Dynavector 20 Xl , Benz Micro Ace SL or Denon

I am considering purchasing my first MC cartridge and am considering the Dynavector 20 Xl, Benz Micro Ace SL or possibly one of the Denon models. I am currently using a Rega Exact 2 MM cartridge on a Rega P3 with an upgraded RB 300 tonearm. I have an Arcam C31 with P1 monoblocks. I sometimes feel that the soundstage could be wider and more detailed. Would the move to either be justified? Thank you for your input.
I have owned a P25 and now own a VPI Scout. On the P25 I had an Ortofon MC2 and then upgraded to a Lyra Dorian. The MC2 to Dorian was a nice upgrade. But changing to the VPI was a much bigger step. I'm not saying that you should buy a VPI.
However I am sugesting that you safe your money and buy a better turntable. IMHO that will give you better bang for buck.

Have you tried using a seperate phono pre?

I think the list is:
1 turn table
2 phono pre
3 arm
4 cart
5 cables
Nah, buying a better TT he has to buy a new cart anyway!!! then its 3thousand plus..Geez..
As for your question: the Dynavector is very tall.. so you may need to raise the arm base a 3 or 4mm to maintain VTL. The Benz is good, (I have a Benz glider medium output on my P5 and it is a wonderful combination, the Micro Ace on your P3 would be just right, though I would get the medium output as one needs an exceptional phono section to use a low level Benz without noise. (You might also need to raise the armbase 2mm with the Benz, I have to raise mine 2mm for better VTA) The Rega cover should handle up to a 4mm increase in armbase height.
A lot of folks use and like the Denons.. but I have no experience with a Denon cart. (the Denon probably would not need an arm base height adjust.)
The Denon 304 is very good, I have one on my Aries with 12.7 arm. The AT 33 is also a good cartridge, I just got one for $400 at J&R. I got the EV version, also comes as the 33 PTG or something, could never find out what the difference was. You might consider a VTA adjustment base for the Rega, which is a good arm. VPI and Michell and others make them. Don't tell Raul but I find that MCs give more detail than MMs and a better sound stage.
I also have a Benz glider on a P-5. Before this I had an Exact2 on there. Night and day difference. I also had the P3 before upgrading to the P5. The P-3 is a good table and deserves a nice cart!
Hi. I have a modded P-25 (VTAF, etc. which allows different heighted carts) and have used Denon 103r, Shelter 501, Goldring 1042mm and Super Elys carts. I installed the Dynavector 20XL a few weeks ago and while the soundstage isn't quite as wide currently as on some previous carts, I must say this is my all-time favorite cart right out of the box! The sound is just "right" and the soundstage is deep. I listen mostly to rock, pop, and jazz and the cart sounds wonderful with all. I use a Jolida phono stage with upgraded tubes and the table, cart, and phonostage just seem to mesh extremely well. I think this is a cart that I will cherish for the distant future instead of getting that upgrade-itis - it is that good. It does well with vocals and just everything I've put on from Warren Zevon to Steely Dan to Mott the Hoople to Jimmy Smith, Oscar Peterson, Ornette Coleman. I'd read about the Dyna/Rega symbiosis and I am so happy I chose this cart instead of the MM Ortofon 2M Black (which should also be pretty darn good, but doesn't take advantage of my being able to use MC carts and adjust loading and such). Good luck and please report back when you decide.

I second the Dyna 20X recommendation above. I use the HO version and I love it. It is dead quiet in the groove, tracks like a demon, and the sound is musical and very well balanced. It simply sounds "right" to my ear. In my system I preferred it to my Benz H20, and the Benz is twice the price!

So much of this stuff is synergy, so maybe a dose of that came into play and drives my preference. Impossible to know if you will get the same results comparing the two in your setup. My setup is Townshend Rock Mk3 table, Kuzma Stogi Reference arm, and Vista Audio ACLE phono stage.

Unless there is some sort of compatability issue, I can't imagine anyone not appreciating the sheer musicality of the Dyna 20X.

