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Thread: Denon DL 103 Pro

  1. #11
    Join Date: Oct 2017

    Location: Ontario, Canada

    Posts: 570
    I'm Svend.

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    It wasn't Zu I was thinking of, it was these guys out of Montreal: https://www.audiomusikraft.com

    And my mistake, it was Stereophile that has it on their recommended components list, not TAS. Check out the reviews page on the AMK website....

    Not sure if this one is there, but here is a rather long and very thorough review: https://positive-feedback.com/audio-...aph-cartridge/

    Edit: it looks like you can buy either a new DL-103 or the DL-103R preinstalled in a new shell, or buy just the shell and do the install yourself with your own cart. Not sure if you can send them your existing cart and have them move it over to a new shell...worth checking out. The reviews are quite glowing, it seems.

    Edit 2: Peter, forgive me for hijacking your thread. I posted the above info here in the event that the 103 Pro was unobtainable, and a possible alternative was sought. Hope this helps someone... Didn't intend to take away from your recommendation of the Pro.
    Last edited by Svend N; 28-02-2018 at 21:30.

  2. #12
    Join Date: Jan 2008

    Location: Wrexham, North Wales, UK

    Posts: 80,433
    I'm AudioAl'sArbiterForPISHANTO.

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    Hi Alex,

    Quote Originally Posted by magiccarpetride View Post
    How is Denon DL 103 Pro different from vanilla Denon DL 103?
    The DL-103 Pro is essentially a stock DL-103 that has been specially modified by a small group of Ex-Denon employees, making cartridges, SUTs, etc, under the company name of Highphonic. And the 'Pro' is used in Japan at some radio stations for broadcasting purposes.

    These guys really know what they're doing, having had lots of experience with Denon cartridges, so know how to get the best out of them. I believe that judicious changes are applied to the suspension system and compliance, but contrary to what is often said, Highphonic do not fit the cartridge with an elliptical stylus. The 103 Pro has the same conical (spherical) stylus as the stock DL-103.

    However, the modifications undertaken cause some critical changes to the electrical characteristics of the cartridge, which you'll see below. if you compare the spec of the 'Pro' version against that of the stock model. I've emboldened the key differences, which result in the improved sound heard.

    103 Pro:

    Output voltage: 0.25mV
    ・Compliance 6 x 10-6 cm/dyne
    ・Stylus: 16.5 micron round tip
    Frequency response: 20Hz - 55kHz
    Impedance: 38 ohm
    ・Tracking force: 1.8 - 2.4g
    ・Weight: 8.5g

    Stock DL-103:

    Output: 0.3 mV

    Output Impedance: 40 ohms

    Stylus: 16.5 Micron round tip

    Frequency range: 20 Hz to 45 kHz

    Tracking force: 2.3~2.7g

    Compliance 5 x 10-6 cm/dyne

    Weight: 8.5g.

    The slightly lower output (less coil turns) and notably the extended high-frequency response, coupled with lower impedance, will combine to increase clarity and 'airiness' at the top end, whilst improving midrange lucidity.

    I've used both cartridges extensively, and the 'Pro' version is notably superior, so I'm not surprised Peter is raving about it!

    It won't be quite as good as a 103SA, simply because the 'Pro' is still housed in the stock plastic body shell, but it's not far off and has a charm and desirable sonic attributes of its own. No other DL-103 sounds quite like it.

    Essentially, it performs like a cartridge costing around three times more than it does, and like most other 'race-tuned' 103s, is a serious bargain. Hope this helps

    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!

  3. #13
    Join Date: Feb 2010

    Location: Berkshire, UK

    Posts: 3,250
    I'm Tom.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Marco View Post
    Hi Alex,



    The DL-103 Pro is essentially a stock DL-103 that has been specially modified by a small group of Ex-Denon employees, making cartridges, SUTs, etc, under the company name of Highphonic. And the 'Pro' is used in Japan at some radio stations for broadcasting purposes.

