Cartridge Recommended tone arm effective mass for Dynavector Cartridges
DrT XV-1t 5.5 - 27.5g
Drt XV-1s 4.9 - 26.9g
Te Kaitora Rua 7.7 - 29.7g
XX2 8.6 - 30.6g
17D3 5.9 - 20.5g
20X2 H / L 5.4 - 23.7g
10X5 7.3 - 25.6g

Figures are tone arm mass plus headshell mass. Cartridge mass is not included. Effective mass is calculated at the recommended arm resonance of 8 to 12Hz

Cartridge Recommended settings for Dynavector Cartridges using P75 or P300 phono stages
DrT XV-1t Phono Enhancer High Resistance
Drt XV-1s Phono Enhancer Low Resistance
DrT XV-1s mono Phono Enhancer Low Resistance
Te Kaitora Rua Phono Enhancer Low Resistance
XX2 Phono Enhancer Low Resistance
17D3 Phono Enhancer High Resistance
20X2L Phono Enhancer Low Resistance
20X2H Moving Magnet / High Output Moving Coil
10X5 Moving Magnet / High Output Moving Coil

Cartridge Care

The damper rubber is part of the stylus cantilever and coils assembly. It damps the tie wire that holds the whole assembly taught and prevents it ringing. The rubber degrades naturally over time, and eventually dries out, thus reducing the damping effect. It is very obvious when the end has been reached as there is bad distortion like mis-tracking. Essentially if all is sounding good then all is good, have no fear that you are 'silently' damaging records.

Please be aware that this natural deterioration occurs regardless of whether the cartridge is used or not and most makes are prone to play on!

The biggest external factor in damper rubber wear is contamination, either with dirt and dust from records, or, worst of all, fluid from over-zealous stylus cleaning. This is another reason to stay away from alcohol based cleaning fluids, and use any fluid very sparingly. We find distilled water works very well.

The stylus tip can wear down such that the point eventually grounds in shallow grooves, creating bad distortion. This is often due to poor care of records and stylus, which is avoidable; we recommend cleaning records, new or old, with a carbon fibre brush immediately before each play - with new records, tiny shards of metal swarf from the stamper are left on the vinyl surface and can be attracted to the magnets in cartridges.

The stylus should be kept clean before each play too, to minimise wear on the tip. Dynavector supply a short haired brush, that when used in conjuction with a 'dampening' of stylus fluid, should clean off any debris. Note that it is important that the fluid does not contain any alcohol or other harsh chemicals. These could loosen the cement holding the stylus in place. We find distilled water works well perhaps with a little wetting agent.

Other methods of cleaning the stylus include using a moistened cotton bud to dab at the stylus (carefully!) or using very fine abrasive paper (30 micron), being very careful to not apply too much pressure. A compressed air blower is useful for blowing dust off, but be careful not to direct the jet inside the mechanism, you may dislodge the coil wiring. Your dealer will be pleased to demonstrate how to do these things safely.

How long does a cartridge last then? If records and stylus are maintained and kept clean the damper rubber will be the determing factor in the life of your cartridge. Kept well, your cartridge can stay in good condition for around 6 years before the deterioration of the damper rubber begins to make an effect. This applies to most makes of cartridges and does not mean that after this time you will not be able to use it, just that it will be past its prime.

If the cartridge is heavily used, then stylus wear will become a factor in life expectancy.

Any obvious distortion should always be checked out immediately and the cartridge should ideally be checked by your dealer annually. It is unlikely that any record damage will occur unless bad distortion is heard. ie if it sounds good it is good.

Dynavector run an exchange scheme which means a new cartridge is supplied at a discount on the return of the old one - regardless of condition. They also offer a rebuild service for models including the XX2 and above. This attracts a larger discount than an exchange but may take around 10 weeks to perform.

Having a new stylus spliced onto the cantilever of an old cartridge will not restore the sound of a brand new cartridge, even if whoever does it manages to repeat the original manufacturing quality. It's a bit like putting Pirelli P Zero tyres on an old car with worn out suspension.

Equally if a 'full rebuild' is perfomed by aftermarket sources it is unlikely to be done using original components, thus the performance cannot match the original. It is best to have any work done by the original manufacturer.

The cartridge is the part of the Hi Fi chain we would be most reluctant to buy second hand.

Every phono stage has a different characteristic and it is the stability of the circuit that is established when setting the 'loading'. The only way to find the optimal setting for a phono stage is to listen to it at its various settings and pick the best sounding, if indeed you hear any difference. You will then find that no matter which cartridge you use, it will most likely work best at that setting.

The best way to listen is over a period of time so the electronics get a chance to stabilise and warm up properly. Bear in mind that new components will change in their first 50 hours or so as capacitors and mechanical components 'run-in'. This goes for the cartridge too. We have seen trackability improve measurably on a cartridge which has been run about 30 hours.

Make sure not to go below the manufacturers minimum recommended load.

Gain or volume level settings can be used to make the turntable a similar loudness to other sources.