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Thread: Denon DL-103R, accidental

  1. #1
    Join Date: Feb 2012

    Location: Estonia

    Posts: 97
    I'm ahto.

    Question Denon DL-103R, accidental

    with my Music Maker III nearing the end of its natural life (bought it around 2011, 100-150 hours' use a year), it occurred to me to widen my horizons before I sent the MMIII off to be retipped. so, courtesy of Russ /Weeman1973, I acquired a nearly new Denon 103R along with a Beyer Dynamic SUT.

    having set up the Denon by sight (using a spirit level & a grid that came with a now-sold Audiomods tone arm) I thought "not bad at all." less involving, but somewhat better resolving. all in all a respectable stand-in for a month or two.

    but I knew the VTA was off, the arm sitting a little too high on the TT. I had bought an Isolator for the MMIII so I thought perhaps I could even the odds. the result I would not classify as a "stroke of genius," but thought interesting enough to share. I had to hand a few pieces of thin noise isolation foam, from which I cut out my own "isolator."

    I've now been listening to LPs for a couple of hours & mostly what I notice are differences. the 103R still has less drive, but I can now hear its delicate presentation. Richard Hawley actually seems to sound better. Nick Cave & Ane Brun suddenly sound fragile. on Oscar Peterson's "You Look Good Tonight" the raspy double bass no longer distorts (my classically trained girlfriend tells me), etc. all in all a very interesting evening at a third of the cost of a new MMIII.

    is the Denon "worse" than the MMIII? the short answer is no. at the cost of "attack" voices & smaller scale sounds gain a lot in intricacy. I would certainly miss it were I to replace the MMIII. perhaps enough to look further down the mc rabbit hole.

    i tried to include a pic, but all i can seem to manage is a link, sorry.

    https://imgur.com/a/WaPhmPF
    Last edited by eksiil; 27-12-2019 at 21:05.
    Fletcher Omega .3 / Cartridge Man Conductor / Denon 103R / Leak Troughline III GTA / Vecteur D-2.2 / Wadia 121 / Katana, Isolator & RPi/ Croft Mega Micro II (2015) / Croft 7R monos / Harbeth SHL5 / RFC & AntiCable

    waiting in the wings: Croft SMA IV Octal (being upgraded & fitted with a separate PSU by GC); Revox A722 power amp on AV duty along with B&W DM5s & a Christie LCD projector with some more AntiCable. this could turn into a 2nd system.

  2. #2
    Join Date: Apr 2012

    Location: Southall, West London

    Posts: 42,231
    I'm Geoff.

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    Now try the 103R with a solid spacer instead of foam. It'll be better.
    "when common sense, logic and plausibility are excluded. All that remain are foolishness and lies"

  3. #3
    Join Date: Feb 2012

    Location: Estonia

    Posts: 97
    I'm ahto.

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    ha. this was going to be my next try. I have a heavy copper spacer left over from the Audiomods days. I keep reading the tonearm needs mass.

    many thanks though.
    Fletcher Omega .3 / Cartridge Man Conductor / Denon 103R / Leak Troughline III GTA / Vecteur D-2.2 / Wadia 121 / Katana, Isolator & RPi/ Croft Mega Micro II (2015) / Croft 7R monos / Harbeth SHL5 / RFC & AntiCable

    waiting in the wings: Croft SMA IV Octal (being upgraded & fitted with a separate PSU by GC); Revox A722 power amp on AV duty along with B&W DM5s & a Christie LCD projector with some more AntiCable. this could turn into a 2nd system.

  4. #4
    Join Date: Apr 2015

    Location: london

    Posts: 144
    I'm martin.

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    Nice photograph!

  5. #5
    Join Date: Apr 2016

    Location: Gravesend and France

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    I'm paul.

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    Quote Originally Posted by eksiil View Post
    ha. this was going to be my next try. I have a heavy copper spacer left over from the Audiomods days. I keep reading the tonearm needs mass.

    many thanks though.
    with a 103r it will benefit from more mass
    Bakoon 11R Denon DP80 Stax UA-70 Shure Ultra 500 in a Martin Bastin body with jico stylus, project ds2 digital Lii audio crystal 10 tqwt speakers

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  6. #6
    Join Date: Feb 2012

    Location: Estonia

    Posts: 97
    I'm ahto.

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    Sans foam & with a heavy copper spacer (with the counterweight literally teetering over the edge of the other end of the wand to allow for a minimum of 2.59g in tracking force & VTA off with the isolator lift gone): it does sound better. a lot more low end authority, extending upwards, electronic low frequencies tamed (was a real problem with Nick Cave's Jesus Alone last time).

    however, there's a lot less width & 3D to the soundstage. the fragility injected into the vocals is gone. what I have now is a slightly better resolving, but less dynamic cart than the MM3. not bad, clearly value for money, but nothing special.

