Dynavector XX-2 Cartridge
The The DV XX-2 MKII retains the benefit of the flux damper but features the Alinco-5 magnet and the similar rigid construction to the Te Kaitora Rua. Alnico magnets exhibit high magnetic flux density combining with a low coercive therefore magnetic resistance is lower than other magnetic types such as rare earth and ferrite, providing the exceptional stability of the XX-2 MKII output voltage. There is also the additional advantage of low magnetic and electrical resistance contributing to a discernable improvement in sound quality.
The XX-2MKII also exhibits deep powerful bass, treble is both clear and lively possessing none of the hardness found in many moving coil designs.
The XX-2MKII also features a 6 mm solid boron cantilever fitted with a Pathfinder Line contact stylus. PCOCC (pure copper ohno continuous casting process) copper wire is used for the coil. The output voltage of 0.28mV is higher than that of the XX-2 and 6 ohms impedance are suited to most moving coil phono stages.
For ridgity of construction the XX-2 MKII cartridge body is machined from 7075 aluminium the hardest available. However, having only a total weight of only 8.9 grams it is suitable for a variety of popular tonearms.
TNT Audio Review of Dynavector XX-2The bass line, when it kicks in is huge. It provides all the foundation for the rest of the track to hang from. I love the bass of this track and know it well. What I wasn't expecting though was how tuneful the notes were.I recall, many years ago, sitting in a Linn dealers show room, listening to this track. The dealer told me to listen to the bass playing tunes rather than a one note thud.It was a convincing demonstration. Now let me tell you that with the XX-2 MKII bass will astound you! It is remarkably powerful and tuneful, with real texture and micro dynamic detail.The sound of fretwork and of fingers on strings is presented with staggering clarity. This cartridge must have been designed by a bass guitarist. But if music was all about bass then what a very uninteresting world we would live in. On this track the vocals of Mark Hollis are an acquired taste. If they are your taste then this track shows them in their best light. They soar above the pumping bass lines and are hauntingly life like. Amid all of this the other thing that strikes you is how dynamic the sound is. With the pumping bass lines and soaring vocals you might think that all of the subtle details would be lost. Don't you believe it....all of the "tinkly" bits are there as well. It's a measure of real high end that all of this detail is not masked by the more powerful notes and in this respect the XX-2 MKII is real high-end steal.
Ratings & Reviews
I sort of fell into this cartridge due to having to send my 17D3 back to Dynavector due to a slight manufacturing flaw (the body of the cart was slightly skewed in its shell). This cartridge does a lot well. The bass is quite solid, and the mids convey a lot of the inner detail in the music, especially on acoustic music like classical or jazz. You really get a chance to hear inside the music! The one area that is disappointing--the highs. I find the XX2 to be brighter than the 17D3. Some prefer a "lively" presentation but, it is not to my taste. I don't find it bright so much as "etched." Is it loading? No, as I have adjusted it down to the bottom of my phono stage's range, and all it did was make the entire cartridge sound "dead." I don't have the number handy, but I have it currently sounding its best in the 60-70 ohm neighborhood. I've also done the full microscopic alignment and everything is set properly. It's not like the effect is very pronounced, but it is enough of a slight brightness that it is noticeable. Given a choice, I'll go back to the 17D3 when the time comes. But still, if a listener likes something on the lively side of the spectrum, with a beautiful midrange and powerful bass, the XX2 delivers where it counts!
The XX2 Mk 2 is among the best cartridges I have own. Stunningly dynamic, the XX2 resolves the subtle dynamic shadings of music with nary a trace of hardness or brightness. Tonal balance is very natural with none of the typical MC rising top end. One me could spend more but the law of diminishing returns is kicking in with both feet here. Truly a world class cartridge!
I agree with how all the other reviewers have described this high peformer. It is simply analog bliss when properly set up. A real strength of this cartridge is that it is a faithful tracker and really extracts a great deal of information from the grooves. I think for the money this is a no brainer. You would have to spend a lot more and I am not sure you could see a significant jump in performance unless your partnering equipment justifies. Enjoy with no reservations other than make sure you have a preamp with enough gain to run. I load at 100 ohms and use the 66 db gain on my Pass XP15 (which is a great phono pre by the way with the XX2mk2).
I coveted this cartridge's tonal balance from the first time I read about it. It took me a while to afford one or danced around cartridges that were "close." But when I finally bought one I was beyond thrilled. It's rich and clear and has what is lacking in many cartridges - serious bass. A real analog type bass. Worth every penny.
This cartridge with 20 hours on it really brings out alot more from the vynil. Strings on guitar are amazing, more information from the record is there. Fingers sliding on the guitar strings is really evident and it sounds like the real thing. Smooth highs and bass is in another league then what I'm used to.The XX2 replaced the Ortofon 2m Black and is another giant leap into high end vinyl sound. Well worth the money, Perfect match with my tube preamp.
The XX-2's strength lies in its ability to convey great musicality with solid dynamics. It's one of the rare moving coils that packs a punch without hype or exaggeration. You can hear how a drum kit has been tuned as well as what note is being played on the B-string of a 5-string bass guitar (which is pretty low in the musical scale), regardless of how the busy the mix is. In other words, if a sound is intended as a note, the XX2 will faithfully convey what that note is. It's effortless, yet a highly dynamic performer. Like any cartridge, it can only perform as well as the tonearm will allow. I'd suggest Nothing less than say a SME M2-9 or Origin Live Zephyr.
Hits the sweet spot for me
by PaBo -
I got this cartridge from Needle Doctor almost exactly six months ago. I upgraded from a Ortofon 2M Black to 20x2L to xx-2 MKII. In each case, it was an upgrade trying to find the right match for my rig. That being said, I could've remained happy with the 20x2L for life for half the money - the 20x2L was such an upgrade from anything I'd heard that I wanted to go to the next step and I kept the 20x2 as a backup. The xx-2 sounds so good that I can't imagine what going to a higher priced cart would achieve. I have a Clearaudio Performance DC wood with a Tracer arm. Using the McIntosh C22 as my phono stage and preamp. This cartridge is highly recommended as is Needle Doctor which has always been easy to deal with.