 80's, cartridges had HUGE markups. I doubt it has changed much. BTW, video has minimal markup normally. They need to sell you the extra warranty or installation services.

"We don't give a damn about currency fluctuations, cost of fuel, raw materials etc."

You should. JCarr was likely telling the truth. I too am suspicious of many businesses but I am self employed so I do understand costs. Based on his recent reply to my Kleos Sibilance thread and his other sometimes long replies, I suspect he is one of the good guys. And few would not agree that he is one of the very best cartridge designers today.

Y'all be cool,
This may be an inappropriate question, it possible to get new cartridges (Lyra and others) at a discount? If so, from whom?
Even with trade-in programs and retipping cartridges are very expensive in the long run. $5k turntable that will last for 30 years with minor repairs is okay but middle of the range, nothing really to talk about cartridge for $1.5k is not. For $1.5k it should be a masterpiece. How much does it cost to produce? $100?
Mr.Carr if you are still tuned in to this thread. EXCELLENT JOB on both Cartridges!! I really liked the Delos but it was such a good deal to get the Kleos and WOW!
As mentioned I always wanted a Skala but really feel I made the right decision. And thanks for the insight to the demise of the Dorian, we do live in a tough economic climate. I see it in my industry where steel, fuel and other costs make one look at every penny to determine if profit can be achieved. I think both of your cartridges could sell for more than they do and get away with it. But some seem to believe that PROFIT is a dirty word. I guess they have no bills to pay and no concept of the cost of production, research, developement and marketing. And they feel their time is worth nothing. We all are entitled to our opinions and in my opinion Lyra does a great job at a reasonable market comparable price level.
But if you could answer one question for me: What does Lyra do with the trade ins? My LydianB was in great shape and it would make someone a good used cartridge and I am sure you get many that are.

"How much does it cost to produce? $100?"

Don't know exactly but likely many times that. If you read how their carts are made on the Lyra website or in their info materials you will realize that they are hand made by two people. One does the basics and a master craftsman does the final setup and test. Also, high end products are made in small numbers compared to mass market goods. So you cannot amortize your costs over thousands and thousands or millions of units. Ortofon said they only made 400 A90's and as recently as two weeks ago there were some new ones available. Now you may say that something that sells for 1.5k will sell many more than something that is over 4k. True within the limits of production. As jcarr has explained elsewhere, (I believe in one of the long threads here) his two assembly folks make all the carts from the Delos up in price. So they do a batch of Delos, then maybe some Kleos, then a few Skala and Titan i.

As you are probably aware hadmade products cost more due the humans involved. Secondly, when you produce something in small numbers you pay more for materials. Small batches of high purity copper cost more by weight than large quantities. This true of virtually all materials. Copper itself has risen greatly over the last 10 years due to the demand in China and the pre 2008 building boom in the US. Thirdly, you add the cost of packing a fragile item to survive international shipping and UPS. Fourthly, add the cost of the shipping.

And we haven't even gotten into Mr. Carr's time or the overhead of the office and manufacturing facility.

I believe Lyra to not be one of the evil ones.

Have a good whatever,
To add to Robob's astute commentary, "within the limits of production" are whatever number the cartridge maker can make. One cannot hire other cartmakers to pick up the slack when demand picks up. And one has to still pay the cart-maker when times are slow. This is a boutique business. I believe Lyra is all hand-made (some it is "from the Delos up in price" but before that it was "from the Dorian up in price"). Note that the Lyras seem to have great care in the materials choices (milled titanium body, special magnets, etc), and while the copper used is not that expensive in terms of quantity, the wire is not off-the-rack wire; and the list of these things goes on.
interesting thread and a little surprising on the tone to me.

I can personally say the lyra team is top notch. I've owned 4 of their cartridges over the last 12 years. Each one of them special and killer great sound (Lydian b, Helicon and 2 Skala's).

I suspect the original poster will love his Dorian. And I bet he'll like the Delos more. Then of course he'll like a Kleos, Skala or Titan i that much more to!

Theo, good question, I wondered that to :), mostly curiosity.

At some point we all have to make a buying decision and money plays into it.

Montgomery, I'd give that Dorian a may be completely enthralled by it. This audiophile "next best thing" is a madness we all have to deal with. Out of curiosity, what cartridge are you coming from to the Lyras?

