Dynavector DV 20X-L -- which MM will better it?

following some of these MM related threads, which MM will better DV 20X-L performance?

I know this cart and would say, it can have tight punchy bass (arm dependent), but is NOT up to the better LO-MCs in terms of treble resolution, or detailedness. Sounds like MM territory, or is this an insult?

On some German forms about older MMs, I read some very favourable comments about the Shure V15 with MR stylus...
Is that that best recommendation for this system, and would this compare with the 20X-L?

I did run a Shure V15 years ago, but am not sure it had an MR insert --- the rest of my rig was not what it is today :-) ha, ha.

Axel, there's an abundance of disagreement about this topic, as you've no doubt noticed. Some listeners think the Shure V15mr was the apogee of MM technology. I'm among the other camp that was never particularly enchanted by it. To my ears, it was rather ho-hum. I much prefer the sound of Garrott Brothers cartridges. As you probably know, they lack US distribution at this time though. They can be ordered from Decibelhifi.com.au in Australia (their country of origin.) Paul Szabady has reviews of the Optim range which can easily be found online. Another MM I'd like to hear is the Reson Reca. It's based on the Goldring 1042, but tweaked to a higher level of performance. I've got a Goldring 1042 and it's got many positive attributes that make it particularly suited to rock, blues, & some jazz. It lacks the refinement that I want for more textured and subtle music like classical. Supposedly, the Reca addresses those areas of shortcomings. In the end though, I doubt that any MM is going to have the treble resolution and nuance of a good MC. I do like the non-fusiness of MM cartridges and the well integrated musical wholeness of the good ones. The Soundsmith cartridges are another non MC design that sounds worth investigating as well.
Thanks Photon46,
there is a Reson Reca review by e.g. t-n-t out there, see: http://www.tnt-audio.com/sorgenti/resone.html
It does not strike me as a 'MC killer' exactly, i.e. not the best pick for classical, which I listen to a lot, but neither would the 20X-L qualify.

Interestingly there is also a review on a Shure V15xMR and it was the preferred cart for some other well read (myself that is) t-n-t reviewer, who slightly preferred it over the 20X-L, tested a bit later on, see:
I just ask that comparison to get some idea what I'm getting into looking for some MMs and knowing the sound of the 20X-L pretty well.

Most of the V-15s featured a drooping response across the midrange, a defect that could be corrected by loading. Aftermarket devices were offered overseas to do this. The 5 supposedly suffered less from this than earlier models and might well be a worthwhile purchase in good condition and fair price. I admit that I was never taken with the Shure sound but many were. I would advise you to buy a current model 97 and see how you like it. If you do you can search out a V-15 and if you don't you can sell it at a minimal loss. To my ears the 15 was never as good as others such as the Technics 205, which might have been the best ever MM. I have a couple of non working ones and am going to have them rebuilt someday. I never thought the MM had better detail than MC, in fact the reverse. The virtues of MM lay in a very smooth , well integrated sound; I always found them lacking an element of realism the MCs had but others didn't. In a recent HIFICRITIC cartridge review Martin Colloms gave a 15 year old 5 a very good rating, ahead of several expensive moving coils. Only you can tell if you agree.
I have gone back to MM cartridges after many years with MC. I find the good MM cartridges are more musical and the music just "flows" better. I agree that MC do have more detail, but I find, in my system, they tend to give up some "soul" of the music.

I have owned all of the Shure V15 series and still have a series 3 and the series 5. My favorite MM is the Grace F9E. Even in it's stock, original form it sounds better to me than any of the Shures, but with the SoundSmith $250 retip, it's the best MM I have ever heard.

I also have an Audio Techinca AT150ML that is very nice. I am currently listening to a Linn Adikt and find it very nice indeed. I think it deserves more praise than it gets.
My favorite MM is the Grace F9E. Even in it's stock, original form it sounds better to me than any of the Shures, but with the SoundSmith $250 retip, it's the best MM I have ever heard.

Mofi -- Was that with the ruby or non-ruby cantilever? I've had both (one F9 body plus one of each type of stylus/cantilever assembly) sitting in my closet for a long time, and I've been thinking of having the SoundSmith retip done to one of them.

Axel -- I'm currently using a Grado Reference Sonata, high output version ($500). I've been happy with it, and it has been well reviewed. As best as I can recall, its sound is not particularly dis-similar to the Grace, although there was a gap of some years between my use of the two cartridges, so I can't say too specifically. Be aware, though, if you are not, that Grado's are not well shielded, and will hum on some turntables.

