Cartridge downgrade?


I have been using a Shelter 90x with my SSM for several years happily but it's getting on in age and I've been contemplating what to replace it with when it's time. My table has been upgraded to reference status(super platter, mini feet, 10.5i arm, rim drive). I've thought about many of the likely suspects that might go with this combo(Lyra Titan vs. Skala, Shelter Harmony vs. 9000, Air Tight PC-1, Dynavector XV-1s) I wonder though if I'm just assuming these higher level cartridges are better than mid range ones. In particular, I wonder if I should try out VPI's version of the Dynavector 20x and save $3-4 thousand. Just wondered if anyone has tried a similar so called "down grade" and been happy. Is it possible that these high priced cartridges are overrated or a I just being cheap?
sonofjim
I know Benz hasn't lit fire on these pages, but you really should at least audition the Ebony LP or H. Ayre turned me on to mine, and there are a number of ears I respect who say they both are better than the Dyna XV1S.

Stringreen,

Now that you have your LP working to your liking do you still miss the H as much? It sounded as though at one point you preferred the H.
Yes I did. ..but that was then and this is now. The LP has more delicacy, more inner detail, however it is an incremental upgrade. I could be happy with the H as well... I think.
So many great cartridges and so little chance of hitting the lotto. Ideally I think I'd like to have a spare 10.5i arm wand just to try out different cartridges. Maybe carefully selected used ones would be the way to go. Stringreen let me know when you're ready to unload that LP.
In this thread, I echo Stringreen's comments about the Benz LP:

http://forum.audiogon.com/cgi-bin/fr.pl?eanlg&1214854737&read&3&4&

This comes from a guy who loves sells Dynavectors.

Now, your question relates to ratcheting back your cartridge budget, and in this regard, an LP may be irrelevant.

I would consider the improvement from a Dynavector 20X to a 17D3 to be be well in excess of the small price differential between the two.

The Lyra line is markedly different from both Benz and Dynavector, and you will most definitely respond to one over the other. This is something only you can tell, and to a large extent is dependent on both your tonearm, turntable, and remainder of your system.

Sometimes, the answer "it depends ..." is the only valid one.

Cheers,
Thom @ Galibier