What is the best Dynavector MC cartridge - why?

Ok, I been reading a lot of good things on Dynavector MC Cartridges. I'm not clear which is the best regardless of price or which is the best value.

Given the best Dynavector MC money can buy today would you choose it over the Air Tight PC-1? You can only have one.
Wow. OK - tough question, as I'm a huge fan of both the XV-1S and the PC-1. I own the XV-1S mono, and the PC-1 stereo. I can't go to bat for either over the other at this point because I haven't A/B'd stereo vs. stereo or mono vs. mono. I can tell you this much - they are both world class cartridges and you would be well served by either one of them.

Best value is probably the Dynavector Te Kaitura Rua if we're just talking between Dyna and AirTight, but it's not exactly fair since AirTight doesn't have anything in that price bracket.

Chris, You've heard the Te Kaitura Rua? If so, can you comment on it's performance compared to your XV1s and to your PC1, albeit that your XV1S is apparently a mono version? Sorry to stray a bit from the topic, but in a way it's relevant.
regardless of price is the XV-1. I am on my 2nd one now and owned for 6 or 7 years I guess.

I have heard the XV-1s and also owned the previous model te-kaitora which was very good as well.

I have not heard the Air tight, but opinions seem to be all over the shop. Some say it is warmish sounding, some say its bright -
Hi Lew,

I haven't had the Te Kaitura Rua in my system - I'm in fact assuming that it's pedigree will carry it. It comes with quite a reputation, as well. It's also one that I'm planning on getting to mount to a Criterion/Copperhead setup.

Both are excellent cartridges, but to my ears, the Dynavector XV-1-s is more refined sounding.

Disclosure: I sell Dynavector and have chosen not to go with the Air Tight for the reason above.

Chambers Audio
Jonathan, we appreciate your dealer honesty. Is the XV-1-s mono or stereo?
I've owned every Dynavector cart since I re-entered the vinyl world a few years ago.
In terms of absolute performance , the XV-1-S is " the best", although it is quite difficult to make blanket statements like that IMO. The 2 carts in the Dyna line that perform at a level above their price tags are the 20XL and the Te Kaitora Rua. In the absolute performance vs price argument , the TK Rua is very hard to beat.I still own this as well as the XV1-s, and still derive great enjoyment from it.Sorry , I can't compare with the Air Tight ( I've not heard this).
Well, I can not help you with the comparison that you asked about, as I have not heard the Airtight, although I have heard good things about if from a friend of a friend, (not that that helps you any!)

However, I have recently bought an used Dynavector XV-1S from a friend, and I must say I am impressed. This is my fifth cartridge in as many years, and it is by far the best I have owned.

My first was a Benz Micro Glider II, (bought new for $800, which included installation by my dealer), which was competent, but somewhat uninvolving after awhile. (It sounded too much like listening to a CD, which is decidedly NOT what I wanted.)

My next two cartridges were both Koetsu cartridges. First came the "Black", (bought for $1,500 new, again installed by my dealer), a very nice cartridge, with a great mid-range (very lush, but great on vocals), but with a slightly restricted treble, and a pretty loose bass response. The Rosewood Signature (bought for $1,200 used off Ebay), I replaced it with was much better, as the treble was pretty well extended, and the bass, while still a bit loose, was also deeper. The one thing I really liked about the Koetsu cartridges, was how deep and dark the backgrounds were, compared to the Glider. (However, I eventually craved a cartridge that had a deep, tight bass response, so I knew I would be giving up on the Koetsu line.)

My fourth cartridge was a Shelter 90X, (which I bought for $1,250 on Audiogon). This was a near great cartridge, as it had great bass response (the deepest I have heard, I think), and a very well extended treble response.
However, unlike the Koetsu cartridge, the Shelter did not have nearly the deep, dark backgrounds, that I had grown to love. Still, I lived with the cartridge for about two years, and for the money, it was well worth the price of admission. However, I eventually I knew that I wanted that deep, dark background once again.

A few months ago, my friend bought a Brinkmann Balance, including the tonearm, and the EMT cartridge - and, Yeah, I know, and he knows, that he's a lucky bastard! :-)
Therefore, he asked if I wanted to buy his XV-1s for $1,900. I said sure, as I had heard it in his system enough to know just how good it was. I knew it had pretty good bass response, as well as a very low noise floor. When I got it all dialed into my system, I was very pleasantly surprised by how deep and tight the bass was (within spitting distance of the 90X's bass extension, and I think a bit tighter actually), and the treble actually seemed a bit more refined. The mid-range, while not as warm, seems more refined and detailed than the Shelter or even the Koetsu cartridges were (which really surprises me actually, as I loved my Koetsu mid-range!). However, the really big surprise was how it soundstaged and imaged. I have never heard my speakers completely disappear on virtually every recording before. (They used to disappear on my better recordings, but now, it seems on most recordings, that they just are not there. I think this cartridge has taken my system to another level.) I think I have found the cartridge I will be living with for a very long time.

My recommendation is to give the XV-1S a try, as I doubt you will be disappointed.

My two cents worth.
Gerrym5: It was the stereo version. I have not had the mono.
i have owned the dynavector xv-1s, shelter 9000 and the airtight pc-1. the air tight is the best of the group not WARM or BRIGHT at all and still in my system (on tas short list of cart. over $3000). the dynavector a very close second, just to flimsy, i broke two cantilevers, very expensive to repair not worth the extra cost and agravation, if and when it happens. the shelter sounded good after a break in but not in the other 2 cart's league. if you buy the dynavector be very careful. there are no loosers in this group. best of luck
Dear Gerrym5: One of my last cartridge hearing on my system was the PC-1 that it is a very good performer but the XV-1 ( on an Audiocraft tonearm ) goes better with my music/sound reproduction priorities.

Now, if you aspire to mate that " new " cartridge with your Phantom tonearm ( that is very similar to the Audiocraft ) my vote is for the XV.1 but this vote is only by my preferences/priorities that are better serve by this cartridge but I can live " happy " with the PC-1 one. You know this is a very hard call for say the least.

Regards and enjoy the music.
Hi Kevin (Ella4ever)
As you have owned the Dyna carts, I'm interested in your opinions about the sonic differences between the XX2, TK, and the XV-1s.