-- Al
Hi Al,
you say:
>>>Grado Reference Sonata.... it has been well reviewed <<<
This little voice in the back of my mind tells me it was some (all?) Grado's that don't like doing sibilants so well.
My system is highly resolving and I have 'some' issues as it is using an MC right now.
Care to comment on this one please.

I had SoundSmith redo the regular, (non ruby) version, but it really doesn't matter because they replace the cantilever with a ruby one anyway. The F9 cartridge BODY is the same, just the stylus is different. You could send them either one of your styli.

I have owned all of the Grado wood body carts except for the Statement Statement and never warmed up to any of them. My problem was that they require a pretty long break-in period and I just could never get that far.
I've also got a Grado Reference Sonata and find it has some occasional problems tracking highly modulated inner grooves with my VPI JMW9 arm. Not a frequent problem, but it is annoying all the same. Admittedly, the Grado does have a very relaxed and beautiful sounding midrange. In contrast, the Garrot Optim FGS has a more linear character that doesn't make one aware of a particular frequency region standing out in comparison. It's upper midrange to treble is much more satisfactory to my ears, more linear and detailed. You're not going to think it's a top flight moving coil, but it sounds "right." Axel mentions siblilants as a problem, which was greatly helped in my set up with the addition of a small tweak. I ordered a sheet of part # vds-0040-e vibration damping sheet from smallparts.com and cut a pad to go between the cartridge body and headshell. I traced the outline of the headshell onto the pad, cut it out, & drilled mounting holes. It's a very thin .040" sheet that functions quite effectively to reduce vibrations in the cartridge body. Sibilants became much cleaner with every cartridge I've used it with.
MoFi & Photon -- Thanks for the good comments and info!

I haven't noticed any tracking problems at all with my Reference Sonata. I have it mounted on a 1980's Magnepan Unitrac unipivot tonearm, on a SOTA Sapphire turntable, and I'm using the recommended tracking force, 1.5g iirc.

Axel -- I haven't noticed any problem with sibilants, although most of my listening with it so far has been to non-vocal classical music. It did seem to handle some of Dame Kiri rather well, I thought. It sounds like your system is more resolving/less forgiving/less soft in the upper midrange and treble than mine is, though.

I believe this cartridge has received a couple of TAS Editor's Choice selections. Stereophile reviewed it and/or its mono variant in Vol. 21 No. 6, Vol. 23 No. 4, and Vol. 28, No. 6. I don't have those reviews handy, but the October, 2008 (Vol. 31 No. 10) issue lists it as a Class C recommended component, and includes the following comments:

... Hints at what an expensive mc can do.... No cartridge reproduces a female voice better than this.... It may be difficult to rationalize spending much more for a cartridge.... Competes with all but the best of today's moving coils

-- Al
Hi Al and All,
I think that review statement:
>>> ...Competes with all **but** the best of today's moving coils <<< sums it up for me so far.

Given some minor variations & preferences, all MMs mentioned this far seem ballpark with the DV 20X-L, being used as a point of reference.

As I mentioned, I KNOW the sound of the 20X-L. What I also know, is that it is easily bettered by some other MCs which I also know. And they are of course, ALL of them, more or quite a LOT more expensive.

I also mentioned that I still listen to CDs (on my 390S) and that is where it gets tricky.
Listening to some jolly good CD reproductions and then switching to the more 'flowing', more 'rolled off' more 'loosy goosy' yet musical MM reproduction is QUITE some jump in reproduction character.
My first reaction is: SOMETHING IS MISSING HERE! I have to admit, that sticking with it, it becomes -sort of- OK, after a while, but then PLEASE do not switch back to CD. It will get too confusing for me, due to that contrast in presentation.
Using a LO-MC (with SUT) practically ALWAYS trumps the CD reproduction and I can NOT EVER note that something is missing. Now even if I listen to an e.g. Kontra Punkt A (not the ruby cantilevered B) to mention yet another less pricy MC --- something is missing.
Now listening to an e.g. Dorian it can actually get just too much of a good thing --- so I guess I'm not exactly 'greedy' for detail?

All I care for is a sort of 'completeness' of harmonic detail, most important when e.g. listening to late romantic stuff like Ravel, Mahler, etc. Maybe it's an age thing?
I can only (noticeably on sine-wave tests) hear up to 11kHz, maybe 11,5kHZ. My younger friends go up to 15 or even 16kHz, has that some influence on noticing more missing detail? Might well be.

Somebody mentioned the newest Ortofon 2M --- but will it better an 20X-L going back to our point of reference? I would expect it be in the league of the Kontra Punkt A, correct me if I wrong.

