Patterns, Tools, and Gifts

Every young audiophile could use a mentor. In my position here at the magazine, I am fortunate to have about two dozen of them. They give me inspiration, criticism, advice, the heebie-jeebies, and sometimes even gifts. Most recently, Uncle Art sent me a couple of really neat gifts: A lovingly used Dynavector DV10x5 high-output moving-coil cartridge and a tough-looking Rega torque wrench.

The latter was reviewed by another mentor, Mikey Fremer, in our November 1996 issue (Volume 19 Number 11). At the time, this precision-made, round-knurled tool sold for $125, and Mikey deemed it essential for serious analog addicts and professional installers.

Going back to that issue and turning to “Analog Corner,” I see that Mikey discusses a trip to Camarillo, California, home of Record Technology, Inc., one of the most highly regarded vinyl pressing plants in the world. The images used in that particular column are eerily similar to those used in Mikey’s upcoming August 2011 column, in which our hero discusses a recent trip to Salina, Kansas, home of the new Quality Record Pressings, poised to become one of the most highly regarded vinyl pressing plants in the world. Funny how history repeats itself.

The Dynavector DV10x5 was reviewed by Art Dudley in our October 2003 issue (Volume 26 Number 10). Art loved this cartridge. In his review, he told us:

This colorful, well-balanced, chunky-sounding cartridge played music extremely well, with a bonus of very fine stereo imaging. In other words, it’s a great all-arounder. More money can buy more drama, impact, scale, and transparency, just as more money can buy a slightly faster car or torquier tractor. But the Dynavector DV10x5 should give you most of what I think you need at a bargain price. Wildly, highly recommended.

He simplified it for me: “This cartridge will change your life.”

At the time of his review, the Dynavector sold for $360. Today it sells for $450. The Rega Elys 2 on my Rega P3-24 turntable sells for $295. I’m looking forward to replacing it with the Dynavector and listening to some records. To make the job easier, I think I’ll use back issues of Stereophile, the Rega torque wrench, and the DB Systems alignment tool, a gift from another mentor.

In time, I’m sure I’ll pass these things on to someone else—I’m looking forward to that, too—but, for now, I’m just having fun.