I'd go for the Dynavectors, depending on your budget, and phono stage gain.
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I have buyed a Dynavector 10X5 and I feel really satisfied with its musicality, detail and range. Sure the 20 is better but I didn´t pay the difference.
I´m convinced you don´t need to spend even 2500 for the cartridge if you take the risk of buy the 20X and spent the rest in music. Dinavector is really good cartridge with not to much money spent in advertising and "expert reviews".
Before buying the 20XH for my Scout I talked at length with the tech folks at VPI. According to them the performance parameters of the Dynavector add up to ideal synergy with the VPI. They could not make a stronger recommendation for matching the table. After 6 months I couldn't agree more--super sound and a great value. I'd say go for the Dyna! (P.S. I concur with the hum and vibration problems of the Grado. I had one mounted in a Rega RB300 that shimmied like crazy and my friend put one in his Aries Extended that hummed like a dog. I'm sure the Grados can sound good but I'll be damned if I could get one to run right in either set up.)
The hum deal with the Grados is an old problem; with a properly shielded tonearm cable it's a non-issue. The very expensive Dynas are very musical and sweet sounding. However the lower priced models, 10X5, 20X are somewhat lean and antiseptic sounding. They also lack the ability to provide a firm focused bottom end in a revealing system. That being said, the lower priced Grados are better at their respective price points.
Aquaman, about three months ago, I upgraded my van den Hul Frog to the top Dynavector cartridge (the XV-1s). I am very impressed with the Dynavector cartridge. I listen primarily to orchestral music and jazz with a bit of rock music added to the mix occasionally. I have found that the top Dynavector cartridge significantly outperforms my previous cartridge (which I still regard as a great cartridge in its own right). The XV-1s is an excellent, well balanced performer that has world class dynamics and frequency extension as well as ultra-linear frequency response. It would also pair well with the VPI 9" tonearm that comes as standard equipment with the Super Scoutmaster turntable and that, I believe, has an effective mass of about 11g (resulting in a combined resonance frequency of about 10Hz when paired with the XV-1s).
So, based on my experience with the XV-1s, I can enthusiastically recommend the Dynavector line of cartridges. As some of the other posts above suggest, you might find that the XV-1s is more than you really need for the satisfying reproduction of rock music. That is a judgement call you will have to make for yourself. If you decide to go with one of the other cartridges in the Dynavector line, I think you will find that they are reasonably compatible with the JMW-9 tonearm, which, based on an effective mass of 11g (I am not sure of this number for this particular tonearm) would produce a combined resonance frequency with most of the other Dynavector cartridges in the range of 10Hz to 12Hz.
One other consideration is the available gain from your phono stage. The Dynavector cartridges have fairly low output (between 0.2 and 0.3 mV) and would require a fair amount of gain from your phono stage to reproduce rock music at satisfying volume levels. The Grado cartridges - especially those in the Reference line (5.0 mV output) - are less demanding of a phono stage. I don't know how much gain is provided by your Arcam MC phono stage or what the relative quality is of that phono stage, but, if you do go forward with the Super Scoutmaster and a top flight cartridge, I suspect you will be able to substantially improve your sound with the addition of a high quality stand-alone phono stage.
I use the Grado Ref, the Ref. with my VPI MK3 and Morch Arm and just love the sound of this cartridge.I posted and extensive review about my findings under Product Review.This particular cartridge sounds so natural and has this deep full big bass and midbass reproduction.Actually come to think of it ,the cartridge really comes alive when I play Supertramp Crime Of The Century on it.
I have not heard the Dyna line in a long time,But when they had the old Ruby line out I just thought they sounded to lean for my taste and not acurate in low freq. response.
If you have a system that leans toward a more bright forward sound I would choose the Grado which has a little more laid back sound then you would get from a Dynavector.
I'm trying to compare Apples to Oranges and I'm not sure if I'm doing this correctly,But don't get me wrong the $1,200.00 Ref. at the High Output 5.0 Mv. to me is your ticket to ride especially if you need that much gain in your phono stage.You don't mention what load your phono stage can handle,or go down to in Mv. output.We need to know this info so we can help assist you a little more.The Grado Staement only puts out .25 Mv. as far as I know and I'm told at its 2.5K asking price it is definately a top Dog Performer and can out gun them all.
Dear Teaquaman: I agree with Cincy bob, Tpsonic and other ones about the Dynavector cartridges, especially on the XV-1.
If you can afford, this is the cartridge to go: for any kind of music. You never heard best rock sound reproduction till you have the XV-1: Awesome !!!!
Regards and enjoy the music.
