Dynavector 20X2 Moving Coil MC Cartridge
The Dynavector 20X2 is a moving coil cartridge offered in high or low output versions. Dynavector gained a reputation 20 years ago for producing affordable high quality moving coil phono cartridges. Many music lovers were introduced to the advantages of moving coil for the first time through Dynavector ownership. A major factor was the availability of high output Dynavector's designed to work with mm inputs so saving the expense of having to change electronics to suit a low output mc. Dynavector's crucial breakthrough was to design a coil winding machine capable of working with extremely fine wire so giving a high output to mass ratio.
Dynavector 20X2 Moving Coil MC Cartridge
The Dynavector 20X2 moving coil MC cartridge designs draw from Dynavector's top end XX-l. The 20's have a similar body shape to the XX-1 and share the same aluminium alloy body material.
This makes a rigid platform for the cartridge motor and aids secure fitting to the arm. We picked a 6mm hard aluminium pipe cantilever with a PE (perfect elliptical) nude diamond stylus for the 20's. This cantilever assembly is coupled to sets of coils in the 20X-H that give out a healthy 2.5 mV at a suitable impedance for most 'moving magnet inputs.
The 20X-L output of 0.25 mV suits most moving coil input stages. Both versions have been made available to help users get the best result for their own circumstances. The high output model suits valve pre-amps, basic amplifiers that only offer mm or amplifiers with less accomplished mc sections. Using a high output can also be of benefit if you live in an area with high radio frequency interference. The low output version scores where a system is set up with a good phono stage or very high quality mc amp input.
The 20X also features two unique Dynavector benefits; flux damping and softened magnetism. These two features combine to eliminate the distortions caused by excess magnetic flux produced by the high energy magnets used in modern moving coils. A compliance of 12 cu means the 20's will suit a wide variety of popular arms such as : Linn, Naim, SME, Well Tempered etc. Standard counterweights should be fine but a few manufacturers offer options.
Superior Performance and Excellent Value for Money
The cartridges we sell have been selected from both personal experience and the opinions of trusted dealers and reviewers.
For this reason the range offers superior performance and excellent value for money.
Please note that we cannot send cartridges outside the UK – the only exception being our own Origin Live cartridges or cartridges less than £400 in value when ordered with an Origin Live arm or turntable.
How to choose your cartridge
One of the most common enquiries we receive is ‘What cartridge should I use with this arm/deck?’ There are many options so we try to simplify matters by offering a “hot list” of tried and tested cartridges, particularly recommended by those with wide experience. However we do provide most brands of Hi-Fi cartridges should you wish for something else.
To help your selection process the following aspects should to be considered:
The overall sound of your system – cartridge brands tend to have distinctive sound balances which we outline below. This aspect should match your system and affect your choice more than almost anything else.
The effective mass of your arm and cartridge compliance? This really depends on what arm you have – in short there is much more to matching than compliance and it’s quite rare that this has much serious influence on your cartridge performance so we do not advise on it. Origin Live tonearms seem completely impervious to the issue of compliance.
The quality of your phono stage – Budget phono stages (up to £600) tend to work best with moving magnet or high output moving coil cartridges. Most high end cartridges are moving coil or moving iron but due to their low output (0.5mV or less), you need a very good phono stage to realise their true performance. Poor phono stages usually lead to disappointment with MC cartridges. It’s worth adding that expensive phono stages are no guarantee of performance.
We suggest the phono stage should be around 2 to 5 times the cost of your cartridge if you are to get the best return on investment and so you might want to consider where you place your budget.
– MM = moving magnet cartridge with high output and 47 Kohm impedance
– MC = moving coil cartridge with low output usually and 100 ohm impedance
A number of the high output moving coils use moving magnet input at 47 Kohms
There are sources that offer seemingly amazing prices on cartridges – we would urge caution on these purchases as you may not know what you’re getting. For example some Kouetsu’s are made specifically for the Far East market. These Kouetsu’s have a suspension system suited for hot climates and will not give optimum performance in colder climates.
Hot List of Cartridges with Strong Recommendation
It’s quite hard nowadays to purchase a “duff” cartridge so the choice boils down to personal taste, compatibility and system matching. For this reason we can only offer guidelines on which cartridge to choose.
High end cartridges such as Dynavector, Lyra, Benz Micro, Zyx, etc. all have their various strengths and reviews help to clarify your choice depending on your system and priorities. We particularly recommend Dynavector and Lyra cartridges but there are many other excellent cartridges which will work as well depending on your system and phono stage balance.
Slightly lower in the range, the Dynavector 10X5 is almost without peer at the price point.
If you do not have a reasonable moving coil phono stage with adjustable gain settings (above £800) then the MusicMaker Mk III at £750 by The Cartridge Man is almost legendary as a design for moving magnet inputs.
Cartridges Below £600
The Goldring 1000 Series (£195-325*) – have excellent tonal balance with warmth, good bass and a nice top end.
The Goldring 2000 Series (£145-599*) – introduced because some listeners with more bass oriented systems wanted greater clarity and detail – the 2000 series brings this but at the expense of warmth. This series is not better than the 1000 series, just different.
