Shelter 501 Mk 2 vs. Dynavector Karat 17D2 Mk2

Thanks to all who have helped me in the decision in which direction to go with a turntable next. I have decided to explore the direction of the Nottingham Space Deck with the Nottingham Space Arm. With that being said, I have two paths in front of me as to which cartridge and phono section. I have heard great things on both, and have neither to audition locally.

First option would be Nottingham Space Deck with Space Arm and Shelter 501 Mk 2 cartridge, with a modified EAR 834p phono preamp. I have heard the Shelter is a phenominal cartridge and has synergy with this table and arm. I have always leaned toward the sound of tubes as well which draws me to this phono preamp.

Second option would be Nottingham Space Deck with Space Arm and Dynavector Karat 17D2 Mk2 cartridge, with a Dynavector P-75 phono amp. I have heard from a dealer I have visited this combination is stunning. He had sold his floor model Space Deck, thus I was not able to hear it. The "natural" synergy I would imagine the Dynavector cartridge would have with it's own phono amp seems plausible. Also the Dynavector phono would most likely be dead quiet, as the rest of my system has tubes.

So, I ask of the wise ones, which cartridge? I think I am going to determine phono preamp later, but would like first and foremost to know how the Dynavector 17D2 Mk2 compares with the Shelter 501 Mk2 sonically. Also, if you could let me know if you have heard either on the Space Deck with the Space arm. Also, as an aside - I have recently inherited approximately 900 or so albums from my Great Uncle in which the albums range from the late 40's through the mid 70's. From the dozen or so I have cleaned and sampled there was quite audible grain with my Eroica cartridge. I am told some of these older records will sound much better as the stylus of the more expensive cartridges will ride lower in the groove. Any info on which cartridge may be better with these would be helpful as well, but will not be the primary determining factor. Thank you!

As for the rest of my system, you can link to it under this post. All of my analog gear has been sold. MMF-7, Graham Slee, Cardas Neutral Ref. phono cable all gone. Also, my preamp listed the Quicksilver has been sold. It is being replaced with a First Sound Presence Deluxe Mk II preamp which should arrive this week.

Any other pertinent info that you may need, let me know.

Thanks again, and happy listening!
I can't answer your question directly. The 17D2 Mk2 is a fine cartridge; it does a lot things very well. The only thing I know for sure is that the Shelter 901 is a better cartridge. It equals or betters the 17D2 Mk2 in every respect - most importantly, the Shelter 901 doesn't exhibit the "color" or "personality" that the 17D2 Mk2 does; in my opinion, the Shelter is a more neutral and more accurate cartridge. I haven't heard the 501 Mk2, so I can't comment on whether it is a worthy competitor to the 17D2 Mk2; my guess (based on my experience with the 901 and my reading of comments on the 501 Mk2) is that it would be, but that's just a guess. I do know that the 901 is in another league beyond the 17D2 Mk2 - but it should be for about twice the price. If you could find a deal on a new or very good used 901, it would be the preferred cartridge; it has deep and tight bass extension, open and airy midrange, and highs that make cymbals sound real. Don't get me wrong, the 17D2 Mk2 is an excellent cartridge, but the 901 is what a cartrige should be - just about perfect throughout.
There is a review of the Dynavector P-75 phono preamp in the current edition of HiFI+. I use am using a Nottingham Interspace w/ fully modified Rega RB300 arm and Incognito (Cardas) wiring harness w/ Dynavector 10X4mkII cartridge, in combination with the Dynavector P-75. Very impressed with the results.

Using a low output cartridge in combination with the P-75's phono enhancer setting supposedly makes the phono preamp something very special. I have not used the P-75 in this configuration because my cartridge is a high output MC.

Larry Weinstein, an analog dealer at Hollywood Sound I trust recommended the P-75 highly advising of great sound and versatility. Here is a quote from an e-mail Larry sent me last October:

"The Dynavector phono stage is fantastic! It blows away the phono stage in my Convergent Audio Technology Preamp which is hard to do, which a $6000 preamp. I don't know how they do it but it is insane kind of good!"

If your vinyl is lacking in dynamics or transient speed, I say go Dynavector. The Shelter cartridges are very neutral and would also work well in your set up.

I heard the 501MK 2 on a VPI Aries w/JMW 10 tonearm. It replaced a Dynavector 10X5 that came with the TT as a package. The Shelter was really lush sounding, but not neutral. For those that like their music to have gorgeous tonal color, then the Shelter is it. However, I thought it was too warm and slow for rock music and felt the Dynavector 10X5 was the better cart, as it's more neutral and has way better PRAT, which is my top priority. I think the Shelter appeals to those that like their presentation on the warm/lush side and if that's your thing, this cartridge rocks for that.

Mcrespo71, you hit the nail on the head!!! if you want music go for a dyna, if you want hi fi get the shelter version 501 or 901 or whatever. as for me, i'll take the tunefulness of any dyna...