Will your friend let you borrow the 20x2 to see if you like it? I would assume that if he is a good enough friend, you'd let you try before you buy and you can compare the Dyna and the Denon on your own.
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$750 is NO bargain for a slightly used Dyna 20XH - more like $450 would be a good deal.
I've owned a bunch of Denon 103s and Dyna 20X. IMO the Dyna 20X is a substantially better cart - more refined and extended response.
But,,, if you're willing to bite off $750, I think there are better carts available.
What would your recommendation at $750-1k ?
Not sure what you are using for a phonostage but quite possibly you would be better of spending the bulk of the above total upgrading there and leave $250 or so for a good quality but not insanely priced LOMC. I think the law of diminishing returns applies more strongly to the cartridge rather than the phonostage and thus you may end up with better sound going in that direction than dumping the money on a very expensive cartridge. For example, my prior setup (Whest PS.30R and Dyna XX2MKII) was nowhere near as good as my current Herron VTPH-2 and AT OC9MKII and the OC9 I got for around $200. Just a thought.
Yes, Inna you are correct. My post wasn't clear--my point is that perhaps the OP's funds are better invested in the phonostage rather than a new cartridge. That the little OC9MLII run into the Herron outperforms the $2K Dyna into the Whest opened my eyes to the importance of the phonostage. Finding the right balance in terms of allocation of funds is key IMHO.
The Phono stage in the Rogue 99 Magnum is very good. I owned one for about 2 years. In high gain mode it can handle 1mV up. With it being fed by Cinemags for LOMC it can handle most anything.
Tube set is key -as it is in the line stage of this preamp. Also, check with Rogue for possible upgrades. Highly recommended over going with another preamp.
And to answer your question: Go with the 20XL through your Bob's and into the 99.
Mechans; you may be confusing the previous version of the 20X(L/H) cartridge with the new 20X2 cartridge. If the Dynavector 20X2 that Podolaw is considering buying is a brand new cartridge, he'll be saving $100 USD from full retail. That may be a good price, as long as he can get warranty coverage.
Just a thought. Perhaps replacing tubes with the best you can find will help a lot. And also, turntable resonance control is very important of course and improving it can make a big difference. So the general idea could be to extract maximum performance from what you already have. I usually follow this approach. And then when it appears that there is nothing or very little left to extract, you upgrade. And when you do - you jump. In your case, yeah, possibly to Herron or LAMM phono and then the cartridge.
02-07-11: PodolawWhy not avail yourself of Japan's economy of scale in close-tolerance manufacturing?
Audio Technica OC9 iii, $549
Audio Technica AT33EV $499
Denon DL-S1, $949
Denon DL-304, $599
I have heard really good things about the Denon DL-S1.
Another alternative: see if Zu Audio still has their nuded, aluminum-encased Z-103 versions of the Denon DL-103. They vary in price depending on how well they spec out, but all are (were?) in your price range. The heavier metal casing adds enough mass to the cartridge to make it a good compliance match for most arms. Between eliminating the stock cartridge's plastic body resonances and improving mass matching with a heavier and extremely rigid housing, it should be a significant improvement over your stock DL-103 that you are replacing.