I recently acquired a low-mileage Dynavector XV-1s cartridge to replace my Benz Glider SL that I bought brand new. The XV-1s is a wide body cartridge and it is heavy. If the Glider SL is a tiny AAA shoe, the XV-1s is a EEE.
The XV-1s is without a doubt the most expensive cartridge I have ever had. More importantly, it is the best sounding cartridge I have ever had. The XV-1s is a very quiet cartridge in that it does not raise the noise floor of your vinyl. I find it to be very well balanced from top to bottom, a very good tracker, and just a joy to listen to. It has definitely raised the quality level of my LP playback.
As good as I thought the Benz Glider SL was (and it is good), the XV-1s is in another league. When I returned home last year from the RMAF with a copy of Lightin’ Hopkins “Goin’ Away” that I heard on the same Clearaudio table that Christian owns with a $15K Goldfinger cartridge, I was hoping to duplicate what I heard playing the cut “Don’t Embarrass Me, Baby” on my rig. No such luck. What drove me to run downstairs to where they were selling LPs to try and find this LP was how great it sounded on that system. That cut just ‘popped’ and sounded very realistic like a guy was picking a guitar right in front of you. The notes just leapt out like you would hear from a guitar playing live. Through the Glider SL, that affect was missing and the music didn’t “pop.” I felt like I had been put in my place in the audio pecking order. With the XV-1s, I’m just about there which I find remarkable.
I will have more to say later as I gain a deeper appreciation for this cartridge. In the meantime, I’m all smiles.