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Kartridge dilemma


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Evenin' all.  In a moment of madness, I've decided to get a backup cartridge as I won't be able to afford to replace my Lyra Argo i when it finally gives up the ghost.  My thoughts are:

1.  Used Troika body and get it rebuilt by Goldring

2  Used Akiva body and get it rebuilt by Goldring

3.  New Krystal

Options 1 and 2 will be about 1/2 of option 3.

My inclination is to go with option 1 as I really miss that original Linn/Supex sound, but I wonder if anyone has any experience comparing any pair (or all three) of these?

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Just my experience. 
My penultimate replacement was Akiva with another Akiva. Both had been bought s/h from two Linn dealers. Both had been listened naked as mounted by them. When I was using the second one, I decided to go for a refurbish of the first one. Torlai here in Italy made it. Same Ogura cantilever/stylus. 
I had to replace the second Akiva during the lock down last year and for the first time made it by myself with the help of a dealer on the phone😬.

Obviously the refurbished Akiva was mounted dressed. Now it  has been running for around 200 h.  This third iteration is the best Akiva sound I’ve heard in my system.

If you’re confident about Goldring, I would go for the refurbish way. 

Edited by Bertox
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8 hours ago, sktn77a said:

Evenin' all.  In a moment of madness, I've decided to get a backup cartridge as I won't be able to afford to replace my Lyra Argo i when it finally gives up the ghost.  My thoughts are:

1.  Used Troika body and get it rebuilt by Goldring

2  Used Akiva body and get it rebuilt by Goldring

3.  New Krystal

Options 1 and 2 will be about 1/2 of option 3.

My inclination is to go with option 1 as I really miss that original Linn/Supex sound, but I wonder if anyone has any experience comparing any pair (or all three) of these?

I'd go Lyra Delos it'll be more affordable but still have that signature sound and the trade in allowance will continue.

Refurb might be ok for nostalgia but they're never the same as original.

Hope this helps.😎👍🏻

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I'd also go with a Delos -  the trade in makes it very difficult to ignore. The Delos does require pin point accuracy in set up (I know, they all do - but this is especially true with the Delos). Is your Ekos and Ekos, Ekos, SE or SE II? The reason that I ask is that there is very little room on my Ekos 2 and the Delos only just fits. It goes on - but it requires cartridge tag origami. I've done a couple now and my current one was really tight. The previous one was marginally easier and I suspect on the old one (which was pre owned) the stylus tip to rear of body had reduced over time (we are talking 100-200um here being the difference between space between the tabs and no space between the tabs).

Once you get it to fit though, and find the sweet spot (for me this is 1.75g VTF, an absolutely parallel arm to a 180g pressing and antiskate around 1.5 ( there is more tolerance on the anti skate) the Delos is wonderful on the Ekos. I have my  Uphorik set as if the cartridge was a Krystal - works well there.

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I also had my Akiva rebuilt by Roberto Torlai and I can really recommend it. Price was about 620,- incl. postage. Not so sure about Goldring with Akiva, I would trust them with a Troika or a Krystal, but not with the Akiva. See Bertox' comment about exactly the same cantilever + diamond as in the original.

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I too love the 'Supex Sound'.

I went from a Troika to a Krystal (having listened to rebuilt Troikas that didn't come anywhere near the original).

The Krystal, once it beds in (takes about 30 hrs), sounds like a Troika but with more. Not for nothing does Peter at Cymbiosis call it the 'Silver Troika).

Edited by DebsE
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3 hours ago, Dasher said:

Is your Ekos and Ekos, Ekos, SE or SE II? The reason that I ask is that there is very little room on my Ekos 2 and the Delos only just fits. It goes on - but it requires cartridge tag origami. I've done a couple now and my current one was really tight.

It's an Ekos II.  I didn't have any problems with the Argo so I expect the Delos would fit, too, were I to go that route.  I feel the Kleos is more representative of the Argo i than the Delos and that is just too much money.

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I don't know the Argo at all but I do recall at the time of the release of the Delos 8 or 9 years ago  that Argo users were switching to the Delos when the time for replacement arrived. The Kleos is very nice but significantly more money as you say. The Delos itself is at the top, price wise of the Krystal, XX2, Hana ML grouping as it is. The trade in scheme is very valuable!

