Yes, the XX-2 is guaranteed a significant upgrade from 20XL. Another good option is Shelter 7000 or even 9000 series.
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I've had the 10x5, 20XL, 17Dmk 2 and now the XX-2 mk 2. They are indeed better as you move up the ladder. The 17D is pretty special though, it might beat the treble, it is soooo pure and extended but it may be just a little light sounding because of that. If money was tight and you can live with a little light sound in the bass then the 17D is a winner, but the XX-2 is more well rounded.
Audiomax mentions Shelter carts. I had a 90X before downgrading to the 20XL (bad move) In my opinion the 90X is better than any of the Dynavectors I have tried. It has a real magic that none of the Dynavectors quite have. Though it ought to since it retails for about 1200 more than the XX-2. A more fair comparison might be with the XV-1S.
The Dyna XX2MkII is a wonderful cartridge.I'm using it on my Graham Phantom mounted on a Raven One. My previous table was the Scoutmaster signature. Dynas are great matches for the VPI arms, but set up is tricky.
I ran ZYX and Koetsu carts on my jmw 9 sig with great results, BUT it was a struggle to get the set-up spot on correct(I was never sure I actually got it). I'd recommend getting the mint LP tractor. It's so much more precise than the VPI set up instrument. An extra $100 would allow you to optimize the performance of the XX2 that you paid for. It's the whole package. With meticulous set up you'll be amazed. Enjoy.
Thanks for the responses.
I do own a MintTractor and used it to setup my 20XL. I *think* I got it correctly but I had changed cartridges at the same time so couldn't do an A/B test.
From some email I received, I understand the XX2 is very finicky about setup and that you can get most of the benefits of this cart from the easier-to-setup 17D (but perhaps less bass).
Dan, you're using the XX2 with what arm? I didn't sort out my speaker issue yet, but it hasn't stopped me from enjoying vinyl. Moving up a Rhea Signature helped in a big way. Currently auditioning a Steelhead but first impressions are that it sounds too dry...
To address Ducatirider's earlier point, the cantilever on the 17D3 is indeed very small vis a vis the other Dynavector cartridges. No doubt about it.
For this reason, it is very useful to have a magnifying device to properly align the cartridge.
I assumed, perhaps in error, that most people have one in their set up kit.
WARNING !!! I HAD A DYNAVECTOR XX2 MK2. I had it for 5 months till the needle BROKE BECAUSE OF POOR CARTRIDGE NEEDLE PROTECTION. To all of you who wants to buy this product, be prepared for the FLIMSY NEEDLE plastic PROTECTOR. A small bump will just push it out of its socket!!!! The Japanese manufacturer should be ashamed of its design as we all know they are the best in what they do. WHAT A SHAME/ BE WARNED/
Regarding sound, its ok. You really have to break it in to appreciate it and will take you 100 hours minimun. But again by that time if you change cartridges, accidents will always happen and you may just good bye to the cartridge you learned to appreciate.
Frankly speaking I do not think its a good tandem with linn turntable and ekos arm. Research with the other members before buying this cartridge.
Teleshack. The 10x5's do the same thing! I had 2 bend on me in a matter of days, and never had any trouble with Nagaoaka or the 3 different Linns that I tried. I use the Adikt MM now and DV will never get another penny from me. Even some dealers say it's cheaper to pay double to step up from the 10x5 to a better DV because a better one will last more than twice as long before needing replacement. DV is of no help either.
I agree about the cantilever protector Dynavector supplies with the XX2. I have found, though, the simple use of masking tape, judiciously applied, keeps the flimsy protector in place. No problems or worries that way.
By the way, Ian, I'm now using the XX2 on a Dynavector DV 501 arm, mounted on a DIY Garrard 401 restoration, and loving it even more.
Damn fragile carts? or maybe not! I had a XX2 mkII 3 years ago, broke it before 100hrs. I then broke 2x XV-1s in a year(both still not run in), 2 other close friends of mine broke theirs last year! i have since moved to Colibris(2x) which look more fragile but no accidents! I think the reason is that they dont have protectors. Nerves of a bombsquad technician are required with protectors in general.