I've gone from a Dynavector 10X5 to an XX-2 and just acquired an XV-1S. Needless to say, I'm partial to Dynavector and am thrilled with the XV-1S.
There are many great cartridges out there. I've heard a fraction. Based upon what I've read and the ones I've heard, I put my money on Dyna and have been more than satisfied.
I currently use a Benz Glider, and a Dynavector 17D3
I started on Sure and used those for many years.
I had two Shure V15Vmrs i sold.
The Clearaudio Insider Reference Wood.
In almost 50 years of analogue & the hundred or so cartridges I have owned - This is the very best cartridge I have ever heard.
The Lyra Kleos, I have about 80-100 hours on it and puts a wrinkle in my wranglers each time I listen.
Koetsu black in moving coils. Grado (any), Sonus (any), Grace F9E and F9R, Shure m97xe and V15 type V Mxr, most Sumiko moving coils and moving magnets. These are all my favorites over the years and I have owned many cartridges but I found out u dont have to spend a fortune to get a good cartridge and it still sounds better than digital for less money.
Nothing fancy here, but back in the day, before I gave all my vinyl away, I changed cartridges once a year, every year. My go to faves were Stanton 681EEE and Shure M91E and ED, all moving magnets. The best I used was a more pricey Ortofon OM-20E, which I fed new styli on the same schedule. They're all gone now except a Shure M91ED that I've fondly squirreled away due to its an organic and robust rightness.
using a Shelter Harmony right now. Love it. When I get a second arm, I'm trying a Koetsu "stone" body cart of some flavor.
AT 33 EV, Denon 304, DL-S1
Soundsmith's proprietery line is incredible. The Voice, and the new VPI Zephyr which I currently own, are really killer cartridges.
Best I have ever heard though, is the Ortofon a90. I've never heard a better all around performer.
Grace F9E Ruby with Soundsmith re-tip.
My current cartridge, (and current favorite), is the Dynavector XV-1s. It is a great cartridge, as it does everything virtually perfect, (at least for me), and it is the one I plan on using for a long time.
I also like the Koetsu cartridges, (all types, from the entry level Black, to the Rosewood Signature Platinum). At some point, I would love to be able to listen to a stone body version. I just love listening to vocals with the Koetsu cartridges. (Plus they have an extremely low noise floor, like the XV-1S I am currently using. I really love having a deep, dark black background.)
My two cents worth anyway.
Rega Exact 2, with my P3-24/RB-301/TT-PSU.......Sublime.
I am enjoying my Monster Genesis 1000 on my Fat Bob and Benz Micro Glider II H on my Oracle Delphi IV. But overall, I have always liked the Dynavector Ruby series, including the 23, 23r, 23rs and 17d2. They just seem to do everything well.
For a MM I use an Ortofon 2M Black.
In this following :
ZYX 100 fs , vd hul condor , koetsu urushi wajima and last but not least london decca supergold .
The last one beats them hands down and is the chaepest as well and is very easy to have repaired if needed
Decca FFSS MkIV C4E - just stunning
Soundsmith with the Strain guage. I have never owned anything that sounded as good. My second favorite is the ZYX UNIverse.
1 MC and 1 MM that I am currently using and I consider them equal in audio nirvana value.
Benz Micro MC 3 - this is a SoundSmith Ruby retip.
Empire 4000 DIII Gold - thank you MM audiogon thread.
I think my favourite was the Koetsu Rosewood signature I used for 3 years. I had a second hand Onyx recently, but it was'nt a good compliance match with my arm. Now I use a Benz Micro LP, which is the second best cartridge I have used.
EMT OFD25 for mono and Decca C4E for stereo (followed closely by TSD15-SFL and FR-7f).
Koetsu Rosewood Signature Platinum
Lyra Argo i and Helikon i. Lyra is now by far my favorite cartridge company after having owned models by van den Hul, Benz Micro, Koetsu, Grado and Shelter. Their line contact styli track beautifully and get the information out of the groove.
Been through some of the Grado's and the Dynavectors. Grado's are great if you need a high output and like that extra warmth they bring to the table.
Dynavectors have some truly great MC designs that are high output as well. But miving up the line to a MC does bring a large leap in performance.
But I heard Transfiguration Orpheus and that is truly stunning. I couldn;t afford it, but I did manage to pick up a used Temper that I enjoy tremendously. Very much in line with the Dynavector sound in my opinion but I haven't done a direct comparison at the top levels. I do believ ethat if you like the sound of one you will like the sound of the other, just small flavor differences from there.
Benz LP-S...it is so different from my LP that they should have given it a completely new name.
I currently own
Dynavector 20xl (I believe this has the micro-ridge stylus)
Benz L2 Wood
Benz Ace L
Of these, my favorite is the AT33. Smooth, neutral, liquid midrange, and an excellent tracker.
Dynavector XV1's with Soundsmith re-tip
Both mounted on Graham Phantom II.
AT 440MLA for under $150 new...amazing cartridge that I love deeply and often.
Another vote for the Lyra's. I'm running a Skala on TriPlanar.
Using a refurb'd Technics SP-10MKII w/rewired JVC UA-7082 arm into a Bottlehead Eros stage (MM only need apply), nothing's topped the humble Ortofon VMS-30MKII. As enjoyable as the Clearaudio Maestro and SoundSmith Ebony Voice in the same setup. Who'd a thunk it?
