I had the Dynavector 20XL low output cartridge on my VPI mk4/JMW TT. I have since replaced it with the ZYX Yatra. The improvement in sound was HUGE! The ZYX has a much more neutral sound to it. The 20XL sounded hard and even a touch bright at high volumes. The ZYX retains the dynamics of the 20XL, but never sounds the least bit hard. Attack and decay of instruments is great with the ZYX and the soundstage is better in both width and depth. I am spinning vinyl like crazy since I got the Yatra. It would be in your price range at $1140 through Mehran at Sorasound. ZYX has cartridges in many price ranges, both higher and lower than the Yatra. Mehran is great to deal with. Of course, I don't know how it will sound with your system, but it is avaliable in both .24mv and .48mv outputs, so one of them should work with your phono stage. Good Luck and good listening!
Slowhand is spot on with his assesment of the sound of the ZYX. Utterly neutral and very musical. I know the Dyna 20XH sound well and the ZYX is miles ahead here.I really like my ZYX Fuji on my Aries 2. I can heartily recommend this one. Mehran can probably work out a price very close to the Yatra. Either .24 or .48mV sounds like it would work for you. The .48 is still low enough to get the benefits of a low output coil. i.e. speed, sweetness, bloom..etc.
Either the S (silver) or the standard copper is a great choice. I went with the S based on Arthur Salvatore's excellent review of it. But I know Mehran likes both and actually recommends the copper for most applications. Enjoy your vinyl party!
best of luck!--Ken
Be sure to consider the Shelter 501-II and Shelter 901. Both recently made sterophile top 500. I think the 501-II is one of the best buys in the industry.
I have both the Dynavector DV20XH and a Shelter 501 11. The Shelter is clearly better and I note some of the same improvements as noted in the original poster of the ZYX over the Dyna.
Having said that the Dynavector is an excellent cartridge for the price new and used; I thought it compared well with the Denon Dl103R (the other MC I have). The Denon was a bit more rounded/softer in the highs compared to the accurate Dynavector.
I owned the 20XH and replaced it with a Benz L2. As good as the Dyna is, the Benz is way ahead in refinement resolution. The Shelter is also a good choice, had the 501 for a brief period, and the ZYX cartridges intrigue me.
I second, or third, contacting Mehran. He can surely help you out with a ZYX. Great guy to buy from, good deals and a really nice fellow.
Mehran is one of the coolest mofo's on 'gon.
I'll fourth the opinions about Mehran,he is a class act!
It doesn't seem like ZYX and Mehran need any more recommendations, but I'll offer mine anyway!
The first-hand reports from Dyna 20XH and 20XL owners are interesting. I don't remember seeing those particular Dyna's compared to a ZYX before.
My comparison around your price point would be a Shelter 901 vs. ZYX Airy 2, both of which I've owned. The ZYX outplayed the Shelter in every musical category except raw energy, where the 901's somewhat crude dynamics give it a an edge - literally. If I were a metalhead I might prefer the 901. For natural or acoustic music of any genre the Airy 2 is overwhelmingly better.
Of course the Airy 2 is more expensive than the 901 ($1,950 vs. $1,500), but its superiority was so great I'd expect the $1,500 ZYX (R100 Fuji from Mehran) to outplay a 901 also.
If you go with a ZYX you'll want to increase effective mass on your SpaceArm a bit for optimum dynamics and bass. A 5 gram headshell weight would be about right. ZYX offers an optional weight for the Airy 2 and above that suits most tonearms, but it's not available on their lower priced cartridges. Aftermarket and DIY weights are easy enough to find, so this really shouldn't be an issue.
Good luck in your search and enjoy whatever you choose,
One more vote for ZYX and Mehran... I recently replaced a Benz M2 cartridge with a ZYX Fugi. A huge step up and I haven't stopped spinning vinyl since. Incredibly neutral, detailed, balanced top to bottom with a wonderfully 3D soundstage.
And as the posts here attest, Mehran is a total class act. Super helpful and of highest integrity. If you're in the market for a great cartridge at a good price, the ZYX cartridges from Mehran/SORASound should definitely be on your short list.
Not to beat the drum to death, but ZYX & Mehran - can't do any better than that. He is, first and foremost, a fantastic person to interact with. Simply a guy with tremendous enthusiasm for this hobby. Second, he truly tries as hard as possible to help potential customers make the best choice for their systems and personal tastes. No hard sell or double-talk.
I probably talked to him 5 times(or more) on the phone and several emails while I bounced back and forth between wanting a ZYX and not. At the time, there was a lot of hype from very few people and risk was huge for me financially on a fairly unknown cartridge line. Nonetheless, Mehran always was patient and understanding, telling me to take my time, do my homework, think it over.
And, he stands behind his sales 100%. Add to that trade-in credit on upgrades. Can't get any better than that!
PS. Take Dougdeacon's weighting suggestion to heart. I toiled for almost a year thinking my ZYX Fuji R-100 FS (Silver) was mediocre and lightweight. Adding the extra mass took it to a whole 'nother level, really. Two totally different carts, with and without the added weight.
Doug's complete suggestion for proper weighting out of a post last month:
"Subtract the effective mass of your arm from 18 or so. Add about that many grams to the headshell. Rebalance, reset VTF and play."
That's a pretty cool formula. I wonder what it would be like to remember my own posts? ;-)
One of many little pearls of wisdom that get dropped around here from time to time. In all honesty, without that tip, I probaly would have sold off my Fuji FS and considered all the ZYX talk as hype. Now, I'm happy as a clam, but looking to possibly move up the line - good for my listening pleasure, bad for my retirement fund.
The tradeoffs we make....
years back i heard a friend with the shelter 501 on a nottingham deck, cant remember which model it was, i thought it sounded real well. I vote for the 501II
Seven months later and I still have the same cartridge dyna 20xh. What is stange now that I reread this thread is that I now have a Roksan Xerxes.X table and K&K phono preamp. I was looking for cartridge advice and ended up changing everything else. Someday when finances are better I will shop for cartridges. This hobby is a wild ride sometimes. My vinyl collection has also probably quadrupled since this thread started. I love shopping for vinyl and checking out new(old) music Thanks for everyone.