PDA

View Full Version : Denon 103 with a twist



The Grand Wazoo
02-07-2009, 21:06
I was just wondering if any of you Denon 103 loving wierdos knew anything about this................

http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/ZU-DL-103-Modified-Denon-MC-Cartridge_W0QQitemZ200307341087QQcmdZViewItemQQptZ Turntable_Parts_Accessories?hash=item2ea33f771f&_trksid=p4634.c0.m14.l1262&_trkparms=%7C301%3A0%7C293%3A1%7C294%3A30

If so, then please do tell.

Cheers

Barry
02-07-2009, 23:14
Yes,

Zu are not the only people who remove the generator from the plastic housing and rehouse it in a less resonant housing. Alternative hard wood housing are available:

http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/New-Denon-DL-103-with-phono-cartridge-rosewood-body_W0QQitemZ190254721436QQcmdZViewItemQQptZAudio _Zubeh%C3%B6r?hash=item2c4c10a99c&_trksid=p4634.c0.m14.l1262&_trkparms=%7C301%3A0%7C293%3A3%7C294%3A30

http://www.theanalogdept.com/images/spp6_pics/Classifieds/Uwe%20Bodies/Bodies3-1.pdf

Zu fit the generator into non-resonant machined aluminium housings and apply silicone potting material for additional damping.

Cheers

The Grand Wazoo
02-07-2009, 23:17
Yes,

Zu are not the only people who remove the generator from plastic housing and rehouse it in a less resonant housing. Alternative hard wood housing are available:

http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/New-Denon-DL-103-with-phono-cartridge-rosewood-body_W0QQitemZ190254721436QQcmdZViewItemQQptZAudio _Zubeh%C3%B6r?hash=item2c4c10a99c&_trksid=p4634.c0.m14.l1262&_trkparms=%7C301%3A0%7C293%3A3%7C294%3A30

http://www.theanalogdept.com/images/spp6_pics/Classifieds/Uwe%20Bodies/Bodies3-1.pdf

Zu fit the generator into non-resonant machined aluminium housings and apply silicone potting material for additional damping.

Cheers

Well, That's what I got from the ad' & it seemed like a good plan to me, hence the question.

Barry
03-07-2009, 00:56
This may be of interest:

http://oswaldsmillaudio.com/forum2/index.php?topic=38.0

Cheers

The Grand Wazoo
03-07-2009, 07:25
Thanks for that, Barry.
It's always interesting for me to read about uses of different types of wood. It's also quite funny sometimes, to see the same old rot trotted out about wood, time after time & myths being reinforced! - Not that it was all rot, by any means- just some of it.

My cynical nature also notes that the most exotic (and scarce rainforest) woods have magical properties, thus conferring them with an even higher value cachet and, therefore, price. It's handy for the seller, that isn't it? Unless you care about the survival of one of the world's greatest natural assets.

This is a new one to me though:

Black Palm has ultra hard and strong, high sound propagation speed fibres embedded in a highly damping " cellular foam".

Black Palm is actually not wood at all. As far as I'm aware it's a grass. Ho-hum!

Barry
03-07-2009, 08:25
Do you have any opinions on the near magical properties of mpingo? There are several passive audio products available made from this wood.

Apparently this hardwood is now becoming so rare, that for ecological reasons, there are the beginnings of a backlash within the audio community as to the desirability of its continued use.

REM
03-07-2009, 15:18
I was just wondering if any of you Denon 103 loving wierdos knew anything about this................

http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/ZU-DL-103-Modified-Denon-MC-Cartridge_W0QQitemZ200307341087QQcmdZViewItemQQptZ Turntable_Parts_Accessories?hash=item2ea33f771f&_trksid=p4634.c0.m14.l1262&_trkparms=%7C301%3A0%7C293%3A1%7C294%3A30

If so, then please do tell.

Cheers

Well well, how about this for a bit of serendipity, as I read this post at around 11 this morning there was a knock on the door and there was a nice Parcel Force lady with my nearly new (50 hours) Zu 103 Grade 1 that I picked up from eBay on Tues!

