+ Reply to Thread
Page 8 of 13 FirstFirst ... 678910 ... LastLast
Results 71 to 80 of 123

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

  1. #71
    Join Date: Apr 2012

    Location: Southall, West London

    Posts: 36,883
    I'm Geoff.

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Bigman80 View Post
    I might get hold of Alan's if I can and give it a whirl. Who knows lol
    Good idea.

  2. #72
    Join Date: May 2012

    Location: Toulouse

    Posts: 4,429
    I'm GettingFunky.

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Marco View Post
    Yes, and that's fine, but look at the arm you use... It's a great arm, but not optimally suited to getting the best from a low-compliance cartridge

    Fit your C1 onto the likes of an FR-64, and try the same test again... But trouble is, that might not suit your T/T, or indeed your sonic proclivities. Vinyl replay: it's a synergy thing...

    Marco.

    P.S Stephen, I'll come back to you later.
    With the big fat brass head shell weight, it seems to work fine.
    Contemplating life, the universe and use of HiFi forums.

    Life is too short to worry about the opinion of others.

  3. #73
    Join Date: Jan 2008

    Location: Wrexham, North Wales, UK

    Posts: 80,454
    I'm AudioAl'sArbiterForPISHANTO.

    Default

    Oh it'll work fine all right and sound great, but it won't be optimised for it.

    That's the difference, Kev, which is propbably partly why you prefer the sound of your Techne-Audio modified 103, which I presume is fitted with a 'fancy tip'?

    Marco.
    http://www.thestainedglasscompany.com

    "A man is a success if he gets up in the morning and gets to bed at night, and in between he does what he wants to do" -- Milan Kundera.

    BE HAPPY EVERYDAY!

  4. #74
    Join Date: Jan 2008

    Location: Wrexham, North Wales, UK

    Posts: 80,454
    I'm AudioAl'sArbiterForPISHANTO.

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by CageyH View Post
    There was a 103Pro for sale on here a while ago.
    Yes, it was Frog and Oatcakes' one, which if still for sale will be a great cartridge.

    Marco.
    http://www.thestainedglasscompany.com

    "A man is a success if he gets up in the morning and gets to bed at night, and in between he does what he wants to do" -- Milan Kundera.

    BE HAPPY EVERYDAY!

  5. #75
    Join Date: Apr 2016

    Location: souf east for work

    Posts: 988
    I'm paul.

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Marco View Post
    Ok, the first thing you should know, in relation to DL-103s, is that since Denon stopped trading as Nippon Columbia [later Denon Ltd] in 2002, and merged with Marantz Japan INC, the core design of the 103 changed [a move from using Alnico to rare-earth magnets in the generator], done in order to save costs and maintain the relatively low selling price for what is a high-quality MC cartridge.

    The only reason the currently produced models sell for what they do (and those before it), rather than five times the amount, which would be more realistic considering the performance on offer, is because of economies of scale, due to Denon being a HUGE Japanese corporation. Therefore, you simply cannot judge this cartridge on its retail price.

    It's 'cheap' because of the above, and because tens of thousands of them have been produced since it was first introduced in 1958, mainly for radio stations and broadcasting houses throughout the world, but mostly in Japan, for the NHK - the Japanese equivalent of the BBC, so they needed to be in plentiful supply when replacements were required.

    If it hadn't been for the above, and if the same cartridge had been produced by a 'high-end' cartridge manufacturer, with a desirable 'badge' amongst audiophiles, and housed in a quality aluminium body, it would've sold for around £1k. Therefore, it has to be used and judged in that context. One of the biggest mistakes people make is thinking of it as a 'budget' £200 cartridge (due to its price tag), and so a) not treating it seriously, and b) not spending enough on partnering ancillaries, especially tonearm and phono stage.

    This is a cartridge that really needs to be treated seriously and used in a certain way, in order to get the most from it, and hear what all the fuss is about, in terms of its following/cult status amongst discerning listeners worldwide - and the sonic rewards of doing so are significant. I'll get to how best to achieve that shortly.

    Ok, let's go back to how the design of the 103 was changed in the early 2000s, and Denon then abandoning their use of Alnico magnets, in favour of a less expensive variety of rare-earth magnets... There are those that would say a 'magnet is a magnet', and so as long as it performs its primary function, it shouldn't matter which one is used. When it comes to things like cartridges and loudspeakers, however, I'd beg to differ.

