Best $500 cartridge? Dynavector DV-20XH?

I'm looking to upgrade from my Grado Gold cartridge, its about a year old, and i've heard good things about the Dynavector DV-20X 2.5mv output. I have a killer channel islands VPP-1 phono preamp with VAC-1 power supply and custom DH Labs IEC cable. the cartridge is going on a Project carbon arm on a modded Project XPression table that's also a year old. Any suggestions other than Dynavector? What would I gain from upgrading to the $500 range?
I have a Dyna 20XH, which I love, but rather than offer a blanket endorsement I would recommend that you consider what I believe to be the key issue in cartridge selection--how well it will work with your arm and turntable. Viewed as a record playing system your cartridge should possess the right values in terms of compliance, weight, etc. Your turntable and arm manufacturer should be able to give you some great choices at that price point, one of which may or may not be the 20XH. I bought my Dyna after talking with the technical folks at VPI who made it quite clear that the 20XH was their favorite at the $500 mark. Can't really argue with the guys who designed and built the table and tonearm and who have tried any number of different cartridges in the system. Best of luck.
Thanks for your response...i'll definitely get ahold of them. Any issues with surface noise being an issue with the 20XH? the only time i've heard it the vinyl being played was really poor and all i could hear was fuzz.
I sold my dx20XH- is was rather boring and sterile and polite. Ended up with an old grado and also an old shure v15. So on your set-up - not sure you'll have to try it out. So so subjective. But my advice is pass on the 20xh
There are many. The Grado Sonata, assuming proper matching to the arm, is a player in the $500 range. I have owned one for over five years and used it on a VPI 10.5 and Rega RB-300 to great effect.
IMHO you won't find a better cart. than Dyna until you get over about $1k, other opinions may vary.
Under $200 and the single greatest value - for - the - dollar component in the history of audio. Yeah, it gives up some high frequency extension to pricier cartridges, and it's not going to give you holographic imaging, but it has a verisimilitude that's very seductive. Tremendous bass slam and drive too. There's a reason this cartridge has been in continuous production for over 40 years. Note that your phono stage must be capable of handling a low output MC cartridge to use it.
If you can swing it Mike at VPI told me my choise of Sonatta was good he may have very well told other that Dyna was the one to beat (I wouldn't havebeen bummed out I worked ina shop where all we sold was Grado so it was obvious for me).But at the time he said "If you have $500 my suggestion is to save up another $250 and get a Sumiko Blackbird".He thought that when it came to less than $1K this is where he would go-now that was three or four years ago right after it came out but the BlackBird has gotten rave reviews.Call "The Needle Dcotor" or Bes at Muisc Direct and ask bang for the buck question.I was told by a guy I trust at Red Trumpet (and others ) that for less than a grand the Shelter 501 is the one to go with at $850.But right now I have the Sonata who knows maybe I'd rather the Dyna but thought I'd just mention those.Fremer said all the Shelters had more of a "House Sound" thanother brands so maybe you could swing the 301 for same $500.
I am trying to get a whole new rig set up.I want to reduce size of my big extended Aries and go with a Scoutmaster and I think I feed one Shelter 501 on one arm tube and one Grado mono on another (where any cart can be ordered .5,1.5,or 4.5 the middle being called the VPI model because it's less likely to hum and still has less winds and sounds better then the HO model).Think it's cool that many jazz re-issuer's are coming out with mono versions like at Classic Records.All this will be fed probaly into the new PS Audio phono box (read their gain cell tech at their site and this issue of Steophile talking about in new integrateds).Might want one them eventually if this digital stuff really does sound good (ealiest Class D sucked and PS won't even use it to describe their stuff).Meanwhile I'll keep my EAR 40 watt push pull which has has served me well and will for a while longer.New PS is cool with novel volume on front plus phase and mono button up front.Capitance is easy to reach in back of small box.Alkl for $999.So we are in complteley diferent camps rig wise and maybe ther isn't the synergy between Shelter and your rig (or at least arm and compliance) as there is with my VPI.But think Dyna makes competetive product along with Grado,Shelter,and Clearaudio for less than a Kilo buck.Wish I knew if there more to add to list such as the cheaper Lyra products).Maybe you can get to a dealer and shoot them out (or others) and let us know if original advice you got was best way to go.
Best of luck
Why hasn't anyone mentioned the Denon 160 or Denon 103 cartridges? You won't have to spend $500 to get pretty good playback.The Denon 103 has been compared favourably to a Shelter 501 and it's whispered to be one of the best MC's ever in the Lenco thread period....The Denon 160 is no slouch either.I think the Project arm effective mass is 11gms so either one would be a good match.
Oops. I neglected to mention that I was writing about the Denon 103.