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jandl100
18-06-2009, 21:51
I've seen reference to the S1, Denon's top cart. What is a S1S? :scratch:

Any opinions on the S1 "family", if there is one, anyway?

Marco
18-06-2009, 22:07
Hi Jerry,

Here you are: http://www.audiocubes2.com/brand/Denon/product/Denon_DL-S1_Moving_Coil_Cartridge.html

It is *very* good - just the thing for making the most of your classical recordings. It's probably one of the most finessed, texturally detailed, and beautifully toned cartridges in existence, albeit it lacks the sheer balls in the bass and 'rhythmic alacrity' of a DL-103SA.

In every area apart from that it would probably compete with most high-end cartridges on the market at up to 3k. Let's say it's up there with a Dynavector XV1, in terms of what cartridges of that calibre do well, and at a mere fraction of the price!

I dunno what the 'S' version is, though.

Are you thinking of treating yourself? :)

Marco.

jandl100
19-06-2009, 06:45
Hi Jerry,

Are you thinking of treating yourself? :)

Marco.

Thanks, Marco.

Gosh, it would seem perfect for me!

Treating myself? Yep, 'tis done - Nick at The Emporium put a lightly used one on eBay for 350 .... having had a Denon 103 and 301 previously and liked them both, the Borg made me do it - resistance was futile!

Here it is http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&ssPageName=STRK:MEWNX:IT&item=280360123753

:)

Marco
19-06-2009, 07:37
Hi Jerry,

Nice one, matey. That one looks different though to the one on Audiocubes - maybe because it's upside down and inside its box...

I can see what the 'S' refers to now - it's because it's got a special elliptical tip.

Does your phono stage have plenty of gain on MC or variable gain? The only 'problem' with the DL-S1 is the extremely low output, which is why it's normally sold with its matching transformer the AU-S1:

http://www.audiocubes2.com/brand/Denon/product/Denon_AU-S1_Audiophile_MC_Step-up_Transformer.html

You may find that you have to turn the wick up a bit more than usual, but if you're struggling, you can borrow my Denon HA-500 head amp and run that through the MM stage of the Whest (if it has one) - this will give you all the gain you need. Just let me know if I can help :)

Oh, and of course keep us posted on the results!

Marco.

jandl100
19-06-2009, 07:55
Hi Jerry,

Does your phono stage have plenty of gain on MC or variable gain? The only 'problem' with the DL-S1 is the extremely low output

Yup, should be OK - my WhestTWO has up to 70dB of gain. Worked with zero noise on 0.3mV carts with the pre-amp volume control still at a low setting, so I guess it should be fine with 0.15.

If not, I'll send it back for a refund. :)

Yes, 'my' one doesn't have the gold finished body shown in your link - it looks more grey all over in the photo. Maybe the "S" special tip version has a different colour body? I'll do a bit more research once I get it and see what it's like.

Oooooo - I can't wait to get this baby! :smoking:

jandl100
19-06-2009, 08:10
Hi Jerry,

if you're struggling, you can borrow my Denon HA-500 head amp and run that through the MM stage of the Whest (if it has one) - this will give you all the gain you need. Just let me know if I can help :)


Marco.

.... and thanks for the kind offer, Marco. :) (We really need a thumbs-up emoticon, I think!).

Marco
19-06-2009, 09:20
Hi Jerry,

No worries, mate. It sounds like you'll be fine, but if you need it just shout :)

The DL-S1S should be very good indeed, unless you're a bass freak, as that is its weakest area when compared to the 103.

Don't get me wrong, it's not anaemic in that area - it just doesn't have the 'push', rhythmic alacrity, or 'boogie factor', if you will, of the 103 in the bass. However, it makes up for it in sweetness, detail, delicacy, instrumental texture, and just overall 'polish' and finesse.

It also has one of the most magical and beguiling renditions of the human voice you're ever likely to hear - at least, that's how I've heard it perform in an admittedly very different system to the one you're using.