    However, I'll leave the technical folks (and anyone else interested) to debate that one, but what others and I who've been using DL-103s (of various forms), for the last 30-odd years can clearly hear, is a marked difference in sound between DL-103s produced pre-2002 (using Alnicos), and post-2002, when they didn't. I can go into that in more detail for anyone who's interested, but trust me, the difference (musically) isn't subtle!

    Therefore, what that essentially means is that unless you've actively sought to obtain a NOS (or good condition 2nd hand one), from the 'golden era', then the 103 you're listening to now isn't the 'real McCoy'...

    And that's one of the reasons why, when buying a DL-103 it pays to check the serial number, because sometimes old stock items, lying forgotten in warehouses somewhere, can often show up for sale on the likes of ebay - AND also one of the reasons why limited edition ones sound best, because they were produced during the 'Alnico era'.

    The other important reason is because they all featured the use of improved, high-quality body-shells - and so it is the plastic shell, used on all entry-level 103s, that is *the* single most limiting factor, in terms sonic performance. Not the stylus*, tip, suspension or anything else [*only when in certain circumstances Denon chose to fit elliptical styli]. Denon themselves knew that the plastic shell was the main limiting factor (as that's mainly where costs were cut to keep the price down), which is why they addressed that area on their limited edition cartridges.

    What they didn't do with those models was fit 'fancy tips' [fine-line styli], which yes in some areas improves matters (namely ultimate detail retrieval and lower distortion), if you go for one of the many 'tarted up' versions for sale, but also subsequently (and fundamentally) changes the sound, with as some have said already, losing the 'soul' and inherent musical abilities of the cartridge in the process, and what makes it special.

    If you're the type of listener who tunes into [and gets excited about] twinkling 'airy highs' and filigree detailing, and prefer cartridges with those traits, along with a lighter, brighter sound [count me out, which is why I haven't done it], then by all means fit a 'fancy stylus', FG or whatever, to a 103, but in doing so realise that you'll have lost some of the soul, bass authority and 'boogie factor' with it, as the tone (and musical nature) of the cartridge changes fundamentally when the original stylus is replaced for something 'better'.

    That's the trade-off, which always exists in some form with audio. It largely depends, however, on how you assess sound in a hi-fi context, and also what type of music you listen to mostly, as to whether or not you'll fall in love with a 'pimped 103'.

    The sensible money (and considerable experience) says that retaining all else but the plastic body-shell (and perhaps upgrading the internal wiring to LC-OFC), along with the stock shell, to one using a less resonant material, is the way to go. That's why Denon did precisely that with the DL-103SA, and others before it. Now which type of shell you choose is the fun part! Because there are so many options...

    Just bear in mind that there are fundamental sonic differences between wood and metal, and then from one type of wood and metal to another!! So experimenting and listening is the only way to discover what's best for you, although in that respect I can provide some basic pointers.

    So to sum things up for Oliver, and any other potential buyers of a DL-103... If you want to hear what one is truly capable of, then it *must* be NOS pre-2002, and preferably either an M, SA (introduced after 2002 but uses Alnicos), GL or C1. There are some other good ones too, such as the D and FL, but they sound quite different.

    Plus, there is the truly superb DL-S1, and 'giant-killer' supreme (my main and favourite cartridge) but that's a rather different beast! And now unfortunately discontinued. Also, forget about hearing any of the above cartridges properly unless you have the following items in place to use them with:

    1) A high-quality D/D turntable (SL-1200, SP10, Pioneer PL-71, or any of Pioneer's, Denon's, Toshiba's or Sony's best efforts from the 70s).

    2) A high-quality high-mass detachable headshell tonearm (such as those from the likes of Fidelity Research, Ortofon and Audio Technica, or Jelco).

    3) Or a medium-mass 'lossy' tonearm, such as Denon's own and from other Jap manufacturers, or the likes of a NOS Linn LVV), fitted with a high-mass headshell (preferably constructed from magnesium). The high-mass bit is crucial (the magnesium bit less so, but definitely better), and in terms of mass, I'm talking minimum 18g for the headshell alone!

    4) A top-notch valve MM phono stage.

    5) A top-notch moving-coil head amplifier (or SUT), which loads the cartridge correctly and provides sufficient gain. However, in my experience 103s work best actively, with head amps. The Denon HA-500 is a good choice, and at the other end of the pricing scale, the popular little Lentek unit, or the likes of a Rothwell Headspace.