Thank you for sharing,
I have some needle drops I just did with my Ortofon 2M black (you can see my system under my profile). Files are 24/96 Apple Lossless encoded.

Send me an email and I will place them on my website and send you a link. Most of the stuff I have is acoustic flamenco guitar since that's about all I rip, for my wife, who uses it to practice dancing.

I would restate my question in the context of your particular tonearam/effective mass, and whether you're inclined to keep this tonearm. Your 20X likes a medium mass tonearm (Rega, Graham, Dynavector, Tri-Planar, Artisan, etc.).

I'd explore both the Music Maker and SoundSmith cartridges, but would consult with both manufacturers on their user experiences for compatible tonearms. At one point, Peter's SoundSmith cartridges were fairly compliant (as in low mass tonearms), but this doesn't tell you the whole story.

Basic compliance numbers (e.g. effective mass / compliance / resonant frequency) will give you a starting point, and user experiences will help you develop a short list.

Thom @ Galibier
Hi Thom,
you say:
>>>I would restate my question in the context of your particular tonearm/effective mass <<<

I have used use the 20X-L in a Pro-Ject 9c arm (with the old thick arm tube used with first RPM 9). It sounded great with nice 'fat' bass, but a little rolled off. Arm mass of 9c arm was 11g.
Then with SME V, arm mass 10 - 11g (depending on counter weight position acc. to SME) and it sounded more treble 'tilted' and somewhat 'metallic' with no nice 'fat' bass at all, just 'normal' so to say.

I'm NOT using that cart any more, it's now my son's, but I have used it as a reference in trying to assess some viable MMs of similar price point ~ 350$. So far it sounds like a 1-on-1 with different 'flavours'...

I've just now put in a Shure V15 with VN35MR needle and it sounds surprisingly resolved --- BUT I am getting some (coil?) noise from the cart. What can that be?
So if I can resolve that, it might sound better yet.
I could make a case like that t-n-t reviewer, that I'd prefer that to the 20X-L in my SME arm.
The Shure sounds a bit more balanced, tracking at 1 ~ 1.2g BUT it does not have the 'colours' of a better type MC --- for MANY times the price I hasten to add :-)

I'm not sure about the "coil" noise you're reporting, Axel. Some of the Grados pick up on the motor and people have added a mu-metal shield around the motor to eliminate this noise pickup.

It sounds as if there's a dynamic between your turntable, tonearm, and cartridges that favors higher compliance cartridges.

For this reason (and at your price-point), I'd give serious consideration to the SoundSmith SMMC3.

Note that I have NEVER heard this cartridge, but Peter Lederman's work leads me to expect that he can accomplish at this price point what he has done at higher points.

Treat this as extrapolation on my part rather than direct experience. Perhaps someone else can comment.

Thom @ Galibier
Hi All,
I think that noise (high pitched 50Hz I guess) seems some odd ground-loop problem that I could tackle now. It seems to have to do with my XLR connection which is extra sensitive to this type of thing.
I put the screen of the XLR phono cable on some vacant RCA pre-amp input (that's switched off), and it seems to work fine now. If I go star-ground i.e. tt ground together with the phono cable's screen I get this problem ---- but ONLY with an MM cart. ?!?

Some other MMs I tried produce a terrible hum, even though they play?! Are they shot?

That Shure V15 III I mentioned above is definitely too recessed in the midrange, good bass, a bit too much treble, with recessed mid.
So that one will not qualify, period.
I found one MM that sounds VERY nice, an old A&R Cambridge with P-77 stylus, this baby ROCKS! And it is more balanced then the 20X-L.
So I have found ONE candidate, hurray :-)
Raul is so right about this one! It was actually made by Garrott Brothers for A&R and re-badged using a P-77 stylus.

So now can we find some more of this kind MM, they are truly surprisingly good :-)

PS: My Windfeld was recalled to Ortofon, I'll see what they find... more about this on the other thread.
I've had a 20X-H for several years and recently replaced it with a very lightly used XX1-H (yes, they made a high output version of this). The XX1 is now updated to the XX2 in the DV line.

Now I know this isn't a MM, but I can say that there is much more resolution and inner detail and just better overall (and still musical) presentation with the XX1, as you would expect when moving up in the line. However I can also say that I seem to have lost some of the dynamic expression that I loved about the 20X. It is a very good cartridge for the price and probably one of the best deals under $1000 these days.

I couldn't go back to a MM after hearing these, and I used to be a Grado guy.

Very strange thread...