On it went and although still very much first impressions to say I'm blown away is such an understatement, this thing is seriously good, seriously. It has all the hallmarks of the standard 103 and adds extra everything, instruments have real body and a gorgeous rich tonality. The bass is even better than the stock item, not that the standard 103 is lacking but this just moves everything up into the next dimension, totally amazing.
Complex mixes like Steely Dan seem so much easier to follow, everything is simply laid in front of you with such clarity and definition but you never have any sense of stress, music just flows with a deep feeling of 'naturalness'.
This is one astounding cartridge:smoking:

Regards

The Grand Wazoo
03-07-2009, 15:38
Well well, how about this for a bit of serendipity, as I read this post at around 11 this morning there was a knock on the door and there was a nice Parcel Force lady with my nearly new (50 hours) Zu 103 Grade 1 that I picked up from eBay on Tues!

On it went and although still very much first impressions to say I'm blown away is such an understatement, this thing is seriously good, seriously. It has all the hallmarks of the standard 103 and adds extra everything, instruments have real body and a gorgeous rich tonality. The bass is even better than the stock item, not that the standard 103 is lacking but this just moves everything up into the next dimension, totally amazing.
Complex mixes like Steely Dan seem so much easier to follow, everything is simply laid in front of you with such clarity and definition but you never have any sense of stress, music just flows with a deep feeling of 'naturalness'.
This is one astounding cartridge:smoking:

Regards
Sounds good!
What does it sound like with 'The Atomic Mr Basie' Ralph, have you tried?

Ammonite Acoustics
03-07-2009, 16:30
Do you have any opinions on the near magical properties of mpingo? There are several passive audio products available made from this wood.

Apparently this hardwood is now becoming so rare, that for ecological reasons, there are the beginnings of a backlash within the audio community as to the desirability of its continued use.

Well, as a user of Shun Mook Mpingo discs for some years, I am happy that they do often have a magical effect - not always, but often enough. The gobbledegook does defy logical understanding, but the proof of the pudding is in the listening, of course. These discs can be used to tune the quality of bass from speakers, and to adjust the soundstage - I don't care how they do it, just happy that they do. I would not now condemn any similar products (eg Shakti etc) unheard.

Neal G might recall my attempt to convince him of their effects. I failed, but others have been dumbstruck, and puzzled at what they heard.

Actually, the main use of Mpingo is in the making of musical instruments, and there is probably far more demand there than from the audio world. I am able to buy small pieces at my local sawmill, and have used them for armboards. It's quite difficult to work, being so hard.

The Grand Wazoo
03-07-2009, 16:43
Do you have any opinions on the near magical properties of mpingo? There are several passive audio products available made from this wood.

Apparently this hardwood is now becoming so rare, that for ecological reasons, there are the beginnings of a backlash within the audio community as to the desirability of its continued use.

Barry,

Mpingo is one of the few tropical hardwoods that I have a reasonably good knowledge about as I did some specialist study of it when I was doing my degree.
More serendipity!

It's use in musical instruments came about because of the increasing rarity of true Ebony, and it is sometimes marketed as such, though it's in fact a completely different species.

The instrument trade has depleted stocks of naturally occuring Dalbergia melanoxylon - East African Blackwood and it's only in recent times that there has been an interest in growing it commercially.

The trees themselves don't grow very large and they have fluted stems & quite a lot of occluded bark. Like this...........
http://www.birdlife.org/images/sized/300/mpingo_clp.jpg.jpg

So that means finding a log which meets the quality standards and yields a reasonable amount of timber is hard. You can't really tell what sort of quality the timber is until the tree's felled. This means there is a lot of waste - made worse by the fact that they only want the deepest black colour. The tribes that live in it's natural range use the timber for carving ornamental goods & do not have the need for such high quality. A single tree can keep the carving industry of a given village going for months, so their use is rather more sustainable.

http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_g3TDDQv-XzM/SPqHjT9HoEI/AAAAAAAAACQ/ZD7PnqEt-RY/s320/Selfportmin.gif

It's an incredible timber, being so dense that it won't float & can be machined like steel. The guys who fell the trees for carving have to work in teams of three - one guy banging away at it with an axe, one guy resting after his exhausting spell at cutting & the third guy sharpening the axe that's just been blunted!
If you make charcoal from it and try to cook over an Mpingo fire, it will melt your iron pot, so high is the calorific value.

