Upgrade from DV 17D3, looking for recommendations!

I recently purchased a VPI classic and moved my 17d3 onto it. Pushing through a Luxman SUT, Fosgate Signature Phono, and 12w Luxman SQ-N10 wi DH Labs Air Matrix and Revelation ICs gives me an almost ideal sound. I get immense detail without being bright or fatiguing. The mids are as real as can be, and I don’t get the midbass scoop that many systems hit. I just want a little more on the bottom end. It's not that it's not there... The bass is super tight, and it's pleasant to make out the qualities in it. I just want more presence from it. Maybe I might be pushing too low an output through a high efficiency system?

People in other threads have mentioned the XX-2, the Delos, and some options from Benz. Is the XX-2 really colder than the 17d3? Is the Delos bright as well?

Not limiting to the cartridges listed, what would get me closest to what I am looking for?

Dear @thiefoflight: I think that you don't need to change ( this time. ) your cartridge. My advise is to integrate a pair of active/self powered subwoofers to your Tekton speakers. This move will transform your system and MUSIC for the better for ever.

Please take the time to read this:


Regards and enjoy the music,
I had the Delos for a lot of years and while it is a great cartridge it has a bit of a mid bass bump that constantly annoyed me.  On a lean sounding system it may be a good thing though. It comes down to system synergy.   I preferred my helicon to the Delos as it is more accurate.  I don't like any of the benz's that I have heard as I found they all have a bit of that mellow warm sound with fatter bass. I love my Vandenhul colibri  but it needs a very low effective mass arm and takes a long time to break in. 
 One that I want to try is the audio Teknika ART9

I use an Audio Technica ART 9 on my VPI Classic. It's plugged into a Foz v2.

Check out the thread on the ART 9. A 17D3 owner mentions his preference of the ART 9.

I almost purchased a Lyra Delos before reading the thread. Users of many $1K++ 
carts declaring the ART 9 a contender among 3K+ super carts.

Since you already have an SUT, the ART 7(lower output)may be an even nicer AND cheaper option. Only available overseas(Ebay)


Hi Raul, thank you for the suggestion on the subs, but I'm really not a fan of them. I used to have them in the past quite a bit, but honestly I've never liked the crossover between those and any towers I've ever owned them with. I am not a bass-heavy enthusiast and do believe I can get the sound I want without a sub. With the configuration I have, I know I am running a little on the bright side, and a few modifications will get it to where I want it to be.
analogluvr & tablejockey, thanks to you both for the suggestions! I'll definitely look into the ART 9 and ART 7. I haven't heard about those, and given the specs of the 9, it looks like it'll fit really nicely with the VPI and gain that I have with the SUT and foz stage. The ART 7 looks like it might be too low of an output (.12mV) as my SUT only gets me to 61dB of gain.

tablejockey - is this the thread you were referring to?


theifoflight-The thread strays here and there, but useful info. There are a few mentioning the DV17

I have been using the 9 for 1.5 years and no desire to go beyond. As mentioned in the thread, it's playing on some SERIOUS tables way beyond my VPI Classic.
Easy to setup, maybe finicky dialing the last bit of being sibilant, or shrill.
Load @100 and you're  good to go. The Foz puts the 9 in its best light.

"I am not a bass-heavy enthusiast and do believe I can get the sound I want without a sub."
Only SERIOUS, top flight and BIG setup @ shows seem convincing IMO. A sub setup can get at/near those levels. If I had a choice, 2+.

My floorstanders spec is 30hz. Even if I can't actually hear below this, the REL pressurizes the room. Without it-sound is  good, but everything "shrinks" 
Drums/bass just lose their impact. 
In the end it's subjective, and your ears.

Post removed 
tablejockey and analogluvr - after reading all of those threads, I was fully convinced that the cart is a worthy investment and a step in the right direction, so I did some research last night on the best places to buy and pulled the plug. Thank you for pointing me towards it!

