I had never envisioned owning a 103, but am rewarded for that leap of faith. It has been a paradigm shifter: low output, moving coil, 2-gram tracking, ancient design, conical stylus...oooh, it has been a great parturition!
I had bedsheets freshly boiled.
Sorry to churn up an old(ish) thread but just thought this was the place to add my very recent experience with a DL103r.
The one I'm using came with the Gyro I recently bought and my initial thought was basically to sell it on as I was much like you B50 in the quote above.
Obviously before selling it on I needed to check it was working and thought I'd also listen what the sound was like. I was honestly prepared to be completely underwhelmed by this big ugly looking lump of a thing - it has an added weight glued to the top by the previous owner, like the ones Isokinetik and others sell. The DL103r now weighs about 13g.
A couple of days ago I set it up on my SL1210, with stock arm, stock Technics headshell, additional Technics counterweight and I've been running it through a Pro-ject Phono Box SE MKI. The Pro-ject is a very very good phono-stage for it's cost but not the best I own.
As you see it isn't a stellar high-end set up at all.
Well I have been extremely surprised by the DL103r. It is all the things that VE folk and others have been saying - tracks well, good detail and soundstage, cracking bass and just so foot tappingly musical. Great sense of beat, pace and life on the SL1210 and I must say just about the best cart I have heard on my Technics.
I really am enjoying listening to it, so much so that I am going to remove the eBay listing I have made and keep it.
It's excelled with some of the livelier / upbeat / funkier stuff I've been playing tonight so I'm not sure how it will play the slower acoustic / folk / jazz / slower soulful styles of music I listen to but what I've thrown at it tonight it's been a bit of revelation.
It's not my 'favourite' cart / arm combination, that's currently a straight fight between a Kuzma Stogi / AT OC9MLII and an Encounter MK2 / Denon DL304, but the 103r is a definite keeper.
Looking at it the DL103r it still does beg the question of why it continues to be in production but I'm sure glad it is and that I've been fortunate enough to accidentally come across this 'old workhorse'.