It'll certainly be very interesting reading the results you obtain, so we expect a full write-up in Strokes of Genius! ;)

Have fun! :cool:

Marco.

scoobs
19-06-2009, 09:23
Nice one Jerry. These carts are intriguing indeed, I have yet to find a review of one. I imagine that the relative high price and the lack of a boutique label has put people off buying these previously. I think the last 'S' suffix is a typo or simple mistake. The S1 suffix relates to the top of the Denon line. The ebay photo is not particularly great but I'm sure the cart is the standard gold cheeked chassis with ceramic generator housing etc. Look forward to hearing your opinion on this Jerry.

Marco
19-06-2009, 09:32
Nick, I think the 'S' denotes 'Super' elliptical, as opposed to just elliptical. It's there to define the improved stylus tip :)

I heard this cartridge in a friend's system (who imported one) when I was considering buying it; hence my description above. The reason I didn't review it is because I didn't end up buying one, as it wasn't quite for me.

I'm a DL-103 boy at heart. I can live with its minor limitations, when partnered and set-up optimally; certainly the SA version eradicates most of those anyway :smoking:

Marco.

jandl100
19-06-2009, 10:17
it's not anaemic in that area - it just doesn't have the 'push', rhythmic alacrity, or 'boogie factor', if you will, of the 103 in the bass. However, it makes up for it in sweetness, detail, delicacy, instrumental texture, and just overall 'polish' and finesse.


I'll take "sweetness, detail, delicacy, instrumental texture, and just overall 'polish' and finesse" over bass boogie any day of the year!

But that's just down to a difference in musical preferences. :) Give me a string quartet or a clarinet sonata over Motorhead any time!

Marco
19-06-2009, 10:38
Indeed - whereas I would say the reverse! Oh, how it's great that we're not all the same eh? :)

Marco.

Dave Cawley
19-06-2009, 11:27
I'll take "sweetness, detail, delicacy, instrumental texture, and just overall 'polish' and finesse" over bass boogie any day of the year!

Then only an OC9 will be OK for you? :kiss:

Regards

:bag:

Dave

Mike
19-06-2009, 13:52
Nick, I think the 'S' denotes 'Super' elliptical, as opposed to just elliptical. It's there to define the improved stylus tip :)


Marco, the S1 has a 'super elliptical' tip: http://www.independentaudiovideo.com/store/item_view.asp?estore_itemid=1002273

Or 'special elliptical' if you prefer? http://www.4electronicwarehouse.com/products/denon/dl-s1.html

There doesn't appear to be any such thing as an S1S :scratch:

jandl100
19-06-2009, 19:35
Then only an OC9 will be OK for you? :kiss:

Regards

:bag:

Dave

An AT OC9? Ooo - a bit bright and forward! Not for me, ta. :) Give me a sweet and refined Denon, any Denon would be better than an OC9! ;)

Marco
19-06-2009, 20:19
Marco, the S1 has a 'super elliptical' tip: http://www.independentaudiovideo.com/store/item_view.asp?estore_itemid=1002273

Or 'special elliptical' if you prefer? http://www.4electronicwarehouse.com/products/denon/dl-s1.html

There doesn't appear to be any such thing as an S1S :scratch:

Noted, Mikey :)

Incidentally, look at that quoted frequency response:


Frequency range: 20 Hz to 70 kHz


Wow, now that's an extended top end! Kind of supports my subjective analysis. Bet you're getting excited now, Jerry? :eyebrows:

Marco.

jandl100
19-06-2009, 21:33
I've received this explaination for the S1S designation from a Wammer ...

"customers who have the S1 can, instead of having a re tip, use denons 'refurbishment' service. You send the 'old' S1 back to Denon. They do not refurb it, but send you a new one. The only difference is it comes in much more simple packing. A sort of Part Exchange service. To show that the cart has come through this service, and to stop dealers selling them as ''new'', the box, and possibly the cart, are identified as S1S."

I dunno if that's right, but it sounds plausible.

Marco
19-06-2009, 22:03
Could be, Jerry. The important bit now is of course just to listen to it. Just watch for that low-ouput and let me know if you need the head amp.

