Dynavector 17DX Phono Cartridge
Dynavector's 17DX Karat Diamond MC Phono CartridgeThe rationale for the new KARAT 17DX was to significantly improve upon the now legendary original KARAT series. After exhaustive listening and technical research, the decision was made to incorporate a body machined from solid brass, Samarium-cobalt magnets for lower magnetic resistance, unmatched coil winding techniques, the incredible 1.7mm long cantilever with Micro Ridge stylus all combining in a brand-new KARAT 17DX that will delight the listener, providing clear and articulate reproduction of analog recordings without a hint of harshness in the high frequency range.
Ratings & Reviews
I've used TTs: Denon DP-60L & Sota Star vacuum with SME 309 arm for many years, trying several fairly high-end MC cartridges in the $900-$1200 price range. Following suggestions from NeedleDoctor staff, I tried the Dynavector 17D3 and found it noticeably superior to anything I have experienced in more than 50 years of vinyl listening.
by D. Pryor
I love the sound of my new cartridge.?I currently own a Dynavector Ruby, Shelter 501, Sumiko Evo MK3, and have had a Kuitso Black and Denon 103. This Dynavector mkIII works with my rock, classical and, jazz. It has more detail, dynamics, with fuller mid range and my vinyl has zero or very little surface noise. My friend who has a 3000.00 Benz is blown away.?Best money I have spent in a long time!
The 17D3 was my first LOMC, after a truly dismal experience with the grossly overrated Ortofon 2M Black (see my review here). While I sadly no longer have this cartridge--it had a slight manufacturing flaw and I exchanged it for a model higher--when I had it, I really appreciated its neutrality. Its short diamond cantilever helped keep the resonances out of the musical range and as a result, there was no peaky response like other MC carts can have. It resolved a lot of inner detail in the music, without being bright. It tracked through most of my records flawlessly, and had what I would call a "liquid" midrange--very "pure" and clean sounding. It handled bass passages very well also. I would say this is a very musical cartridge and to be honest, I still prefer its sound over the slightly edgy sound of the XX2 Mk. II. When the time comes to replace the XX2, I likely will go back to the 17D3. I enjoyed it that much.
WOW!!! The bass is so tight. The mids so smooth and the highs are in the clouds....
This is my favorite cartridge. It's frequency response really is flat. It's also the best tracking cart I've tested. However, it must be set up a bit differently than a traditional moving coil cartridge to achieve optimal results. It will need quite a bit more anti skate for a given tracking force because of it's very short cantilever (Dynavector mentions this in the manual). On my Technics SL-1201M5G using the Stevenson alignment and tracking at 2.0g, it's optimal anti skate is 3.8 for all records, but can get away with 2.4 for most records. Any lower and you might mis-track in the right channel at the end of a side (loud cut) and the stylus might skid into the first track when cuing down. I recommend establishing the VTF and anti skate setting using the three anti skate tracks on Side 2 of the Hi-Fi News Test LP; it really works. I load the cart at 1000 ohms; the traditional 100 ohms load exhibits a noticeable reduction in treble presence and clarity (Dynavector does recommend loading above 100). The bass response is fast, deep, and accurate. However, on records cut with the bass rolled off, you'll know it. But with a well-mastered modern cut with stereo bass and no roll off, you'll have all the bass you'll ever want without any bleed or looseness. This would balance well with a tubed phono stage if you like tonal coloration. Vocals are rendered with neutrality and clarity. The treble is smooth and accurate and is a refreshing alternative to the exaggerated treble response in many other popular cartridges. Because the cantilever is so short and rigid, there is zero smearing of transients. I don't know of a "faster" cartridge. So, if you value accuracy and performance, I don't know of any cartridge that's better than the 17D3.
An excellent cartridge all around. Brilliant Highs very clean mid range, and natural bass. I am still getting to know it, but it is a great step up from my Pickering XSV 5000, which is not slouch at all. Thanks for the recommendation.
This is a wonderful cartridge that requires the proper ancillary equipment to get the best results. You must be able to adjust VTA, azimuth and anti-skate to a fine degree; likewise I would strongly suggest a device such as the Feickert protractor to obtain a proper setup. The cartridge's sound can be mediocre if not set up correctly, but when dialed in, projects a huge soundstage and utter neutrality. It takes 10 hours of playing to break in, but the time is not excessive. Also, you need a step-up transformer. I suggest using the Cinemag step-ups if you are handy with a soldering iron. A relatively high compliance tonearm would probably do best with this cart, but you can set it up with a medium compliance. I am using it in an Origin Live Encounter, but had to add some mass to the headshell to allow the cartridge to behave at its best. Nevertheless, I think that the proper setup is much more important in the end; you must take some time when doing it and be patient with it. You WILL be rewarded for your efforts!!
This is a very musical, very detailed cartridge that produces some of the best imaging I've ever heard from a phono cartridge. Solid bass and very detailed midrange. A very good match for SME tonearms, incidentally. It does have a few foibles -- the screw threads are not the standard size used by most manufacturers, so be sure to use the mounting screws provided by Dynavector. The cartridge is also a little lighter than most, at 5.8 grams, and so may not work with all tonearms. Also, it is very low output, so make sure your phono stage can handle low output moving coil designs before buying.