For LPs with a dark character, I use my Shelter 501 II (with Soundsmith retip), which brightens them up a bit. For LPs with a bright character, I use my Grado Reference Sonata1, which darkens them down a bit.
@Smoffatt - How would you compare the XV-1s to the A90?
- Fidelity Research 7 series
- Lyra Olympos SL
- Lyra Helikon Mono
- Takeda Miyabi Standard
- Zyx Universe
The standouts for me -
Decca London Maroon MI rebuilt by Garrot Bros with Microscanner stylus
Ikeda 9 MC
Koetsu Onyx Gold MC rebuilt by AJ Van den hul
Van den Hul EMT Boron MC
Currently in rotation -
Dynavector Nova 13D
Fidelity Research FR1MK3F
Also own Ikeda Kiwame, Koetsu Black Goldline, Denon 103D, Shure V15VxMR
Technics EPC P1000MK4
Audio Technical AT25
I am not saying any of these are "perfect":
Koetsu Urushi (Haven't listened to mine in about a year; others laugh at me for liking it.)
Ortofon MC7500 (a bit on the dry side)
I know for sure there are better ones out there. No matter how many cartridges I audition in my system, I will always be sure of that. The list is in no particular order; in fact, one could reverse the order of the list just as well. Would like to try ZYX UNI or Atmos, and some others, next.
Currently like my Dynavector 20xl, but my all time fave was the Alchemist cart I had in the late 80's.
I switched from the AT to a Sumiko Pearl...and am happy happy happy.
KMKarty....I absolutely agree. I had an LP, and now an LPS, and the new one is far better....much more musical....much greater ease....everything is better.
I expect to get the LP S soon but my provisional 'order'
Nr. 1 Miyabi standard (American version) and FR-7;
Nr. 2 Ruby 3S, Sony XL 88 and Phase Tech P-3G;
Nr. 3 Genesis 1000 , Dyna Karat 17 D2 and AT 180
Denon DL103R with Soundsmith upgrade, Dynavector DV20XL, Benz MC Gold, and a stock DL103R with wood body. My favorite by far is my Soundsmith conversion!:)
Nandric, Saw your listing of the Phase Tech. Never heard of it. Thought it must be vintage. Went on eBay and found NOS one for sale and also that it is a current product. It looks just like an Air Tight cartridge. Can you give the background?
Also, for a suitable bribe, I won't tell anyone on the MM thread that all of your fave cartridges are MCs (except AT180, which is 3rd in your 3rd level rank).
You were out of the closet yourself - 'running with the hares and hounds' on that thread. The Air Tight is designed & produced by Matsudaira-san who started My Sonic Lab and uses the same principles - generating solid output with exceptionally low output impedance - with a few tweaks for AT. Phasetech is a different company & design.
dynavector Te Kiatora Rua
Ortofon Kontrapunkt B
Dear Tenfourbook: It is obvious that a favorite cartridge for any one is the one we own ( ow ones we own. ) but favorite could not means not only the best but the one I wish I have.
This is: which the best cartridge (s) I heard and why?, maybe this kind of question could be more useful for all of us.
Yes, maybe on a new thread.
Now, in my case I realy have not a " favorite ", I have 3-4 that works for me as " reference " against " new " contenders. I hope that in a near future I can find out a " favorite " because that could means that finaly I own the " best " cartridge out there and my cartridge quest already end it.Till that day I will continue on the cartridge hunting to achieve that target. Today I own no less than 15 diferent cartridges that I can say are " favorities ". No one of them is perfect but if I need it I can live with any one of those cartridges, all are great performers: MM/MI and LOMC ( vintage and today designs. )
Regards and enjoy the music,
For me the best I've had and yes it's a matching game for arm and cartridge IMHO is my Brinkmann EMT-Ti (totally different from a standard EMT which I've heard and wasn't that impressed with). And yes it sits bolted on a Brinkmann 10.6 arm.
Dear Lew, I am not sure what you mean with 'vintage'?
There was some panic in our forum when this Phase Tech
got the first price in Japan and some other awards. The
panic was by some Koetsu and other expensive carts
owners who could not believe the awards because of the price.
But it was not a good combo with my Triplanar but well with
my Reed 2A, 12'' and 27 gr. eff. mass. As you, I hope, know
the Miyaby Standard (American version) won and is now in
my Reed 2A. That is why I listed the cart on the German ebay.
In the German Magazine LP this cart is one of their reference
carts. I learned some stuff from the investors
but, alas, to late for my shares. It is called 'spread the
risk' so i listed some of my stuff on ebay.de; ebay.com;
ebay.uk and our own A'gon market. Besides I like to have
as many currency as possible on my paypal account. Paypal
has also its own exchange rates. Don't check them if you want to stay calm.
Te Kaitora Rua and Karat are two Dynavectors about which I have always been curious.
Dover, what do you mean "out of the closet"? Because I listed my Urushi and the MC7500 as among my favorites? I never made a secret of my liking for the Urushi, even on the MM thread, and I think I mentioned the MC7500 a few times over the 4 years of the thread. Anyway, I think Raul hit the nail on the head; we like best the one(s) we own. I have no doubt there are better MCs than those two. I just need to own them.
Zyx Universe, AT 20SS , Empire 4000 D3 gold , Lyra Kleos
Of 20 vintage MM/MI and several mid-line LOMC:
Acutex M320III STR
Grace F9 w/Soundsmith Ruby OCL stylus