Looking for the best moving coil cart that is around $5K used

I currently have a Dynavector drt xvs1 and am looking to upgrade. In my experience, the TT has little to do with the sound.  I have a $400 Pioneer PL 71, and It gives me just as good of sound a my VPI-Scoutmaster .  I’m looking for a used moving coil cart around $5K. I like clear sound, not too bright, but very articulate and good tight bottom end.  Please give your suggestions and why.  BTW my phono preamp is a Rhea Signature with new low noise tubes.  Sounds great, just looking for the elusive unicorn
tooblue:  I appreciate your response and will experiment with what you have mentioned.  I think I will mount the Urushi to my VPI and hear what happens.  As of now, both the DRT XV1s and the Koetsu sound very similar.   I just posted a thread about a record clamp.  I'm going to start using the clamp all the time.  Maybe that's where I'm going off the rails.  All I want to do is learn and appreciate all the invaluable info I get from all of you.  Thanks for your patience and indulgence.

I want to comment on the speed/DD/strobe thing.

I don't know how much technical knowledge you have about turntables and analog sound playback, but a strobe tells you very, very little.  Its not speed accuracy that we need, it is consistency and absence of noise.

Its the small, maybe tiny, higher frequency changes to rotation speed that create distortion, combined with all sorts of vibrations. Think about this:  the vibrations mix with tiny groove wall ridges. How does your cartridge tell one from another? Answer: it cannot. It reproduces the music plus the vibrations = distortion.  Similarly a small difference from the proper 33 1/3 rpm speed is generally inaudible except to those with perfect pitch.  Since we can tune to any note we like, even with perfect pitch speed accuracy is largely over rated. But CHANGES in speed create wow and flutter.  I doubt your table wows (low frequency changes), but since it is a direct drive, with nothing to absorb the imperfect drive of the AC motor, it WILL flutter.  This creates distortions that are easily audible and generally not harmonically correlated - they are generally multiples of 60 hz.

A suspended table filters out vibrations.  A belt filters out motor vibrations> a heavy latter is a flywheel - used n pretty much everything that demands true speed consistency (not accuracy, consistency - its OK if it is consistently off by 0.1%)

Maybe the Pioneer sounds great. I cannot say.  They may have the worlds quietest motor and the worlds deadest plinth - really, they may.  But your technical argument is worse than weak, its just dead wrong.  Remember - the $5000 cart you are willing to buy still, debate aside, tell the difference between a groove and a vibration from a motor or the room.  Filter them out. And for heavens sake match the cartridge compliance to the tonearm mass, and get VTA right - those are free!


Nothing could be further from the truth that a TT has little to do with the sound.
The analog chain is much more complex than you are currently appreciating.  
Do yourself a favor and do some reading provided on this link: http://hifigem.com/
Mr. Merrill will debunk some misinformation which will potentially help you and most any other reader.
Lastly, don't purchase a used phono cartridge unless your goal is to own a cartridge that is no longer in production.  Why would you do that anyway???


I would read @chakster and @atmasphere posts very carefully if I were you. Other than that, you already have a top notch MC cart, meaning that any change at this level is more a matter of taste and/or system matching. I'm guessing that you've never heard the XV1s performing at its best in your rig. 

I forgot to say: if you do decide to ignore @atmasphere and @chakster (which I would urge you not to), @tom_hankins at audionirvana is selling a slightly used Air Tight PC1 Supreme for $4.5k. Sounds like a good deal for a $11k MC cart - one of the best out there. 

Good luck!