Stanhifi,The ONLY products I sell are those listed at Lloyd Walkers' website.I have worked for a number of audio stores,and wished to relate my experience.You seem to have a personal vendetta against me-what's up??
What products are you affiliated with? I don't follow you around AudioGon taking pop-shots.You may have experiences that are valuable to the members of this website.Actually ,I was deciding between a Dynavector and Shelter for my table-I chose the Shelter.Enough said!
Offering advice or recommendations on any product without disclosing your commericial status is quite unprofessional and I sir, question your motives and ethics. I shall continue to challenge any post without your disclosure. Unlike you I have no fiduciary interest in these products. What say you?
I can disclose being Lloyd Walkers' smallest dealer,if it will make you happy.I don't understand how
my business relationship with Lloyd would have any bearing on the choice of cartridge here.I am not selling it,it is being sold to this person by VPI and he has been asked to make a choice.
It is all well and good to call me "unprofessional..and question my motives and ethics",but who was I offending on my cartridge experience?
I will accept your right to RANT,but are there underlying issues here,have I personally attacked you or done a dis-service to you or a close friend?
Maybe this should be the topic of a forum,and let others chime in.
It's not up to aquaman to decide this. I have no personal grudge against you sir and you have not attacked me in any way. My position is any dealer posting on any topic should disclose the fact that he/she is in the business. It simply eliminates all semblance of impropriety and/or conflicts of issues. I do, however, respect the information you offer.
Theaquaman welcomes ALL opinions! No, it doesn't change my impressions.
I have listened to VINYL for almost 30 years and for the past 23 years it has been on my beloved Harmon/Kardon T60...so, I appreciate everything that is posted.
By the way, my local dealer sold me a Grado Platinum for my T60 just last year to replace a ShureV15 which I bought at the same time I bought the T60. So, I have some experience with the wooden Grados already. I like mine.
By the way, thanks to all members who have responded to my question.
Stanhifi/Theaquaman.Thank you.I believe it was time to let the light of day shine in and illuminate things in full view.I understand now.Must I make this disclosure -everytime??I don't sell much of Lloyds' gear in the course of a year and I do try to stay clear of topics directly related to products I sell(Walker/Silent Source/Omega Mikro).Stanhifi-Sorry for the Purist digital cable entry-thought it was a different way to skin-a-cat,no offense to anyones' kitty.
Aquaman, just a few follow-up thoughts:
1. The on-line owner's manual for the Arcam FMJ two-channel stereo preamp indicates that the MC phono stage is designed to accommodate "low output cartridges." That is a good sign. If you have any doubts about your phono stage having sufficient gain for some of these low output MCs, it is probably worth a call to your Arcam dealer to inquire about the gain of the Arcam phono stage module.
2. Based on personal experience, I can vouch for the exceptionally linear frequency response of the Dynavector XV-1s cartridge. It is not bright and forward sounding. It is also not lean in the bass frequencies. The cartridge is as extended at the frequency extremes as any I have heard, and the frequency response of the cartridge sounds dead neutral to me. I don't have any experience with the cartridges further down the Dynavector line, so I can't offer any comment on those.
3. If you choose to go with one of the Dynavector cartridges below the XV-1s, you will find that some of those cartridges are just a tad bit light in weight to make for an absolutely perfect match with the JMW-9 tonearm. Assuming I am right about that tonearm having an effective mass of 11g, you will find that most of those cartridges would probably benefit from the use of one of VPI's 3g stainless steel cartridge weights. They are specifically designed to allow the VPI tonearms to pair more ideally with light low compliance cartridges such as the Dynavector Te Kaitora Rua or the XX-2, for example. VPI's web site indicates that the cost of one of these 3g weights is $15 retail.
TheAquaman, I don't think that the problems some others have mentioned about Grado are relevant with the JMW-9 arm & VPI table. I have a Grado Sonata in a Scout and the "Grado Wobble" has reared it's head on one lp out of probably 500 lps I've played, Ormandy's "Finlandia" on a half speed mastered issue. Hum is a total non issue, it's dead quiet. I'm not very familiar with Dynavector's line, so I can't comment on a heads up comparison. I say make your choice on sonic preferences rather than concerns about compatability.
Theauqaman / tpsonic.
You've reminded me of the macro issue. This I think is an interesting and useful forum, but it is biased by the folks who profit from the sale of all things audiophile (moderators) & if you are hunting for Trolls it is probably the most target rich environment on the internet.
The combination of strong financial interests creates a bias toward "True Believers" & a lot of folks are encouraged to throw dollars at fringe products that are of dubious value.
In interest of open and unbiased communication, should there be a disclaimer in the banner on the forum topics list?