"Jonathan Carr has produced yet another innovative cartridge design — his second in as many years. ... machining only the Etna's core from titanium, and the rest from duralumin, stainless steel, bronze, etc., provides the benefits of solid titanium at lower cost. ... The Etna is one of the new breed of harmonically enriched, full-bodied, yet ultradetailed and natural-sounding Lyras. These latest models sacrifice none of the brand's renowned resolution of detail, transient agility, and tonal neutrality, while greatly improving on its textural richness and tonal complexity." — Michael Fremer, Stereophile, March 2014.
Lyra again turns the analog world on its ear with the introduction of the Etna phono cartridge. Sharing its name with Sicily’s majestic Mount Etna, Etna the cartridge is an impressive monument in its own right, one that melds tried and true Lyra design tenets with designer Jonathan Carr’s very latest thinking on phono cartridges.
Etna’s center structure is solid titanium, but unlike the renowned flagship Atlas (and the Titan i before it) this central core is surrounded by an outer body that is machined from highly-polished aircraft-grade aluminum and anodized with a sexy black finish. The two pieces are press-fitted with resonance control rods and stainless steel screw bushings in a multi-material approach that is similar to the Skala’s two-piece “blade structure” construction, but much improved in its rigidity and damping characteristics. The advantage of such constrained-layer construction is that no single material’s sonic signature defines the sound of the cartridge.
Etna’s asymmetric design employs an offset yoke, a design concept first brought to fruition in the flagship Atlas. By offsetting the front magnet carrier so that it is not in line with the cantilever assembly, a direct path is established between the cantilever assembly and the tonearm’s headshell. Vibrations are quickly drained away once converted to electrical signals, effectively suppressing any induced resonances that would otherwise manifest as sonic coloration.
Lyra remains the only cartridge manufacturer to mount the cantilever directly into the cartridge body, which results in a seamless, totally rigid connection between the cantilever assembly and headshell. The cantilever is diamond-coated boron, tipped with a slot-mounted nude line-contact diamond stylus.
Etna retains the X-shaped coil formers first unveiled in the flagship Atlas. Compared to traditional square coil formers, the X-shape allows each channel to operate with greater autonomy from one another, increasing tracking consistency and channel matching while also improving channel separation due to the decrease in crosstalk. Lyra’s new angle technology pre-biases the signal coils so they are perfectly aligned to the front and rear magnets during LP playback, which allows the coils to move optimally in all directions for superior, distortion-free playback.
With the introduction of Etna, the Titan i model is discontinued and now limited to stock on hand. The Lyra line now comprises Delos, Kleos, Skala, Etna and Atlas.
While Etna is second from the top in Lyra’s line, one listen will demonstrate that this cartridge’s performance would define the very top of any other cartridge line. Atlas has a very refined, elegant and voluptuous sound while Etna’s personality is more outgoing. We truly believe that choosing between these two exceptional performers will come down to one’s tastes and the system in which it will live. For many customers Etna will be ideal and become their preferred Lyra.