Good luck!
Thanks for this thread, as I have been considering the Dynavector 20X and the Benz Ace, both in the HO versions. I have an LP 12 with the Ittok arm.
I second the Dyna 20X. It's a superb sounding cartridge for the price.
Thanks so much to everyone. It looks like I will go with the Dyna 20 XL. I will post some updates as the break in period progresses. Guess I better do a little shopping.
What phono stage are you using?
The Arcam C31 preamp comes with a built in MC/MM phono stage.
I'm using a Dynavector 20X HO with an Ortofon AS309 arm on a TW Acustic Raven One, and couldnt be happier. Tracks great, no noise, very musical.--Mrmitch
Well...I did it. I decided to upgrade my TT first. I am buying a new Michell Gyro SE. I will be using my upgraded Rega RB 300 arm with a Denon DL 160 cart (for now). I have a friend who is using one on his Michell and absolutely loves it. For the price, I thought I would give it a shot and put the extra cart money toward the Michell. I will probably end up with the Dyna 20 XL eventually though. It's gonna take a while though for the Michell burn to heal. Thanks to all of you so very much who have contributed to this post. Any thoughts on the Gyro will be appreciated as well. OBTW........GO CATS!!!
I had a Dyna 20xl and Benz Glider SL back to back on my TNT with JMW 10.5 arm, no comparison, Benz has much more fleshed out sound. Just a lot more meat on the bones. Dyna not bad, but I like the Glider much more, its just more interesting to hear the details and not at expense of musicality. Benz hit home run with new S models.
I recently tried a Benz L2 on my Clearaudio table, there was much more surface noise than my 20XL, it didn't track as well. I found the mid bass inproved but there was less air than the 20XL. In the end the surface noise was enough to detract from my experience, the 20XL is excellent in this regard, very hard to beat...
Dear Kypride: IMHO very good move on your TT change.

About cartridges my advise is that you go either with LOMC one or to MM/MI one not a HOMC where the people/retailers tell us that we have the best of both worlds, very far from there.

Regards and enjoy the music,
Dear Raul, Am I understanding you correctly? Don't buy a HOMC? Any HOMC? I have an ARC PH1 phono pre with 48db gain. What cartridge would you recommend to upgrade from a Grado Z+?
Dear Geor: If you like Grado then go with them on any of its top ( not the very top that its output is low: 0.5mv. ) models. Grado has very good quality performers.

There is a current Grado model name it The Tribute ( 1.5mv. ) and marketed by Amber in Australia. This IMHO is one of the best cartridges ( LOMC or MM/MI ) ever made, its quality performance is something : " you can't ask for more " status.

There are other lower price options as Nagaoka MP-50 or Ortofon M20E Super, both you can find it NOS through Ebay/LPgear.

Regards and enjoy the music,
UPDATE - since my last post I have tried the following cartridges in my system: Benz Wood SH, Dynavector 17D2 mk2, Shelter 501 Mk2, Nagaoka MP-50.

My Dyna 20X-H is still my fave....by a wide margin...despite the higher price tag most of the others. I also really like my Clearaudio Virtuoso Wood.

Maybe I'm just a HO kinda guy? Maybe they lack a lil speed, clarity, precision and finesse compared to the LOMC I've tried. But they have greater body, harmonic richness and slam, and the music just seems to flow and hang together with greater coherency and naturalness. Also, they don't have the sheeny and brilliant kindof overlay to the music that bothers me about LOMC. It sounds hyped and artificial to me, and ultimately fatiguing.
Nice report, Spelly. Most of us don't get the chance to actually audition cartridges against one another before buying! If you're so inclined, I'd be interested to know more about your thoughts on the 20X-H in relation to the Shelter and the Nagaoka. THANKS!
Hi Bob-

There is just something about the overall tone and natural rendition of detail of the 20X that really appeals to me. It is rich and warm with good weight. Overall sound is relaxed and musical. Maybe not the transparency and resolution of most MC, but it also doesn't have the glare or etch either. It renders detail in a natural and unhyped way such that I can listen to it forever. It simply manages to pull me into the music better than the others. What I hear with it is a great balance of tone, harmonic richness, detail, weight, coherency and musical flow. Nice lucidity in the midrange. Of those I have tried, the 20X has the best bass weight and slam.

I would put it succinctly like this: the 20X does not do any one thing exceptionally well, but it does everything very well. The Shelter is very sophisticated with a detailed yet smooth presentation. To my ears the 20X is meatier and has better tone. I have read that the 501 is really good with arms on the heavy side, and needs an arm heavier than mine (12g) to really excel.

The Nagaoka MP-50 is actually very good. Similar in character to the 20X in that it is warm, musical, weighty and un-hyped. My friend is selling one on Audiocircle now. It is the exact one I borrowed. Brand new stylus that I checked with my 40X lens. It is perfect. I think he might be flexible on the price.


PS: most of the carts I have tried are borrowed from local buddies. I own the 20X and Virtuoso Wood, and this experience tells me that I have chosen wisely. For the price, and even more, you can't go wrong with these two.
One thing I forgot to add....the Dyna 20X is dead quiet in the groove. Best in that regard of any cart I have tried. None of that annoying ssssh sssssh ssssssh surface noise.
My Benz is dead quiet as well..