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
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
Yeah, I agree no one can tell you what you're going to like. I have nothing against expensive cartridges at all. I just wish the cost of trying out the "best" ones was less than $4-5 thousand. I don't expect on line venders have trial programs or ever will. That's why the advise of others sometimes has to suffice.

Thanks for the input guys,

Kent Hall
Hi Kent,

I have my definite preferences, but voicing them here would not be relvant to you. The manufacturers on your short list are made by companies with a true musical vision and with integrity.

I wish I could say the same for the majority of audio manufacturers in general. Many of them seem clueless as far as the musical experience is concerned.

The challenge you face is in lining up your vision with that of the manufacturer. It's never an easy task.

Good luck!
Thom @ Galibier
Well ... maybe you know some of my preferences ;-)

I wish this forum software allowed you to edit your posts so I could be more clear on the "first" try.

What I meant to say was that while some of the carts on this short list may not be championed by me, in no way would I not strongly recommend them for consideration.

Different strokes and all that.

Cheers,
Thom @ Galibier