Best of luck to everyone.
Please Theo,... Don't be tellin' Jcarr: "I think both of your cartridges could sell for more than they do"... not until after I buy my Titan I !!
I didn't mention the Titan, but Mr Carr if you read this can you please reduce the price of the Titan it way over priced by comparison to the performance of the Delos and Kleos. My conscience is clear. But actually I believe Fremer made similar comments concerning the value of the two new carts.
"audiophile "next best thing" is a madness"

Agreed, but lets not forget the Delos and Kleos are a very different design than any Lyra before them.

I suspect Mr. Carr has a problem now in what to do about the Skala in particular. Could he start with the Kleos and further improve the materials?

I personally am going crazy waiting on my Kleos to come back to me mounted in my new rig.

Enjoying the discourse,
Unfortunately I (as I believe is the case with most other craftsman-oriented audio manufacturers) don't have the large-scale mechanized manufacturing facilities that would allow audio products to be produced at the low prices that Audio-Technica, Denon or Ortofon can manage. Nonetheless, I am focused on providing value for the money. Even if cartridges like the Delos or Kleos aren't outright cheap, I try my best to make sure that they are not overpriced for their material and manufacturing content and sound quality, nor (IMHO) for the design effort that I personally put in.

FWIW, the pricing of each of our cartridge models is based primarily on what they cost us to produce, rather than their performance levels relative to the competition. That's probably why some reviewers tell us that our cartridges could sell for hundreds more than their actual retail prices. In reality, I start each new design with a clear idea of the production budget allowed for each cartridge unit. My view is that the more sound and build quality I can figure out how to extract from the engineering budget defined, the more value the cartridge will represent, and hopefully the more popular it will be. Conversely, if I can only figure out how to extract a limited amount of sound quality from the engineering budget, the cartridge will be perceived as being less desirable.

As to getting the manufactured cost of a cartridge down to US$100, I couldn't do it, unless the cartridge design were very, very different from what we've done so far. As it stands, our manufacturing and operational costs are too expensive to make such targets realistic, so we'd need to reduce costs in a big way. US$100 doesn't even cover the costs for the stylus assemblies that we use, we'd definitely need to lower component quality, such as using cheaper cantilever assemblies and lower-grade styli, and switching from machined metal to molded plastic bodies. Our present labor costs of employing skilled craftsmen mean that a cheaper cartridge would need to be of mostly machine-made construction, with as little hand-made content as possible. This suggests some kind of fixed-coil cartridge (MM or MI etc), rather than an MC, the use of mainly molded or pressed components, and increased production volumes. Third possibility would be to try moving production to a cheaper country, and hope that quality control won't be too much of a headache (based on previous experiences).

However, every one of the above items is likely to result in reduced product quality. Is that really what the target customers of brands like Lyra, Koetsu, Allearts, Miyabi etc. - that are principally known for hand-made cartridges and human craftsmanship - expect (or want)? I acknowledge that there is a market demand for cheaper cartridges, but as long as other, bigger companies exist to satisfy that demand for cheaper cartridges, I see little point in forcing Lyra to pursue the path of cheaper-above-all.

IMO, the only item among the above that may possibly be worthwhile for Lyra to pursue is a fixed-coil cartridge, because I think that there may still be room to come up with a fixed-coil design that is technically unique and worthwhile above and beyond its price (while keeping manufacturing costs under control). The caveats are that I would need to be able to come up with design that was novel and clever enough, next we'd need to be able to come up with the money to finance the tooling and molding costs (for higher-volume production), finally we'd need to consider if we were at all able to afford the kind of marketing and promotional effort that would be required for a higher-volume cartridge. The last time that I looked into tooling and molding costs for a totally new fixed-coil cartridge design was around 2003 (AFAIR), and the total sum was upwards of US$100,000 (again AFAIR). If I were to designed another fixed-coil cartridge today, it would almost certainly be quite different from the design that I did in 2003, but I would be shocked if tooling and molding costs were lower now. The two key questions would be, do we have the technical and financial ability to accomplish such a project, and would it be worth the risks?

cheers, jonathan carr

PS. I should state that I'm not in audio for the money (as my income tax statement proves - grin). I'm in audio because I enjoy designing, building, and particularly designing and building innovative things that wouldn't exist if I didn't take on the challenge. I believe that this kind of attitude is fairly common among craftsmen, artisans (and musicians). We do what we do mainly because we enjoy it and we relish the challenge of pushing ourselves and our craft as far as we can. Whatever money we earn is important in that it allows us to continue doing what we love - but no more than that.
Keep doing what you are doing Mr. Carr! It works fine for me. The comments that they could sell for more is a compliment to the abundant value(speaking for myself)found in the Lyra products.