    I think the next experiment will involve longer cart mounting screws to allow for *both* the heavy spacer & some form of isolator foam.
    Fletcher Omega .3 / Cartridge Man Conductor / Denon 103R / Leak Troughline III GTA / Vecteur D-2.2 / Wadia 121 / Katana, Isolator & RPi/ Croft Mega Micro II (2015) / Croft 7R monos / Harbeth SHL5 / RFC & AntiCable

    waiting in the wings: Croft SMA IV Octal (being upgraded & fitted with a separate PSU by GC); Revox A722 power amp on AV duty along with B&W DM5s & a Christie LCD projector with some more AntiCable. this could turn into a 2nd system.

  7. #7
    Join Date: Feb 2012

    Location: Estonia

    Posts: 97
    I'm ahto.

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    Fletcher Omega .3 / Cartridge Man Conductor / Denon 103R / Leak Troughline III GTA / Vecteur D-2.2 / Wadia 121 / Katana, Isolator & RPi/ Croft Mega Micro II (2015) / Croft 7R monos / Harbeth SHL5 / RFC & AntiCable

    waiting in the wings: Croft SMA IV Octal (being upgraded & fitted with a separate PSU by GC); Revox A722 power amp on AV duty along with B&W DM5s & a Christie LCD projector with some more AntiCable. this could turn into a 2nd system.

  8. #8
    Join Date: Aug 2009

    Location: West Yorkshire

    Posts: 1,606
    I'm Stephen.

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    Quote Originally Posted by eksiil View Post
    with my Music Maker III nearing the end of its natural life (bought it around 2011, 100-150 hours' use a year), it occurred to me to widen my horizons before I sent the MMIII off to be retipped. so, courtesy of Russ /Weeman1973, I acquired a nearly new Denon 103R along with a Beyer Dynamic SUT.

    having set up the Denon by sight (using a spirit level & a grid that came with a now-sold Audiomods tone arm) I thought "not bad at all." less involving, but somewhat better resolving. all in all a respectable stand-in for a month or two.

    but I knew the VTA was off, the arm sitting a little too high on the TT. I had bought an Isolator for the MMIII so I thought perhaps I could even the odds. the result I would not classify as a "stroke of genius," but thought interesting enough to share. I had to hand a few pieces of thin noise isolation foam, from which I cut out my own "isolator."

    I've now been listening to LPs for a couple of hours & mostly what I notice are differences. the 103R still has less drive, but I can now hear its delicate presentation. Richard Hawley actually seems to sound better. Nick Cave & Ane Brun suddenly sound fragile. on Oscar Peterson's "You Look Good Tonight" the raspy double bass no longer distorts (my classically trained girlfriend tells me), etc. all in all a very interesting evening at a third of the cost of a new MMIII.

    is the Denon "worse" than the MMIII? the short answer is no. at the cost of "attack" voices & smaller scale sounds gain a lot in intricacy. I would certainly miss it were I to replace the MMIII. perhaps enough to look further down the mc rabbit hole.

    i tried to include a pic, but all i can seem to manage is a link, sorry.

    https://imgur.com/a/WaPhmPF
    In my personal experience the DL-103R is very sensitive to headshell mass and both VTF and SRA
    I have a Paradox Pulse Guard DL-103R on a Jelco TK850S/ SL1210 through a Tom Evans Microgroove 2 plus loaded at 112 ohms.

    I found that a VTF of 2.35 and bias of 2 is the sweet spot.

    Combined cartridge/ headshell (ADC LMG-1) mass is 25.5g which I found definitely better than a heavier Jelco at 28.5g)

    I recently added an Origin Live mat on top of the Funk platter/Achromat which resulted in a significant improvement in instrument separation, stereo imaging and bass control. However, there was some slight and audible/annoying rounding off of instrument leading edges which slightly diminished the pace and attack especially on acoustic guitar and piano.

    The Origin Live mat is very thin and while I’d cursorily checked the SRA and didn’t initially adjust the arm height on closer checking the cartridge/headshell was slightly “tail down”. Raising the arm height a few mm so it was truly parallel to the record surface immediately restored the leading edges without adversely affecting the improved bass and soundstage. The difference for only a very slight adjustment of arm height was night and day.

    Clearly, every setup is likely to be different but the above work for me.

    I found that the Origin Live mat brings a very audible improvement to the Funk platter/Achromat combo.

    Steve




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  9. #9
    Join Date: Sep 2014

    Location: brighton uk.

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    I'm jamie.

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    im not sure i agree with the 103r being sensitive to vta,it has a conical stylus tip!
    My System
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    Yamaha NS1000m Speakers
    KARMA Interconnects & Tonearm Cable

  10. #10
    Join Date: Aug 2009

    Location: West Yorkshire

    Posts: 1,606
    I'm Stephen.

    Default Denon DL-103R, accidental

    Quote Originally Posted by karma67 View Post
    im not sure i agree with the 103r being sensitive to vta,it has a conical stylus tip!
    Well I can only tell you what I heard and changing the SRA made a significant and audible difference.

    Have you had personal experience of listening to a 103R with different SRA’s?


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    Last edited by worrasf; 12-01-2020 at 16:04.
    Always a little further

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