Dyna 20X?

Hi guys I have a Scoutmaster/Dyna 20X S.V. 1mv, I am wondering if I can get a big increase in detail by getting a step up transformer and a dyna 20XL? Or is the difference marginal?
Hi Jsman,
I have tried the 20X-L with a Fidelity Research XF-1 type M. This has 30dB gain, (1:31.6 ratio) and is just a bit on the high side with 0.3mV cart output, though a 0.3mV Windfeld can work truly fine with it.
The difference: 6ohm DCR for 20X-L, and 4ohm for Windfeld...

I use a 13ohm primary load resistor which translates to 10.18ohm for what the cart sees. I had left this soldered in place when testing the 20X-L and I think due to the 6ohm slightly higher RDC it **might** have sounded better with something like a 22ohm load resistor resulting in 15ohm for the 20X-L cartridge --- I didn't have such resistor as I only use Tantalums at this critical point.

So, the result: Mixed i.e. not a real improvement such as with the Windfeld. But as I said, depending on the SUT impedance match that could have been bettered, it MIGHT be improved, perhaps much improved.

Sorry not to have a clear yes / no for you.
It is my personal experience though, that once a good impedance match for an MC cart is found with a good trannie, the MC cart has A LOT more to offer in dynamic depth, bass performance, stage width and more naturalness in general.
B U T also less of this unnatural pin-point, carved-out, slightly overstated characteristic of most all MCs ---- as if you are stuck with your head in the recording microphone. That is NEVER what I hear in any live performance (maybe because I do not stand by the conductors desk? i.e. where the micro hangs...)

Thanks Axel for the info and tips.
Hi Jsman,

In my experience, the 17D3 will be a major leap up from the 20X - far out of proportion to the price difference. Note that I have only experience of the 20X-L and not the 20X-H.

Changing from a 20X-H to a 20X-L/step-up combo will be a "pig in a poke". You might like the "flavor" that the step-up (and/or loading strategy) imparts and ascribe your preference to the cartridge. Alternatively, you might hear little to no positive change.

Of course (as with a shift to a 20X-L), the 17D3, forces you into a low o/p MC strategy - achieving additional gain through a step-up trannie or other means.

I'd either stand pat with what I have, or wait until I could make the leap to the 17D3. I not a fan of recommending small, incremental improvements out of proportion to the money spent.

In the case of a 20X-H to 20X-L swap, you will incur the trade-in loss on your cartridge, plus the cost of a step-up. Taken in this light, the additional expense of moving up to a 17D3 will be a worthwhile one. Stay with what you have, until you're ready for a leap to the 17D3.

Warning - dealer disclaimer.

Thom @ Galibier
Thom, Are you saying that there would be a noticable improvment going to the step up and 17D3?
Hi Jsman,
what Tom says is of course right, in the sense that ANY 'better' cart (as long as it suits your arm!) will be expected to give you a 'better' result.
Interesting is the 17D3 suggestion --- dealer disclaimer --- might have a little to do with it. Not that a 17D3 is a bad pick at all, B U T it has an issue with regard to its physical size, which can cause a mounting problem, depending on your arm's geometry. This is due to its very short cantilever-to-mounting-hole distance, and to no small part created by its unusual and very short diamond-cantilever.
I have NOT heard it, but no doubt it's a more lively performer than the 20X-(L also), itself not a slouch.

Now, to confuse you some more, --- maybe you want to look into that MM related thread of Raul's which MIGHT be yet another most interesting alternative ---.

Myself, I'm using a P-77 moving-magnet cart in place of my Windfeld plus XF-1 at present, and have a pretty hard time to explain why this ancient MM (at $ = ~ 0.00) should sound so natural and alive in comparison to some $7 000 - $8 000 MC cart, with or with-out SUT!
Makes you think, but you need to be 'open' and not intimidated by the current 'MC only' trend.
Hi Jsman,

Actually, although the 17D3 uses a short cantilever, it is positioned quite far forward, so that the location of the stylus relative to the cartridge mounting holes is very close to the statistical norm of 9 - 9.25mm. From this perspective, mounting shouldn't be an issue. Check over here: http://www.dynavector.com/products/cart/e_17d3.html.

While some of the Dynavector pages show the engineering drawing along with dimensions, this one does not. You can see from the photo however, that the forward location of the cantilever assembly makes up for how short it is (stylus fairly close to the front of the cartridge body).

Of course, one would expect a manufacturer's more expensive cartridge to be "better", but in this case the 17D3 is far, far better than the price differential from the 20X would predict. I've even commented to the US distributor that I actually prefer the 17D3 to the more expensive XX2, and he couldn't disagree with me.

We both agreed that this preference comes down more down to personal taste than absolute goodness. It's also a function of the components you're matching up with this cartridge, and in this sense, I don't want the above statement to be misconstrued. My 'tables tend to control resonance very well, but a more "excitable" analog rig might not respond as well to a lively, bouncy, cartridge.

I can envision someone with a system that tends toward the bright side as considering the XX2 to be a far superior cartridge. In the context of their system, they'd be right.

In the 17D3 and XX2, it's as if Dynavector took two parallel paths toward the ultimate convergence occurring in the XV-1 series (the "s" and "t" models) - acknowledging that you can't have it all without heroic efforts and a commensurate price. I look at the XX2 as appealing to a fellow who's willing to sacrifice dynamics in favor of refinement. The 17D3 makes the opposite compromise.

While the choice between a 17D3 and the more expensive XX2 seems to be very system dependent, the leap up from a 20X to a 17D3 does not seem to be. You're not sacrificing any refinement in stepping up to the 17D3 from a 20X.

Hi Thom,
it's not my thread, but THANK YOU for a very insightful and detailed explanation, I say!
I've listened to the XV-1s and it was hard for me to imagine how to better it, yet it's been done with the "t" as I understand. Alas that's again mega-buck territory...
Right now I listen to an Empire S1000 ZE/X (MM!) and it's rather pleasing I have to say, even when comparing with a Windfeld.
So many choices... what else can I say, but that 17D3 is a winner for the money, no doubt.
Best regards,
If you are looking for more gain from your turntable and cartridge setup, I think you should check out the ModWright 9.0 SE phono stage. I am using one with my VPI scout and Dynavector 20XH. This phono stage have MM and MC gain switch which provide a lot of gain without distortion or any noise or hum. I am very pleased with this phono stage.
Not looking for more gain, just more detail. My original question was to compare the low and the med. output 20X cartridges.
I stepped up from a 20X-H to an older XX1-H (got a great deal since it was sitting unused in a drawer and hardly even broken in). The XX1 is the predecessor to the XX2.

To backup Thom's statement, the XX1 is far more refined and nuanced, but I defintely am missing some dynamics that the 20X had. Some of that may be due to the age of the cartridge or its 12g mass (it is a big beastie). I'm sure they addressed some of this in the XX2 upgrades.