Instrument grade Mpingo sells for ~$15,000 - $20,000 per cubic metre as a log & ~$44,000 per cubic metre as sawn timber. Compare this to UK Pine or Spruce logs selling for ~30 and maybe 1000 for exceptional quality hardwood for the instrument trade (such as 'fiddleback sycamore' which gives what guitarists call 'flamed' figure).

I can't comment on the effect of it in hi-fi as I've not heard the products in question. However, I think there are plenty of other woods that would have a similar effect to what the likes of Shun Mook are touting for Mpingo.

But what's more important? The survival of the species in it's natural habitat or the musical gratification of a handful with more money than sense (and ecological responsibility)? I know which comes first for me & I think the use of it in instruments, and especially hi-fi, is criminally frofligate & it should be stopped completely from non-plantation sources. If plantations are managed by the carving tribes in a participatory forestry management arrangement, then we can all benefit. - We get the wood at a lower price, & they get the income from us.

As things stand at the moment, who can blame the villagers from felling their wild trees to sell the wood to the white man with big wads of cash in his pocket?

In the case of instruments, the use of Mpingo is purely for aesthetics & kudos - almost any dense wood will do the job equally as well. In an instrument without a reed, it's the column of air within the tube which is vibrating, & not the wood. It's been suggested that a concrete flute sounds the same as a wooden one!

See this link for a lot more on Mpingo in participatory forestry:
http://www.mpingoconservation.org/index.html

REM
03-07-2009, 18:43
Sounds good!
What does it sound like with 'The Atomic Mr Basie' Ralph, have you tried?

Chris, this cartridge could have been made for the Count, it swings like the most swinginest thing ever made and the tonal colours from all the horns are just so vivid, you need shades to listen to this thing:smoking::smoking:

The weird thing is, all afternoon as a record comes to the end I keep thinking, right now for some whatever, it's as though it's telling me what to play next, right after trying out the Basie something told me to play Dusty in Memphis, absolutely perfect, the two albums just complimented each other so well, I would never really thought of that until now, spooky.

There really is something very special about the Zu.:cool:

Barry
03-07-2009, 18:57
Well well, how about this for a bit of serendipity, as I read this post at around 11 this morning there was a knock on the door and there was a nice Parcel Force lady with my nearly new (50 hours) Zu 103 Grade 1 that I picked up from eBay on Tues!

On it went and although still very much first impressions to say I'm blown away is such an understatement, this thing is seriously good, seriously. It has all the hallmarks of the standard 103 and adds extra everything, instruments have real body and a gorgeous rich tonality. The bass is even better than the stock item, not that the standard 103 is lacking but this just moves everything up into the next dimension, totally amazing.
Complex mixes like Steely Dan seem so much easier to follow, everything is simply laid in front of you with such clarity and definition but you never have any sense of stress, music just flows with a deep feeling of 'naturalness'.
This is one astounding cartridge:smoking:

Regards

Goodness that has got my juices flowing (oops! that sounds rude, and as this is family forum I will restate that: 'it's making my mouth water'). One cannot really ask much more of cartridge than what you have stated in your peneultimate sentence (highlighted).

We'll let you 'bed' the cartridge in, and await further report on your impression with anticipation.

Regards

Barry
03-07-2009, 19:25
Barry,

Mpingo is one of the few tropical hardwoods that I have a reasonably good knowledge about as I did some specialist study of it when I was doing my degree.
More serendipity!

It's use in musical instruments came about because of the increasing rarity of true Ebony, and it is sometimes marketed as such, though it's in fact a completely different species.

The instrument trade has depleted stocks of naturally occuring Dalbergia melanoxylon - East African Blackwood and it's only in recent times that there has been an interest in growing it commercially.