But if you could answer my question about the trade ins?
I believe if these were recertified by Lyra as good carts and sold as used, (say here on AudioGon)it would create an opportunity to expand your market to buyers otherwise financially unable to discover that Lyra sound, and maybe buy new Carts sometime in the future.

Thank You
In response to Theo "What does Lyra do with the trade-ins?", I've pondered over this question in the past, but so far I've not been able to arrive at a good answer. There are a couple of major reasons for this. One is that our primary limit is our production capacity. One craftsman (with some help from an assistant) can only make a certain number of cartridges with a fixed time period, and when demand for new models is high, preciously little production capacity remains to make anything else. Even if I designed a new model around a Lydian B (for example), I'd need to find someone other than Mishima to build it (because his production capacity is already back-ordered with Delos, Kleos, Skala and Titans, not to mention rebuilds of Helikons, Titans etc.). Yes, I can design more new models (or modified models) than Mishima can deal with, but doing so isn't of any use unless we can increase our production capacity by training new cartridge builders. Admittedly, we've been working on this for some years now, but the people that we are training as Mishima's apprentices need to make much more progress before they can be trusted to build (or rebuild) complete cartridges.

Two is that our older cartridge models get phased out of production not because we want to give the appearance of a fresh new product lineup every year so as to boost sales with a minimum of effort, but because I've figured out a better (and hopefully more interesting) way to build cartridges. The Lydian B was discontinued because it wasn't a good enough performer as compared to the "DC" generation (Clavis DC, Parnassus DCt, Helikon, Argo), and no longer justified its manufacturing time or costs.

If the areas of deficiency in a given design are are focused around the cantilever, stylus, coils, suspension, dampers, or even the magnets, the design can be brought up to date by changing the pertinent areas, and without too much difficulty. This was the case with the Argo i, Titan i, also the Helikon (although we never advertised that fact). By incorporating new technologies such as the Helikon Mono-derived 70x3um stylus, or the Dorian-inspired "i" suspension into existing cartridge models, we were able to add years to the product lives of the Argo, Titan and Helikon.

But when the areas of deficiency are mechanical or relate to the basic physical structure of the cartridge, it becomes far more difficult to update the design effectively. The problem with the Lydian B is that the physical structure is designed for a single large magnet and two iron polepieces, while all of our newer cartridges have two small magnets and a single non-conductive "magnet carrier" which has no magnetic properties at all. I don't think that it is possible to remake the Lydian B bodies into something that can accept the two small magnets and single magnet carrier that are the cornerstone of all "DC" designs (which include the Delos and Kleos).

The only time that I actually re-designed the mechanical structure of a prior-generation cartridge was with the Olympos, which was in essence a completely new cartridge designed around the platinum magnet and polepieces from the original blue Panassus. But that was done for a cartridge model that wasn't made in large quantities to begin with (blue Parnassus), it was done in a complex and labor-intensive manner (the body structure is machined titanium and exceeds the Titan's body in complexity), and we only made a handful of replacement bodies at a time. All of these factors resulted in quite high cost, which isn't what I believe Theo has in mind (grin).

If what is required is an update to the mechanical structure of the cartridge but doing so isn't practical, the possibilities of designing and implementing a realistic and convincing update are limited. At best, we could try to update the cantilever, coil core and windings, suspension and dampers, but although the resulting cartridge would likely sound better than the original, there is a good possibility that it still wouldn't measure up to the Dorian, let alone the Delos.

Is that amount of performance sufficient when Lyra's entry-level performance is defined by cartridges like the Delos? I'd say not, but OTOH my training as a designer is always to look for ways to improve things, and not be satisfied with a performance level that I've already reached in the past. Maybe I'm not the right person to answer the question (smile).

