Moving coil cartridge

hello all,

It has been on my mind for the past 3 years. " I wonder if I should try out a moving coil cartridge" Well it seems that this itching is driving me crazy to the point of OCD'ing 24/7. I own a modest set up, nothing too fancy, a Marantz-Clear Audio TT15SE equipped with the wooden Virtuoso MM cartridge. I have to admit I love the rich and warmness that the Virtuoso provides and have other MM's such as the Orofon 2M black but prefer the Virtuoso because of the aforementioned attributes and its almost silent like operation. I digress, I must quench my thirst and put the MC debate to rest once and for all.

A local dealer in my area seems to like the Dynavector brand. They range from $650.00 to over 5K. I of course cannot afford much above $1,500 so I figured the new 20x2 HL and 17D3 would be a good starting point. One, does anyone know if this a good fit for the TT15SE? I ask this because the Ortofon 2M black which sounds great on my old Ariston rig, sounds very average on the Marantz. Two, of the 2 Dynavectors mentioned, the 17D3 being the more expensive units, would I be better of trying the lower end 20x2 unit first? From what I have read the 2 have totally different sonics and soundstage characteristics so i am not sure if the more expensive unit (ie 17D3) would be the right choice.
Any other suggestions for MC cartridges?
All feedback would be aprreciated.

Just to get your feet wet with a MC cartridge try a Denon DL 103R its inexpensive and you will have to spend much more to get better performance, it is a true steal.

Before stepping in make sure your phono preamp have sufficient gain for the LOMC

Good Listening

You didn't mention your phono stage. Without knowing its gain and impedance characteristics no MC recommendation would be meaningful.

That said, my guidance is likely to be that you spend your next $1,500 elsewhere. Unless your other vinyl components (turntable, tonearm, phono stage) are entirely up to snuff you won't hear what a good MC can do. You may well, however, hear what your other components can't do.

Of the four major components in a vinyl setup the cartridge should generally be upgraded LAST.
Just to mention the Dynavector 17D3 has a VERY low output... One of the lowest of all carts.
It will NOT work well without a great phono box.
I use Dynavector 17D3 and Benz Glider.
Yes, what is your phono stage? If it can accommodate a LOMC cart then I would go with a LOMC over a HOMC.
although i don't currently have a mm cart, i had and enjoyed very much the aurum beta s, slightly below your virtuoso. you have one of the best mm carts going, so a lower end mc might be disappointing to you especially if you like body in your music. for body, it is hard to beat a benz cart., although it seems very hard to get them new now. they make the "ace" for about $700 and make it in high output which would allow you to use your current phonostage and get the flavor of moving coil.
i use a modified GCPH that will accomadate any MC cartridge. It so happened that i was able to try a 20 x2 for a couple of days and I must say found it very good. Nice big bass and overall sound stage quite big to say the least. Perhaps maybe a bit colored and a bit more revealing than the MM Virtuoso that I am currently using. So that was 1st initial foray into MC cartidges. Is it much better than what I've have? hmmm hard to say. It makes me wonder as to what a 17D3 will sound like. Maybe I should buy both lol
i'm with peter on this.later you can upgrade your 103 in one of the wooden body and you will be happier than ever for under $500.
keep the extra cash for something's else .
good luck
Get the Dynavector 17D3. It's the only MC I know of that doesn't have that lame "audiophile" treble boost. It's sounds grey compared to a lot of other moving coils, but that's because it's accurate. I highly highly recommend using the Stevenson geometry alignment and setting it at 2.1g VTF with equal anti-skate. It's a great cart for tracking and a true representation on what's in the grooves. I've been at this a long time now and a non neutral cart is the culprit of getting consistently good sound from your phono set up. If you like colored sound, do it with your amps and speakers. Otherwise, a colored cart will make some records sound amazing, and some like dog sh1t. Most MC have exaggerated treble; I'm talking up to +7dB after 10kHz. But, ignore all this if you like "detail"'and "air" over what the mastering engineer heard when cutting the record. :-)
The OP seems to be responding positively to the bass of the 20X2 (not sure if it is high or low output). My understanding is that the 20X2 and XX2 have better bass than the 17D3, so if bass is important, the 17D3 may not be the best choice. This is not from direct experience, but I have read this in multiple reviews and forum comments, and the desire for excellent bass is what led me to go with the XX-2 over the 17D3.
I think i am in agreement with DConsmack that at times you here an LP that sounds great than the next Lp which should sound good, sounds like what he stated "dogsh1t". As far as understanding each cartridges strengths and weaknesses is one thing and trying to find a perfect balance is very difficult especially if you really don't know until you actually are able to utilize the units on your own system or hear them somewhere and do a straight comparison. I have to admit I do not like over detailed sound as I find that in many instances,you have an over abundance of highs, and will hear a very shrilly sound characteristic that in my opinion is like fingers on a chalkboard. I have just heard this on a system utilizing Burmester equipment with a pair of the Monolothic Wilson Speakers. I will tell you that I was not at all impressed with the sound at all. We are talking about a 100k+ system. He was utilizing a LYRA MC and when he switched back to the other tonearm on his rig that was utilizing a less expensive 20 X2, it was Music to My EARS so to speak. I am still curious about th 17D3 and perhaps others in the pricerange such as the Benz Micro Glider S or the model up the Benze Micro Wood S. Hmm..will have to go back to my local guy and see if he can set up a Benz Micro. Thanks for the input fellow Vinylites : ) If you have anything more to add, please do so!!!!
The Dynavector 17D3's bass response tests dead flat in a frequency sweep test from 1,000Hz-20Hz on the Ultimate Analogue Test LP through an EAR 324 phono stage (loaded at the 40 ohm internal step up transformer) through an Apogee Duet A/D converter.
Just passing on what I recall reading, which was that the 20xl and xx-2 had better bass. Better bass can be more than just frequency response. Check the reviews and other forum comments.
Does better bass mean more bass? I had a similar experience with the 17D3, thinking it was a touch lean in the bass. But my other cartridges tested a touch hotter in the bass (+1dB) when tested. That was enough to matter. Also, the 17D3 does sound tad bright when brand new. I almost returned mine, but after playing a few dozen records, it relaxed. And, it tracks amazingly. It's so fast on sibilant sounds due to the short cantilever. Really difficult grooves to track like a synthesizer's square wave are tracked accurately (I compared the waveform of a needle drop to the waveform to the CD of the same recording and the wave looked virtually identical. A needle drop with another cart that has a typical length cantilever "smeared" through the square wave). The 17D3 is the quietest cartridge I've ever used too, which is odd since it's output is so low. Mine is loaded through the 40Ω built-in step up transformer in the EAR 324 phono stage. No hum/noise at all.
yeah I have heard better Bass whatever that may be. I am not a big of big boomy Bass fan. I tend to go for a tighter bass. The lower frequencies are there and quite apparent but i would say that it is quicker and not so droney. This type of Bass translates well with Jazz Audiopile Jazz recordings i find. From what I have read the 17D3 may give this characteristic? ANyone know of the Benz Micro in this price range? ie the Glider, the Wood