for the past few years I have used Ortofon Quintet Bronze on an SME309 on a Gyrodeck. Its a decent enough cartridge but a bit rolled off in the highs and has a bit of a laid back presentation which works well on some albums but less so for more guitar based rock. I was craving a bit more bit, attack and excitement . There are lots of carts out there but getting to hear them is sometimes a bit tricky
I figured that as the cartridge might realistically have 6months life left in it and thought that it was time to consider a new cartridge. A few weeks ago I ventured up to Audio T in Reading where they let me hear three carts : Audionote IQ3, Rega Ania Pro and a Hanna Ml all on their Rega RP9 .
I had heard the Rega cart before and thought that was likely to be the winner however, it seemed really harsh and smudged compared with the other two , The Hana had a high treble extension which was controlled and lots of air and space m it was smooth across the full range but lacked something, I am not sure what the right term is ,to me it lacked a bit of bite and the bass seemed a bit lean. the Audionote had plenty of punch and attack and whilst lacking the same treble resolution was a lot of fun. I found the Audionote whilst not as hi fi as the Hanna was certainly a lot more exciting with the music I was playing ( mostly rock and some complex prog)
The Hanna at £1030 was at the top of my budget however, I ended up receiving a backdated pay award and now have enough spare cash to splash.
At the weekend I was meeting friends for afternoon tea at the Wallace collection and wandered into KJ West One who extolled the virtues of the Lyra Delos. Claiming that it was one of the best sub £2k carts out there. So I have a demo booked in two weeks time for that. I will ask if they can let me hear the similarly priced Dynavector XX2
I suspect a new phono stage will be in the works for next year
I have the same deck and arm - I listened to both the Lyra and the Dynavectors, could have lived with either but following the dealers’ advice I also heard the Linn Krystal which to my surprise sounded better than the others. Mine is set up via a Naim Superline so the impedance etc could be tailored to the cartridge. If you are near a Linn dealer I’d suggest having a listen.
I have just had a Dynavector XX2 installed on my LP12-Ittok by John K at Brighton Audio-T, upgrading from a 10X5. It is better in all areas, bass deeper, tighter and cleaner. Mids and tops are also cleaner, and better articulated, and stereo imagery is improved. It gives a really engaging listening experience in my system. Took a day or so to fully bed down and needed bias tweaking a bit to get the best from it. Currently just listening to it and will probably do some more tweaking at the weekend to see if I can get it any better.
I’m convinced that the ARO is a lovely arm but it’s definitely not for me. Much too wobbly. I much prefer the solidity of the Ittok and I believe that the Ittok and ARO are poles apart in terms of cartridge compatibility. I tried a Vertere DG1 a few months ago and it sounded lovely but the arm suspension is just something I don’t think I could live with. It does the job, but in an even more wobbly way than the ARO. Maybe wobbly is the right way for SQ but not for me I’m afraid
I ventured over to KJ West One where they had the Lyra on a Brinkman Bardo and a set of Sonus faber stand mounts.
The Delos was certainly exciting, with plenty of bite and attack with guitars, it was a touch lean with the low end a little rolled off. Wide soundstage, with vocals being driven out with great energy. It was a very dynamic and vivid sounding cart
We then tried the Dynavector which sounded a bit congested in comparison and little more relaxed. the treble lacked quite the same extension. compared with the Lyra it sounded like everything was dialled down. However, the bass was a lot fuller. The Dynavector sounded a touch warmer
I thought they sounded more exciting than the Hana which was kind of smooth and easy but made my copy of Zeppelin 2 sound a bit laid back.
When I set off on this adventure I resolved to spend no more than £850 so I am not sure how or why I decided on the Lyra. But well, here I am
Much to my surprise the dealer was so taken in with one of the albums I played that he went onto discogs and ordered himself a coy. That is a first for me
Was it this one you got in the end. We have similar musical tastes - rock and complex prog. I current have the AT OC9, wondering if the Delos might have the detail and more of the wham slam and punch that rock needs?