I've got the feeling, though, that this one for you could be a keeper :)

Marco.

Mike
20-06-2009, 06:57
Incidentally, look at that quoted frequency response:

Yep, saw that. Bats should love it! :)

jandl100
24-06-2009, 07:27
No cart yet - and no word from Nick at The Emprium and he doesn't answer his phone and his website seems to have disappeared.

Errrr ...... :scratch: Anyone know what is going on here?!

Marco
24-06-2009, 09:04
Hi Jerry,

It does look slightly alarming (I'd feel as you do in your position), but it could simply be that the server on his website is down. How long has it been like this for?

As for not answering the phone, there could be a multitude of reasons, none of which need necessarily be sinister. I'm not sure if Nick was ever particularly great at answering the phone, such is the way his business is structured. Some people are just a bit ‘scatty’ in that regard, so keep trying.

Did you buy the Denon via his website on Ebay? If so, you have protection there, and an effective grievance procedure should anything go awry.

I'll keep my fingers crossed that all goes well. Keep us posted :)

Marco.

jandl100
24-06-2009, 09:15
It was fleaBay, and I've had several dealings with Nick at The Emporium in the past - all 100% top notch. I'm not really worried, just baffled! ... and curious if anyone knew what was going on there - I think the website has been down for some while.

Marco
24-06-2009, 09:38
If you've dealt with him before on a few occasions then there shouldn't be anything to worry about :)

Websites go down all the time, and sometimes for long periods. It happens here, too.

I do sympathise though, as one of my major 'bugbears' in life is people who don't respond promptly to emails and/or return phone calls as promised. I am very proactive in that sense, and expect others to be the same, especially when running a business.

Keep us posted.

Marco.

Darrenw
24-06-2009, 13:40
I wouldnt worry too much jerry - Nick has been around for a long time, his web site is not the most relaiable and hardly ever up to date - he seems to be away a lot but I have no doubt you will catch up with him at some point - manyana, chillax as my 14 yr old would say - which implies her room will be tidied on her timescales not mine and that worrying about this is only gonna end in tears (mine)

jandl100
24-06-2009, 13:42
It arrived in today's post.

Here it is, in its new home, in a Denon Headshell, on a Denon TT. :)

http://i262.photobucket.com/albums/ii114/jandl100/DenonDL-S1.jpg


'Holographic' is the first word that comes to mind.

Not sure it's tracking 100% yet - I currently have it in a med/hi mass arm wand. Would it be better in a low mass arm wand, do you think?

scoobs
24-06-2009, 14:33
It's a high compliance cart at 14+ so it definately needs a low mass arm Jerry.

jandl100
24-06-2009, 15:21
It's a high compliance cart at 14+ so it definately needs a low mass arm Jerry.

Yup, I completely agree! I've now mounted it in the lo-mass tonearm and it is obviously much happier.

Mind you, after 'holographic', the 2nd and 3rd words that now come to mind are lightweight and insubstantial. Maybe I'm a bass-head like Marco?! :doh::eyebrows:

Early days yet, and I probably need to acclimatise after my Ortofon Rondo Bronze ....

Marco
24-06-2009, 17:37
Hi Jerry,

First of all, I'm very glad your concerns earlier were unjustified :)

What you're hearing so far with the DL-S1 is basically correct. You will remember that I alluded earlier to its bass lightness, especially compared to a DL-103 of any description, hence why I didn't buy one.

The DL-S1 is definitely from the 'light & airy' school of thought, and will be poles apart from the Rondo Bronze you were used to up until now! Therefore some acclimatisation is due.

However, you should be getting a little more weight and body than you're describing, and a lovely rich tonality in the midrange, so my suspicions are that it is perhaps not the most synergistic match with your Whest, which itself in my experience majors on neutrality and detail more than it does on drive and impact.