I have to ask - what phonostage are you using? I can't help but think that something else is amiss here. What you're looking for: "tight punchy bass, treble extension resolution and detail" are the very definition of what the 20XL excels in at its price point. I can't imagine any cartridge bettering it in these regards AT ITS PRICE.

The only MM cartridge I've heard in this price range that gives the 20XL's high end a run for the money is the Ortofon 2M Black. That being said, the 20XL is still a much more musical cartridge to my ears than the 2M Black.

For reference - I'm running the 20XL on a Jelco SA-750D with a light ADC headshell (resulting arm effective mass is around 12g) through a PS Audio GCPH phonostage.
I can't recall where its located, but there's another thread on this site comparing the 2M Black to the 20XL and the concensus was that the 2M would be a step down from the 20XL.

I'd also recommend Soundsmith. I currently have a 20XL and the Aida or Voice are on my hit list. A buddy of mine switched from the 20XM to the Voice and he absolutely loves it.
Raul is so right about this one! It was actually made by Garrott Brothers for A&R and re-badged using a P-77 stylus.
Dear Axel,
That's a very confusing statement which I can't quite understand?
The British A&R P77 MM cartridge came out as I recall, in the early 1980s and was a very good cartridge in its own right.
The Garrot Brothers (Brian and John) in Australia, liked it so much that they 'tweaked' the internals a bit and carefully selected special styli to then re-brand the cartridge as a Garrot P77 in the mid 1980s obviously with A&R approval. In fact I can't recall being able to purchase an A&R P77 after the Garrot version became available? This Garrot P77 was head and shoulders above the A&R P77 and established the reputation of the Garrot Brothers worldwide until their ritual suicide in the early 1990s after which a company began trading under their name (and still does to this day).
If you have the A&R P77....congratulations! But if it says Garrot P77 on it, then you've hit the mother lode?
Hi Halcro,

good information and it seem to contradict what I had learned, which is: The A&R was a re-badged Garrott with a lesser / cheaper stylus initially. It then was may as you in the 80s bettered with a P-77 stylus from the Garrott P-77, which had been around (in parallel with the re-badged A&R). The Garrott having the same body as the A&R since it made no sense at all to have two different bodies. The body is usually not more 1/3 the cost of the stylus insert in any case.

One Information I have could patch into your rather different account, in that the all original A&R came from some Japanese maker. But it still seem the real tweak came from the Garrott brothers P-77 superior stylus.

I didn't know of their end --- what made them so unhappy I ask?

As to the 20X-L questions. It is in now way a disregard for the 20X-L using it a pegging / reference marker for were an MM could go -- or go past. I have most of my listening experience with my previously owned a GCPH. It a good cart for the money, which I said before ---- B U T then there seem some equally good or yet better MMs for even less money! To find these was the intention of the thread.

The A&R/Garrott P-77 is such an animal as far I as I hear it, and it came for free (at least for me...).

My current phono set-up uses ML326S phono-modules, gleaned from the ML-32 Reference pre, alas with out all the fancy remote options of the 32's modules.

Hi Axel,
I had the privilege of meeting John and Brian Garrott on several occasions at their various residences in and around Sydney in the early 1980s.
They took the English A&R P77 cartridge (a good performer in its own right), and hand tweaked it to new levels calling it the Garrott P77 which rightly led to their fame.
Eccentric and passionate, the two reclusive brothers married 2 Phillipino sisters and all four lived together in their various houses with the sisters baking biscuits and fussing over the boys whilst everyone called each other Luvvey. As I recall, John was the voluble protagonist to all who would ring or call by, whilst Brian sat quietly at the workbench, magnifying glass in left eye, painstakingly winding coils and preparing and gluing styli.
They passionately despised the MC cartridges then making their early claims for audiophile prominence and I vividly recall them sitting me down in front of their extraordinary Hi-Fi system (which consisted of stacked Quads and multiple sub-woofers), and playing a record with the then famous Supex MC cartridge and detaching the headshell to shift in their Garrott P77. Of course the P77 sounded better with none of the irritating and unnatural high frequency exaggeration common to moving coils at that time.
I had them re-tip my P77 at least 3 times during the '80s and, as no cartridge had ever sounded so sweet to me, I bought 2 of them.
I doubt that Brian and John were worried about the CD revolution as they never mentioned it to me, but the discovery that one of them had developed cancer saw the four of them commit ritual suicide in a pact that seemed consistent with their mutual inter-dependence although no note was ever found.
thank you so much for sharing this insightful and touching story about the Garrott Brothers with us.
It makes their legacy even more valuable. They must have had some amazing bond to each other.

