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Thread: Denon 103r - is it worth the aggro?

  1. #1
    Join Date: Nov 2015

    Location: Wolverhampton

    Posts: 3,484
    I'm Oliver.

    Default Denon 103r - is it worth the aggro?

    Hi all,

    I'm thinking aloud here so any input is welcome.

    I am currently cartridge - less in terms of ownership. I have a AT33PTGII on loan at the minute. It's very good but isn't getting the hair standing on end if you know what I mean. I sold a ZYX R50 BLOOM due to a lack of detail and being on the warmer side of neutral. I've had a DL304, that was a bit lifeless bit very detailed

    I've considered a Decca but the temperamental nature of it puts me right off owning one as my main cartridge. I recently heard a 2M black which was very good but not sure I could live with it every day, I also heard a DH-3 which was stunning but at £3500 is not an option. I am awaiting word on an Ortofon Vienna which I was also very impressed with. So that leads me to the DL103R. I hear one in a very high end setup and it was tonally impressive but I'm not a fan of spherical stylus.

    I am thinking that I like what the Denon DL103R Does tonally but I'm becoming a bit of a stickler for detail retrieval. Is it worth picking up a broken cantilever 103r cartridge and getting a Fritz Gyger stylus and a slightly more compliant cantilever put on it?

    If not, what would you look for instead.

    Any suggestions welcome.



    Sent from my EVA-L09 using Tapatalk
    Technics SP10 MK2 > Phonomac AT-1010 tonearm > ZYX R50 Bloom cartridge > Jolida JD9 MKII > Firebottle Monoblocks > Creek OBH-11SE Headphone Amp > IXOS Speaker Cables > Pioneer CS-77A Speakers

  2. #2
    Join Date: May 2012

    Location: Toulouse

    Posts: 3,877
    I'm GettingFunky.

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    A boron cantilevered, Shibata tipped DL-103 in a brass TechneAudio body.
    Kevin

    Funkified Technics SL1200 Mk2 (Funk FX-1200+, Techne-Audio modified DL-103/AT33PTG/II/, Funk Firm "Strata" platter, "Spin" bearing and BO!NG Isolation feet, MCRU/LDA PSU).
    Pioneer PD-S703.
    Battery powered Beresford Caiman II.
    Firebottle KIN fitted with NOS Telefunken Valves.
    Firebottle Monoblocks fitted with NOS Telefunken Valves.
    Electric Beach FH3 with Taket BatPure super tweeters.
    Graham Slee Solo Ultra Linear Headphone amp.
    Sennheiser HD540 Reference II & HD650.
    DIY Klotz MC5000/MS Audio interconnects.
    Talk cable 3 speaker cable.
    Neotech hybrid mains cables from MCRU
    Power Inspired AG1500

  3. #3
    Join Date: Apr 2012

    Location: Southall, West London

    Posts: 29,368
    I'm Geoff.

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    I was using a DL-103R before I got the R50 Bloom. It was OK, but the ZYX wiped the floor with it.

    As I've mentioned before. You'd probably like the Goldring Eroica LX. It's way better than the Denon.
    Mr. Tact!

    Main system: MMs/ADCs/Low output MC's/One rare Japanese SUT/One scarce British phono stage/various tonearms/hefty Japanese DD TT and hefty Japanese BD TT and small British BD TT. 4 CD players/2 jitter buster/2 DACs/Valve buffer. TVC stepped attenuator or valve pre-amp or solid state pre-amp. Current dumping power-amp or either of two Class A SS power-amp or Class A EL34 valve monos or big Japanese (part Class A) integrated. Big dual concentric speakers/Smaller dual concentric speakers/Two way British compacts and full range speakers, amongst others. And too much more to list!

  4. #4
    Join Date: May 2012

    Location: Toulouse

    Posts: 3,877
    I'm GettingFunky.

    Default

    I was impressed with the Dynavector XX2 when I heard it.
    Cartridges are such a personal choice, it is difficult to recommend one.

    Does it have to be MC?
    The AT150-SA might suit you if not.
    Kevin

    Funkified Technics SL1200 Mk2 (Funk FX-1200+, Techne-Audio modified DL-103/AT33PTG/II/, Funk Firm "Strata" platter, "Spin" bearing and BO!NG Isolation feet, MCRU/LDA PSU).
    Pioneer PD-S703.
    Battery powered Beresford Caiman II.
    Firebottle KIN fitted with NOS Telefunken Valves.
    Firebottle Monoblocks fitted with NOS Telefunken Valves.
    Electric Beach FH3 with Taket BatPure super tweeters.
    Graham Slee Solo Ultra Linear Headphone amp.
    Sennheiser HD540 Reference II & HD650.
    DIY Klotz MC5000/MS Audio interconnects.
    Talk cable 3 speaker cable.
    Neotech hybrid mains cables from MCRU
    Power Inspired AG1500

  5. #5
    Join Date: Feb 2010

    Location: Berkshire, UK

    Posts: 2,126
    I'm Tom.

    Default

    The 1010 is a tonearm of respectable mass so with a good heavy headshell and possibly some extra weight on the counterweight (I have a ring that goes round mine provided by Angus) then you should get decent performance out of a DL-103R. They are always competent, but only shine where there is enough mass in the systen to get them digging in.

    However, I always think using a paratrage on a 103 doesn't ultimately work, you get more detail, but less soul. (Though it does depend on the job that was done fitting the tup and how well it's set up). Anyway I had two done at Expert, a 103 and a 103R and both disappointed. So if you do have one retipped, I would say Fritz Geiger is probably the way to go. Though to be frank, if it were me I would leave well alone - it is what it is, a good honest, reliable cartridge, a great deal at its price point. The purchase price + retip money could be spent more wisely I would suggest.

