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 Moving Coil Cartridge may well be the greatest improvement you ever make to your system. The trick is to work out which model best suits you. With over 30 years of specialist analogue experience and turntable setup we’re uniquely placed to help you. For existing Dynavector owners we offer worthwhile trade in and re-tipping options.
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.
All the Dynavector moving coil cartridges have distinct characters, which means that there will be an obvious best choice for you. Let’s start with the stuff that vinyl dreams are made of.
Dynavector Te Kaitora Rua Moving coil cartridge. NZ$5295 including GST and delivery.
Te Kaitora means ‘The Discoverer’ in Maori. Rua, is ‘the second version’. The original Te Kaitora cartridge was the result of collaboration between Dynavector Japan and Frank Denson in New Zealand.
“The Sound of the TKR is monstrous. Luminous, transparent, supple, liquid, dynamic yet natural presentation; acoustic instruments surrounded by air, transients, attack and decay, notes hang effortlessly, a sense of spaciousness, invites you in to listen, and that’s all you want to do.
Records you thought you weren’t getting on too well with suddenly become new friends. Artists you didn’t take kindly to reveal their true sterling qualities.Old friends become even better friends. Suddenly a thousand records are chattering excitedly, queuing up for their turn on the turntable, to be caressed by TKR.” londonjazzcollector
The improved Te Kaitora Rua sweeps you away with even greater refinement and finnesse improving on the original’s silk-like treble and openness.
If you’re interested in the detail as to how this has been achieved, the wire for the coil has been changed to the PCOCC copper wire from the silver wire. It sounds a much smoother and has a much better musical performance. At the same time titanium has been used in the headpiece for maximum rigidity along with a miniature stainless steel bolt coupling the front and rear yokes to the magnetic circuit assembly. The combination of these two elements provides a perfect sonic balance. A 6mm long boron cantilever with the Pathfinder line contact stylus as used in the more costly Dynavector XV-1s finds it’s way into the business end of the Te Kaitora Rua. The ingenious square shaped armature and matching square shaped aperture in the front yoke provides much improved linearity in the magnetic flux distribution.
While the exposed technology might seem radical and even a little daunting, in practice the TKR is a very friendly to set up and use. A compliance of 10CU and weight of 8.8 grams make it compatible with a broad range of arms and turntables from Origin Live, Rega, Linn, Naim, SME, Project, Thorens and many more. And as you might expect, there is a natural and synergistic match with all of the Well Tempered arms and turntables – even the entry level Simplex will sing with the TKR.
“The most musical cartridge I have ever heard. I am in High End Audio for 30 years and have heard a lot of serious High End products. The Dynavector TE KAITORA RUA makes you feel that all your LPs are remastered to 180-200 gram vinyl! Old and not good recordings are heard as are good quality.
Information from the record grooves comes to your ears as live music full of harmonics , live like, full of emotions that I had not such experience before.
With this new cartridge you want to hear music for hours.You don’t want to do anything else during the audience.You sit and hear the live orchestra who plays music only for you! The same time you feel that you live with the musicians and that you are there.That is so rare to feel with many many other cartridges.With most other cartridges you hear your LP via the electronics and speakers in your room and you (not all the times…) enjoy the high end system. Not the live music but the system. So what else to say about that brilliant cartridge that brings the live music as it is to my heart? Only congratulations to Dr.Tominari and Dynavector. ” audioreview.com
The Te Kaitora Rua allows analogue enthusiasts to embark on a voyage of discovery to the outer limits of vinyl reproduction. While undeniably expensive when compared with a basic cartridge the actual cost of ownership and use when spread over several years actually comes down to less than $3.50 per hour of use – think about how many other things could possibly give this level of performance and enjoyment for so little.
The DV-10X5 high output MC (NZ$1095)
is your entry to the Dynavector range. It is the most broadly compatible Dynavector and will work with a very wide selection of turntables and tonearms. Being a high output moving coil, it is also compatible with virtually any amplifier or phono stage. If you have previously been using a conventional moving magnet cartridge, you’ll be immediately impressed by the increase in detail, sound-staging, lower surface noise and all round balance of performance with the DV10X5. It’s hard to fault it.
Compared to similarly priced MCs you’ll find the DV10X5 to be richer and warmer than most – there is an intentionally warm and romantic cast to the sound that reminds you exactly why you choose to listen to records in the first place.
And in fact it is only when you look at the more costly models, that you hear how records can be made to sound better again. However, you must also understand that the better cartridges place greater demands on the performance of the turntable and tonearm, so there is also a case to be made for choosing the model that is most appropriate for your system.
Read more about the DV10X5 here.
The DV20X Mk2 at NZ$ 1,550
is our personal choice for day to day use. 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. 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
Dynavector XX2-MK2 NZ$2500
‘I like the XX2 MkII a lot. I feel like I’m “home.” I’ve got the real deal, from timbre to detail without exaggeration; I’m hearing realistic macrodynamics when they’re on the record. And when music sounds beautiful, I know that’s on the record; when music isn’t beautiful, the composers’ intentions seem to reveal themselves. I keep what I want in my collection and toss what I don’t, but the XX2 MkII is a keeper. The XX2 MkII makes sense to me. Is my system perfect? No, but I do feel like I have essentially arrived at what I sought in becoming an audiophile and that’s awesome. Recommended? Are you kidding?’ Larry Cox.
The original XX1 was sold as an affordable alternative to the legendary Koestus and while imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, Dynavector soon moved to make the XX2 a more distinctive entity in it’s own right – the Mk2 continues this progression becoming even smoother and less coloured.
It’s a remarkably honest cartridge, more relaxed than the DV-17D3 but also much more articulate and sure-footed than the DV20-2. Bass is both solid and fast, pointing you in the direction of the TKR for around half the cost.
The Dynavector P75 Mk3 Phono stage
It’s far to easy to underestimate the importance of a quality phono stage. All of the Dynavector cartridges will benefit form a better quality phono stage, not just because of optimal matching.
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 than earlier versions 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.
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.
Other Analogue options.
For the very best phono stage the NZ made Pure Audio Vinyl provides a quantum improvement over the Dynavector that easily justifies the cost difference and is every bit as striking as the comparison between the DV10X5 entry level and the Te Kaitora Rua.
The Well Tempered range – turntables, phono stage and cartridges are complimentary to the Dynavector models and there is plenty of common ground.
We recommend the Australian made KLEI interconnects for use with all turntables and phono stages but also find the Mogami interconnects useful in lower cost systems or where there are specific interference problems.