1 min pause for thought...

I hope it's OK to add some more profane stuff, but at least it has to do with them. Bless them in any way.

So you say:
>>> Of course the P77 sounded better with none of the irritating and unnatural high frequency exaggeration common to moving coils at that time. <<<

Key word for me is AT THE TIME... I still think there is some of this 'time' going on right now.
What a HUGHE difference in listening between a really well tracking Lyra Dorian and a A&R P-77 ---- this stuff seems worlds apart.
Listening to this Lyra is topping my CD player in CD player terms, as I would put it.
Listening to that P-77 is listening to the music, and no 'distraction' by this 'sound-thing' as you put it so well: "irritating and unnatural high frequency exaggeration" --- right on...

B U T it seems that Hi-End is bound that way, that theme of "MORE of everything is better", not for me really.
This 'sound-thing' is kind of tedious, and leaves me unsatisfied, but I know that tastes differ and so be it.

Now what other cart would be in that 'Garrott P-77' vain I may ask?

Listening to that P-77 is listening to the music, and no 'distraction' by this 'sound-thing' as you put it so well:
I'm tending to agree with you Axel.
I somehow find myself listening to the music and enjoying it with the Garrot P77 whilst with the MCs it always seems to be a matter of......"is that detail still there?".......or "is that the right quantity of bass?"
As to the other MMs available?........I think you're getting a few useful suggestions in your other posts, not to mention the King of MMs.....Raul!?

Hi All,
some more information of this history of A&R that seems to require a correction from my side.

A&R surprised everyone again in 1981 by introducing a range of phono cartridges offering exactly the same magic formula as the original A60 amp.
The £14.95 C77, £39.90 P77 and £69.00 P78 were A&R designed, Japanese built cartridges using interchangeable styli, making for an easy and inexpensive upgrade path. With medium (6g) mass and a characteristically rich and powerful sound they worked happily in budget and high end tonearms alike.
The C77 featured a standard spherical stylus on an aluminium cantilever, ***the P77 a Weinz Paroc (parabolic oval cone)*** and the P78 added a Boron cantilever. All cartridges became instant hits and the C77 and P77 went on to sell in vast quantities, being joined by a mid range E77 brother and finally gaining a solid Magnesium body in place of the flimsy standard plastic item.

Now that's when Garrott Bros. seems to have come into the game with their 'tweaked' version of the P77, I guess, or? So what I have is a straight forward A&R P77, period.
Lucky who has that as a Garrott version I think.

Interestingly that "P78 added a Boron cantilever" that sounds like the/a Garrott 'tweak' ?!
Can anyone add to this at all?
It still seems that the Garrott P77 seems to be after all this time one of THE MMs if you are looking for a top MM, so far my investigation goes.

Raul, HELP! Have you at all listened to the A&R P77 as compared to the Garrott P77?

Last point: is it true, in listening experience, that the current Garrott offering(s) are somewhat of a 'different' quality?

Dear Axel: I never heard the A&R. Halcro already confirm what was my thought about: that both cartridges are similar but with different quality performance, how different? I can't say it.

Regards and enjoy the music.
Hi Raul,
can you tell me perhaps about the Garrott P77's cantilever material (alu-tube or boron?) and stylus (micro-line, or parabolic, elliptical?) then I'll get some idea.

I had to put a Dorian in my system (for O'scope is measurements, it measures and performs rather well) my PW going back to the factory...
Now it's that 'sound-thing' all over again. I love the detail and resolution B U T something just does not come together --- and with classical I can hear it's sound lacks 'richness', short of calling it anaemic. That is with a 1k loading AND the addition of 10nF to chill-out the treble. It measures very flat and rather nice close to spec though, maybe I must measure an MM some time...

What load capacitors (polystyrene, ceramic, silver-mica) do you recommend for 300pF - 500pF as recommended to be used with a V15?

Have you any idea about Garrott's current 'Optim' with either Shibata or an FGS (Fritz Gyger Special?

I had a couple of 20XH's but a long time ago. I'd look at SoundSmith for a MM/MI alternative. I don't know that you'll find anything better than the 20X, most likely just different. I think the SoundSmith is different than the 20X in the way you want though. Its more detailed I think based on what I can recall of the general characteristic differences of the 20X and what I'm hearing today. But the gap in time is long and the old system is long gone and was quite different than what I have today.
Dear Axel: I can¿t cay more on the P-77 becuse I don't have its manual.

