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Lyra Helikon Review

Discussion in 'Turntables' started by audiomagnate, Jan 23, 2014.

  1. audiomagnate

    audiomagnate Addicted Member

    Messages:
    6,574
    Location:
    Atlanta
    This cartridge has been discontinued, but it's new to me so I thought I would review it. I know it has very low hours as this is actually a local fiend of mine's, and I know his listening habits.

    I have it hooked up in my Phase Linear PL-8000II and lets just say it doesn't sound like anything I've ever had in there before. I've had an Ortofon Red M in there previously and haven't been to impressed with the sound of my records. With the Helikon, it really doesn't sound like a "record player" anymore. The noise is there if you listen for it, but it really sounds like you're hearing all the way through to the recording, and that the record isn't even part of the experience any more (and most of my records aren't in perfect shape). I've heard this exact Helikon in my buddy's crazy expensive rig and always thought it was the $5,000 table and the $10,000 preamp, but I'm using a $350 table and a $150 preamp!

    It sounds so much more like a good clean high bit rate digital recording, but with a wispy but sharp high end that is impossible to describe. This cartridge is orders of magnitude better than anything I've ever had in my phono system. The deep bass is just amazing. I've owned a few moving coils in the past, but I've never heard records sound like this IN MY SYSTEM. I always use MOG or my WMA lossless files to demo, or even SACD, but now many records are "demo quality." I can't wait to get the VPI set up properly and hear what it sounds like in there.

    I knew records could sound this good, but I didn't think they could sound this good with such cheap (except for the cartridge) equipment.
     

     

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  2. awise1961

    awise1961 Super Member

    Messages:
    1,959
    Location:
    Nashua, NH.
    Welcome to the world of high end cartridges. You are going to rue this day.
    Now that you have been bitten by the bug, no lesser cartridge will ever do.
    I've had my Helikon for some time now. It is indeed a wonderful cartridge. Detailed highs, deep bass, great soundstage. My Transfiguration Temper Supreme beats it out ever so slightly with a little more drive, but that's only my opinion. I periodically change back and forth between the two in my main system just for the sake of it. I also have a Koetsu Black, but I like the Helikon better.
    Both the Lyra and the Transfiguration are dynamic whereas the Koetsu is smooth and romantic, if that makes sense.
    Enjoy the Helikon.
    I believe in tuning a system from the point closest to the media, and working from there towards the speakers.
    Now, you'll want to upgrade your phono pre, then your preamp, then, then, etc...
    Oh what a slippery slope you have placed yourself on:D


    Al. Wise
     
  3. SteveA

    SteveA Super Member

    Messages:
    1,075
    Location:
    Wellington, New Zealand
    Oh so true.

    And yes, welcome to discovering you have a whole new vinyl collection that looks quite familiar but doesn't really sound quite like the collection you remember having.

    There is a good chance that, good as it is now, you will find a whole lot more in that cartridge if/when you further upgrade your turntable. I found that when I moved my Dynavector XX2 Mk2 from a Pioneer PL-71 to the Versalex.

    But that is all just part of the trap you have now walked in to.

    Steve
     
    Last edited: Jan 23, 2014
  4. crossram

    crossram Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    680
    Congrats on your Helikon, audiomagnate. It is nice to read about high-end MCs here on AK. Al Wise, I see you have the Transfiguration Temper Supreme. Any experience with the Orpheus?

    Dave
     
    Last edited: Jan 24, 2014
  5. Tedrick

    Tedrick Infinity-phile Subscriber

    Messages:
    7,047
    Location:
    Gainesville, FL
    You think it sounds good, now, just wait until you get it dialed in on your VPI. You are in for a real treat.

    Congrats!
     
  6. Grbluen

    Grbluen AK Subscriber Subscriber

    Messages:
    2,344
    Congrats on your Helikon, I have always lusted for that cartridge. I still hope to have one someday.
     

     

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  7. awise1961

    awise1961 Super Member

    Messages:
    1,959
    Location:
    Nashua, NH.
    No, I've never heard the Orpheus. I'm almost afraid to.
    I understand it's quite the cartridge.


    Al. Wise
     
  8. Mister Pig

    Mister Pig Pigamus Maximus Subscriber

    Messages:
    10,489
    Location:
    Olympia Washington
    Congratulations on your new cartridge! A friend of mine has one, along with a Dynavector 17D3 and Sumiko Blackbird. He enjoys the Lyra, and does not hear any significant differences between it and the Dyna on his SOTA Sapphire and SME M29 combo. \

    It is mind boggling to so many people on the "outside" that we would spend so much money on something so small as a cartridge. But for most of us all that doubting goes by the wayside once you hear a record played on a top flight analog rig with a great cartridge. I believe you have to have the arm and table to support such a cartridge, and get all it has to offer.

    Enjoy your Lyra! It is great when you get something special. Like the others have said, it is hard to turn back once you got an outstanding cartridge.

    Regards
    Mister Pig
     
  9. crossram

    crossram Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    680
    Thanks Al Wise. I received a nearly new Orpheus L today and set it up on my TNT/ET Two rig, replacing a Shelter 901 I borrowed from a friend. This is my first experience with a $6k-range cartridge in my system. All I can say is HOLY COW! I'm sure that I don't have the VTA and loading perfectly dialed in yet, but already the sheer amount of natural detail and spacial & harmonic information I hear from this cartridge is breathtaking. The sound has a musicality, a delicacy, and a precision of transient attack that I have not heard before from reproduced music. Quite the cartridge indeed.

    Sorry for my minor hijacking of your thread, audiomagnate. :eek:

    Dave
     

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