Dynavector cartridge upgrade decision

I can't resist upgrading. I prefer the sound of my Dynavector 20XL over the Shelter 501MkII that I originally had, so I'm thinking to stay within the Dynavector line.

I know that an XX2 would be a good value upgrade, however I'm worried that I'd still have the upgrade bug after that so I'm considering the Te Kaitora Rua or (gulp!) the XV-1.

From reading historical posts and Dynavector's site, I'm getting the impression that the highs on the XV-1 may be more analytical versus the 'silk-like treble' of the Rua. I'm searching for both detail and lush-ness so I don't want something 'dark' sounding.

Can anyone describe the sonic differences between the two? Is it a matter of system synergy, or personal taste?

My equipment: VPI Scoutmaster w/sig JMW 9, SDS, Aesthetix Rhea Signature phono stage, ARC Ref 3 preamp, Theta Citadel 1.5 amps. Speakers are Aerial 9s but will be soon auditioning Vandersteen 5As.

Thanks in advance.
Interesting, I have the exact same dilemma facing me in upgrading with my Scoutmaster and Dyna 20XL. At this point I've mostly decided to go with the Te Kaitora, it seems from the few reviews I've read, the Kaitora is more harmonically developed than the XX2, it is also more affordable for me than the XV-1.
Either the XV-1 or Benz LP. They are both great.
Well I have both XV1S & the "Rua". My equip. consists of Basis Debut Vaccuum table, Graham Phantom, Mac MC2300tube Preamp, also tron7 reference Phono pre,Klipsch horns (modded w/ Trachorn ,crites tweeter, ALK Extreme slope Xovers) Mac MC2102 tube amps X2. There is not much diffrence between the 2 cartridges. IMO, its just a matter of taste. I would say that the "Rua" is slightly sweeter sounding and XV is more defined...
I had the Te Kaitora Rua before switching to XV-1s. I don't know why, but I got a more silke like treble from the XV-1s, I had expected the opposite to happen, but it didn't. I bought the Te Kaitora Rua first, because I was told it would sound bolder and sweeter than the XV-1s. Could have been just my Te Kaitora Rua, I don't know.

I recommend the XV-1s highly (and I have had quite a few cartridges).
Dear Madfloyd: I agree with the people that support the XV-1 and like everything the performance is almost always system dependent specially on the tonearm and Phonolinepreamp.

Regards and enjoy the music.
I too believe the XV-1S is one of the true reference cartridges that you'll probably never upgrade from. (I have no plans on upgrading from this cartridge, after having tried four other cartridges in as many years.)

Good Luck!
I have the XV1s also, and you will not be disappointed if you buy it. However I also have the ZYX Universe .24 Copper, and it has an emotional response unlike any cartridge I've ever heard. Oh yes......it also has one of the sweetest most liquid treble performances you could imagine.
Referring to Raul's post, how does the tonearm make that much difference? I thought the cartridge and phonostage were the things that shaped the sound. Should I be considering a different tonearm than the JMW 9 sig?

What does the Zyx Universe cost approximately? Is there any other brands I should be considering - that are lush and detailed?
The problem with the Tonearms is, you will always know it better later (unfortunately). I have a few and made all the comparisons and indeed, the differences with a cartridge can be small, but it can can be huge too.
It depends on the weight of the cartridge and how much energy the cartridge puts into the Arm.
From my experience the Zyx are not critical, they work very good with lots of Arms. I did always enjoy listening to their Karat 17 model or the Kaitora. I think, when the XV-1s stretches you limit, there is no need to go for it.
Referring to Raul's post... The tonearm is the single MOST important factor when choosing a cartridge. The weight and compliance of the cartridge have to match the effective mass of the tonearm. That's why you liked the Dynavector more than the Shelter. The Dyna isn't necessarily better than the Shelter, but it's a much better match to the JMW9 Signature arm.
You can opt for a different tonearm. There are a lot of great ones out there. But you can get a whole lot from the JMW9 arm with a better cartridge, as long as it is suited to the JMW9 arm. Benz Micro, Lyra, Dynavector are all generally well suited.
I use a Dynavector DV20 on one arm, and a Benz L2 Wood on the other wand. You might try the Benz line. I really like them.


Dear Madfloyd: Other that what Tfkaudio posted the tonearm can makes a difference because: differences on the quality internal wiring, tonearm build material, self damping of that build material, vibration speed dissipation on that build material, bearing type that affects the performance, etc, etc.

The relationship between a tonearm and the cartridge is very complex and " intimate " and all those " parameters " and some others interfere with the quality performance. IMHO the tonearm/cartridge is a " unit " not two independent audio items: one depend on the other.

Regards and enjoy the music.


I think you would love the Te Kaitora Rue. I am dealer. Can't offer a comparison but can tell you that the whole line of Dynavector cartridges are smooth fast transparent.... I wouldn't get to carried away. Save a few bucks for interconnects.