I'm not saying it's necessarily lacking in those areas, but there are other phono stages I would use first with the DL-S1, namely a valve-based one. You will also find that if you tried the DL-S1 in conjunction with an SUT or head amp into the MM stage of your Whest (presuming it has one) the presentation would have more texture and body. This is what my experiments in that area have shown with Denon cartridges outside of the DL-110 and 160.

Therefore, should you wish to borrow the HA-500 (I don't think the A23 would be suitable) then just let me know. In the meantime, you could try a slightly heavier headshell (not too much though) than the one you're using (if you have one) on your lighter arm wand. Sometimes this works and fills in the bottom end a little.

How heavy is the headshell you're using at the moment? I reckon one of the Sumikos (used 'as is' with no extra mass added) would work very well. Let us know how you get on :smoking:

Marco.

jandl100
24-06-2009, 19:03
Hi Jerry,

First of all, I'm very glad your concerns earlier were unjustified :)



More curiosity as to what was going on with The Emporium than a concern.




The DL-S1 is definitely from the 'light & airy' school of thought, and will be poles apart from the Rondo Bronze you were used to up until now! Therefore some acclimatisation is due.


Yup, I really miss the Rondo's weight & power in the mids and upper bass. :(




However, you should be getting a little more weight and body than you're describing, and a lovely rich tonality in the midrange,



That's what I thought, too. The mid is nice and smooth and very detailed, but lacks a little in the warmth and presence departments.




so my suspicions are that it is perhaps not the most synergistic match with your Whest, which itself in my experience majors on neutrality and detail more than it does on drive and impact.



I quite agree. I would go as far as saying the WhestTWO is a bit bright and forward. Def not what the Denon S1 is after, I fear. But it is a good match, I have found, with the Denon tt overall, which has a somewhat soft and laidback sound to it.




You will also find that if you tried the DL-S1 in conjunction with an SUT or head amp into the MM stage of your Whest (presuming it has one) the presentation would have more texture and body.

Therefore, should you wish to borrow the HA-500 (I don't think the A23 would be suitable) then just let me know.



Thanks again for the offer. :) To be honest though - I'd be surprised if it swayed it sufficiently in the direction I would like the sound to go in. And I have a 7 day return period on the cart, so I don't really have much time for too many postal shenanigans. Also, given that I am pretty happy with the Rondo (more so now than ever!) I'm not sure I really want more expense in the form of a SUT.




In the meantime, you could try a slightly heavier headshell (not too much though) than the one you're using (if you have one) on your lighter arm wand. Sometimes this works and fills in the bottom end a little.



Nope, no can do. My Denon tt comes with two arm wands. A high mass with a detachable headshell, and a low mass with a minimal fixed headshell. I gues I could blu-tac a washer or something to the headshell to add some mass and also damp it ....

I'll give myself another day or so with the wee beastie, but I have a feeling that it will not be staying chez-Jerry.

jandl100
29-06-2009, 12:58
Well, I returned the wee beastie.

It arrived with Nick at The Emporium today, and I have received an immediate refund! You cannot get better service than that. Many thanks, Nick.

... He also refunded the postage costs he incurred. That can't be right, so I've sent him a payment to cover that. :)

Marco
29-06-2009, 13:13
Hi Jerry,

I suspected that's what would happen, as it didn't sound like it was quite your thing.

If you'd had a different phono stage the results I'm sure would have been more preferable, but that's just the way it goes...

If you fancy trying another cartridge, and like what the 103 does but want more detail and finesse, I'd thoroughly recommend the 103SA, which you can get for 385 from Ian Harrison in Leicester, or Dave Cawley here will I'm sure match his price :)

Trust me, the 103SA is stunningly good and will suit your Whest nicely.

Marco.

jandl100
29-06-2009, 13:52
If you fancy trying another cartridge, and like what the 103 does but want more detail and finesse, I'd thoroughly recommend the 103SA, which you can get for 385 from Ian Harrison in Leicester, or Dave Cawley here will I'm sure match his price :)


Or 290 from this guy :) http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/Denon-DL103SA-Stereo-Moving-Coil-Cartridge-DL-103SA-SA_W0QQitemZ110390847057QQcmdZViewItemQQptZLH_Defa ultDomain_0?hash=item19b3cea651&_trksid=p3286.c0.m14&_trkparms=65%3A10%7C66%3A2%7C39%3A1%7C240%3A1318%7 C301%3A1%7C293%3A1%7C294%3A50

Actually, my dalliance with the Denon S1 has just made me happy again with my Orty Rondo Bronze!

