Lyra Etna SL cartridge Lab Report

This 'naked' but rigidly-constructed cartridge offers just about the best combination of extended response, low distortion, generator uniformity and trackability that I've measured in years, if not decades. Its 285µV output (re. 1kHz at 5cm/sec into 50-200ohm) is on target and the stereo separation is quite spectacular at close to 40dB through the midrange, even though the channel balance is slightly wayward at 0.55dB. The response extends up to 30kHz, the Etna SL engineered to fine tolerances of ±1dB over a full 20Hz-7kHz and ±2dB to 20kHz (vertical). The symmetry between lateral and vertical responses is deeply impressive [see Graph 1], with just a hint of a treble lift bringing a little extra brilliance to images across a very uniform soundfield. Distortion, too, is tightly controlled through bass, midrange and presence at <2-3% with both L+R and L–R cuts, the peak at 10kHz simply a reflection of the Etna SL's very extended ultrasonic response [see Graph 2].


Frequency response curves (–8dB re. 5cm/sec) lateral (L+R, black) versus vertical (L–R, red)

Lateral (L+R, black infill) and vertical (L–R, red) tracing and generator distortion (2nd-4th harmonics) vs. frequency from 20Hz-20kHz (–8dB re. 5cm/sec)

Moreover, the Etna SL tracks like it's on rails, sailing through the maximum 80µm groove pitch and clearing the +18dB test (315Hz lateral cut, re. 11.2μm) at a mere 0.5% THD. If this sounds unlikely for an MC secured by a mere 1.75g downforce that's because its dynamic compliance is a much softer 'MM-like' 30cu, rather than the 12cu quoted by Lyra. VTA, also, is closer to 26o than the claimed 20o. Taking into account the Etna's 9.2g bodyweight, a 10-11g effective mass arm like the SME V yields a low 6Hz resonance, indicating that lower mass arms might be better suited. Fortunately, because the Etna's mechanism is very well controlled at resonance (the peak is very low Q and extending upwards to 9Hz), no extra damping is required. PM

Generator type/weight: Moving-coil / 9.2g
Recommended tracking force: 1.68-1.78mN (1.75mN)
Sensitivity/balance (re. 5cm/sec): 285µV / 0.55dB
Compliance (vertical/lateral): 30cu / 35cu
Vertical tracking angle: 26 degrees
L/R Tracking ability: >80μm / >80μm
L/R Distortion (–8dB, 20Hz-20kHz): 0.65–9.9% / 0.55–9.5%
L/R Frequency resp. (20Hz-20kHz): –1.0 to +3.1dB / –1.1 to +5.2dB
Stereo separation (1kHz / 20kHz): 38dB / 28dB
Price: £6495

Lyra Co. Ltd
Tokyo, Japan
Supplied by: Symmetry, Herts
01727 865488