How about the Dyna XX-2?
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The xx2 is very low output, just under .3 mv (.28 I believe), so if the .5 is your cutoff, it would not be a contender. I have one in my system on a classic 1 and it is a superb cartridge with all the traits you are looking for when properly set up. Can you tell us more about your system and musical tastes?
Sure...I got back into vinyl about 10 years ago when I bought a Scout, which I ordered with a Clearaudio Virtuoso Wood (based on the Stereophile review) as part of a package. I had an ARC SP-16 at the time for my preamp, which has a MM phono stage. Never really satisfied with the sound of my vinyl rig, I ended upgrading to the Scoutmaster when VPI made that available. Some improvement, but still not really up to CDs to my ears.
Then I accidently snagged the stylus when setting up my turntable after moving house a year ago (yikes!) and ended up buying the Dyna 20X2 HO to replace the V. Wood. I upgraded my JMW9 tonearm to the Classic 3 about the same time. The Dyna with the Classic 3 were fantastic; I couldn't believe the step change in sound!! This set me off on further upgrades...since, I've added the Classic platter, TNT mini-feet, ring clamp and a SDS. Sold the SP-16 and bought a Ref 5 and PH7 on the 'Gon. All positive steps forward (esp. the Ref 5) which have my family and friends agog. My wife is truly the greatest for putting up with this hobby, thankfully she loves the sound, too!
So all these changes had me thinking again about the source...maybe my Dyna (which started it all), could be bettered as well. But after my experiences with the two Lyras, I'm not sure which direction to take.
Power amp is an ARC VT-100 MkIII, cables are Nordost, CD player is an Oppo BDP-95. As I'm also a woodworker, speakers are homebuilt, based on the Madisound Odin design by Joe D'Appolito, and supported by subwoofers of my own design.
In terms of music, I like Rock, Jazz, and Classical, so a pretty varied collection of music.
I thought about the XX-2, but am initially resistant to include a step-up transformer in the signal path.
Thanks for your help and interest!!
Maybe I am hung up on Dynavectors, so in the end I'll have to go to a step-up transformer and another set of cables. But I was wondering if anyone had another suggestion.
I just got the PH7 and am somewhat loath to change that one out already...it is a great phono stage - dead quiet, and changing the loading from your chair with the remote is a great idea.
Lanetim, we share very similar gear. I just moved up from the ARC PH-7 to the PH-8. My pre is an ARC Ref 5 and amp is an ARC VS-115. My TT is a VPI Classic. I also went the Clearaudio route and was not happy. That carty just didn't do well with the JMW 10.5 wand. I also own a DV 20X2 H as well, which is my back up carty. My primary is the Sound Smith VPI Zephyr. I have posted many threads about this on the Forum.
Bottom line: IMHO, the Zephyr is an all-around better sounding carty than the DV 20X2 H, but as stated, I like the DV too and keep it as a back up.
Btw, both of our phono pre amps boost carty output by 58db of gain. You really don't want to load a carty that puts out less than .5mVolts. I've read you might get by with .4mV, but that's the absolute limit for the PH-7/8.
Unfortunately the only way to increase the gain is to use a step up or move to another phono stage like the Reference Phono 2SE, which has 74db gain potential...no doubt a superb product but even more $$. My wife would probably kill me for sure.
Bifwynne, I'm beginning to think the Zephyr is the solution. I think it is the fantastic bass which is what I feel is so appealing about the Dyna. Is the Zephyr equally good?
Thanks, guys, for jumping in!
Lanetim, IMHO, the Zephyr is better than the DV 20X2 H. I agree with your most recent post re increasing gain. For better or worse, we're stuck with 58 db. Ditto re the wives. FWIW, I have heard that the PH-8 is a close second to the Ref Phono 2 (not SE). And between you and me, the PH-8 is NOT in another league from the PH-7. The PH-7 is a terrific phono pre ---- period!!
OK, it's been a couple of days with a new Zephyr, and I have to say it looks like the solution. I find it hard to believe it trounces both the Lyra Delos and Kleos in terms of musicality and bass response, but there you go...sounds great so far and only 10 hrs on the cartridge. I will say the finish is not in the same class, but who cares...it's what it sounds like that is important. Thanks, Bifwynne, for pointing me in this direction!
Interesting. I have a soundsmith boheme cartridge on my classic 1. I have read alot of good reviews of the lyra delos with the JMW 10.5 arm. This is making me have second thoughts. Maybe I should give the zephyr a try. The zephyr was developed to work specifically with JMW tonearms. I would like to listen to this combination.