It is not overkill. You will hear a definite improvement with the XV-1s. However, the lack of easy VTA adjustment in the Classic 1 tonearm limits your ability to fine tune playback for different slabs of vinyl, which the XV-1s will readily reveal. Still, for whatever weight record you choose to adjust the arm to, you will get improved results over your current 17D3.
Your question is impossible to answer, given its subjective nature, but I have grown to believe that, if you think your tonearm is a weak link, buy a better tonearm FIRST. It will make your 17D3 sound better, if it's well matched in terms of effective mass, AND you will have it on hand when later you wish to upgrade the cartridge. In other words, a "good" cartridge will sound better in a great tonearm. A "great" cartridge will be held back by a merely good tonearm. (This is not to cast any judgement on the Classic tonearm, about which I know nothing; I am drawing on your own apparent opinion that it may be a weak link.)
Honestly, the 17D3 is overkill for your Heed Phono. The XV-1s is probably ok, because it is a very anaemic cartridge but when you want to go ahead, think about a better Phonostage.
Best bang for your buck is a tonearm or phono preamp upgrade.
Rushton---thanks for your response, I wouldn't miss not having easy VTA adjustment, I don't miss it now and frankly I have no desire to adjust VTA for different LPs, that's way too anal retentive for me! By the way, I forgot to mention my musical preferences are 60's and 70's psych and progressive rock, soul and funk, jazz, afrobeat, latin, etc. I'm sure this would have an influence on my choice of cartridge.
Syntax---back off, I love my Heed Quasar!! ;) No, seriously, I think it's a great little phono pre, but I have been looking into upgrading that part of my system as well, now that you mention it. It's funny what you said about the 17D3/Heed combo---the reason I bought the Heed is because somebody recommended it to me as a great match for the 17D3! And I do think they've worked well together, I'm just looking for more of what I'm already getting (neutrality, detail, dynamics, presence, excitement, all that stuff), you know how it is.
Dear Will_herrera: The XV-1s is a great quality performer by any standard but the ones that likes distortions, certainly not anemic other than the system that showed that " anemic " behavior but IMHO not the cartridge.
There are cartridges or other items that can shows us some " faults " elsewhere in our audio systems and the XV-1s is IMHO one of that.
Looking to your system and looking on what you like on music and your audio/music priorities I think that you could make things better than with 17D3 through the MM alternative and in specific with the Clearaudio Virtuoso Wood and with the money that you save on the XV-1s you can invest it in more music/LPs.
Well, that is another alternative.
Regards and enjoy the music,
I have no experience with the components you mention. However, the XV-s is a top flight cartridge and I doubt your system would get the best out of it. If I were you I'd go for something cheaper and upgrade elsewhere.
Interesting to read this, as I posted a very similar question regarding the XV-1s a month or so ago. Likewise, I received very similar suggestions regarding improving the tonearm and/or phono pre first. Now having had the XV-1s for a while, I can appreciate the logic of this upgrade advice. Example: I have two JMW9 Signature arms for my Scoutmaster - XV-1s mounted on one, my older Blackbird on the other. A/B-ing via my current EAR 834p deluxe phono pre, I can't say the XV-1s provides that much more than the Blackbird. In fact, I prefer many of the Blackbird's characteristics in this scenario. However, change out the EAR for a Herron VTPH-2 I currently have on audition, and the XV-1s is in another league. Blackbird's sounding great too, but its the flexibility of the Herron which helps bring out the potential of the XV-1s. FWIW ~
I think you are confused a little. The cartridge you have is more than enough, but your speakers, power amp, Cardas cable and possibly speaker cables scream to be upgraded. After it's done, upgrade step by step your entire front end and then you will have hi-fi not mid-fi.
Sorry, but I would say that yes, the XV-1S is absolutely overkill for your system. Enjoy your system as it is now, it looks fairly well balanced. If you feel the need to upgrade, spend the money more evenly and upgrade more units.
Simply putting a world class cartridge in a nice budget system will make no more sense that putting a world class phono stage (Aesthetix Io) in a nice budget system. Balance is the key to any system.
Clearly the contrarian here, I continue to say: the Classic table and tonearm are competent units and you will hear an improvement with the XV-1s. Are there better tonearms than the Classic 1? Well, yes. But it is certainly competent. As is the turntable. If you upgrade the table or preamp, you'll not outgrow the XV-1s and, in the interim, you'll have better results than the 17D,
And I agree that if you improve the phonostage, you'll hear more of what the XV-1s delivers. (I'm assuming your current phonostage, which I don't know, is at least able to deliver the gain needed by the XV-1s.) If you later upgrade to one of the top tonearms, you'll hear even more of what the XV-1s can deliver.