Here you can read about the new Garrot:
and here you can ask on it to this cartridge owner:

and here ( page 14 ) you can ask for pf capacitors:

Regards and enjoy the music.
Thanks Bmckenney,
it's not so much to replace a 20X-L but rather to get a take what MM would better this kind of MC...

I just had in short succession a A&R P-77, then a Lyra Dorian and now a Transfiguration Orpheus in my system --- well, good old Ivor Tiefenbrunn is as right as can right be, by having stated that the SOURCE is THE first thing that matters.
My Burmester 961 now sound like I recall a 3.2.2 Kharma! Quite something and I can just shake my head. Of course my SME-10, SME V arm, 326S, Pass 350.5 will help (at least I hope so!).

Now that Orpheus is of course mega buck territory, but I'm afraid to say that no MM can ever get to that sort of level, correct me if I'm wrong. (It is not my own cart, so sorry...)

Back to the 20X-L. That sort of MC seems just more grainy, I would say, than is a very good MM, YMMV.
Yet it's the same price class, yes? That makes this type of MM a serious contender to a more lower priced MC, and I have a notion I'd pick the MM first. But it need some wake-up call by Raul to open my ears to that.

I mention that Orpheus here, because it showed me what 'reserves' a system can have. That's quite something to hear it for yourself and not just read some review about it.

Thank you for sharing,
Dear Axel: ++++++ " Now that Orpheus is of course mega buck territory, but I'm afraid to say that no MM can ever get to that sort of level. " +++++

in the MM territory the $$$$ is almost un-important. IMHO your statement had almost no credibility and worry me due to some reasons:

first you never heard a top MM ( like the top MC Orpheus. ) in your today system bis a bis against any top LOMC.

second, not only you never heard a top MM but even if you have it ( the cartridge ) you can't make the right set-up, specially on load impedance/capacitance.

third, it seems to me that you like a higher distortion levels that many other people because even that your phono stage can handle directly a LOMC you use an additional SUT/cables/connectors ( no I don't want to open any single discussion on SUTs. ) that " improve " higher distortions, the MM alternative run through less stages/filters that your Orpheus ( btw, I owned the Transi W and heard several times the Orpheus in different system and in my system too. ) and give you a little less distortions that what you and your ears are accustom to.
The 326S like the ML 32 are a little on the " dark side " an maybe that's what you don't like it along the 350.5 " soft " performance. Btw and through my wide ML experiences I think that ML build/design better amplifiers than preamplifiers ( specially phono stages. ), same for Pass/Threshold ( that I know very well too. )

It is possible too that your ears could " suffer " a lose on the high frequency range ( as a fact in more or less way all of us " suffer " that perception lose. ) and that's why you are looking for " more ", well distortions almost always give " more " on that hgh frequency range.

+++++ " correct me if I'm wrong " +++++

IMHO yes with all respect and because you ask for :you are wrong.

Axel, till you have the opportunity to hear a top MM cartridge in your today system and with the right set-up your opinion more than an opinion is only " imagination ". I think that is more useful for everyone try to speak and share facts: real facts/experiences.

Regards and enjoy the music.
Raul, I bought a Grace Ruby with broken cantelever that I have sent out to soundsmith (the top of the line ruby retip). Assume it comes back similar with to the original sound, would you consider that to be a top of the line MM? Thanks.
Dear Toufu: Congratulations, the Grace F-9Ruby is just on the top level treshold.

It is a coincidence that you ask about because this week I begin to run this cartridge with my new tonearm prototype. It is a clear " winner ".
I performs good at 47K and at 100K too, maybe here on this topic it is a matters of preferences and system dependent. Yes, this Ruby is a good challenge to almost any LOMC.

Are there better MM cartridges ?, yes but only a few. If you want to talk about I appreciate that you do at the MM thread for give the people interested on MM cartridges an opportunity to " hear " on those cartridges.

I hope that the Soundsmith re-tip works fine.

Regards and enjoy the music.
Hi Raul,
you say:
>>> first you never heard a top MM ( like the top MC Orpheus. ) in your today system bis a bis against any top LOMC. <<<

Well, that my be true and it was the intend of this thread to find some of those top MMs. However ---- so far no one came up with even one MM cart that really seem to better an 20X-L!?! I mean are we kidding?

So maybe I should be more bold and go with your take, up the stake and ask please come up with a cart that betters a Transfiguration Orpheus?
Up to now, I would have thought people would think I'm not quite right in the head, in asking such a thing.
We all have our narrowed perceptions due to our own experiences, and therefor when Audiofeil says: "Better is in the ear of the beholder" he is right in some sense...
But how far does one wish to extend this relativistic notion?!
A Boom-box sounding now also better than a top HiFi system -- of course to the ear of the beholder?
Well, I guess relativism gets you only that far, before it becomes ridiculous, or?