    I would suggest that there are better options - Shelter 501 and Ortofon Kontrapunkt/Cadenza line both provide soul and detail (I found Non-Smoking Man's Cadenza Blue really captivating on a visit to his some months back and I owned both a 501 and a Jubilee myself at one point). I use a vintage Ortofon SPU GE (eliptical) on my 1010, with Angus's extra ring again, and it sounds fantastic.

    If you really are set on going for broke on detail you could look at a Lyra, I've had a few (Helicon, Dorian, Dorian Mono, Clavis, Argo II - the Argo being the best of them in my book). Not entirely to my taste any more (I take wholeness, harmonic richness, tone quality, front to back depth, over a cartridge with hyper-detail and pin-point L-R staging these days - hence my last 5 years or so with Audio Note Io2, assortied Miyajimas, and higher-end Ortofon SPUs, all variations on the vintage SPU theme) but they are something to experience for sure and some people rave about them. The 1010 without the extra counterweight should handle one no bother.
    Speakers - 'RFC' Tannoy Canterburys with custom crossovers; Amp - Radford STA100; Preamp - EAR 912; Vinyl: Thorens TD124 MkII with Ikeda IT345-CR1 and Ortofon 309 Limited tonearms; Cartridges: Miyajima Madake, Zero Mono 0.7 and Premium 1.0 retipped by Ana Mighty Sound with bamboo cantilever, Ortofon SPU Royal N and Shure M3D with Jico stylus; phono stage and SUT from EAR 912; Esoteric Sound Re-Equalizer for equalisation of early mono and 78; Digital: Audio Note CDT2/II transport.

    'Wer nicht liebt Wein, Weib und Gesang der ist ein Narr sein Leben lang.'

  6. #6
    Join Date: Nov 2015

    Location: Wolverhampton

    Posts: 3,484
    I'm Oliver.

    Default

    I'm not entirely set on it being MC. I have an option for either with the Jolida.

    Geoff, Kevin, Tom. Thank you for the input.

    Sent from my EVA-L09 using Tapatalk
    Technics SP10 MK2 > Phonomac AT-1010 tonearm > ZYX R50 Bloom cartridge > Jolida JD9 MKII > Firebottle Monoblocks > Creek OBH-11SE Headphone Amp > IXOS Speaker Cables > Pioneer CS-77A Speakers

  7. #7
    Join Date: Nov 2015

    Location: Wolverhampton

    Posts: 3,484
    I'm Oliver.

    Default

    The Lyra sounds of interest but I missed out on Floydroids which is a shame. I'm really hoping the Ortofon Vienna comes my way. It's from the Kontrapunkt line.

    Sent from my EVA-L09 using Tapatalk
    Technics SP10 MK2 > Phonomac AT-1010 tonearm > ZYX R50 Bloom cartridge > Jolida JD9 MKII > Firebottle Monoblocks > Creek OBH-11SE Headphone Amp > IXOS Speaker Cables > Pioneer CS-77A Speakers

  8. #8
    Join Date: Apr 2016

    Location: souf east for work

    Posts: 515
    I'm paul.

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    The 103 had the nickname the rusty nail over on wigwam, so for a long time I ignored it and didn't hear one. Eventually I bought a 103 and 103r. The step up have is set up for the 103r and is very good, it plays music but it seems you are going to be analytical so I would say don't waste your time and money trying to make it something it's not. I keep it as a second cart but prefer a Shure ultra 500 in a Martin bastin body. The 103 I sold, it's a decent cart.
    Sony STR 6055 Denon DP80 Stax UA-70 Shure Ultra 500 Zu omen

    Office system, DIY CSS fullrange speakers with aurum cantus G2 ribbons Najda dsp as dac Akai AM-U02 Jvc QL-A51 direct drive turntable
    SAE1000LT

    Garage system another Sony receiver, cassette deck and full range drivers in free air


    System components are subject to change without warning and at the discretion of the owner.

  9. #9
    Join Date: Mar 2011

    Location: West Lancashire

    Posts: 203
    I'm Steve.

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    Get yourself the new Zyx Bloom mk3 low output.
    Thorens td124-Alphason mcs tonearm -Zyx Fuji- Klyne 7 phono-Klyne 7 pre amp-Beam echo monos-Acuphase 101 tuner-Stacked ​Quad 57s -yter speaker cables Loricraft RCM

    ”Is it really better or just different “

  10. #10
    Join Date: Nov 2015

    Location: Wolverhampton

    Posts: 3,484
    I'm Oliver.

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by paulf-2007 View Post
    The 103 had the nickname the rusty nail over on wigwam, so for a long time I ignored it and didn't hear one. Eventually I bought a 103 and 103r. The step up have is set up for the 103r and is very good, it plays music but it seems you are going to be analytical so I would say don't waste your time and money trying to make it something it's not. I keep it as a second cart but prefer a Shure ultra 500 in a Martin bastin body. The 103 I sold, it's a decent cart.
    Cheers Paul, not analytical just want to hear the depths of the groove. Neutral and transparent. I'm not after warm or rich.

    Sent from my EVA-L09 using Tapatalk
    Technics SP10 MK2 > Phonomac AT-1010 tonearm > ZYX R50 Bloom cartridge > Jolida JD9 MKII > Firebottle Monoblocks > Creek OBH-11SE Headphone Amp > IXOS Speaker Cables > Pioneer CS-77A Speakers

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