Lyres® are a unique Rycote suspension design superseding older elastic and silicone o-ring solutions.
They are essentially flexible plastic cradles with specially-shaped, inner soft grips designed to hold microphones securely and noiselessly. Retrofittable across a significant number of our products, they offer vastly improved performance and reliability, and their effectiveness has been repeatedly proven in the harshest recording conditions by professionals worldwide.
Since a microphone suspension essentially functions as a spring system in terms of raw physics, to understand more about how Lyres work we need to consider the four main properties of such a system: mass, compliance, damping and resonance.
In a suspension, the mass will always consist of the microphone/microphones.
Compliance can be understood simply as 'wobbliness'. The aim of any suspension is to allow the microphone capsule(s) to remain as static as possible while the support moves, and this requires a level of compliance suited to the weight and specifications of the capsule. The Z axis is the axis along which microphone diaphragm movement occurs, and is naturally the most sensitive to disturbances; Lyres are therefore designed to be reasonably compliant along this axis, whilst providing limited movement along the horizontal (X) and vertical (Y) axes. The level of Lyre compliance is regulated using a Shore (hardness) rating, with higher ratings indicating stiffer, less compliant suspensions suitable for heavier and longer mics. Duo-Lyre® systems come in 68 and 72 Shore hardnesses, and Single Lyres come in Shore ratings of 62, 72 and 82; this selection accommodates the vast majority of industry standard microphones.
Damping is inherent in the elastomeric plastic (Hytrel) used in the Lyres' construction. This plastic maintains its characteristics across a wide temperature range, is virtually indestructible, and can even be tied in knots without snapping or suffering shape distortion.
Resonance is a frequency reinforced or amplified through a spring system's physical construction, and should ideally occur below 20Hz in suspensions. A typical elastic suspension will have a substantial resonance at about 32Hz, with a second harmonic resonance at 64Hz and others above. The Lyre system improves on this dramatically, with resonances at approximately 14.5Hz and 29Hz.
By regulating these four elements accordingly, the Lyre suspension system offers significantly improved performance over other designs.
Additional Information (based on previous Zendesk queries):
To elaborate on the design a little: Our Single Lyres come in three main versions (62-, 72- and 82-Shore). 62 is the most compliant -- or 'wobbly' -- and is suitable for light microphones, whilst 82 is the least compliant and has been designed for heavier/longer mics.
Duo-Lyres come in 68- and 72-Shore ratings, and are used in many cases for mics with added, slip-on wind protection (e.g. Super-Softie®) or bulbous heads: basically any design that is 'front heavy' and needs extra stability. Duo-Lyres are also commonly used to provide extra support for Mid-Side configurations (e.g. Sennheiser MKH 50/40 + 30), where the lower mic needs to be grasped firmly. They can also be used for heavier mics in much the same way as the 82-Shore Single Lyres, where the user needs to be sure of extra support.
Please note also that Lyres can be combined: for example, you could use a 62-Shore Single Lyre on the front of a suspension, and a 72-Shore Single Lyre on the rear, in order to fine-tune overall balance and compliance with a rear-heavy mic.
In summary, there's no 'right' way to combine Lyres, and so we chose to release the vast majority of our products with pre-fitted 72-Shore Single and 68-Shore Duo versions. This accommodates the vast majority of industry-standard mics.