Back to MMs, PLEASE then let's not massage concepts about and lets put some chips (carts) on the table. Let's hear about those MMs that are more in resolution, liquidity, controlled bass and powerful bass, transparency, revealing of inner-detail of the music, etc. etc.

Raul, I want to know about those MMs, before I go with your saying:"...your statement had almost no credibility..."

Now, let me give you some idea, and I guess it's not new, but I got it whilst listening the this Orpheus --- "Energy Storage"!
It appears that an ultra low impedance cart such as this one 1.5ohm DCR and compared to ~ .6k to 2.5k ohm! and more of typical MMs is where limits/physical boundaries, with regard to energy storage, correct me if I'm wrong.

I can go listen to a P-77 and say it sound better TO MY EARS than an Orpheus --- BS! Unless I have a hearing aid!
I measured that P-77 of mine and it has a treble roll-off commensurate with what the measurements show i.e. -3dB at the 10kHz!
A Lyra Dorian has -3dB at 20kHz, and a PW -6dB at 20kHz. Those are FACTS, and you can hear that also.

I'm also the first one to say, that measurements are not telling everything (since there are so many of them in any way..) but based on these facts, I would find it currently impossible to imagine an MM can reach such dizzy heights in reproduction as can an Orpheus. This does not invalidate YOUR experience, --- but this far I need to learn a lot more about MMs to find this understanding of mine debunked.

See, now you put some fire under my butt right after breakfast :-)

You say: The 326S like the ML 32 are a little on the " dark side "
Not AT ALL TRUE for ML326S, but true for ML32, I have heard both.

That Orpheus DOES NOT run through an SUT as you assumed, it sounds no good at all with SUT due to an impedance mismatch with its 1.5ohm DCR. It uses 1k loading and 10nF capacitance, period.

My ears are VERY sensitive to too much treble-weight as e.g. a Dorian would have. The Orpheus as does a PW have 'tamed' this behaviour as compared to some cheaper LO-MCs. The Orpheus still need 10nF, the PW doesn't but sounds more 'sat-on' in comparison.

As to the 'noise' spectrum :-0 .......
Raul, rolling off at -3db @ 10kHZ what noise spectrum? It gets damped out in an MM before it reaches your ears... I've seen that spectrum on the O'scope for both MM and MC, that's why I say that.

In closing, as for the BEST MMs Ortofon's 2M Black like that claim to fame! It was only once mentioned in passing in this thread.

So PLEASE let's have these MM facts, name the names --- I have done so and 'I'm hanging out of the bus' more then you guys.

sorry I forgot one more thing please.
Your say, and using my own words here:
"Axel, you do not compare Apples with Apples", yes?

Now let us know what TOP MC carts greater 0.4mV minimum and no more than 4ohm DCR, you would have used to compare your TOP MMs.
Greater 0.45mV and less then 4ohm DCR , since otherwise you will come mention SUTs again and their influence, is not todays subject.

All these carts should easily run up from 3 500$ to say 9 000$, OK?
No problem, since $$$$ is not the issue as you say (it is for me though, most unfortunately).

Now, you can just forget ANY HI-MC in this comparison, so have you listened to an 'Orpheus' and compared it in your system to any TOP MM?

It be VERY interesting, because if not, you would accuse me of the same heresy as would be your own :-)

Dear Axel: You can read in " my system " with which MC cartridges I compare the MM ones in my own system.

Regards and enjoy the music.

Dear Axel: ++++ " It uses 1k loading " +++++

due to my Orpheus experiences IMHO if you don't like it loaded at 100 Ohms then there is something wrong ( maybe this is not the right word because you like it at that load. ) in your system or your ears. This cartridge does not needs any " help " on the highs ( the same for the PW. )

Of course that that " stage " confirm that different system/person has/likes different quality performance.

Reading many of your posts elsewhere it is almost clear for me that your " perception " of the music through your system is really different from mine.

Regards and enjoy the music.
Axel: Other cartridges than the Orpheus that I already know: ZYX Universe, Artight PC-1, Koetsu Jade, SS Straing Gauge, Lyra Titan and Titan i, Lyra Olympos, your PW, Etc.

I have on hand/testing the Pc-1 Supreme and the Coral ( borrowed by friends ).

Regards and enjoy the music.
Oh! yes, the Transi Temper, Lyra Skala, Audio Note IO and Dyna XX-2 and Te Kaitora.