Regarding the sub situation, the truth is I live in an apartment in queens, and have people living below me. My living room is really only 13x18. I need to be able to hear as much of the bass that I want and not necessarily have the room shaking.

Also, I've heard what my system can do with floorstanders and no subs, and is able to get to the frequencies that I want, but the synergy wasn't the same. The Tektons are nice and able to get to 30Hz, but the bass is very tight. Prior to them, I was using Wharfedale diamonds which (housing only 6.5" woofers)  gave more than the bass response I wanted.

I'm also open to any other suggestions anyone wants to give, but for now I'm excited that I'll have an ART 9 coming my way!


Goodluck with the incoming ART 9.

I took a look at the Tekton website. Surprisingly affordable and nice specs.
What model are you using? 
Their "statement" model looks serious. 
I'm using the Tekton Lore, which is their most popular model: 


Eric Alexander is the owner of Tekton and he has worked at a number of speaker companies and then Cardas before starting Tekton. I was turned to them after researching Zu Audio. Both Zu and Tekton build straight out of Utah, and honestly, I felt that Tekton was the no-fluff route and Eric also gave fantastic service. 

I ended up getting the Lore with upgraded ClarityCaps, but he will even put Mundorfs in them if you want to pay the money. 

The resolution and reality they put out are amazing. I can't imagine wanting new speakers in the next several years. 
And I'm disappointed that Tekton hasn't gotten more praise, but Eric is a builder at heart, not a marketer. Maybe I should help him with that! Lots of respect for Tekton here in the forums if you look around. 
Glad to hear you took the plunge on the art9. Nothing pisses me off more in this hobby than all the rip offs so when I see something that is relatively good bang for the buck I like to recommend it. 
Please circle back and give us your impressions after breakin. Also Raul is right about the subs even if your not a bass head. They make everything better, even the highs it seems.  
Yeah, I do believe that a good sub can make a huge difference if set well. Ultimately, if calibrated well, it should minimize crossover distortion and alleviate strain on the floorstanding speakers, allowing them to better deliver the remaining frequencies. But again, I’m not really looking for SPL to fill the room, just a bit more boost, say from 40-150hz. A sub isn’t really a great option for my current living conditions, but perhaps in the future.

And I'll definitely circle back after it breaks in!

Just to give a brief update, tonight I just did an A/B test with the 17d3 and my previous cartridge, an Ortofon 2M Black, which was very easy considering I have two arm wands for the VPI Classic. The bass out of the 2M Black was intense, while the 17d3 was leaving me wanting more on the lower registers, while the obviously the 17d3 blew the 2M black away with regards to soundstage, separation, clarity, vocal and instrument quality, etc. So I do believe that I can get the range I want without a sub.
My Art 9 shipped in yesterday, so I got to put it on this morning and play around with it a bit! I'll give some initial thoughts in the next day or two, but I don't want to review prematurely. I'll also A/B with the 17d3 since I have multiple armwands. Pretty happy so far!

@tablejockey I believe you mentioned in another thread that you've got it set up on a VPI Classic. Did you have any issues with setting the VTA properly? On my Classic, I've got the tonearm set to as far down as it can go and it still appears to be tail up just the slightest bit.

@tablejockey Forget what I said about the VTA. Turns out that one of my adjustment screws was in too far and wasn't allowing the path to descend further. I got it now.
My final setup: referencing the BACK of the cart, perpendicular to the headshell, the angle in relation to the record surface is a slightly LESS than 90 degrees,so the cart is tipped up. VTF@ 1.8 grams.
We both use the Foz, I don't hear a difference switching the load knob while playing a record,so I just leave it at 100 ohms. 

I used a Feifkert gauge and Baerwald, not the VPI jig which is their own measurement. YMMV, but I actually can't hear a difference, though on paper both aren't "perfect."  Figured I should at least use another one of my seemingly waste of money audio gadgets.