The trees themselves don't grow very large and they have fluted stems & quite a lot of occluded bark. Like this...........
http://www.birdlife.org/images/sized/300/mpingo_clp.jpg.jpg

So that means finding a log which meets the quality standards and yields a reasonable amount of timber is hard. You can't really tell what sort of quality the timber is until the tree's felled. This means there is a lot of waste - made worse by the fact that they only want the deepest black colour. The tribes that live in it's natural range use the timber for carving ornamental goods & do not have the need for such high quality. A single tree can keep the carving industry of a given village going for months, so their use is rather more sustainable.

http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_g3TDDQv-XzM/SPqHjT9HoEI/AAAAAAAAACQ/ZD7PnqEt-RY/s320/Selfportmin.gif

It's an incredible timber, being so dense that it won't float & can be machined like steel. The guys who fell the trees for carving have to work in teams of three - one guy banging away at it with an axe, one guy resting after his exhausting spell at cutting & the third guy sharpening the axe that's just been blunted!
If you make charcoal from it and try to cook over an Mpingo fire, it will melt your iron pot, so high is the calorific value.

Instrument grade Mpingo sells for ~$15,000 - $20,000 per cubic metre as a log & ~$44,000 per cubic metre as sawn timber. Compare this to UK Pine or Spruce logs selling for ~30 and maybe 1000 for exceptional quality hardwood for the instrument trade (such as 'fiddleback sycamore' which gives what guitarists call 'flamed' figure).

I can't comment on the effect of it in hi-fi as I've not heard the products in question. However, I think there are plenty of other woods that would have a similar effect to what the likes of Shun Mook are touting for Mpingo.

But what's more important? The survival of the species in it's natural habitat or the musical gratification of a handful with more money than sense (and ecological responsibility)? I know which comes first for me & I think the use of it in instruments, and especially hi-fi, is criminally frofligate & it should be stopped completely from non-plantation sources. If plantations are managed by the carving tribes in a participatory forestry management arrangement, then we can all benefit. - We get the wood at a lower price, & they get the income from us.

As things stand at the moment, who can blame the villagers from felling their wild trees to sell the wood to the white man with big wads of cash in his pocket?

In the case of instruments, the use of Mpingo is purely for aesthetics & kudos - almost any dense wood will do the job equally as well. In an instrument without a reed, it's the column of air within the tube which is vibrating, & not the wood. It's been suggested that a concrete flute sounds the same as a wooden one!

See this link for a lot more on Mpingo in participatory forestry:
http://www.mpingoconservation.org/index.html

Serendipity and access to the Collective Unconciousness is a little understood phenomenon of AoS.

I happen to be a closet dendrophile, and am entirely sympathetic to your opinions. Initialy this was purely aesthetic - I just like trees, but now with the world going mad and cutting down the Amazon rainforest like there's no tomorrow, as well as clearing the Indonesian forests for palm oil plantations, I am becoming more vocal in my concern. Not that it will do much.

Is Dalbergia melanoxylon the same as 'iron wood'. I have an African head carved in ebony; a souvenir of a months trip in East Africa. Initially it was quite black in colour, but with polish and exposure to twenty years of light it is now a dark brown with a lovely grain structure.

As to the use of mpingo pucks to improve the listening enviroment, well I have no experience of this and it sounds like 'Belt-ism' to me. I'll just rely on the use of strategically placed crystals to channel the qi and realign my chakra.

Regards

alfie2902
03-07-2009, 21:24
I'm blown away is such an understatement, this thing is seriously good, seriously. It has all the hallmarks of the standard 103 and adds extra everything, instruments have real body and a gorgeous rich tonality. The bass is even better than the stock item, not that the standard 103 is lacking but this just moves everything up into the next dimension, totally amazing.
Complex mixes like Steely Dan seem so much easier to follow, everything is simply laid in front of you with such clarity and definition but you never have any sense of stress, music just flows with a deep feeling of 'naturalness'.
This is one astounding cartridge:smoking:

Regards

I've been using one of Uwe from Sound Lab's Rosewood bodied 103's for a couple of months now & pretty much echo what REM says.

Take a 103 & make the whole presentation even more solid, more focused, add better defined bass, a fuller sounding midrange & cleaner highs with a little more suble detail & you got a wooden bodied 103

Adding the wooden body to the 103 seems to make it more in control & the differences aren't subtle! I'm very happy with mine But it does make me wonder how much more 103 i'd get with a wooden 103R!!