Marco
29-06-2009, 13:56
Now that's an ace price - providing you can be arsed with buying from abroad.

Hey if you're happy with what you've got, Jerry, then that's a result :)

Marco.

griffo104
30-06-2009, 09:44
Very interesting reading Jerry.
Last week a couple of us Wammers met up and had a little bake-off between two decks.

Papa's Voyd Valdi/Helius/Shelter 901 and gains EmmaRoyd's Orbe SE/OL Illustrious (I think)/Lyra Argo (just retipped by ESC - they do some quality work from what I heard last week).

ER has a Whest 20 and after listening to the Orbe for a while we put the Voyd setup on it and it was a little bit of mess, the Shelter 901 did not get on with the Whest phono at all, regardless of what loading we did (I referred it at 47k which is the first time I've said that about any MC).

Swapping the Whest for Papa's Tribute SUT/Puresound P10 made a huge difference. there was, as Marco stated, much more body, bass was much heavier and fuller and textures were very nice albeit the top end sounded a little shut in.

there's obviously not enough loading with the Whest's to suit all MCs, imo. It loves the Argo which likes to run at 100 Ohms - Papa actually thought this is what the Shelter was running at in his setup.

A very interesting evening and that was the biggest shock of all (also as much as I enjoyed the Tribute/P10 on the Orbe SE setup, the extra detail coming from the Argo/Whest combo was also quite a surprise).

jandl100
30-06-2009, 10:04
Hi Griffo - yes, based on my experience with the bargain basement WhestTWO phonostage, it does have a very distinctive personality which suits some carts much better than others.

My old Denon 301 mk1 worked well with it, as did the 103 and my present Orty Rondo Bronze. But the Denon S1 was just weak-bodied and uninteresting, although a SUT into its mm stage may well have delivered a more musical sound, but I just didn't want to go dowm that route as I was basically happy with the Rondo anyway.

A 103SA may well be the next cart for me. But I'll stick with the Orty for a while longer, I think.

Marco
30-06-2009, 10:23
Hi Griffo,

Some interesting experiences you've related there. I would concur and say that my preference would always be to run an MC cartridge through a (suitably matched) SUT into an all-valve MM phono stage - the results of doing so, to my ears, invariably produce a more musically satisfying result than with any active MC solid-state stages I've heard so far.

Some day, you'll have to hear the 103SA, partnered thus, in my modified SL-1210 to fully 'get' why people like me rave about the Denon, and also the Techy! :cool:

Jerry,

If you do decide to go for a 103SA, be sure to give Dave Cawley a shout first, because I think you may find that with your AOS discount and his price matching promise (taking into account possible tax and import duty costs of importing one from abroad), there won't be a hill of beans in the difference in price paid, and he has them in stock (here in the UK) for immediate delivery! :smoking:

Marco.

griffo104
30-06-2009, 10:44
Hi Griffo,

Some interesting experiences you've related there. I would concur and say that my preference would always be to run an MC cartridge through a (suitably matched) SUT into an all-valve MM phono stage - the results of doing so, to my ears, invariably produce a more musically satisfying result than with any active MC solid-state stages I've heard so far.

Some day, you'll have to hear the 103SA, partnered thus, in my modified SL-1210 to fully 'get' why people like me rave about the Denon, and also the Techy! :cool:



Marco,

the experience posed more questions than it answered for me. I came away wanting a bit of all of it :lolsign:

I did find the Argo sounded very good through the Tribute/P10, the bass wasn't as weighty as with the Shelter but it was much more nimble and better defined and you got that lift in the treble that the Lyra's have which was tamed slightly by the valve phono - it was a very appealing sound.