Hi Raul,
now that is what I should call VERY GOOD news!
Since we finished O'scope testing of that Orpheus (it's just a bit down on cross-talk rest is on spec.) I'm back to normalcy... also my PW is packed to be returned to the supplier.
So, right now I'm back to the MM side of things, and your cross check to all those high-fly MCs sounds just what was needed right now :-)
We did not 'bother' (time and all) to measure the Shure V15 III and I'm going to put this one in just now.
It seems a bit on the lean side, compared to the A&R P-77 but I'll go down with the VTA which might help... It sounds definitely less rolled-off than the P-77, not that this was so bad, but still.

I know you mentioned some 4 MM carts to me, but is this the 'best' for ~ 600$?
I'm still not so sure that was the intend, since I'd asked for good 47k performers. -- Please kindly confirm.
Nagaoka M500 is still available new on the web for instance.

We also had quite a lengthy discussion about your MM findings and actually came up with some sort of explanation.
It could well be that even an earlier, but more gentle, treble roll-off of an MM could explain it sounding more 'natural' all in all, when compared to the extended treble capability of MCs -- BUT once at ~ 20kHz they're sort of falling of a cliff.
This very type of behaviour is also the cause for a less 'natural' tweeter behaviour as it seems to mess more with the phase of the music signal!

So please confirm that your list of 4 mentioned MMs is were I should go fishing for, to overcome my Orpheus with-drawl symptoms.

Many thanks,
just a bit of chit-chat on this Orpheus loading in a more general vain.
You say:
>>> due to my Orpheus experiences IMHO if you don't like it loaded at 100 Ohms then there is something wrong ( maybe this is not the right word because you like it at that load. ) in your system or your ears. This cartridge does not needs any " help " on the highs ( the same for the PW. )
Well, now there is also the phono boards if we accept my ears are fine for the time being.
The ML boards allow a 10nF to be jumpered in as it also has a 200ohm jumper (3rd jumper is 40dB or 60dB).
Taking that 10nF out --- re: >>>does not needs any " help " on the highs<<< most all MCs get too 'hot' so it’s quite the opposite! Put it in the table turns the other way and that’s the reason to then ‘help’ it a bit, a fine balance…
Exception is PW so far, but that is not a good example because it's channel balance had issues.
So, put 10nF in there is too little 'extension' at 100ohm in the treble. 47k could work but 1k was better.
Also recall, I had only 2 days to work out a sort of likable balance. That Orpheus cart is VERY touchy with VTA, and it takes a bit of time (at least for me) to get it to it's best balance.
It was still a bit treble-tilted at 1k and 10nF, going down ~< 1mm on VTA and it started to sound sat-on again. I guess 200 or 500ohm could have worked in conjunction with more VTA adjustments --- maybe. 100ohm definitely not with 10nF and with out the C it still had too little air/stage, etc.
The same settings we also used with the Dorian, also a bit bright though and VTA needed to go way down to tame that one.
With my previous PS Audio GCPH I could not use 1k, as it was already to 'woolly' so I guess those ML phono-boards have a different requirement as they can sound either sat-on or to hot. Why? I guess that's just how they work.

Now that Sure V15 III VN35MR is in the system, and 'pleasant' enough at level VTA and 1.25g VTF and equal anti-skate force. B U T it’s nowhere NEAR as resolved as the Orpheus, it misses a good deal of finer harmonic detail, i.e. no magic, no one in your room, no spooks so to say, and I guess that's that i.e. “You get what you pay for, no? (-:”

So it’s TOP OF THE RACK MM time and I'm sitting it out, pending your answer :-)

Best greetings,
PS: I truly hope that all this detail might be of some help not only just for myself...
Can't imagine the 2m black being a step down from the 20XL, since I already prefer the 2m blue to the 20XL in some ways. Yes, the 20XL has more texture and is a tad more warm, but I find that the 2m blue is just as musical if not more so, plus the 2m sounds more muscular with a wider taller soundstage than the 20XL. Of course those are just my experiences and as we all know setup and associated equipment play are always a big factor.
I can't say I've tried the NOS MM's that have been discussed elsewhere, but I did have a Grado Platinum at one point. It got replaced by a 20X-H, and there was definitely more resolution and texture present. That got replaced with an XX1, again more texture and detail, but perhaps a tad light sounding. Now I have a Temper and can say for sure that the texture and detail and musicality and dimension is there in spades. So my progression from MM to LOMC has at least proven to me that LOMC's is where it's at (but they are finicky to set up properly, for sure).