Stereophile Class A Rated AND The Absolute Sound's Golden Ear Award winner!
Lyra's new flagship phono cartridge, the Atlas, features a revolutionary new asymmetric design. By literally misplacing the "barriers" to great sound that are present in every other cartridge today, the Lyra Atlas achieves a number of important performance benefits. Different-shaped structures on the left and right sides of the cartridge body suppress the formation of standing waves within, resulting in a significant reduction of resonance-induced colorations. Music comes through the Atlas with a greater purity and sense of purpose than standard-model MC cartridges are capable of producing.
"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
The Atlas'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, again suppressing induced resonances.
The Atlas 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 when LP playback takes place. This equalizes out discrepancies in vertical and horizontal compliance, and enables the Atlas's coils to move with equal ease in all directions for optimal performance.
Lyra 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. The effectiveness of this system has been enhanced as a result of the asymmetrical structure of the Atlas. Control over spurious resonance is further assisted by the use of a narrowed mounting area, which couples the Atlas more tightly to the headshell and facilitates the transfer of vibrational energy into the tonearm.
While the Atlas retains the yokeless dual magnet system, diamond-coated boron rod cantilever, and variable-radius line-contact stylus of the Titan, the rigidity of the double knife-edge cantilever assembly mounting structure has been increased, and the signal coil system is 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. This gives better tracking, tighter channel matching, improved separation, and lower distortion due to crosstalk.
At the same time Lyra was able to increase both the performance and efficiency of the generator coils. The Atlas has 12% higher output voltage than the Titan, but accomplishes this while reducing the amount of wire in the coils by 22%. This reduction in mass further improves tracking performance, while the enhanced output and electrical characteristics allow phono stages to perform more efficiently.
As with the Titan and Olympos, the hand-made Atlas uses a body that is meticulously carved from a solid billet of titanium, through a process that involves both contact (for the exterior) and non-contact machining (for the interior body structures). By making most of the Atlas's body surfaces non-parallel (avoiding dimensions that are multiples of other dimensions), and adding a pre-stressed phase-interference resonance-controlling system, resonances have been further inhibited.
"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. Whether it is playing a Beethoven sonata or Miles Davis on 'My Funny Valentine,' there is nothing lightweight about its performance. 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