However, it did sound a little slow and lacking in detail compared to the Argo/Whest.

Jerry - The Rondo Bronze is a quality cart, I nearly ended up with one myself but for Dorian just had that little bit extra for me. With my experience of Denons (owned 3 now) I would take the Rondo for a better whole picture - the Denons do the midband thing so well though that it does make it difficult to choose.

Another interesting test on the day was comparing a nice new 180g pressing of blonde On blonde against an original one. Huge difference in sound, the 180g version had much more treble and sounded a little harsh in comparision to the original which was warmer at the top end and seemed to be much more natural with it's flow than the new repressing. The repressing was by Sundazed who simply slap the original tape on to nice new vinyl.

Very interesting (although some may say geeky) - it just shows you how many variables are invlolved in vinyl replay - even the vinyl itself.

As for Denon 103SA, I think I may be all denoned out cartwise :lol:.

Marco
30-06-2009, 11:10
Hi Griffo,

Hey, sounds like you had some fun!


I did find the Argo sounded very good through the Tribute/P10, the bass wasn't as weighty as with the Shelter but it was much more nimble and better defined and you got that lift in the treble that the Lyra's have which was tamed slightly by the valve phono - it was a very appealing sound.

However, it did sound a little slow and lacking in detail compared to the Argo/Whest.


I can't dispute that because I've never carried out this particular comparison. However, what I can say is that there's definitely no lack of detail or anything "slow" about the presentation of the 103SA/A23/Croft valve MM combo - far from it. Like anything else, it's simply a matter of context/synergy :)

There are simply too many variables in existence to ever come to a completely definitive conclusion about these matters.

The fact is though, you've yet to hear a 103 (of any description) at its best - and the same could probably be said regarding Lyras and me! ;)

Marco.

blake
30-06-2009, 17:24
While it's certainly possible that a) there were synergy/system issues with the S1S that Jerry tried out or b) that the S1S is a bit of a lightweight and just not what Jerry was interested in, I have a bit of difficulty with the idea of making a definitive and final judgement on a cartridge that, unless I'm mistaken and not interpreting things correctly, was brand new out of the box and returned with very few hours on it.

I have no experience with the S1S, but all of the 103R's that I've had were not particularly impressive out of the box; rather steely and aggressive, an ok at best midrange that was a bit analytica and anything but smooth and certainly pretty light in the bass. The cartridge(s) seemed to have an almost magical and instant transformation at around the 15 hour mark when the real character of the cartridge came through and the 103R's seem to get steadily and slightly better from there until around the 50 hour mark when I think they are fully broken in.

An AT 120E that I have in use in another system was even worse out of the box and some of the AT's are notorious for longer break in times in the 75-100 hour mark. I've since gone to the Cardas Sweep Record for breaking in cartridges and 2-3 hours on the burn-in tracks seem to be almost the equivalent of 50-75 hours of regular playing.

Unless the first few hours of a cartridge's life are spent on the Cardas, I would not be putting too much emphasis on the evaluation of its sound out of the box, particularly when comparing it to a fully broken in cartridge in good condition with many hours on it. Under conditions like that, I would expect that there would be many cartridges that would not fare too well.

jandl100
01-07-2009, 16:24
I have a bit of difficulty with the idea of making a definitive and final judgement on a cartridge that, unless I'm mistaken and not interpreting things correctly, was brand new out of the box and returned with very few hours on it.


That's a fair point on the info I gave, Blake, but in fact I was told that the Denon had quite a few hours on it as a dem model, so it wasn't BNIB.

Anyways, the magnitude of the difference between what I want and what the S1 gave is sufficient that I doubt very much it could have changed enough. :)

Griffo's comments on my Orty Rondo Bronze are probably sufficient to stop me from looking at new carts for a while - Griffo and I go back a fair ways, hifi-wise, and we have a surprising degree of agreement on hifi matters considering our differences in 'audio philosophy' and musical taste!

.... but maybe a valve phonostage would be worth investigating - I used to own an EAR834 and that was mighty fine ....