The Grand Wazoo
04-07-2009, 14:58
Is Dalbergia melanoxylon the same as 'iron wood'. I have an African head carved in ebony; a souvenir of a months trip in East Africa. Initially it was quite black in colour, but with polish and exposure to twenty years of light it is now a dark brown with a lovely grain structure.


Ironwood is really just a name given to any wood that doesn't float - and there are many. It just needs to be dense & a specific gravity of over 1.0 can be achieved by some rather humdrum woods given particular growth conditions. Probably the best known ironwood is Lignum vitae, which as well as being very dense is also indefinately self-lubricating and hardly rots at all (even when used as sea defences and jetties) & because of this, it's still sometimes used for bearings in ship propellor shafts, but the bearings in some of the famous Harrison watches were also made of it.

True Ebony comes from the species of the genus Diospyros & there are several. These woods generally have a more matt-black appearance than Mpingo and are very much more brittle. African Ebony Diospyrus crassiflora, is the most valuable but other African varieties and those from Asia & Indonesia are also sold as Ebony.

Mpingo can be worked into fine detail better than pretty much any other wood & probably also takes the finest polish.

Marco
04-07-2009, 15:16
I've been using one of Uwe from Sound Lab's Rosewood bodied 103's for a couple of months now & pretty much echo what REM says.

Take a 103 & make the whole presentation even more solid, more focused, add better defined bass, a fuller sounding midrange & cleaner highs with a little more suble detail & you got a wooden bodied 103

Adding the wooden body to the 103 seems to make it more in control & the differences aren't subtle! I'm very happy with mine But it does make me wonder how much more 103 i'd get with a wooden 103R!!

Guys, this is all great news, and another viable road to go down to truly hear what the 103 is capable of.

I know exactly where you're coming from because what's described above (and by REM) is EXACTLY what I get with the 103SA :)

I'm not sure though which is more expensive or the most cost effective solution. How much is it for one of these wood-bodied models?

Marco.

Barry
04-07-2009, 20:12
Guys, this is all great news, and another viable road to go down to truly hear what the 103 is capable of.

I know exactly where you're coming from because what's described above is EXACTLY what I get with the 103SA :)

I'm not sure though which is more expensive or the most cost effective solution. How much is it for one of these wood-bodied models?

Marco.

Marco, if you click on the links quoted in my post (no. 2), you will find:

The Sound Lab 103, fitted in either a rosewood or an ebony body cost 329 Euro (= 282). Either housing alone is 199 Euro (= 170)

Uwe housings alone are 100 Euro (= 86). Uwe offer a choice of Pazerholz, Ironwood, Ebony, African Rosewood (Wenge) and Clavellin (?).

Refer to AoS's resident wood expert for further advice. :eyebrows:

I am looking forward to more in-depth reviews of the Zu aluminium housed and Uwe wooden housed 103. Does anyone have any experience of a 'nude' 103, that is one in which the generator has been removed from the plastic housing? I believe there was a post or two somewhere on this.

Regards

jonners
04-07-2009, 20:53
Does anyone have any experience of a 'nude' 103, that is one in which the generator has been removed from the plastic housing? I believe there was a post or two somewhere on this.


More than a post or two - a whole thread: http://theartofsound.net/forum/showthread.php?t=907&highlight=103+nuding

I denuded mine a while ago and I thought the improvement was stunning. The naked stylus makes cueing easier too. Why add another body that will add a new set of resonances?

Barry
04-07-2009, 22:41
More than a post or two - a whole thread: http://theartofsound.net/forum/showthread.php?t=907&highlight=103+nuding

I denuded mine a while ago and I thought the improvement was stunning. The naked stylus makes cueing easier too. Why add another body that will add a new set of resonances?

Thanks Jonners,

I have just read the thread and am somewhat emmbarassed to say that I contributed two or three posts to it - Lord I must be getting old! Knew I had seen it somewhere before.

So the upshot of the matter would seem to be, why bother with a re-housed 103?, if 'nuding' a 103 brings about all the benefits that either an aluminium or hardwood housing do, but without the extra expenditure of the later.

I don't have the courage to denude mine, though since I only paid 50 for one with less than 10 hours use, it wouldn't be the end of the world if it was damaged. Even so, I'll leave it alone for the moment.

