Super-Low-Output Lyra Atlas SL Plays Vinyl With Exceptional Naturalism and Exacting Precision: Reference MC Phono Cartridge Delivers Beguiling Levels of Resolution, Detail, and Tonality
Lyra’s extraordinary Atlas SL MC phono cartridge features a revolutionary new asymmetric design that helps allow this hand-made design to play with an effortlessness, energy, speed, naturalism, and precision that redefines what is possible from analog performance. By literally misplacing the “barriers” to great sound present in all cartridges, Atlas SL achieves a number of important performance benefits. Different-shaped structures on the left and right sides of the body suppress the formation of standing waves within, resulting in a significant reduction of resonance-induced colorations. Music comes through Atlas SL with a greater purity and sense of purpose than that of most every other cartridge in existence. With Atlas SL, you’re not just listening to records. You’re sharing in the artists’ visions and experiences.
“To my mind, Lyra has done a superb job of balancing transparency with purity, palpability with accuracy, to create a listening experience that is seldom less than mesmerizing.”
—Jacob Heilbrunn, The Absolute Sound, July/August 2018
“The Lyra Atlas SL is a cartridge that does not sacrifice midrange beauty and instrumental harmonics for detail and clarity, yet transparency and resolution are probably its greatest strengths. It is accurate in recreating what lies buried in the grooves but is never edgy, cold or mechanical.”
Enhanced Resolution and Deeper Details: The Differences Between Lyra Atlas and Atlas SL
Available only by special order, Atlas SL is a super-low output (0.2mV) version of Atlas featuring a single-layer winding that reduces by half the moving mass, netting increased detail and enhanced resolution. Due to the reduced output, Atlas SL requires a high-gain phono preamplifier capable of 64dB of gain or a step-up transformer designed for cartridges of 2-3 ohms or less. While Atlas SL is definitely not for all users, those with the proper components will experience the added benefits of extra purity, more pristine tones, and deeper details.
“The Lyra Atlas transmitted and released energy with alarming speed, leaving no residue to rattle around, repeat, cloud, or confuse the next musical instant. Images just ‘popped’ in space. Bass, taut and nimble, dug all the way down. The Atlas’s overall sound was positively effortless.”
– Michael Fremer, Stereophile
Why Asymmetric Construction Matters to the Sound You Hear
Atlas SL’s asymmetric construction offsets the front magnet carrier and its associated mounting system so that it is no longer in line with the cantilever assembly. This opens up a direct, solid path between the cantilever assembly and tonearm headshell so that vibrations from the cantilever can be quickly drained away once they have been converted into electrical signals.
“This is a stunning achievement, an explosively dynamic cartridge that boasts rock-solid imaging and a smooth treble. It also plumbs the nether regions with tremendous accuracy. The Atlas has game…not a cartridge that will leave you shrugging your shoulders, but, rather, gaping in amazement.”
– The Absolute Sound, Golden Ear Award
Optimal Performance: “New Angle” Technology and Seamless Cantilever Connection
Atlas SL uses Lyra’s “New Angle” technology, which mechanically pre-biases the signal coils so that they are perfectly aligned to the front and rear magnets during LP playback. This equalizes out discrepancies in vertical and horizontal compliance, and enables the Atlas SL’s coils to move with equal ease in all directions for optimal performance. Lyra also remains the only cartridge manufacturer to mount the cantilever assembly directly into the cartridge body, thereby achieving a totally seamless, rigid connection between the cantilever assembly and headshell. Its effectiveness has been further enhanced as a result of the asymmetrical structure. Control over spurious resonance is also assisted by the use of a narrowed mounting area, which couples the Atlas SL more tightly to the headshell and facilitates the transfer of vibrational energy into the tonearm.
Incredible Rigidity, Authoritative Tracking, Ultra-Low Distortion, Sublime Efficiency
While Atlas SL retains the yokeless dual-magnet system, diamond-coated boron rod cantilever, and variable-radius line-contact stylus of the Lyra Titan, the rigidity of the double knife-edge cantilever assembly mounting structure is increased and the signal coil system completely new. Rather than a square, the coil former is in the shape of an X, which allows each channel to operate with greater independence from the other. The result: Better tracking, tighter channel matching, improved separation, and lower distortion due to crosstalk. At the same time, Lyra increased both the performance and efficiency of the generator coils. This reduction in mass further improves tracking performance, while the enhanced output and electrical characteristics allow phono preamplifiers to perform more efficiently.
Contact and Non-Contact Machining to Further Lessen Resonances
Atlas SL uses a body meticulously carved from a solid billet of titanium via a process that involves both contact (for the exterior) and non-contact machining (for the interior body structures). By making most of Atlas SL’s body surfaces non-parallel (avoiding dimensions that are multiples of other dimensions), and adding a pre-stressed phase-interference resonance-controlling system, resonances are further inhibited.
Type: Medium weight, medium compliance, low-impedance, low-output moving coil cartridge
Stylus: Lyra-designed long-footprint variable-radius line-contact nude diamond (3um x 70um profile, block dimensions 0.08 x 0.12 x 0.5mm), slot-mounted
Cantilever system: Diamond-coated solid boron rod with short one-point wire suspension, directly mounted into cartridge body via high-pressure knife-edge system
Coils: 2-layer deep, 6 N high-purity copper, chemically-purified high purity iron X-shaped former, 1.52 ohm self-impedance, 1.9μH inductance
Output voltage: 0.25 mV@5 cm/sec., zero to peak, 45 degrees (CBS test record, other test records may alter results)
Frequency range: 10 Hz-50 kHz
Channel separation: 35 dB or better at 1 kHz
Compliance: Approx. 12 X10 cm/dyne at 100 Hz
Vertical tracking angle: 20 degrees
Cartridge body: One-piece machining from solid titanium billet, with reduced-surface higher-pressure headshell contact area, predominately non-parallel and asymmetrical shaping, phase-
interference resonance-controlling mechanism, and body threaded directly for mounting screws
Cartridge mounting screws: 2.6 mm 0.45 pitch JIS standard
Distance from mounting holes to stylus tip: 9.52mm
Cartridge weight (without stylus cover): 11.6g
Recommended tracking force: 1.65 ~ 1.78g (1.72g recommended)
Recommended load directly into MC phono input: Determine by listening,
Recommended load via step-up transformer: Use a step-up transformer designed for 2 – 3 ohms cartridge impedance. The transformer output must be connected to standard 47kohm MM-level
RIAA input, preferably via short, low-capacitance cable
Recommended tonearms: High-quality pivoted or linear tangential tonearms with rigid bearing(s), adjustable anti-skating force, preferably VTA
Based in Tokyo, LYRA is headed by Stig Bjorge from Norway, with American design engineer Jonathan Carr, and Japanese master craftsman Yoshinori Mishima making cartridges and supervising production. All products are manufactured in Japan with microscopic attention to detail under the direct supervision of these three. LYRA products are characterized by advanced design engineering allied with Japanese artisanal craftsmanship and build quality.