I am using the Dynavector XV-1s cartridge with my SME IV tonearm. I am very impressed with the performance of the cartridge, and it is essentially a perfect match with the SME IV.
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I hate to sound like a broken record, but I have an SME/30 and an SME IV.vi arm. I tried a Van den Hul Colibri, a Clearaudio Insider and a Shelter 901 (best of the bunch) but it was the Dynavector XV-1s that had the magic. In MY system it thoroughly bettered the VdH and Clearaudio each of which were MUCH more costly. I also agree with Raul, the Shelter 90X would be my next choice. The 901 is very nice too but if you can swing the extra $$ for the Dyna, I don't think you will be disappointed - it is very balanced from top to bottom, has excellent punch, great harmonic texture and loads of detail without glare or fatigue.
Just my $.02
I think David is inquiring about the VTF (vertical tracking force) we are using with the DRV XV-1s. Speaking for myself, I have been running the cartridge at a VTF at the top end of the range suggested by the manufacturer (2.0 grams if I recall correctly). I know there are others who have experimented with higher tracking force and decided that a VTF above the suggested range - 2.6 grams for example - results in markedly better sound. I have been personally reluctant to exceed the VTF range suggested by Dynavector, but I am interested in others' experience here.
Dear Cincy: Now I can understand.
2.2 is the maximum VTF that recomended Dynavector on its specs. This is the VTF that I usually use it.
Like a month ago an Auiogoner send me and e-mail to ask somethings about and he send me a link where some guys are using 2.6 ( like you told ) and 2.7 grs.
My reaction was if this high VTF put out of centered the coils and some damage ( in the medium/long run time )to the suspension, so I send an e-mail to Dynavector and their answer was: " the safe range can be up to 2.5 grs ".
Since then I'm using 2.4 and I'm very happy with it. Recomended !!!!!
Regards and enjoy the music.
After some thought on this, I'm now leaning towards the Shelter 90X, simply as it has a higher output. I think it may be a couple bucks cheaper too, but as of now I'm using a modified AR PH3 phono stage, so I think the 0.35v output of the SV-1 (according to Cincy Bobs system page) is a little low. I know I could put a step up transformer in place, or just get another phono stage, but that would add even more to the expense of changing cartridges...
David, for about five years, I ran the van den Hul Frog cartridge in my system. At 0.65mV of output, the Frog seemed to do best in my system at about 50dB of gain. As you would expect, I have found that my Dynavector XV-1s, at 0.35mV of output, requires more gain. In my system, the Dynavector cartridge does best with gain of 55dB. The XV-1s is an exceptionally dynamic cartridge and, in my experience, does not require quite as much gain as you might expect based strictly on its output level.
The optimal phono stage gain for any given cartridge will vary a bit from system to system, but, particularly given that the Shelter 90X has an output level consistent with my van den hul Frog, I thought you might find this information useful in evaluating the compatibility of these cartridges with the gain provided by your modded phono stage.
Do you know how much gain is provided by your ARC PH-3?
Hi Cincy Bob,
According to the manual, the Gain is 54 dB at 1 kHz.
Given that this is a PH3, does anyone have recommendations for the Input Impedance loading on the Shelter? I've got the little kit of resisters that I can solder in place to change that depending upon which cartridge is in place. I suppose it will tell me in the cartridge manual, but then I've read that sometimes individuals will actually experiment with impedance loading other than that recommended by the manufacturer. Easy enough to do if you have a Steelhead, but not so easy if you're soldering in and out various resistors...
BTW, thanks Raul for your recommendation. Do you agree Bob? It's sounding like you're thinking the 54 dB gain might be enough, given 55 dB worked for you.
Have the mods to my PH3 affected the gain? I don't know. The changes are visible to me compared to the stock PH3's, and I was told that in a side by side comparison my modded PH3 was a clear favorite over the PH3SE, given that it has "hexfreds in ALL power supplies, MIT caps, Dynamicaps, Infinity signatures in varying locations, ceramic gold plated tube sockets, Blackgate caps in the low voltage B+ and heater supplies, and a removable power cord" for mods. However, I didn't hear the comparison myself.
Also, I know it may not be a critical factor, no one else seems bothered by it, but I still have a bit of hesitancy regarding running a stylus over my vinyl where I'm applying 2.4, or more, grams of vertical tracking force to the groove. Maybe I'd get over my concerns about that after listening to the sound of the Dynavector, but no one has said that I'd regret getting the 90X, and it would save me a couple of bucks too, no?
David, it sounds like the gain of your phono stage is right on the edge of what is required to run the Dynavector cartridge. While your phono stage might well have enough gain to get the job done, given the substantially higher output of the Shelter cartridge, I agree that this would be your safest bet. I think that the Dynavector cartridge is, overall, the better performer, but, if you don't have enough gain to run the cartridge, you would be left with no recourse but to upgrade your phono stage, sell the cartridge, or listen at less than fully satisfying volume levels.
By the way, I think the least of your worries is the tracking weight of the Dynavector cartridge. This certainly does not pose a risk to your vinyl. And if it provides you with any piece of mind, I should tell you that I have been running my Dynavector XV-1s at 2.0g VTF, and the sound is incredible. My advice to you is to disregard the VTF in making your decision. The question of whether your phono stage has sufficient gain is much more relevant.
Thanks for your personal experience with the SV-1 Bob. I guess I'd assumed to get the full value from the cartridge, one needed to run it at the highest possible VTF. Not the case as your letter last post points out. It still is "incredible" at 2.0 g VTF. I wouldn't mind upgrading my phono stage at some point, but taking things with some degree of moderation leads me to think the biggest improvement might be had in swapping out the Benz M2 for something more refined, vs doing the phono stage now, and the cartridge later. With that in mind, I think I'll go with the higher output 90x. Then, later on, after I upgrade the phono stage, if I still find myself wanting more at that point, maybe I could move to the Dynavector. I'll keep my eye out for a good shape used 90 X here on the gon for a while, and if nothing pops up, just get a new one. I'm thinking perhaps someone will sell their 90x when moving up to the SV-1.
Some of my looking will take place after a 2 week visit to St. John starting this Sunday. I mention that in case anyone wants to email me with a lead on a used 90X.
I have been reading all the threads in anticipation of purchasing a new cartridge to replace my Shelter 901. Tonearm is an SME V. The Dynavector is one of my top candidates as is the Shelter 90X. Maybe leaning toward the Dyna as it can be re-tipped; I understand the Shelter cartridges cannot be re-tipped.
I listen to classical music 85%, the rest a mix of all other types.
I did have interest in the ZYX Airy-3, but not so sure now; I definitely do not want a forward sounding cartridge. The 901 is a wee bit forward, but w/out glare. I realize at this lofty level much is a matter of taste.
Could folks who have heard, kindly describe the sonic differences between the 90X and the XV-1S.
Thanks much in advance!
Dear Jtimothya: The 90x like any cartridge could be re-tipped.
I own both cartridges and my vote is for the XV-1. At least mate better to my music priorities.
The 90x is a very good cartridge and a lot better than the 901 and not " bit forward ".
The differences against the XV-1 are: this one is better balanced top to bottom, it has a more natural presentation to the music and is the kind of cartridge that is not telling you " I'm here ", the music really " flow " through the XV-1. The XV-1 is a more refined cartridge than the 90x specially on classical music.. But you can't go wrong with either and both mate well with your SME tonearm.
Regards and enjoy the music.