Regards

Barry
04-07-2009, 23:08
Ironwood is really just a name given to any wood that doesn't float - and there are many. It just needs to be dense & a specific gravity of over 1.0 can be achieved by some rather humdrum woods given particular growth conditions. Probably the best known ironwood is Lignum vitae, which as well as being very dense is also indefinately self-lubricating and hardly rots at all (even when used as sea defences and jetties) & because of this, it's still sometimes used for bearings in ship propellor shafts, but the bearings in some of the famous Harrison watches were also made of it.

True Ebony comes from the species of the genus Diospyros & there are several. These woods generally have a more matt-black appearance than Mpingo and are very much more brittle. African Ebony Diospyrus crassiflora, is the most valuable but other African varieties and those from Asia & Indonesia are also sold as Ebony.

Mpingo can be worked into fine detail better than pretty much any other wood & probably also takes the finest polish.

Lignum vitea - that was the name I was trying to think of!

My carving must be in African Ebony, as I bought it in a craft market in Tanzania where you could watch them doing the carving. Ebony sometimes has parts of a pale cream colour, and it was fascinating to see how artistic use was made of this effect. Also, sometimes the carver would leave the bark in place, for example in figurines where the bark served to represent the cloth of the simple togas of the Masaii.

Looking at the map showing where Mpingo grows, I have visited 10 of the countries within the gowing area, so must have seen a Mpingo tree, yet I don't think I have - certainly it was never pointed out to me. The map does not include Madagascar, but then the Malagasy sadly seem to have a very simple attitude to their enviroment: "If it moves, kill it and eat it, if it doesn't, chop it down and make charcoal from it".

Regards

jonners
05-07-2009, 11:25
So the upshot of the matter would seem to be, why bother with a re-housed 103?, if 'nuding' a 103 brings about all the benefits that either an aluminium or hardwood housing do, but without the extra expenditure of the later.


I haven't actually compared a nude 103 with an Al or wood housed one. Maybe someone has?

Of course the naked 103 needs to have some way of being attached to the headshell - I glued on a piece of rosewood with two holes drilled in it. I've also added some extra reinforcement around the base of the magnet/yoke assembly using dental cement. That made further improvements to the sound.

NRG
05-07-2009, 11:52
I would like to try this but I can't help thinking a nude 103 is an accident waiting to happen...

REM
05-07-2009, 13:20
.... I've also added some extra reinforcement around the base of the magnet/yoke assembly using dental cement. That made further improvements to the sound.

The Zu version also has some sort of epoxy or whatever damping applied as well, looks very well made I have to say.

Cheers

alfie2902
05-07-2009, 14:36
Marco, if you click on the links quoted in my post (no. 2), you will find:

The Sound Lab 103, fitted in either a rosewood or an ebony body cost 329 Euro (= 282). Either housing alone is 199 Euro (= 170)

Uwe housings alone are 100 Euro (= 86). Uwe offer a choice of Pazerholz, Ironwood, Ebony, African Rosewood (Wenge) and Clavellin (?).

Refer to AoS's resident wood expert for further advice. :eyebrows:

I am looking forward to more in-depth reviews of the Zu aluminium housed and Uwe wooden housed 103. Does anyone have any experience of a 'nude' 103, that is one in which the generator has been removed from the plastic housing? I believe there was a post or two somewhere on this.

Regards

I may be wrong about this but my Rosewood 103 is the Sound Lab 103(as the link in post 2) & i am led to believe that this is made by Uwe & is the upgraded model from the 100 Euro earlier ones & now only seem to be offered in rosewood or ebony, There may be other options available though if you spoke with Sound Lab.

A friend of mine had a nuded 103 (now trashed :doh:) & we spent an evening swapping between my standard 103, Rosewood 103 & his nude 103. As time was tight we didn't fine tune each cart & just set them up with VTA level & the same VTF. Firstly we played a few tunes with the standard 103 bolted into my FR64s to get used to the sound to use as a base to compare the others too.

We then swapped in the nude 103 (its glued to a brass headshell weight/spacer) & started to listen & it immediately sounded alot more open & detailed the improvement wasn't subtle after a few more records we both agreed that the treble was a little splahsy & it had lost a little of the 103's solidity & presence, it sounded a little more HiFi. Quite an improvement over the standard 103 though!!

