Replacement for DV-XX2?

Not that I think my DV-XX2 is worn out, but looking ahead to next year it might be on the agenda. I really like the sound of this cartridge so my default position is just swapping for a new one but if there are suggestions on what could be a realistic option to replace the DV-XX2 when the time comes, I’d best interested in your opinions. Budget would be up to £2,500. Phono stage is Superline/SCDR, TT is LP12/Ekos.

Replaced my DV-XX2 with a Krystal about 2 months ago. Krystal is clearly an improvement though to fair the Dynavector was past it’s best. If you put me on the spot I’d say that I’d prefer a fresh Krystal over a fresh XX2.
Both into Superline powered of the back of the 52.


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Any thoughts on the presentation @Willy? I wasn’t a fan of later Linn cartridges that I heard. I did love my Troika back in the day though.

To my ears Linn cartridges sound over-analytical and veering towards ‘thin’ - which is how I find the Linn house sound in general. If you like rock then I think a DVXX2 is very good, as it boogies along well but isn’t as detailed as the Linn, I haven’t listened to others.

During a discussion with a highly respected dealer, he suggested a full Linn front end (now enhanced from when we spoke) was favoured by many, with Superliners more allied to Dynavectors.

I ended up with a TKR via Superline/SC DR - part driven by the fact it was meaningfully better than the XX2 to my ears (noise/speed/clarity). At one point I thought I wouldn’t explore > XX2 given costs but there’s a fair bit more to be had at approx. £2700.


I’ve tried a fair few cartridges over the years. My favourites have been the Troika and AT Art 1 but when production of these ended I couldn’t find a suitable replacement, so ended up slumming it with an AT95, which was surprisingly good on my Aro.

My dealer has always had a pretty polarised view of cartridges and wouldn’t reccomend any that he wouldn’t use personally. When he finally mentioned that I should try a Linn Krystal I took it very seriously and tried one. It now resides permanently on my Aro.

I would describe the presentation as very detailed but totally natural. There’s no decenable colourationand and every LP played sounds nice and fresh . It has some of the strengths that my Troika and Art 1 had but I think it’s much more musical and detailed than either of them.

I will offer one small warning. Brand new and out of the box it can sound a bit fierce and needs at least 60 hours playing time to properly settle down but you will know when it’s finally in the zone!


This thread is of great interest for me too. I’m considering upgrading my DV10x5 to a cart in this price range. Seems to me that the obvious candidates are XX2, Krystal and Lyra Delos. Interested in any further thoughts on the relative merits of these and/or any other carts I should be considering between £1000-1500.

Tricky for me to offer a direct comparison as I believe my XX2 was quite “tired” when I finally got around to changing it. However from memory the Krystal seems to give a fuller presentation, more body, presenting the musicians more in front of the speakers whereas the XX2 was further back. Also with the Krystal I’m hearing detail that I’ve never heard before, in particular at lower frequencies, but without any loss of the coherence between the musicians or any loss of engagement.

Both good cartridges and could happily live with either but the Krystal in preference.

Would second what’s been said about the Krystal being a tad aggressive to begin with, mine still being in this state (as soon as I purchased the Krystal a contract that involves 3-4 days a week on site started, struggling to get the hours on it at the moment).



Thanks for the insights @Willy. I’ll certainly give the Krystal a listen. Looks like I will have to travel further afield now though as my dealer no longer stocks Linn.

@HappyListener, I had thought about the TKR. Will maybe dem xx2 vs Krystal with Lingo4, vs TKR with Lingo 2, which would be similar combined price. I fear I know how that would end however if what you say about the TKR has the same effect on me.

i appreciate a lot my delos. had one on my SME V then on rega rp8.
The delos is specially good for the price. Will go certainly towards a kleos later.
Have had rega , koetsu black, van den hull frog, kiseki blue ns before.
Don’t heard the dynavector however…

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I’m sure you know, but better to flag/check before you book/travel, as I found some dealers don’t dem all the cartridges/set-ups it sounds like you’re interested in. When I bought my TKR, it was ordered in for my dem - lucky I liked it!

…and leave the credit card at home:smiling_imp:

Of course, a good dealer will also review the current spec of your LP12 to assess where the best bang for the buck can be had.

Having heard a Stiletto plinth (cleaner sound/enhanced separation/less noise), if this was a more affordable price (net of trade-ins) I’d have sprung for this 1st up, and stayed with a XX2. The usual LP12 swings and roundabouts game! The usual deck-first rules need to be remembered.

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The XX2 is a great cartridge, the TKR is better in every aspect. Whatever you do, don’t listen to a XV-1S if you have no intention of buying it, as it will make you disappointed with anything less.

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When my TKR needed replacing I went to Peter’s place and auditioned the Kandid. Finished up getting the XV-1S as I preferred its sound balance. It’s probably all down to personal taste. I did think about the next Dynavector up the range but I think my other half would not have approved! :wink:

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I ran with a TKR for yonks and strongly recommend an audition next to the XX2. I changed mine just before Christmas when I had a few cartridges demonstrated at Cymbiosis. I only listened to Dynavector alternatives on Aro wands so unable to comment on Krystal or others. Stating the obvious perhaps but if you are able to make the trip Peter is able to quickly swap over decks and arms to let you have real time auditions. There are so many other options with LP12’s these days, it’s sensible to put a limit on how much you audition!


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