    These guys really know what they're doing, having had lots of experience with Denon cartridges, so know how to get the best out of them. I believe that judicious changes are applied to the suspension system and compliance, but contrary to what is often said, Highphonic do not fit the cartridge with an elliptical stylus. The 103 Pro has the same conical (spherical) stylus as the stock DL-103.

    However, the modifications undertaken cause some critical changes to the electrical characteristics of the cartridge, which you'll see below. if you compare the spec of the 'Pro' version against that of the stock model. I've emboldened the key differences, which result in the improved sound heard.

    103 Pro:

    Output voltage: 0.25mV
    ・Compliance 6 x 10-6 cm/dyne
    ・Stylus: 16.5 micron round tip
    Frequency response: 20Hz - 55kHz
    Impedance: 38 ohm
    ・Tracking force: 1.8 - 2.4g
    ・Weight: 8.5g

    Stock DL-103:

    Output: 0.3 mV

    Output Impedance: 40 ohms

    Stylus: 16.5 Micron round tip

    Frequency range: 20 Hz to 45 kHz

    Tracking force: 2.3~2.7g

    Compliance 5 x 10-6 cm/dyne

    Weight: 8.5g.

    The slightly lower output (less coil turns) and notably the extended high-frequency response, coupled with lower impedance, will combine to increase clarity and 'airiness' at the top end, whilst improving midrange lucidity.

    I've used both cartridges extensively, and the 'Pro' version is notably superior, so I'm not surprised Peter is raving about it!

    It won't be quite as good as a 103SA, simply because the 'Pro' is still housed in the stock plastic body shell, but it's not far off and has a charm and desirable sonic attributes of its own. No other DL-103 sounds quite like it.

    Essentially, it performs like a cartridge costing around three times more than it does, and like most other 'race-tuned' 103s, is a serious bargain. Hope this helps

    Marco.
    Also worth noting that these compliance figures are at 100hz, not the more usual 10hz, so are more like 12-14hz in the normal measurement. Still low compliance but not ultra-low compliance requiring very heavy tonearms of 30g+.
    Main: Speakers 'RFC' Tannoy Canterburys / custom crossovers with Tannoy ST25 supertweeters; Amp - Radford STA100; Pre EAR 912; Vinyl: Thorens TD124 MkII + Ikeda IT345-CR1 9 inch and Ikeda IT-407 12 inch tonearms; Cartridges Stereo - Miyajima Madake, Miyajima Takumi, Ikeda 9TT, SAEC/Excel C3; Mono - Miyajimas - Zero 0.7, Premium 1.0, Edison '78' 4.0 conical, and Shure M44 strapped for mono with several Expert Stylus conicals for different eras of 78s; Phono stage and SUT from EAR 912 + Miyajima ETR-Mono SUT; Esoteric Sound Re-Equalizer for equalisation of early mono and 78, switchable in from tape loop; Digital: Audio Note CDT2/II transport, heavily modded AN Kit DAC + Mutec MC3+USB.

    Study: Speakers - Tannoy DC6; Amp: Pass Aleph 'Mini'; tube preamp - Gate Audio tube; Vinyl: Garrard 401 with AT1503 Mk I tonearm and vintage Ortofon SL-15e with matching Ortofon 2-15k SUT; Phono Stage from Gate Audio preamp; Digital - Trichord Genesis III CDP + Arcam rBlink.

  4. #14
    Join Date: May 2010

    Location: Vancouver, Canada

    Posts: 2,105
    I'm Alex.

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Marco View Post
    Hi Alex,



    The DL-103 Pro is essentially a stock DL-103 that has been specially modified by a small group of Ex-Denon employees, making cartridges, SUTs, etc, under the company name of Highphonic. And the 'Pro' is used in Japan at some radio stations for broadcasting purposes.

    These guys really know what they're doing, having had lots of experience with Denon cartridges, so know how to get the best out of them. I believe that judicious changes are applied to the suspension system and compliance, but contrary to what is often said, Highphonic do not fit the cartridge with an elliptical stylus. The 103 Pro has the same conical (spherical) stylus as the stock DL-103.

    However, the modifications undertaken cause some critical changes to the electrical characteristics of the cartridge, which you'll see below. if you compare the spec of the 'Pro' version against that of the stock model. I've emboldened the key differences, which result in the improved sound heard.