A third issue is how many returned cartridges we have in stock (to serve as the basis for the modified or rebuilt cartridge). It wouldn't make sense to do such a project for only 50 cartridge bodies (for example).

A fourth issue is the visual condition of the old cartridge bodies; what the new owners would be willing to accept vs. how much effort it would take to get the bodies into good condition (some cartridge bodies would be hopeless).

In any case, the dominant issue of how to increase our production capacity needs to be answered first, so I don't expect for us to be able to convert traded-in cartridges into factory-authorized pre-owned cartridges in the near future. Still, it is an interesting angle, and one that is very much worth keeping in mind for the future. I know that I sometimes look at boxes of trade-in bodies, or trays of unbuilt bodies of cartridge models that were phased out of production, or some of the cartridge prototypes that we've built over the years, and wonder if there aren't effective ways to rejuvenate them and put them back into service.

best, jonathan carr
Dear Rob:

More than any other cartridge model, I have been hesitant to design a successor to the Skala. Since it was only put into production in 2006, I would feel guilty about making Skala owners feel that their cartridge has been outmoded so soon. I know that it has now been 5 years since the Skala was introduced, but it still feels like a rather new model to me.

I would want some kind of request from Skala owners that they truly wanted a successor, or at least voices of assurance that they would be OK if I were to do so.

Also, Mishima has indicated that his hands are quite full with the Delos and Kleos, and he'd much prefer that I left the Skala as it is, rather than forcing him to learn the ins and outs of yet another new cartridge design. I believe that I'd have to get pretty creative with the carrot and stick to get him to go along with a Skala successor (grin).

Incidentally, although the "New Angle" 20-degree body and asymmetrical dampers as used on the Delos and Kleos are a given for any Skala successor, the basic structure of the Skala is so different from any other cartridge (Lyra or not) that the pre-stressed construction that is the heart of the Kleos body is ill-suited. Ergo, if I were to apply Kleos-like construction techniques to the Skala, it would be very hard to keep it recognizably in the Skala lineage.

I guess that I'd need to come up with a different structural approach that hasn't been done before.

cheers, jonathan
Thank you Jonathan for the detailed explanation concerning your various models. Intricate hand work does takes years to master.
Thank you for your replies Jonathan. But I do have one question. While I understand that you cart builder is a very busy man. I don't any reason to discontinue the production of the Dorian. If I understood it correctly the Dorian was outsourced. So it wouldn't burden your cartridge builder. The new Delos is more expensive then the Dorian so I don't understand why the Dorian isn't produced any more. Also I asked someone who sells Lyra if it would be an upgrade for me to buy a Delos. According to him the Delos sounds different from the Dorian but not better. He advised me against buying a Delos. To be fair he also didn't advise me on buying an other brand. He just told me not to buy anything untill the Dorian was worn out. The person who said this to me has no finacial intrest in me personally. He is a audio dealer but I haven't bought anything from him so far.
Mr. Carr thank you for you response to my question. Although it sad that many good cartridges are traded in and they are discarded before their usefull life is realized. I understand now, and it seems every industry has a "financial vs. production capacity bottleneck". And Lyra's future is best focused on the future. And again, I am sure that not only I, but we all appreciate the time you have spent here on this forum. I personnaly feel much better knowing that I have been doing business with a very consumer satisfaction driven company. If it were possible a full round of applause is due, a pleasure indeed.
That was an excellent advertising by Lyra. And it was free. Now everyone go buy something from them, money no longer matters because they deserve it.

"The person who said this to me has no finacial intrest in me personally."

Which you answered by saying:

"He is a audio dealer" And therefore needs to sell his stock of discontinued Dorians.

"The new Delos is more expensive then the Dorian so I don't understand why the Dorian isn't produced any more."

Mr. Carr explained that. They have enough trouble building enough of the new/current models to continue an old model. Even if they did not build it(is that documented?) in house, they still have the overhead of maintaining it as a product. Sometimes, as he said differently, you have to cost justify things. He also explained why they do not make a less expensive model.

Y'all be cool,

I alrady own a Dorian and I didn't by that from the dealer I talked to.

