Single-Layer Winding for Lower Mass: Japanese-Made, Hand-Built Lyra Atlas SL Lamba MC Phono Cartridge Plays with Uncanny Resolution, Transparency, Accuracy, and Detail
With the Lyra Atlas SL Lamda MC phono cartridge, distinguished from its sibling by way of a single-layer winding for increased detail and resolution, you're not just listening to records. You're sharing in the artists' visions and experiences. By literally misplacing the "barriers" to great sound present in all cartridges, the state-of-the-art Atlas SL Lamda achieves a number of important sonic 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 Lambda with wondrous purity and a determined sense of purpose that will leave you breathless.
Individually tuned for optimal uniformity and inspected multiple times to ensure perfection, this remarkably innovative, Japanese-made, asymmetric moving-coil design is the culmination of Lyra chief engineer Jonathan Carr's quest to refine the company's approach to cartridge suspension and damper systems. By optimizing Atlas' costly materials and construction to better match its diamond-coated boron rod boron cantilever, Atlas SL Lambda delivers musical information with ravishing speed and transparency. You'll feel transported to the original recorded event when you hear how this cutting-edge tracker mines the grooves of your favorite albums and presents the heart and soul of each LP.
So, what's the story behind the big leap forward? Being utter perfectionists, Carr and Lyra master cartridge builder Yoshinori Mishima were never entirely satisfied with how the pickups handled the never-ending stream of vibrational energy that plagues all cartridge assemblies. Extensive listening sessions and scientific analysis revealed the screws and voids in earlier designs became a source of internal reflections and provoked sympathetic resonances due the remaining vibrational energy. Carr then spent years striving to circumvent such vestigial vibrations. Amazingly, Atlas SL Lambda completely banishes them.
By separating the tapered dampers of Lyra's innovative New Angle design into flat elastomers, Atlas SL Lambda halts vibrations and prevents them from reaching the rest of your system. An ingenious support "pillow" was also created to serve as the cantilever preloading element. Suffice it to say, this is a moving-coil cartridge like no other. Let Atlas SL Lambda's incredible speed, stunning detail, and authoritative stability show you just how close to the recorded event your favorite records can bring you.
"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, Class A Recommended Component
"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 and Editors' Choice Awards
Enhanced Resolution, Deeper Details: Differences Between Atlas Lambda and Atlas SL Lambda
Atlas SL Lambda 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 Lambda 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 Lambda 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.
Why Asymmetric Construction Matters to the Sound You Hear
Atlas SL Lambda's asymmetric construction offsets the front magnet carrier and its associated mounting system so that it is no longer is in line with the cantilever assembly. This opens up a direct, solid path between the cantilever assembly and tonearm head shell so that vibrations from the cantilever can be quickly drained away once they have been converted into electrical signals.
Optimal Performance: "New Angle" Technology and Seamless Cantilever Connection
Atlas SL Lambda 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. The approach equalizes out discrepancies in vertical and horizontal compliance, and enables Atlas Lambda'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 head shell. Its effectiveness has been further enhanced as a result of the asymmetrical structure. Control over spurious resonance is also aided by the use of a narrowed mounting area, which couples Atlas Lambda more tightly to the head shell and facilitates the transfer of vibrational energy into the tonearm.
Incredible Rigidity, Authoritative Tracking, Ultra-Low Distortion, Sublime Efficiency
While Atlas SL Lambda retains the yoke-less 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 takes 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 Further Lessen Resonances
Atlas SL Lambda 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 Lambda'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.
Builder: Yoshinori Mishima
Type: Medium weight, medium compliance, low-impedance moving coil cartridge
Stylus: Lyra-designed long-footprint variable-radius line-contact nude diamond (3μm× 70μm), 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: single layer, 6 N high-purity copper, chemically-purified high-purity iron cross-shaped former, 1.52 ohm self-impedance, 1.9μH inductance
Output voltage: 0.25mV@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× 10 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
Cartridge weight (without stylus cover): 11.6 g
Distance from mounting holes to stylus tip: 9.5 mm
Recommended tracking force: 1.65〜1.75 g (1.72 g recommended)
Recommended load directly into MC phono input: Determine by listeing
Recommended load via step-up transformer: 1〜10 ohm (connect step-up transformer’s output to 10kohm〜47kohm MM-level RIAA input, preferably via short, low capacitance cable)
Recommended tonearm: High-quality pivoted or linear (tangential) tonearm with rigid bearing(s), adjustable anti-skating force, preferably VTA adjustment