For many analog enthusiasts, Lyra’s flagship $9,500 Atlas moving-coil phono cartridge represents the Holy Grail of vinyl playback. Like the Atlas, the $6,995 moving-coil Lyra Etna—the newest addition to the Tokyo company’s cartridge lineup—delivers boundless dynamic range and incredible sonic control. The work of the U.S.-born, Japan-based design engineer Jonathan Carr and the Japanese cartridge craftsman Yoshinori Mishima, the Etna features much of the same technology and design elements as the Atlas, including an asymmetric body shape. But where the Atlas body is machined from a solid billet of titanium, the Etna has a machined solid-titanium core with a duralumin outer body.
Carr has been a strong supporter of duralumin for use in phono cartridges, saying that the material offers “supreme resonance control and greater low-level detail retrieval.” A quick listen of the new Etna confirms this. And while the cartridge delivers high levels of sonic transparency and rapid detail retrieval, it does not lose the music’s most delicate nuances. Combining this with perfect, natural tonality that never feels strained, the Lyra Etna offers a level of audio quality that only the most ardent audiophiles will be able to discern from the legendary Atlas. The Etna will indeed be at home mated to any of the world’s finest tonearms and turntables. (www.lyraanalog.com)