"In order to give their new entry-level model qualities of their upper tier cartridges at a base price Jonathan Carr had to come up with two firsts for Lyra: contrary to all other pickups the Dorian is not fully built and tuned by Mishima, rather, part of the work is done by one specialised subcontractor. Likewise, the stylus is not the usual Ogura, but an off-the-shelf Namiki fine line, a standard component often used my other cartridge manufacturers under the names 'microline' or 'microridge'."
Dear Mordante:

While the assembly of the Dorian was initially planned to be outsourced, this plan was cancelled while the cartridge was still in the prototype stage. Every production Dorian has shipped with Mishima's hands-on TLC.

The Dorian was originally planned to be a lower-cost cartridge, it was planned to be made in higher volumes, and it was planned to be not made by Mishima. To increase component volume and get individual component costs down, the mechanical components of the Dorian shared the same design as the Argo, and were made on the same machines. Anodizing was changed to a less sensitive color than the Argo (nothing is as aggravating as having a perfectly machined body get rendered unusable because of duff anodizing), and we specified a stylus that was as close in dimension and shape to the Argo, but off-the-shelf rather than a custom design (custom designs will always be more expensive).

However, the Dorian project suffered a setback in the assembly phase. I've written previously about what happened here

I kept all of the design aspects of the Dorian, but brought in Akiko Ishiyama as Mishima's apprentice-in-training. As she learned the craft of building MCs over the past 8 years, Akiko has gradually taken on more and more of the early assembly stages of the Dorian. Nonetheless, Mishima does all of the final assembly and voicing work which is critical to the performance and sound. This is true for each and every Dorian that has ever shipped.

The situation is the same with all of the Delos' - the basic assembly is done by Akiko, and the finishing, voicing and measuring is by Mishima. Actually, Akiko is now involved in some of the basic assembly work for the Kleos as well as the Delos, and she continues to do good work.

Since the Dorian was never outsourced, keeping it in our lineup would have indeed been an extra burden on Mishima (and Akiko).

Although the Dorian would still have been cheaper than the Delos if we had kept it in our lineup, rising material, energy, processing etc costs meant that it wouldn't have been much cheaper. I estimate that retail of the Dorian as it was would now need to be US$1300 or thereabouts, and that meant that it would clearly offered much less performance and sound quality for the money than when it was priced at under US$1000.

I didn't feel good about seeing the retail price rise without any accompanying increase in performance, so I pondered various ways to boost performance. OTOH it wouldn't have made sense to increase performance by throwing advanced materials or complex machining at the problem, as this would have bumped the resulting cartridge right out of its intended retail price target. Luckily I had the "New Angle" inspiration, and this made it possible to introduce a Dorian (and Argo) replacement with much-improved performance, for not much more than the Dorian would have ended up costing anyway.

As to how well the Delos performs in comparison to the Dorian, that is going to change depending on what kind of audio system you have and your setup skills. Also when it comes to subjective opinions, there is no wrong or right. Although I've heard (a very few) systems where there wasn't much to choose between the Dorian and Delos, by far and large, I find the Delos to perform at the Helikon class and above.

hth, jonathan carr
thank you for your detailed and precise explanations. I am a current Delos owner and have been bitten by the Lyra sound. I have previously owned cartidges from rega (Exact) and Dynavector (DV20XH). The Delos is my first LOMC and am enjoying it eminsely. Congratulations on an excellent design. What would be the next logical upgrade in the Lyra line and what Might I expect as trade-in value on my 3 month old cartridge?

03-05-11: Mofimadness
Jonathan Carr is one of the good guys in the industry. He's a straight shooter and tells it like it is. I, for one, appreciate his honesty.
i have to agree with this sentiment. i can't say that i fully understand everything that jonathan carr writes but i think that i understand most of what he writes. to my knowledge, the stuff that he writes tends to add up. in an industry that seems to operate so much on smoke and mirrors, i really appreciate someone who is willing to give you the straight scoop on the tradeoffs that drive his design decisions.

as to the skepticism expressed by elizabeth, my advice is that you should try to understand as much about this stuff as you possibly can - then you can approach this stuff as a more informed consumer. that is a more reliable position than to merely bemoan the presumed questions about the integrity of some dealers.

for my own part, i came across my delos cartridge from sorasound. at the time sorasound had an inventory of zyx cartridges that he was trying to unload but the dealer expressed a high regard for jonathan carr's work. sorasound may still have the inventory of zyx cartridges, so if you're looking for a zyx cartridge at a discount, that would be a good dealer to contact...
Interesting thread, and I'd like to thank you Mr Carr for taking the time to contribute with such detailed and thoughtful replies.

