I used Sonata for a while. Did not have enough air and detail for me. 20x is probably a better choice. I did the the Statement1 and this did not disappoint on my VPI Aries 3.
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I am glad that I am not the only one that was not impressed with the Grado. I was a Grado dealer for awhile and have tried every Grado wood body cartridge expect for the Reference "Reference". I just could never warm up to any of them. They were all "blah" sounding. No life or energy.
I know that Grado recommends at least 50 to 100 hours to break them in, but I couldn't ever make it that far. The dullness just wore on me.
The DV20X is a very nice, dynamic cartridge. One of my favorites for the price.
Many thanks for your input folks. Given the preference for the Dynavector, I wondered about the version - VPI recommends the custom mid-output version but I am not sure how well that mates with a SS phonostage (too strong for the MC input, too weak for the MM input?) - is the low output version a better choice?
You are comparing apples and oranges. Grado is for vocal jazz soul while the Dynavector 20X is for Rock and other explosive music. Nothing is more music sensitive than the cartridge. The turntable matches just fine, but if there is a mismatch in your favorite music, then you should get another cartridge without hesitation.
Just curious, why do you consider only two cartridges?
And as Orpheus10 said, you usually have to choose very much depending on what kind of music you mostly listen to.
For example, I too am thinking about new cartridge for my Spacedeck/Spacearm. Don't care much about Dyna 10x5 even for jazz/rock let alone vocals. 20X should be better but still essentially more of the same. It appears that unless you stay with MM you have to go over $1k to get a very well balanced MC, very possibly close to $2k.
Some people put MM on quite expensive tables/arms and I will probably do the same until(if) I am prepared to spend those $2k on cartridge.
An unbelievable story related to this subject. In 1960, I bought an album by a new female jazz vocalist. She was playing piano in a lounge, in order to earn money, to pay for her education as a classical pianist. The owner told her to sing, she protested, he said "Sing or get another job", she sang.
In the beginning, her albums featured 50% vocals and 50% instrumentals. That gal played jazz piano like I had never heard before. Most jazz pianists sound a little like the pianist before them who they admired the most. She was so unique that I place her in a class of one. When you combine classical, back in the woods spiritual, blues and jazz; you get a "gumbo" that cannot be duplicated, "she could bang".
Since singing paid the bills, her albums became exclusively vocal. Only jazz aficionados who are acutely aware of her "banging" piano have every note she played. For the unbelievable part of this story, which only occurred yesterday; go to positive feedback, The Grado reference and Platinum cartridges by Jeffrey Silverstein. While he's "right on" about the jazz vocalist, there are better cartridges for other types of music.