Hi-End carts - pros

When looking at the field of high end carts, IMO there are no outright "bad" sounding ones, just that each cart has its own characteristics. I am looking at acquiring one of these below. If you had to select one from one of the following, which would you choose and why?

a) Koetsu RSP
b) Lyra Skala
c) Dynavector XV-1s
dynavector, sweet natural sound
Dear Cmk: As you say at this cartridge level there are no bad sounding ones only different characteristics that are system dependent.

I own/owned/heard the ones you named and in the right tonearm with the right Phonolinepreamp ( specially the KRSP ) you can go wrong with either.

My advise is that due that you own a Schoroeder tonearm put in direct contact with Frank: give him your music/sound priorities and certainly that he can/could give you a very precise advise about.

To my music/sound priorities I like ( overall ) the XV-1.

Regards and enjoy the music.
I think you are right you can't really go wrong. I've been looking and asking and reading for a while now and it seemst that if there is one clear cut favorite it is the Dynavector.
First off, I have not heard the Lyra, so no comment there.

I have heard the Koetsu RSP a year or so ago, (in my friend's system, which I know quite well, and which is better than my own, btw), and it is highly resolving, and incredibly musical, but it does lack a bit of bass frequency extension. (And, if you like your mid-range to be somewhat lush, this just might be the cartridge for you.) If you go with this you would probably not be sorry, (except for having to pay the ridiculous tariff on new cartridges here in the US!).

I currently own the Dynavector XV-1S (I got it used a couple of months ago), after having had various other cartridges, (including the Koetsu Rosewood Signature (albeit the non-platinum version), and the Shelter 90X). The XV-1S has the frequency extension of the Shelter (but even slightly more refined, IMHO), and the incredibly low noise floor of the Koetsu. The Dynavector also is very neutral, (the Koetsu is very warm, and the Shelter is somewhat warm), and it is highly resolving (more so than the Rosewood Signature, and at least on par as the RSP in resolution, (and I think a bit more resolving, but that is based on sonic memory from a year or so ago, so take that with a grain of salt.) The soundstaging and imaging is incredible, on par with the best I have ever heard, and it is better than either the Shelter or the Rosewood Signature. (I'll be honest and state I can not recall how good the Koetsu RSP was at this. My guess is that they are on par.) I think this is the cartridge I will be using for the next few years, at least. (Yea! No more yearly auditions of phono cartridges. Now on to the upgrade of my turntable or my speakers! Almost done!)

My two cents worth, and I hope this helps.

PS An acquaintance, here on Audiogon, has recently upgraded from the Dynavector XV-1S to the Clearaudio Goldfinger V2, and he says that it is slightly more resolving, and has a slightly lower noise floor. (However, the $10K price tag might be an obstacle for some people. Yikes!)
Thanks to all for the responses. While considering these choices, I know that going with the Dyna is going for a manufacturer's statement product. Whereas the KRSP would be a middle of the range, although already very high end cart. It seems like the overwhelming favourite would be the Dyna.

Raul, your response about the KRSP: peaks my interest. With your experience with multiple arms, what type of arm best suits the KRSP? Is it the high mass type or the light type. I've read a couple of times that Koetsu's like heavy arms.

One other question to all, perhaps I should narrow it to the XV1s and the RSP: which would give me an eveloping soundstage? If there's one area that the best digital cannot reproduce, its this "wall of sound".
Dear Cmk: Yes, the KRSP is better " serve " by a high effective mass tonearm.

Regards and enjoy the music.
Kurt is one of my acquaintances in Audiogon. Yes, I upgraded to the Goldfinger v2. I don't have any experience with the Koetsu cartridge.

The XV-1s is an excellent all around cartridge from top to bottom. Excellent tracking, rich tonality, low noise, big soundstage, and good extension on both ends. However,in terms of resolution, soundstage, and noise floor, the Goldfinger v2 is in different league. Since the topic here doesn't include the Goldfinger, I am not going to talk about it in detail.

That said, I agree all high end cartridges are good performers. Hard to go wrong with any of the above you mentioned.
Thanks to all for the inputs, I have committed to the Dyna XV-1s, which should arrive in about 7-10 days. Keep you guys updated on how it sounds. :)


I am sure you will like it.

I will point out a couple of things:

One, it does have an exposed cantilever, so be very careful in mounting it. (And another word of advice: Keep it either covered with the stylus guard, or keep a turntable dust cover on it. I had a different cartridge with an exposed cantilever, and my friend's kids strummed it like a guitar string to hear the noise it made. Needless to say - Ouch! Scratch one cartridge!)

Two, you might have read that some people have loaded the cartridge heavier than the recommended VTF. (I have read up to 2.5 grams of VTF) I recommend against doing that. It tracks just fine at 1.9-2.0 grams, IMHO, and in the opinion of two friends who used it as well.

Well, good luck and I am sure you will enjoy the cartridge.
Congratulations! I am sure you will like it. I agree with Kurk_Tank that you don't need to set the VTF beyond the max. recommended by the manufacturer. I had good results at 2.0 gram. I didn't see any sonic benefits at 2.5 grams and beyond, except my pulse rate went up when I saw the cartridge almost bottom out at 2.5g. Enjoy.
After spinning a couple of sides, even from the first LP tracking at 1.85g, sure there was a bit of hardness at the start, but even then it sounds fabulous. The detail separation is amazing and the soundstage is huge (could also be attributed to the Conductor), but things are really fast and the rymthmic pace makes you want to groove to the music.

Thing is, I don't see any need to raise VTF! The silence between tracks is more quiet than ever before.

What do you guys load your XV-1s at? I'm currently at 100ohms, will try 1K later.