Bottom line, I think the Classic 1 turntable is certainly a good enough table and arm combination to allow the XV-1s to perform a up to a fair degree of its capabilities. I've heard it in systems with less capable arms than the Classic 1.
Great responses everybody, I really appreciate all the input! I'm leaning toward agreeing with those who feel that the XV-1S would indeed be overkill in my system. The best approach seems to be to upgrade in a smaller increment, and to do it more evenly throughout the system---for example, I could upgrade both the phono pre and the cartridge at the same time, with the same amount of money. Now I'm thinking about a Dynavector XX-2 MKII with a better phono preamp, but that's the start of a whole other thread---any phono preamp suggestions? Solid state or tube? Believe me, in the last few weeks I've been researching phono preamps like crazy, and very few seem ideal to me, when I factor in features (gain, loading), sonic characteristics, price, availability, you name it. For example, I love the idea of getting a tube phono pre, but I'm afraid of having a higher noise floor, and losing the low frequency extension and "slam" I need when I listen to Funk, for example.
Personally, I've succumb to Lloyd Walker's sonic philosophy that uses a solid state phono stage. This is mostly due to modern times with cartridges having smaller output voltages. SS is just a more stable amplifying device for very, very small signals. I still prefer tubes in my line stage and amplifier, but I have been very happy since moving to SS phono stages.
My favorite has been the Klyne 7PX5.0, but these may be out of your price range. If I were you, I'd keep my eye out for an older Klyne phono stage. They don't come up often, but it will be worth the wait, IMHO.
While procewise a step down from your current phono stage, maybe you should audition. Dyna P75. You get synergy with Dyna carts, and the ability to run in PE mode, which works especially well with thelow impedance Dyna carts like the XX-2 or 20X2L.
I have heard the heed phono in my system. It is a good budget phono stage.
You will not be getting anywhere near the performance potential of the XV-1s without a better phono stage.
For your setup, either keep your cart and upgrade your phono stage or funds permitting, do both.
As for phono stage, I'd recommend either a Sutherland 20/20 or Parasound JC-3 or better yet a Linn Uphorik.
For a cart, I'd recommend either the Dynavector XX-2 MKII or the Lyra Delos. Anything more would be overkill for your setup.
Okay, how does this sound---Dynavector XX-2 MKII with a JLTi phono pre---opinions?
Regarding the P-75 recommendation, I strongly disagree.
I sell both Heed Quasar and Dynavector P-75; at best the P-75 is a lateral move and more likely a step down.
Thanks for all the phono preamp recommendations! Only problem is, I've researched (or owned) all of these, and every one of them has a caveat or two that make them less than ideal:
Dynavector p75---had it for a while, to my ears it was unremarkable, and it was way too noisy in enhanced mode.
Sutherland 20/20---I liked what I read about it, and it sounded very promising, until I read in the Absolute Sound review that it may not be ideal (too smooth) for Rock aficionados (I listen to *alot* of Rock).
Parasound JC-3---no loading options, which makes me uncomfortable because I run my 17D3 at 470 ohm (sounded dead at 100 ohm).
How about a Manley Chinook at $2,250? I haven't personally owned a Manley, but I've read that the Steelhead has a very low noise floor and is a tube phono. The Chinook is apparently directly related to the Steelhead in regards to parts and boards. Combine that with an XX-2 and you are still under the price of an XV-1s.
The P75 might be lower noise with a lower impedance cart such as the 20XL or the XX-2. The 17D3 or other Karat carts have higher impedance and aren't as great a match with the P75. Might be worth auditioning with an XX-2 or XV-1S. But yeah, I'd be sure to audition. If you are laying down the cash for a high dollar Dyna cart, I'd imagine your dealer would be happy to let you audition the P75.
Dear Will_herrera: For what ever reason you have I can see you ar entilted with LOMC cartridges and in especial the XV-1s.
This cartridge belongs to a different " league " that the cartridge you own and to a different " league " that the system you own.
IMHO you can't drive a new " Ferrari " with cicle tires, right?. Your situation is the same.
I can tell you that not even the XV-1s can beat the CA Virtuoso Wood on Rock music. Of course you don't want to go with the MM/MI alternative that IMHO is better that what you can imagine.
To pass from the 17D3 to the XX2 could be not a big step a head where the XV-1s or the CA certainly are.
A cartridge is the source and its sensitive and delicate signal must be treated according with.
You can't improve the cartridge self quality performance the only way/side you have is that choosing the right links through the audio chain in your system: that the cartridge signal be degraded the less adding and loosing the less to the cartridge signal. The better the items that surround the cartridge ( in this case the XV-1s ) the better the chances you have that this cartridge can shows at its best.
