Soundsmith Carmen vs. Dynavector 20x2H

Looking for a great Cartridge to match up with a VPI Traveler v.2 turntable.

I have narrowed it down to the Soundsmith Carmen and the Dynavector 20x2H but I am open to any other suggestions under $1000. Anyone compare those two to each other?

Other ones I was considering were the Benz Ace HO, Dynavector 10x5, Clearaudio Virtuoso, and Grado Sonata 1. I like an open and dynamic sound but also smooth and not too bright on vocals.

Any comparisons and opinions would be much appreciated. Thanks!
Anyone compare these two or have one or listened to one? Thanks.
I have the DV20X2 H and the Sounsdsmith VPI Zephyr. The Zephyr, whi9ch lists for $1K,is a notch or two above the Carmen. I highly receommend the Zephyr. I've been through a number of carties and the Zephyr, at its price point, outclasses most. Btw, I also own the Classic 1 (with Classic 3 wand as an upgrade).
Thanks Bifwayne!

How do you like the Zephyr compared to the 20X2 H? I am looking for a smooth sound and not too bright. The table I want to get is a VPI Traveler so that's why I was aiming for the Carmen. It's a good match price wise. I did hear the 20X2 on a Traveler and it sounded very good but the sibilance was a bit too much for my taste. It could have been that it wasn't broken in yet as the sales guy had told me. How is your experience with the Dynavector? How do you find the sound?

Another sales man told me that the Carmen and Zephyr are Soundsmiths warmest sounding cartridges. But then I read on some message boards that the Zephyr was very neutral sounding and could sound bright?
Try a Shure M97XE with a Jico SAS. Use the original stylus for records that are in poor condition and the Jico stylus for records that are in good or better condition. BTW, I have a Soundsmith Carmen and Othello. Also, I had a Dynavector 10X5 which was good, but for the money spent the Shure/Jico combination beats them all. I used these on a Classic 1, which is being replaced by an Aries 3.


What are your thoughts on the Carmen and 10X5 compared?
The 10X5 is better period. smoother better articulation, bass, treble and imaging, it's even "better" than the Shure/Jico combo. But it's so darn delicate and fragile looing. I mean that stylus is hanging out there saying "break me." It really was thing that got to me. I wasn't too sure if it would survive a long time around me. I already broke my first one, without even knowing it. In the end I wimped out and kept the more robust(IMHO) cartridge. I may opt for a DV20 in the future, it looks like it would last.

As I said above, the Zephyr is my primary and the DV 20X2 H is my back-up. Obviously, I like the Zephyr better.

My impressions? On every level that one would compare carties, I think the Zephyr does a better job.

Here's something else to think about. I don't care how much you spend on a carty -- $500 or $5000 (e.g., Benz LPS). Stylii wear out and there's no getting around it - period.

But here's the good news. Peter Leddermann retips the Zephyr for $150 and then you're good for another 1500-2000 hours. I bet the DV requires a re-build, if it's even worth it.

Last point. The buzz is that Harry Weisfeld (sp?) of VPI and Peter Leddermann of Soundsmith collaborated on designing the Zephyr to be compatible with the VPI JMW uni-pivot wand. And it is. By contrast, the Traveler arm is fixed gimbel, which means it's more stable than the JMW uni-pivot. That makes set up and carty choice a lot easier.

Just my opinion.
I'm a big fan of the 10x5. Coming from an OC9 that depressed me for years with its lack of guts, the 10x5 was a revelation. I pushed a Theo Parrish 12" (First Floor) up high and it just kept getting better, making the air shudder palpably with complete control. Joy! I'm liable to put a delicate minimal electroacoustic LP on next, so what impressed me was the range of different music styles it would suit. This is with 80s era LP12/isobariks/naim btw.

My 2yo DID rise to the challenge of snapping the stylus off with his finger!!!

Replaced it with the 20x2, professionally set up, and i'd love to do a direct contrast. That's how I found this page - looking for opinions. The 20x2 doesn't match the weight of the 10x5 bottom end. For the same Parrish 12" the balance weighted more centrally means the thrill is not so evident. But this is a strange test! Just one observation, not to be taken alone. Overall I'm sure the 20x2 holds up well, and I'm very very satisfied. Secure on my LP12 with a large belt buckled round it.

Would appreciate pointers to others who've compared directly.