We then swapped in the Rosewood 103 & immediately the solidity, Weight & presence was back & more so than the standard 103 at the slight expense of some detail of the nude 103 but with tighter control. Still more detail than the standard 103, the wooden body just seems to add a little more of everything while keeping the character of the 103 that i like! :gig:

With more time to play with VTA fine tuning the results might of been closer, I don't know though. We both prefered the wooden bodied 103.

Makes me wonder if the resonances of some sort of body help a little to tune the 103 to its sound & the better characteristics of the wood over the plastic are what makes the improvement!

Alot of high end carts use wooden bodies, Koetsu for example & others specifically ebony, Benz, Yamamoto because of the resonances of the wood & it does work to improve the 103 somewhat :eyebrows:

In the future i intend to nude a 103R & swap it into the Rosewood body it would then be nice to try it along side the 103Pro & 103SA

jonners
05-07-2009, 16:25
That's interesting Alfie - just the sort of info I was hoping someone would post.
Maybe one day I'll see about making a wooden body, though I have to say that splashy treble and loss of weight and presence have not been noticeable to me. What load impedance are you using on the output of your AU-300LC I wonder?

Barry
06-07-2009, 01:17
I haven't actually compared a nude 103 with an Al or wood housed one. Maybe someone has?

Of course the naked 103 needs to have some way of being attached to the headshell - I glued on a piece of rosewood with two holes drilled in it. I've also added some extra reinforcement around the base of the magnet/yoke assembly using dental cement. That made further improvements to the sound.

Ah! I hadn't realised that the housing of the 103 also provides the location of the 1/2" arm fixings. So, presumably refitting the nude generator of a 103 into an alternative housing always requires the use of some sort of glue/epoxy adhesive. No doubt any errors relative to the fixing holes of the new housing, are within the compass of the 'zero tracking error' adjustment of the arm/headshell.

My only experience of nude pick up generators has been with the Linn Asak and with one of my EMTs. In both cases, removal of the generator from housing retained the fixing locations.

A 'bake off' between a standard issue 103, a nude 103 and a rehoused 103 in an aluminium housing and a hardwood housing would be great - not sure how it could be arranged.

Regards

Barry
06-07-2009, 01:22
Alfie,

Thanks for your very interesting post (#24). You seem to be best placed to report on the 'bake off' I suggested. I shall be looking forward to future reports with great interest.

Regards

blake
07-07-2009, 02:24
I may be wrong about this but my Rosewood 103 is the Sound Lab 103(as the link in post 2) & i am led to believe that this is made by Uwe & is the upgraded model from the 100 Euro earlier ones & now only seem to be offered in rosewood or ebony, There may be other options available though if you spoke with Sound Lab.

A friend of mine had a nuded 103 (now trashed :doh:) & we spent an evening swapping between my standard 103, Rosewood 103 & his nude 103. As time was tight we didn't fine tune each cart & just set them up with VTA level & the same VTF. Firstly we played a few tunes with the standard 103 bolted into my FR64s to get used to the sound to use as a base to compare the others too.

We then swapped in the nude 103 (its glued to a brass headshell weight/spacer) & started to listen & it immediately sounded alot more open & detailed the improvement wasn't subtle after a few more records we both agreed that the treble was a little splahsy & it had lost a little of the 103's solidity & presence, it sounded a little more HiFi. Quite an improvement over the standard 103 though!!

We then swapped in the Rosewood 103 & immediately the solidity, Weight & presence was back & more so than the standard 103 at the slight expense of some detail of the nude 103 but with tighter control. Still more detail than the standard 103, the wooden body just seems to add a little more of everything while keeping the character of the 103 that i like! :gig:

With more time to play with VTA fine tuning the results might of been closer, I don't know though. We both prefered the wooden bodied 103.

Makes me wonder if the resonances of some sort of body help a little to tune the 103 to its sound & the better characteristics of the wood over the plastic are what makes the improvement!