    And last, but certainly not least, set the cartrdge up with forensic attention to detail, in terms of optimising VTA, azimuth and VTF (downforce) - and there, always aim for the higher end of the recommended user range. Also, always use non-magnetic stainless steel allen bolts to secure the cartridge to the headshell, nipped up tightly, and good quality lead wire. The thin wires you get 'free' with basic headshells are crap, and act as a significant bottleneck.

    If you can't put all (or most) of the above in place, then FORGET all about hearing any DL-103 properly!!

    Bloody hell, it's lunchtime now.... Anyway, hopefully all this will be useful info.

    Marco.
    thanks Marco....well I did ask so no complaints about the length of your post.
    Sony STR 6055 Denon DP80 Stax UA-70 Shure Ultra 500 in a Martin Bastin body with jico stylus 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 leema sub. JVC Z4S cart is in the house

    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.

  6. #76
    Join Date: Mar 2008

    Location: Dunfermline, Scotland, UK

    Posts: 12,414
    I'm inthescottishmafia.

    Default

    Another vote for the DL S1 if you can find one Oliver, it is a pig to set up but a superb cart. I'd still be using mine if I hadn't bought the Benz Gullwing.
    “Music has always been a matter of energy to me, a question of fuel. Sentimental people call it inspiration, but what they really mean is fuel. I have always needed fuel. I am a serious consumer. On some nights I still believe that a car with the gas needle on empty can run about fifty more miles if you have the right music very loud on the radio”

    Hunter S Thompson

  7. #77
    Join Date: Nov 2015

    Location: Wolverhampton

    Posts: 6,259
    I'm Oliver.

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Ali Tait View Post
    Another vote for the DL S1 if you can find one Oliver, it is a pig to set up but a superb cart. I'd still be using mine if I hadn't bought the Benz Gullwing.
    Cheers Ali, I'm going Ortofon now and Denon later as an additional cartridge. The removable headshell gives me that freedom so I'll take advantage of it. I want to get a head amp, probably the Denon HA-500 And get it fettled by the Guru that is Phonomac! Then I'll look into cartridges and phonostages again, although, I can't even imagine getting rid of the Jolida. It's just soooo good. Cue ridicule!

    Sent from my EVA-L09 using Tapatalk
    Analogue: Technics SP10 MK2 > Phonomac AT-1010 MK5 tonearm > Ortofon Kontrapunkt b > Bigbottle Jfet MC Valve Phonostage (Telefunken & Tesla Valves)
    Digital: NONE
    Amplification: Nelson Pass DCB1 & Monarchy Audio SM-70 Class A Amplifier
    Cables: Fisual S-Flex Speaker Cable & SPOTFIRE IC Cables & NEW SPOTFIRE Tonearm cable
    Speakers: Pioneer CS-77A

  8. #78
    Join Date: May 2012

    Location: Toulouse

    Posts: 4,429
    I'm GettingFunky.

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Marco View Post
    Oh it'll work fine all right and sound great, but it won't be optimised for it.

    That's the difference, Kev, which is propbably partly why you prefer the sound of your Techne-Audio modified 103, which I presume is fitted with a 'fancy tip'?

    Marco.
    Shibata tipped Boron cantilever.
    It sounds mighty fine yo my ears.
    Contemplating life, the universe and use of HiFi forums.

    Life is too short to worry about the opinion of others.

  9. #79
    Join Date: Jan 2013

    Location: Birmingham

    Posts: 3,932
    I'm James.

    Default

    The DL S1 is superb Oli, I have heard a couple now and they are amazing although very low output and need good head amp or really good MC phonostage. I recon they would be good into a great MM phono via a very well matched SUT.

    I have seen them going for around £500 so they are in your budget! Northwest Analogue had one for sale recently which had been completely overhauled but not sure his much or indeed if it's still for sale.

    If you could hear Marcos you will be impressed, it has the dynamics and bite you are looking for. A very different beast to the 103 or 103r.

    Probably the best MC cartridge I have ever heard at any price.
    VPI Scout 1.1 - Ortofon 2M Black - Croft 25R+ - Croft Series 7 - Spendor SP2

  10. #80
    Join Date: Jan 2013

    Location: Birmingham

    Posts: 3,932
    I'm James.

    Default

    Just had a quick look err they are going for $1000 now so maybe bit too pricey unless you can get a second hand one?
    VPI Scout 1.1 - Ortofon 2M Black - Croft 25R+ - Croft Series 7 - Spendor SP2

+ Reply to Thread
Page 8 of 13 FirstFirst ... 678910 ... LastLast



 

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •