Cartridge Upgrade From Dynavector XX2 mkii

I got back into vinyl about 2 years ago and since that time have bought quite a number of fine LPs and wish to upgrade my cartridge. In my analog front end (Basis 2500 Sig, Vector 4, Herron VTPH-2) I think there is room for a better transducer. My current Dynavector unit I have liked for its bass response but what I seek more than any other factor is greater transparency without losing bass response. Like all of us, I want better sound.

I am looking at three well reviewed cartridges, all used from reputable sellers, with about 200 hours: Dynavector XV-1S, Ortofon Windfeld and Shelter Harmony.

Interested in your guidance since auditions not possible. I have heard each of these sound fine in different systems than mine. Rest of my gear: Esoteric amp and pre, Magico V3, Transparent MM2 cabling.

I remember reading years ago how people who went back to vinyl simply did not use their high end CD or SACD players anymore. I thought that seemed like an overstatement at the time-- but for me it has become reality. I recently for a friend compared my copy of Dire Straits Love Over Gold SHM-SACD ($60) to a $2.99 used LP copy I picked up at Princeton record exchange. The LP was just so much better it was startling.
I actually downgraded from the Shelter 90x to the Dynavector XX2 mk II. Big mistake. I have a nice sounding vinyl rig but the magic was lost went I downsized on the cart. I think you are going to be thrilled with any of those 3. If it were me I'd get the Harmony since I know how great the 90X sounded. I went kind of crazy and started freaking out about surface noise and though the 90X was more prone to picking it up and remembered back to some of the lower Dynavector carts and was thinking I wasn't bothered so I jumped ship.

Bottom line is there is a reason those carts cost so much. Because they are worth it.
Teeshot- You may want to consider the Emt Tsd-15. I own the Tsd, and have heard the DV 20X2/L on several occasions.

Ejif- I heard the 90X, and thought it was excellent. I haven't heard, or heard much about, the Shelter 7000/9000 series. In fairness to the Dynavecter line,
the Tai Kaitora would be a more fair comparison to the 90X. I suppose in the here and now, it would be the 9000. The TKR seems to get lost in the DV shuffle, but I have heard it's a nice jump in performance from the XX-2.
I have a slightly used (under 200hrs) Te Kaitora Rua I'm about to sell. I liked it better than my Lyra Skala if that's any consolation. Sold the vinyl setup. I'll be posting it soon but you may send me an email.
I've had a Dynavector XX2MKII now for many years, so many in fact, I had to have it retipped by Soundsmith, which made it a much better sounding cartridge. You might consider keeping it, and having it retipped some day.

My real secret weapon though, is a Zu Denon 103R that I sent to ESCCO in London for a cantilever/stylus upgrade. This makes this venerable cartridge a world-class, or nearly so, cartridge, at a decidedly great price.

Highly recommended.

I use DV myself and like their products very much. Unfortunately with phono carts, its difficult to get something to demo. You may want to give The Cable Company to see if they have something to lend you. A few years back, they said they would do it for me, but I'm not sure if they will do it for everyone. I've been doing business with them for many years so it may be an exception.

If I was looking to upgrade and couldn't get a demo, I would probably try a Shelter.
I too use a Basis 2500, with a Vector M3 tonearm, with an ASR Basis Exclusive phono stage, (the best phono stage I've ever heard).
I use a Dynavector XV-1S cartridge.
(Actually it's my second one, as I like it so much that I got a second one.)

To give you some background on my taste in sonics, I'll describe my past cartridges.

When I first got back into vinyl about ten years ago, I started out with a Benz Micro Glider II. It sounded good, (fairly low noise floor, decent bass), but it was a bit analytical for my taste. The imaging and soundstaging was good too.

I then tried a Koetsu Black, and this really opened my eyes to what vinyl could sound like. While the bass was a bit loose, and the treble was not quite as extended as better cartridges, the mid-range was sublime. The imaging and soundstaging was very good as well. In addition, the noise floor was very, very low, resulting in deep, dark, black backgrounds. (This is something that I decided that I really liked in my cartridges.)

I then upgraded to the Koetsu Rosewood Signature. This resulted in more extended treble response and slightly better bass response too. Somehow the mid-range got even better. A truly great cartridge, with only one flaw, its somewhat loose bass response. Despite that this was a great cartridge, I really wanted better bass response, (as I had upgraded my speakers recently and I really wanted to take advantage of them).

So, I upgraded to a Shelter 90X. Wow! The bass response was incredible. The treble was well extended too. The mid-range was good, albeit not Koetsu good. The imaging and soundstaging was very good too. At first I was very happy with this cartridge as I thought it had everything I wanted in a cartridge. But it did not have the really low noise floor that both of the Koetsu cartridges had. After awhile I realized that I really missed those deep, dark, black backgrounds. So a friend who was using a Dynavector XV-1S offered me it at a good price.

The Dynavector has pretty much the best of all worlds. Great bass response, (nearly, if not as good as the 90X), and even more extended and refined treble response. The mid-range may not be Koetsu good, but it is close, and it meshes so well with the treble and bass response that I don't care! The imaging and soundstaging are incredible. And best of all, the noise floor was very, very low, resulting in those deep, dark, black backgrounds that I craved. I've heard several other top notch cartridges, but none really sounded much better, if at all, to my ears.

Good Luck in your search!