Dynavector Moving coil cartridges and Phono stages
Vinyl records can still sound fantastic and we’ll show you through the best value models in the Dynavector range and take the mystery out of buying a new cartridge for your turntable.
If you still enjoy playing records, a new Dynavector Cartridge may well be the greatest improvement you ever make to your system. The trick is to work out which model best suits you.
The first question you might ask is why a ‘moving coil’ cartridge. In simple terms, there are two types of cartridge - moving magnet and moving coil. With a moving magnet cartridge, the stylus wiggles in the groove of a record and at the other end of the cantilever tube, within the body of the cartridge, this makes a magnet move. And that’s what produces the signal you hear. But a magnet, even a very small one, weighs a lot more than the stylus that is trying to move it.
A far better way to build a cartridge is to replace the magnet with coils of very fine wire. These weigh much less, so are easier to move. Which means that a moving coil cartridge is capable of responding in a much better way to the impulses generated by the stylus. This translates into more musical detail, faster response and far more enjoyment for you.
It costs a little more to build a good moving coil cartridge, but the results are worth it.
Dynavector have been in the moving coil cartridge game for almost 30 years. Rather than being hurt by the advent of digital and CD, they have seen it as a challenge and continued to develop and improve models. While there may be fewer record enthusiasts, Dynavector have a constantly increasing following, which in turn gives them the resources to keep getting better and produce models which please more people - a virtuous cycle.
The three best selling Dynavector moving coil cartridges have distinct characters, which means that there will be an obvious best choice for you.
The DV10X5 at NZ$ 1,099 is your entry to the range. It is the most broadly compatible Dyavector and will work with a very wide selection of turntables and tonearms. Being a high output moving coil, it is also compatible with virtually any amplifier or phono stage. If you have previously been using a conventional moving magnet cartridge, you’ll be immediatly impressed by the increase in detail, lower surface noise and all round balance of performance with the DV10X5. It’s hard to fault it. And in fact it is only when you look at the more costly models, that you hear how records can be made to sound better again. However, you must also understand that the better cartridges place greater demands on the performance of the turntable and tonearm, so there is also a case to be made for choosing the model that is most appropriate for your system.
Read more about the DV10X5 here
The DV20X Mk2 at NZ$ 1,550 is our personal choice. Its presentation is altogether more detailed and expansive than the 10X5. The new Mk2 version has a cut away body like the more costly models - this reduces resonance and excess mass. Soundwise there is has been a clear re-balancing over the original version - the new mk2 is more articulate and detailed with better control in the bass. We love it!
While still quite forgiving of setup, it will respond better to a well sorted turntable/arm combination and if you feel you have this, then you will certainly get the value for money over the 10X5. It is worth noting that the DV20X2 comes in two versions (with no price difference) The H designation is high output, the same as the 10X5 and allows use in systems without a specific MC stage. It is also ideal in situations where noise or RF interference can sometimes be an issue. The L -low output version - is theoretically better because of the lower mass of fewer coils and if you have a good phono stage and turntable combination, this is the best option. Hearing a DV20X2 for the first time is like going from watching movies on a small screen to the full cinema experiance.
Read more about the DV 20XL here.
The new Karat DV17D3 at NZ$ 2,200 is a seriously high performance cartridge. The physical design is completely distinct from that of the DV20X and it is designed for speed and dynamics. The most distinctive feature of the construction is the extremely short diamond cantilever tube. As you can imagine, this takes no prisoners so must be handled and set up carefully. The reward is a sound that makes CD sound slow and lifeless.
Its Micro-Ridge stylus and very short (1.7mm) solid diamond cantilever give a huge reduction in frequency dispersion, unmatched dynamics and a high frequency extension all the way up to 100kHz. The main change to the new Dynavector 17D3 is an improvement in the design of the front yoke. This appears, on the surface, to be a small difference yet contributes to a greatly improved overall performance justifying a model number change. The new yoke improves focus in the magnetic circuit and in combination with the flux damping mechanism and softened magnetism (patent) gives accurate sonic qualities leading to a very natural sound. The change has also enabled a useful increase in output to 0.3mV. with crystal clear mid-range and treble even during the largest symphonic crescendos.
For this cartridge, you must have a good MC phono stage and we advise dealer setup unless you feel you are competent to do this yourself. Yet for just a bit more than the DV20X you will enter another realm again and while your turntable will need to be safe from inquisitive little fingers, the benefits are considerable.
Read more about the Karat DV17D Mk2 here
These three options are really only the entry level to the Dynavector range. If you’d like to investigate the even higher performance options, e mail us directly.
With all Dynavector cartridge choices, if you have a dealer nearby who is competent in turntable set up we do suggest it is well worth your while to purchase directly from them. However if this isn’t the case we’d like to be the dealer you turn to. If you already have a Dynavector cartridge, we have a better price for exchange units - any replacement is a brand new cartridge, not a refurbished unit so you are assured of new performance every time. We’re more than happy to walk you through the setup requirements and work out which cartridge will best suit you. And remember with every purchase of a Dynavector cartridge you’ll get a cute little Hectors Dolphin - we’re sure that the good people at Dynavector in Japan don’t support whaling!
The Dynavector P75 Mk3 Phono stage
It’s far to easy to underestimate the importance of a quality phono stage – people can often spend significant amounts on a cartridge which, like it or not, will be wearing from day one. Yet they will still feed this signal into either an inbuilt phono stage of limited performance or some low cost step up device.
We admit to being highly taken with the diminutive Dynavector P75 phono stage. Now in Mark 3 form and far more sophisticated in every way and right at the cutting edge of phono stage design, this is the one to beat. The Dynavector P75 works on 3 levels. Firstly for either Moving Magnet or high output coil cartridges, it provides the right step up to line level. Low output moving coils are more demanding and the P75 makes the most of these with a vanishingly low noise floor and exceptional detail retrieval plus the ability to be fine tuned for cartridge loading. Finally for the very best sound – especially the Dynavectors, the Patented Phono Enhancing Circuit designed by Dr Tominari, to dramatically improve the performance of low output moving coil cartridges. The P75 power supply is totally self contained and stores many times the maximum possible energy requirements for the phone amplifiers – all in a box that fits in the palm of your hand and sells for just NZ$ 995!
The Mk3 version is outwardly similar to the Mk2 but is actually much better finished in keeping with their full-on amplifiers. A new multi-layer printed circuit board and output amplifier contribute both better noise performance and deliver more drive current. There are more user loading and gain adjustments including that for MM. There is even more headroom from the internal power supply. All these improvements add up to a significant total performance gain - the original P75 was great value, the Mk2 was better and now the Mk3 takes no prisoners.
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