Audio-Technica have an exceptionally good range of budget cartridges (£39-599) – exhibiting good tonal balance with punch and a lively performance.
Cartridges above £250
Brand sound descriptions
The remarks below are by no means definitive and are only intended as a guide to help those in no position to audition the multitude of options available.
Audio Technica – noted for definition, speed, clarity and detail – can be a little lean in the bass in some arms (seems most suited on Linn LP12 / Ittock or Akito combinations).
Dynavector – Excellent all-round MC cartridges – high output versions are 10×5 and 20XH suitable for moving magnet inputs, low outputs are also available higher in the range. Dynavector 17D Karat is a very highly regarded at its price point. The XX-2 is almost the same price as the Karat close and also a wonderfull cartridge. The choice comes down to preference but most prefer the XX2 for edging a better all round performance. The Karat however is preferred by some for its speed and transparency.
Goldring – Rich sound with plenty of warmth and bass depth – a popular phono cartridge with Rega arm users – a very safe choice that sounds good on most systems.
London – Outstanding Cartridges that lead the entire field in terms of vivid realism, dynamics and lifelike sound. Unique in construction and performance these cartridges have developed a loyal following for good reason. Drawbacks are poor tracking on damaged records and slight crackle on very worn records due to the fact that they pick up every tiny detail. The sheer dynamics, of these cartridges can cause compression effects and show up failings in poorer systems. This manifests itself in brightness and lightweight bass. In spite of these things many reviewers give Londons the highest praise. The benefits are so great that once heard there is no going back for some.
Lyra – Great tacking cartridges that deliver an organic presentation. May not always go quite as deep as Koetsus but have the edge in most other aspects such as transparency and imaging.
Ortofon cartridges are probably the most varied in terms of sound characteristics. High End Ortofon cartridges above £1000 are well balanced in their virtues and good value. Below this price there are various ranges some of which are ultra-clean and clinical with loads of detail like the Kontrapuncts and others like the Blue and Red which are the opposite in terms of capturing more warmth but which sound slightly thick in comparison to others.
Sumiko – A good choice for systems that are slightly bass heavy and need speed and agility adding, these cartridges have great resolution and are improved over previous models that tended to be lean in deep bass and low in warmth for some systems
Zyx – Very good tonal balance with slight emphasis on dynamic and deep bass. One of the most natural sounding mid bands available, excellent clarity and separation of instruments, sweet top end without the explicitness or slight overemphasis of some high-end contenders. Slight question on longevity of the suspension which may start to fade slowly after 3 years.
Please contact us to place an order or obtain a quote on the pick-up cartridge of your choice
"A glorious taste of the high end at real world prices, but match carefully with top quality ancillaries..." Hi-Fi-World read more
"If you enjoy the same things in music that I do I don’t think you can improve on it at anything like the price..." TNT-Audio read more
"A lithe, rather airy character is apparent the moment its stylus hits the groove, blessed with agile bass and impressive high frequency detail.." Hi-Fi Choice read more
"Overall then a very fine cartridge, well worth shelling out for" Hi Fi Choice - read more
|Cartridge||DRT XV-1t||DRT XV-1s||Te-Kaitora Rua||XX-2||Karat 17D3||20XH/20XL||10x5|
|Type||Low output MC cartridge with Multi Alnico Column magnets and Flux damper||Low Output MC with multiple alnico magnet & flux damper||Low Output MC with flux damper & softened magnetism||Low Output MC with flux damper & alnico magnet||Low Output MC with flux damper & softened magnetism||High/Low Output MC with flux damper & softened magnetism||High Output MC with flux damper & softened magnetism|
|Output Voltage||0.35mV (at 1KHz, 5cm/sec.)||0.3mV||0.25mV||0.23mV||0.26mV||2.8mV/0.3mV||2.5mV|
|Frequency Response||20-20,000Hz (1dB)||20-20,000 Hz (+/- 1dB)||15-25000 Hz||20-20,000 Hz (+/- 1dB)||20-20,000 Hz (+/- 1dB)||20-20,000 Hz (+/- 1dB)||20-20,000 Hz (+/- 1dB)|
|Recommended load Impedance||>80Ω||>30Ω||>30Ω||>30Ω||>100Ω||>1k/30Ω||>1kΩ|
|Channel Balance||1.0 dB (at 1KHz)||Within 1 dB||Within 1 dB||Within 1 dB||Within 1 dB||Within 1 dB||Within 1 dB|
|Channel Separation||30 dB (at 1KHz)||30dB||30dB||30dB||25dB||25dB||25dB|
|Compliance||10 x 10-6 cm/dyn||10mm/N||10mm/N||10mm/N||15mm/N||12mm/N||12mm/N|
|Stylus Profile||PF Line contact shape, stylus radius:7 x 30 micron||PF Line Contact||PF Line Contact||PF Line Contact||Micro-ridge||Perfect Elliptical||Elliptical|
|Cantilever||6mm length 0.3mm dia. solid Boron with special armature||Solid Boron||Solid Boron||Solid Boron||Solid Diamond||Hard Aluminium Pipe||Aluminium Pipe|