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Super Wammer

I have had both a Delos and a Krystal and if given the choice again I would choose the Delos without any doubt at all.  There is also the fact that you will get something for your Argo as a trade in.  This would not be the case with any of your other options.  The trade in of a Delos for another Delos when the time arrives in the future would also be advantageous as Lyra has one of the most generous trade in schemes there is.  I personally would not be keen to go down the rebuild route.

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Well, the Argo is fine for now, and for the foreseeable future, so I'm not intending to trade it in (the US trade-in value is $200-$400 off the $2000 Delos).  Plus, while I like the clarity and analytical nature of the Lyra cartridges, I just have a hankerin' for that old, lush, Supex sound.  No accounting for taste, eh (?!)  I was hoping someone had compared these cartridges at some point but I guess that's nigh on an impossibility in this day and age.  :(

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If you are looking for a slightly warmer sounding cartridge than a Lyra ( and there is absolutely nothing wrong with that!) I would suggest a listen to a Benz. They are now once again up and running and the new Zebra model is very good. I would probably take it over a Delos. The upper models, like the Ruby and the LPS MR are also very good, maybe more than what you want to budget though.

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On 16/10/2021 at 08:01, DebsE said:

I too love the 'Supex Sound'.

I went from a Troika to a Krystal (having listened to rebuilt Troikas that didn't come anywhere near the original).

The Krystal, once it beds in (takes about 30 hrs), sounds like a Troika but with more. Not for nothing does Peter at Cymbiosis call it the 'Silver Troika).

Krystal all the way. No comparison.  One sounds like music and the other didn't.   Had a Delos...sold it after a month.  I know it has its followers but don't know why compared to the Krystal.   You can lecture me about how maybe it wasn't set up or loaded correctly on my system but all I know is that I was warned about the Lyra, took a dealer's word for it and was very disappointed...

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2 hours ago, mskaye said:

Krystal all the way. No comparison.  One sounds like music and the other didn't.   Had a Delos...sold it after a month.  I know it has its followers but don't know why compared to the Krystal.   You can lecture me about how maybe it wasn't set up or loaded correctly on my system but all I know is that I was warned about the Lyra, took a dealer's word for it and was very disappointed...

The new Lyra’s get a lot of undeserved bad press…mainly because they are, at least IME, extremely sensitive to ultra precise set up and synergy between the phono stage and the upstream gear. If you get the new models even the slightest bit wrong in set up, you will hear everything that the naysayers state…and more! The new angle technology is something that I think is in some ways responsible for this. Even the slightest error in azimuth or VTF will result in a bright and unpleasant sound. Then we have to add in the correct loading, which in many cases seems to be around 750 ohms..which a lot of phono stages cannot accommodate. BUT, get it all dialed in, and again IME, the cartridge will sing…although the new models will never be confused for a warm sounding cartridge…like a Koetsu, or a Benz.

Edited by Daveyf
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10 hours ago, Daveyf said:

The new Lyra’s get a lot of undeserved bad press…mainly because they are, at least IME, extremely sensitive to ultra precise set up and synergy between the phono stage and the upstream gear. If you get the new models even the slightest bit wrong in set up, you will hear everything that the naysayers state…and more! The new angle technology is something that I think is in some ways responsible for this. Even the slightest error in azimuth or VTF will result in a bright and unpleasant sound. Then we have to add in the correct loading, which in many cases seems to be around 750 ohms..which a lot of phono stages cannot accommodate. BUT, get it all dialed in, and again IME, the cartridge will sing…although the new models will never be confused for a warm sounding cartridge…like a Koetsu, or a Benz.

100% agree with this. It takes time to get it right, but at least VTF isn't difficult and the Lyra suggestion (on a Delos) works. VTA (on a Linn arm) is more tricky but I've found that if I get it absolutely parallel on a thick LP then there is enough forgiveness to be able to use really thin ones too. This doesn't work the other way around - if the arm slopes down towards the pivot then the SQ just falls way.

The fortunate thing about cartridges at this price point is that there is a reasonable choice and the all have different signatures and so personal choice can likely be easily satisfied. I don't buy the 'one is better than the other' but I do agree that they all present the same thing differently.

I've not seen or heard the new Benz - but are they diminutive enough to fit on an Ekos (non SE2) headshell?

Edited by Dasher
typo correction
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