There's a Dynavector 10X5 on Audiogon now for $250. Take the cover off and it's a real contender. Not affiliated with seller, etc., etc. Good luck, Dave
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"Does the 2.5 mV, which is at the low end of the Gram Amp 2's stated needs, mean tha I'm going to have to crank the volume more to get the same level of sound as with the Sonata (which is about 4 mV, if I remember correctly)? Thanks, Rich"
I had this question with my setup as I use the phono stage in my Musical Fidelity A 300 integrated amp. The MM stage which is recommended for a high output MC cartridge has 37 db gain.
The Dynavector 10X5 needs a suggested gain level of 43 or 44db.
I do turn up the volume pot on my MF A300 a bit more than with a CD player. Most people have told me that this is not an issue. I do not notice any S/N ratio issues.
If your phono preamp gain is around 40db you should be fine. There is also issue of your preamp that it goes into.
Others may have more informed opinions here.
Sonata is a very good cartridge, 10x5 is absolutely not going to beat it. You need to do better that that. If talking Dynavector you need to get into at least 20X, but I personally don't like its hight output version, low output sounds much sweeter.
I am not sure moving into high output MC makes sense for you at this point. Low output is where you get real differense.
Don't forget, you have a very decent cartridge now.
For what it's worth, I just sold my Dynavector 10x5 on Audiogon a few weeks ago. It came with my VPI when I got it last year. Everything said above is true (detailed, warm, great extension in highs and bass). But I still prefer the sound of the high-end Grado's myself. Recently I've been trying the MusicMaker-III, which is basically a hot-rodded Grado. I like it a lot, much more than I liked the Dynavector. To me, it sounds more natural. I don't spend as much time noticing the sound ("wow, those high's are incredible") but rather I find the music itself more compelling. I have no idea what makes it do that, but I LIKE it!
Just my $.02 YMMV