Regards and enjoy the music,
UPDATE---last week I bought a used Simaudio Moon 310LP phono pre (with power supply) here on Audiogon to upgrade from my Heed Quasar, and I've been gathering up as much info as I can about the Dynavector XX2 mkII and Lyra Delos cartridges, to replace my 17D3. For various reasons these 2 interest me the most, out of all the myriad possibilities, and at this point I'm leaning more in the direction of getting the Lyra for my VPI Classic. I'm going to live with the Simaudio (with the 17D3) awhile before I pull the trigger on the Lyra. Once again, thank you everyone for your input, it was very helpful.
I'd go with a high output Benz cartridge and dump the headamp altogether.
Can you tell us why? HOMCs are often considered less than ideal, if you have a quality phono stage for LOMC carts. What's your logic?
Will Herrara, sorry to divert the threat for a moment, but can you tell me how the Simaudio 310LP improves on the Heed? I have a Heed and am wondering what I'm missing. Thanks.
Roscoeiii...My logic is the less you have in the system, the better the sound. Cartriges are very fussy. I have a Benz Hi Output Ebony and the sound is extremely fine. You don't have the last little bit in resolution, but you probably can't tell unless you AB the low output against it...yet it will give you an enormous soundstage, extended response, and excellent tracking. I am running an LP-S now, but could be happy with the hi output. Everything is a balance. To get the best from a low output cartridge you have to spend big money on an appropriate head amp.
Stringreen - you need to reread the thread, he doesn't have a head amp. He has 2 phono stages that are quite capable of running low output MC's.
Will_hererra - my view is you are in the right direction, Lyra Delos, and look to update the phono later or dump the preamp/phono and get a good preamp with phono.
I use a Lyra Delos with a Simaudio LP5.3 with external power supply, basically what you are using, and it is an exceptional combination. that being said, I have come to the conclusion that small incremental changes to your system is more financially taxing than biting the bullet and getting the best you can afford in the beginning. this is after you have a basic system which you are happy with and are enjoying the hobby. You certainly have that system now, so I would enjoy, and as I can afford it, buy one piece at a time until you reach nirvana. It will be cheaper in the long run.
Heard a DV XV1-t vs a Transfiguration Orpheus last week on the same tt (different arms though). In general, the DV was accurate, but the Transfiguration was more musical. The Orpheus had more of a bottem end that just fleshed things out better and made me want to listen. I've heard the DV1-s is a bit warmer than the DV1-t, but not by much.
Of course the Orpheus is no longer available, but the Phoeniz is also a great cartridge and it will save you some $$$ over the top end DV's.
Unless you have the finest class of pre, you will loose what the Dyna XV-S can be capable. This can be an expensive purchase, which promted me to recommend the high output to ultmately get better sound.
Adamay---the thing is, I don't know if the Simaudio 310LP will be an improvement on the Heed, but I'm willing to take a chance to find out. Like you, I love my Heed Quasar, it's the best phono stage I've ever had in my system---BUT, my experience with other high quality phono stages has been very limited, so I wanted to broaden my horizons a bit and try something else, so I can put the Heed in perspective and understand what it's strengths and weaknesses are. Someone referred to the Heed as a "good budget phono pre" (the implication being that it's not in the same class as something like the Simaudio, I assume), so I want to find out if that's true. The Simaudio seems like a good choice---good loading and gain options (will work with the Dyna 17D3 and the Lyra Delos if I get one), Stereophile Class B recommended (for what that's worth), and I purchased it used---so how can I go wrong?
Unless you have the finest class of pre, you will loose what the Dyna XV-S can be capable.
I agree, however, most would also say the same about the table/arm as well, not to mention amplification and speakers. That's why the advice that the XV-1s would be overkill in this system.
JMC...Picky, Picky....The classic is extremely good and worth an upgraded cart.
Stringreen, I did not say that the Classic was not a good table. I also did not say the OP may not enjoy an upgrade at cartridge. The key is that we both agree that the Dynavector XV-1s is overkill for this system. You merely pointed out that it was overkill due to his phono preamp, while I pointed out that it was overkill due to every other piece in his system, including his turntable.
IMHO, a good balance is the key. It would make no more sense to put a XV-1s in that system then to drive a pair of Verity Audio Sarastro II's with some Adcom seperates.
He's talking about a cartridge that sells for twice as much as his table and arm combined! A cartridge that sells for more than double what his speakers sold for.
And from my personal experiences, if I had to go cheap, I'd do it on the cartridge over the turntable, speakers, amps. I've heard much better sound from a $500 cartridge on a $15K table/arm then I've heard from a $5K cartridge on a $2K table/arm. Of course, YMMV.
