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Thread: Denon 103 with a twist

  1. #1
    Join Date: May 2008

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    I'm ChrisB.

    Default Denon 103 with a twist

    I was just wondering if any of you Denon 103 loving wierdos knew anything about this................

    http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/ZU-DL-103-Modi...3A1%7C294%3A30

    If so, then please do tell.

    Cheers

  2. #2
    Join Date: Jan 2009

    Location: Essex

    Posts: 26,388
    I'm openingabottleofwine.

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    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-1...3A3%7C294%3A30

    http://www.theanalogdept.com/images/.../Bodies3-1.pdf

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

    Cheers
    Last edited by Barry; 03-07-2009 at 08:16.
    Barry

  3. #3
    Join Date: May 2008

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    I'm ChrisB.

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    Quote Originally Posted by barry.d.hunt View Post
    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-1...3A3%7C294%3A30

    http://www.theanalogdept.com/images/.../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.

  4. #4
    Join Date: Jan 2009

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    I'm openingabottleofwine.

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    Barry

  5. #5
    Join Date: May 2008

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    I'm ChrisB.

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    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!

  6. #6
    Join Date: Jan 2009

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    I'm openingabottleofwine.

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    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

  7. #7
    Join Date: Apr 2009

    Location: Pendle Witch Country

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    I'm Ralph.

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    Quote Originally Posted by The Grand Wazoo View Post
    I was just wondering if any of you Denon 103 loving wierdos knew anything about this................

    http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/ZU-DL-103-Modi...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

    Regards

  8. #8
    Join Date: May 2008

    Location: Lancaster(-ish), UK

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    I'm ChrisB.

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    Quote Originally Posted by REM View Post
    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

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

  9. #9
    Join Date: Jan 2009

    Location: Norwich

    Posts: 2,820
    I'm Hugo.

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    Quote Originally Posted by barry.d.hunt View Post
    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.

  10. #10
    Join Date: May 2008

    Location: Lancaster(-ish), UK

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    I'm ChrisB.

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    Quote Originally Posted by barry.d.hunt View Post
    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...........


    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.



    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
    Last edited by The Grand Wazoo; 03-07-2009 at 16:57. Reason: toned it down a bit !!

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