Alot of high end carts use wooden bodies, Koetsu for example & others specifically ebony, Benz, Yamamoto because of the resonances of the wood & it does work to improve the 103 somewhat :eyebrows:

In the future i intend to nude a 103R & swap it into the Rosewood body it would then be nice to try it along side the 103Pro & 103SA

Generally speaking, I would say that your findings on sound quality comparing standard, nude and wood bodied 103's are pretty consistent with what I have both read and experienced with Uwe's wood bodies on 103R's (I have no experience with a nude 103R but have used 103R's in Uwe's bodies for about 2years now-a first generation ebony body and a 2nd generation clavellin body).

The aluminum bodied Zu does have some extra work done to it in terms of "potting" the cartridge and this supposedly does further enhance performance-I have not attempted this with my 103R's as there is a real risk to destroying the cartridge). A number of people I believe have reported that the Zu is a bit more of a detail cartridge than the wood bodied Denon with many preferring the overall tonal presentation of the wood body but some still preferring the Zu. A subjective thing I'm sure.

The link below is to a review I wrote of Uwe's ebony body in late '07:

http://www.audioasylum.com/reviews/Phono-Cartridge/Uwe-s-Wood-Body-Denon-103-103R/Ebony-Wood-Body/vinyl/69/694577.html

My personal opinion is that nuding is not a panacea; furthermore, the cartridge is not really "nude". With no body, it must be fixed to some kind of mounting plate-most of the early ones were brass, but wood could also be used and that plate is going to impart a certain sound quality to the modified cartridge. In essence, that is what it is all about.

For example, my ebony 103R (now currently retired and in need of a retip) had a fuller, warmer and slightly less detailed presentation with a more powerful low end than the clavellin 103R I currently use. I'm in the midst of making a decision as to which cartridge to have retipped by Soundsmith (ruby cantilever and line contact stylus) and after corresponding with Uwe am going to send the Ebony body to Soundsmith when the clavellin bodied stylus wears out. The Soundsmith line contact retip combined with the Ebony is supposed to create a killer cartridge providing the best of both worlds-great detail retreival and great tonal balance.

In any event, there is no doubt in my mind that the wood bodies represent a great performance enhancement and value, particularly if one looks at retipping with a more exotic stylus profile further down the road when the conical wears out. It's nice that (in that order) one can do it in smaller increments financially that won't break the bank.

NRG
07-07-2009, 09:39
Very interesting Blake, I'm just about to order one of Uwe's bodys for my 103R, not sure what wood to go for but your description of the Clavellin version seems to be what I'm after...should be fun.

Marco
07-07-2009, 09:49
Very interesting stuff! I've got a spare stock DL-103, so I may as well have a wood body fitted to that.

Koetsu have been doing this for years, with excellent results, so there's no reason why it shouldn't work on a 103...

It would be nice to have both a DL-103SA and an exotic wood-bodied version with a 'posh' stylus to add to my collection :)

Marco.

P.S Neal, I've been meaning to mention it for a while, but could you add your location details to your profile? Tar mucho, matey!

The Grand Wazoo
09-07-2009, 16:48
I always had a soft spot for the Goldbug Brier cartridges mounted in hand carved Brier wood bodies.

http://www.roger-russell.com/phono.htm

jonners
19-07-2009, 20:59
Ah! I hadn't realised that the housing of the 103 also provides the location of the 1/2" arm fixings. So, presumably refitting the nude generator of a 103 into an alternative housing always requires the use of some sort of glue/epoxy adhesive. No doubt any errors relative to the fixing holes of the new housing, are within the compass of the 'zero tracking error' adjustment of the arm/headshell.


Here's a reasonably priced item which is apparently intended for use with the 103 in its plastic body, but which could also be used to mount the nude cartridge. I wonder what it's made of though?
http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/ISOkinetik-CARTRIDGE-STABILISER-FOR-DENON-103-DL-103R_W0QQitemZ170332762192QQcmdZViewItem

jonners
20-07-2009, 08:24
I asked the seller about the above 'cartridge stabiliser' and got a quick reply: "This item is made from aluminium. The manufacturer also makes a heavier model from brass or copper, I am unsure which."

Dave Cawley
20-07-2009, 08:35
Looks like a poor copy of my one! Even the same name................

Dave