    103 Pro:

    Output voltage: 0.25mV
    ・Compliance 6 x 10-6 cm/dyne
    ・Stylus: 16.5 micron round tip
    Frequency response: 20Hz - 55kHz
    Impedance: 38 ohm
    ・Tracking force: 1.8 - 2.4g
    ・Weight: 8.5g

    Stock DL-103:

    Output: 0.3 mV

    Output Impedance: 40 ohms

    Stylus: 16.5 Micron round tip

    Frequency range: 20 Hz to 45 kHz

    Tracking force: 2.3~2.7g

    Compliance 5 x 10-6 cm/dyne

    Weight: 8.5g.

    The slightly lower output (less coil turns) and notably the extended high-frequency response, coupled with lower impedance, will combine to increase clarity and 'airiness' at the top end, whilst improving midrange lucidity.

    I've used both cartridges extensively, and the 'Pro' version is notably superior, so I'm not surprised Peter is raving about it!

    It won't be quite as good as a 103SA, simply because the 'Pro' is still housed in the stock plastic body shell, but it's not far off and has a charm and desirable sonic attributes of its own. No other DL-103 sounds quite like it.

    Essentially, it performs like a cartridge costing around three times more than it does, and like most other 'race-tuned' 103s, is a serious bargain. Hope this helps

    Marco.
    Thanks Marco, this is really helpful. Do you happen to know the price difference? I tried to google it to no avail.
    Don't you just hate it when you cannot detect where the post ends and a signature line begins?

    Alex.

  5. #15
    Join Date: Jan 2008

    Location: Wrexham, North Wales, UK

    Posts: 80,433
    I'm AudioAl'sArbiterForPISHANTO.

    Default

    There's a significant difference in cost, as one would expect. Stock DL-103:

    https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/DENON-DL-...8AAOSwSlBYvoCw

    DL-103Pro:

    https://www.ebay.com/itm/HIGHPHONIC-...75.c100623.m-1

    The latter can vary considerably, though. I've seen them sell for less, but also considerably more, depending on the vendor. For a genuine one, always look for the distinctive red ink marks [and sticker on the outside of the box], which denote that the cartridge has been modified by Highphonic.

    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!

  6. #16
    Join Date: Apr 2016

    Location: souf east for work

    Posts: 988
    I'm paul.

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Marco View Post
    Hi Alex,



    The DL-103 Pro is essentially a stock DL-103 that has been specially modified by a small group of Ex-Denon employees, making cartridges, SUTs, etc, under the company name of Highphonic. And the 'Pro' is used in Japan at some radio stations for broadcasting purposes.

    These guys really know what they're doing, having had lots of experience with Denon cartridges, so know how to get the best out of them. I believe that judicious changes are applied to the suspension system and compliance, but contrary to what is often said, Highphonic do not fit the cartridge with an elliptical stylus. The 103 Pro has the same conical (spherical) stylus as the stock DL-103.

    However, the modifications undertaken cause some critical changes to the electrical characteristics of the cartridge, which you'll see below. if you compare the spec of the 'Pro' version against that of the stock model. I've emboldened the key differences, which result in the improved sound heard.

    103 Pro:

    Output voltage: 0.25mV
    ・Compliance 6 x 10-6 cm/dyne
    ・Stylus: 16.5 micron round tip
    Frequency response: 20Hz - 55kHz
    Impedance: 38 ohm
    ・Tracking force: 1.8 - 2.4g
    ・Weight: 8.5g

    Stock DL-103:

    Output: 0.3 mV

    Output Impedance: 40 ohms

    Stylus: 16.5 Micron round tip

    Frequency range: 20 Hz to 45 kHz

    Tracking force: 2.3~2.7g

    Compliance 5 x 10-6 cm/dyne

    Weight: 8.5g.

    The slightly lower output (less coil turns) and notably the extended high-frequency response, coupled with lower impedance, will combine to increase clarity and 'airiness' at the top end, whilst improving midrange lucidity.