JMC is absolutely on the money. You dont put a $5k cartridge on a $2k turntable. If you put a $5k cartridge on, it will be marginally better.
However if you spent $2k on a cartridge and the other $3k on upgrading the tt you will get the best improvement by miles. eg in this case a Lyra Delos or Benz Glider plus additional speed controller SDS, clamp, Antiskate etc.
My experience with the Moon phono's with various Benz, Clearaudio and Dynavectors is a dry and uninspring sound, IMO something like an EAR phono would blitz these, more life, more engaging and balanced.
The tonearm would be the first thing I would replace on that setup.
Sir, I disagree on this matter. I made an impulse purchase of a DV XV1S DV tonearm, and VPI aries TT. I've been a Rega Planar 3 and DV 10 x 4/5 guy for 15 years. I heard this combo playing through Reference Audio Research phono and preamp. This was the best audio I've ever experienced.
I knew my inboard phono section wasn't up to it at 40 db, so I auditioned the Manley Chinook (I'm not up for a 13 k reference phono after this purchase). Though not at the levelof the AR, this combo is extremely musical and enjoyable. The Chinook is probobly underpriced and does fine with the XV 1s . Im not a frequent poster, but hope you check out this combo.
I've always believed it is better to upgrade the sound path starting with the source. You will not go wrong with an XX-2, I believe Dynavectors do better with the Classic arm than Lyras (I have a Classic 3, and tried both the Delos and Kleos, and was not happy with either).
Of course, the arm, TT, phono stage, and cables need to be appropriate if you are going to get the most out of a good cartridge. As you upgrade the source, the potential performance bottleneck moves down the chain. And discovering thosebottlenecks is what makes our hobby fun!
Ah, so my subject thread is still alive...well, sorry to say this to the last person who posted, but I just ordered a...
LYRA DELOS from Music Direct. So we'll see how it goes.
Gotta admit, I'm a little nervous about it, I'm so used to listening to my Dynavector 17D3 for the past 3 years.
You will love the Delos. I am using it with my Simaudio lp5.3 and it has the best sound I have ever had in my system.
Manitunc---I'm curious, what gain and load settings are you using for your Lyra Delos on the Simaudio? I'm using a Simaudio 310LP phono pre, which I'm really enjoying by the way.
Let us know what you think of the Delos. I had a Dynavector 20X2 H on my Classic 3, and while I loved the excellent bass and excitement this cartridge generated in my system, I craved a smoother high end. So I went for a Delos, and I found that smoother high end, but I had to give up the excellent bass and excitement I had with my Dyna.
Having bought my cartridge from the excellent guys at Needle Doctor, I returned the Delos for a full refund, and eventually decided to move up the Lyra ladder and go for the Kleos. I found the Kleos to have an even smoother and lower distortion mid range and high end, but when I put my 20X2 back on my tone arm, it was no contest...I liked the Dynavector much better. The Lyras just weren't as exciting to listen to. So with much chagrin, I returned the Kleos once again to the Needle Doctor folks for a full refund. I gotta encourage all readers to use these guys, I've just had the best service you could ever expect, and they give very nice trade-in discounts to boot. Thankfully I bought my 20X2 from them, or else I would be feeling really guilty. I like the guys at Music Direct a lot too, but they don't have the same return policy on cartridges the guys at Needle Doctor do.
Anyway, I've just put on a Soundsmith Zephyr on my Classic 3, and at this point I think it is the step up from the 20X2 I was looking for...and at 1/3 the price of the Kleos. Yes, system dependence and personal taste as to what people find 'exciting' is going to vary all over the place, and trying out a bunch of different cartridges isn't easy for anyone except the very rich or the truly indulgent, or the professional reviewers. But forums like this one are really helpful in educating on possibilities, and have steered my purchase decisions in a very positive way.
Lanetim---I'm surprised that you felt that the Lyra Delos lacked excitement compared to the Dynavector 20X2 H, the Delos being a higher resolution cartridge, which would give you more detail, air and presence and a more transparent window to hear the music through. To my mind those qualities would have the effect of raising up the "excitement" level, but we all have different ears, different systems and rooms, and listen for different things. Are you saying perhaps that your 20X2 H basically had more dynamics and "slam"?
Yes, that's right...the 20x2 had great, deep bass and a vibrant lower midrange in my system which the Lyras could not match. The reference input for me in my system is my Oppo BDP-95...Dyna richer sounding, the Lyras dryer but smoother. I had the same problem with the CA Virtuoso Wood, which preceded my 20x2...a very dry and unexciting sound. From my findings, a system tilted to more bass might find the Lyras work perfectly. And now the Zephyr in my system seems to balance just right.