Can I ask a question - can Lyra rebuild/retip their carts.
Dear Miner:

Regarding trade-in value of a new-ish Delos, I honestly don't know, as each distributor sets their own pricing for retail, trade-ins, upgrades, rebuilds etc. The dealer that you bought the Delos from is probably the best person to ask.

Regarding the next step up for you, the quick answer is the Kleos at US$2700. But 3 months with a cartridge that you say you are happy with, and then onto the next one - IMO this is too quick.

Also, compared to the Delos, the Kleos is a lower-output cartridge, which will be more demanding on your phono stage, and it puts more mechanical energy into the tonearm and damps the headshell less, which means a bigger challenge for the tonearm. I don't know what turntable, tonearm or phono stage you are using, but unless they are up to the task, it could be that the Kleos leaves you less satisfied. I recall some Helikon users who upgraded to the Titan, and for them and their audio systems it turned out to be a downgrade, while I've previously pointed out in this thread that some users prefer the Delos over the Kleos in their systems.

If I were you, I'd listen to the Delos more, probably borrow a lower-output cartridge to see how your phono preamp gets along with it, and maybe borrow a lower-compliance cartridge to see how your tonearm likes it. If any of the results suggest that there could be problems or marginal results from the Kleos in your system as it is now, I'd then look into alternative phono stages and/or tonearms which could do better. These wouldn't necessarily need to be new - something like a second-hand Graham 2.2 or Triplanar could be pretty nice.

I believe that an upgraded phono stage or tonearm could be a more effective path for you now than the Kleos, as these would give you a better foundation for performance improvements in the future, regardless of whichever phono cartridge you ultimately decided was the one for you.

It could be a result of my engineering background, but I get a lot of pleasure from figuring out how to squeeze out the absolute maximum performance that I can from my gear. Only when I'm satisfied that I've extracted pretty much everything there is to be had from a component will I think about its replacement.

I'd also suggest that you take your time. Unless you have lots of income to dispose on audio, unhurried, carefully considered decisions are likely to get you farther and give you more ultimate satisfaction (and for less outlay).

I'm not saying that you shouldn't consider a cartridge upgrade, but hopefully I've shown that there are other issues and options that you may want to think about first.

kind regards, jonathan carr
Good points Mr. Carr and I appreciate your honesty. I have nothing too elaborate - a Rega P9 TT (RB1000 arm) and I use the MC phono stage in my McIntosh C2300 preamp which has adjustable loading of 25, 50, 100, 200, 500 and 1000 ohms by use of remote from listening position. Currently I am using 100 ohm loading with my Delos.
Another thanks for the insightful input from J Carr despite the negativity from some in this thread.
Mr. Carr - I am DELIGHTED with my LYRA Dorian cartridge and with your superb technical support.

My Dorian is now 5 years old and presently back in Japan for a "tune-up" as my washi-paper got dirty and I felt it needed replacing.
It literally has been a joy and so cost effective from a phono cart mfr that absolutely stands behind its product like no other - period!
I have a VERY early Dorian (0098) which I purchased brand new as a "leap of faith" on the recommendation from Frank Schroder for my then brand new Model 2 tonearm. What a bargain!!
Over the years the Dorian has climbed in price a bit and I WISH I could afford the new Delos but my Dorian just keeps on chugging along and certainly competes with much more expensive carts.
Lastly, the "stylus guard" is a sheer work of genius and perfection! It is so easy to use, robust and effective.
It truly could teach a lesson all by itself to other MC cartridge mfrs! I'm a LYRA MC cart addict!!
Mr Jcarr answered all questioners in a well forth-rightly manner. I hope to soon be joining the high ranking Lyra owners club.
I just want to share that I just replaced my old Argo to my new Delos. I haven't installed it yet but I'm looking forward to hear the big difference. I'm really happy with my Argo so hopefully I will be even more happier with the Delos.