    I've used both cartridges extensively, and the 'Pro' version is notably superior, so I'm not surprised Peter is raving about it!

    It won't be quite as good as a 103SA, simply because the 'Pro' is still housed in the stock plastic body shell, but it's not far off and has a charm and desirable sonic attributes of its own. No other DL-103 sounds quite like it.

    Essentially, it performs like a cartridge costing around three times more than it does, and like most other 'race-tuned' 103s, is a serious bargain. Hope this helps

    Marco.
    ah, saw two on eBay with the name highphonic, wondered what that was all about.
    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.

  7. #17
    Join Date: Jan 2018

    Location: Bucks

    Posts: 97
    I'm My.

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    I love the Denon range - there is just something about them.

  8. #18
    Join Date: Feb 2016

    Location: Melksham, Wiltshire

    Posts: 535
    I'm Peter.

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    Quote Originally Posted by argyle View Post
    I love the Denon range - there is just something about them.
    Iíll have a last rant as Marco said. Itís been snowing heavily today, so boredom and real interest has set in.

    I bit of a collector of cartridges... so thought I would try them all.

    First up The Benz Wood. My long time love affair.... nice, detailed and all them bits you expect!!! From a cartridge of this class.

    Next up The AT 33 Sa ..... not really a fair test, as itís only had 10 hours or so play time but equally as detailed and the Shabtai profile pulls out what ever is in the groove. (Nice)

    Last cartridge.... the ZYX Airy S (3k) had this for some while and sort of loved it. (As I thought it was the best cartridge man had ever made).

    Well, I can assure you.... the Denon Pro puts them all to bed..... not in pure detail.. or intimacy but in ......pure musically,. for £400 it makes you listen to record after record.

    Sometimes I just hate what Hi-Fi is suppose to be about.

    Surprised to say the least!!!

    My advice..... if you can find one ..... get it!!! (Something you wont regret).

    Peter




    Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk

  9. #19
    Join Date: May 2010

    Location: Vancouver, Canada

    Posts: 2,105
    I'm Alex.

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Boyse6748 View Post
    I’ll have a last rant as Marco said. It’s been snowing heavily today, so boredom and real interest has set in.

    I bit of a collector of cartridges... so thought I would try them all.

    First up The Benz Wood. My long time love affair.... nice, detailed and all them bits you expect!!! From a cartridge of this class.

    Next up The AT 33 Sa ..... not really a fair test, as it’s only had 10 hours or so play time but equally as detailed and the Shabtai profile pulls out what ever is in the groove. (Nice)

    Last cartridge.... the ZYX Airy S (3k) had this for some while and sort of loved it. (As I thought it was the best cartridge man had ever made).

    Well, I can assure you.... the Denon Pro puts them all to bed..... not in pure detail.. or intimacy but in ......pure musically,. for £400 it makes you listen to record after record.

    Sometimes I just hate what Hi-Fi is suppose to be about.

    Surprised to say the least!!!

    My advice..... if you can find one ..... get it!!! (Something you wont regret).

    Peter




    Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk
    You got me salivating. But since I have Rega RB300 tonearm, would Denon Pro be an acceptable fit for that arm, or is it again the same struggle as with DL-103?
    Don't you just hate it when you cannot detect where the post ends and a signature line begins?

    Alex.

  10. #20
    Join Date: May 2010

    Location: Vancouver, Canada

    Posts: 2,105
    I'm Alex.

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Marco View Post
    There's a significant difference in cost, as one would expect. Stock DL-103:

    https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/DENON-DL-...8AAOSwSlBYvoCw

    DL-103Pro:

    https://www.ebay.com/itm/HIGHPHONIC-...75.c100623.m-1

    The latter can vary considerably, though. I've seen them sell for less, but also considerably more, depending on the vendor. For a genuine one, always look for the distinctive red ink marks [and sticker on the outside of the box], which denote that the cartridge has been modified by Highphonic.

    Marco.
    Thanks Marco. Would this item be a genuine Denon Pro?

    https://www.ebay.com/itm/25345549225...m=253455492259
    Don't you just hate it when you cannot detect where the post ends and a signature line begins?

    Alex.

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