Right out of the box, I found the ART 9 amazing. Happy listening!

So initial impressions are all positive, but still going to wait for some magic to happen over the next week or two. I've got about 12 hours of break in with the cartridge in the last two days and bass response is improved with the ART 9 for sure. I am much happier and think you guys have solved my dilemma.

@tablejockey I can see what you and the rest of the ART 9 thread have meant by the cartridge being so cohesive. The frequencies are are all there, and none of them really jump out at you more than the rest.

Comparing to some other cartridges:

Dynavector 17d3
17d3 may be brighter, but I feel it is more pronounced in detail still without being fatiguing. The midrange of the ART 9 is very present, but the 17d3 jumps out more. This may be the boost that people talk about with the 17d3.

Shelter 501 MK2
Right now, the ART 9 is tonally closer to the Shelter, but as the Shelter is much more like a warm apple pie, the ART 9 is a bit more detailed all the way through the frequency spectrum. The Shelter also feels more forward in the bass and midbass.

Ortofon 2M Black
The black just has way more bass response, but at the expense of a muddier midbass and treble despite sharper sounds in the upper registers.

So with this said, I feel like the ART 9 is a wonderfully even cartridge all the way through, though I wish some part of me did wish it had more personality that just jumped out. It is very musical, but it just feels a bit polite right now without lacking any bass or detail.  I guess this personality is the magic I am hoping for through the break in process.

As it does break in, I'll move my findings over to the other ART 9 thread.

Thanks again!
Be sure to use a wide variety of LPs across genres, thicknesses, reissues/originals etc. when you listen critically. It's easy to get caught up in 1 track A/B comparisons, but if you pick a track that doesn't have every instrument and voice in the world then perhaps a different LP might shine additional light on your thinking ;-)

Also, curious to get a better understand of the warm apple pie analogy. Is it too warm, sweet, tart, thick? I think my Colibri was too lemony, and my Signet is like pecan with just a dab of whipped cream; a little sweet, with lots of texture and a solid foundation. Cheers,
Spencer - good advice all around. I have a set of different LPs across genres when I do this, from jazz, rock, modern composition, indie, electro, etc. 

I love the response regarding the warm apple pie. The Shelter is definitely the warmest and thickest of the cartridges I own, and while there is upper frequency detail there, it's missing the attack and forwardness that I have with some other cartridges. Maybe it's like a salted caramel apple pie that has a nice bite at the very top. :)
I've had a 2m black, Benz wood, dyna, AT33SA, to name a few. 

I now now have a Soundsmith Zephyr Star, and it is my favorite to date. 

Loading Can be a challenge with some stages, but I love this little guy. 
Posting to this thread under the theory of "better late than never."  I've had the Karat 23 MR RS, 17D3 and XX2 Mk II on my Sota rig.  I feel the XX2 is almost perfectly neutral, totally revealing, has outstanding frequency response and superior dynamic range.  It's a major, but linear, step up from the 17D3.   I also find the bass deeper and more defined.  Much as I might like to go to a TKR or XV1S, I'm fully satisfied with the XX2.  Maybe if I upgrade my speakers I'll change my mind, but for now, no.  FWIW, if you're still not finding your Nirvana, give the XX2 a try.  Good luck & happy listening!
@argon66 thanks for the recommendation on the Zephyr Star. I've heard great thjngs, and I do own a Sound Smith SMMC-1 which is a few steps down but of the same signature. I will consider it one day. 

@effischer I actually ended up buying an XX-2 with a snapped cantilever here on the Gon for $300. I'll definitely put in on after the ART-9 wears out. 

I do have to say, though, that now that the ART-9 has broken in, that presence and personality I was hoping for is now here. It might also have to do with the fact that I also got a PS Audio Power Plant P3 that just seems to make the attack of my system ever so fast and articulate. But I think my sound is practically perfect now, and I can't imagine wanting to switch anything out anytime soon!