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Denon DL-103 - The most overrated MC of all time!

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Denon DL-103 - The most overrated MC of all time!

Postby Guest » 18 Dec 2006 14:51

1. It has a conical stylus, that was OK in the 60's but is outdated hopelessly in our times - like it or not it is a fact.
2. Because of the conical stylus, in the innergrooves the DL-103 not only distorts like hell, it looses 8dB of highs as Noel Keywood from HiFi-World found out - fact.
3. It doesn't get better when you change the styli to VDH or Shibata cos the coils are simply not good enough - it will sound strange to put it politely. Tried this out with both VDH & Shibata, so don't start to argue in that direction - besides me there are several people tried this out without success.
4. Every DL-103 seems to sound different, I had 3 DL-103 til now - they sounded very different, a friend of mine had 2 of these - also with the same problem.
5. Some say that the DL-103 must be used with 3-4gramms - I want to play my records more than once!

If some of you don't know what you are doing or you are crazy enough to use this dark age technology pick-up it is up to you - BUT STOP TELLING OTHER PEOPLE HOW GREAT IT IS.
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Re: Denon DL-103 - The most overrated MC of all time!

Postby Arlequen » 18 Dec 2006 14:57

ElectricHead wrote:BUT STOP TELLING OTHER PEOPLE HOW GREAT IT IS.


Lemme know if you come in Italy .. I 'll invite you to listen my Denon DL103R and you are free to bring every cartridge you like within 1500 $USD as comparison challenge :-)
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Postby Guest » 18 Dec 2006 15:08

Thanks for the invitation but I don't need a comparison. Just 3 weeks ago a friend of mine broke the styli of his DL-103, because of money reasons he could not afford a DL-103 right now. I told him he should buy himself an Ortofon OMB-20 - he laughed me off.......
Now he is telling me that the Ortofon is surprisingly good and even better than the DL-103!
You guys are all brainwashed cos there are enough FACTS against the DL-103 - maybe you like the sound of "sweet" distortion in the innergrooves....
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Postby bauzace50 » 18 Dec 2006 15:24

ElectricHead,
interesting observation regarding vdHul and Shibata retipping! Even though such retipping will improve tracing, hearing the difference is another story altogether.
When one modifies an excellent unit, and notices a big change in sound, the suspicion is of something gone wrong.
Thanks for a refresher,
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Postby Guest » 18 Dec 2006 15:48

Well, I like both VDH & Shibata - these are great tippings and normally improve a cartridge without doubt - but the DL-103 is just too bad :wink:
I would say that the DL-103 is somewhat incompatible with these tips.
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Denon DL103...

Postby Blue Angel » 18 Dec 2006 15:58

Hi electric head

How old are you??

I read HFW's review of the Denon. Those guys have had a longstanding prejudice against the DL-103 for reasons unknown and they were honest enough to admit it. Their prejudice could be because the cart is very modestly priced and affordable to anyone who wants to explore into the world of moving coil carts.

There's a brandnew 103 here with a whacked cantilever. Out of interest, I weighed it (9g) and measured its internal impedance which clocks in at 40 Ohm. I quickly had a chance to look at the motor and it has a cross-shaped armature core and very tidy fine copper coils. No heavier than most I've seen which should have the potential of a good, flat frequency response. In fact, its construction (other than the eliptical stylus), is no different to most other carts currently available. So, what's your issue? Did the store where you bought it aim at you with a catapult and said "Now buy this, or else"??

My only issue with this cart is the mounting. After 40+ years, Denon could have made a better plan here.

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Postby Arlequen » 18 Dec 2006 16:26

ElectricHead wrote:You guys are all brainwashed cos there are enough FACTS against the DL-103 - maybe you like the sound of "sweet" distortion in the innergrooves....


First of all .. if you read good Hi-Fi forums you 'll notice there are many Vinyl addicted that claim Denon DL103 is a great cartridge and a true bargain in Hi-Fi world .. so there are two choice .. 1) they are all crazy .. 2) maybe they aren't crazy and this Denon is really a great cartridge

I have had many exotic cartridges and many more I listened and I worked on them .. and this through 30 years of Vinyl hobby .. and belive me the Denon DL103 is really a Great Cartridge!

The Denon trouble is that someone (probably like you and your friend) buys this DL103 and put on a cheapo TT with a cheapo Arm and amplified by a cheapo Preamp - Amp till finally a cheapo louspeakers .. thinking to have bought a Koetsu at only 200$

No no nooo!!!! ... If you wanna listen the magical sound of a DL103 you first need a very good TT with a very good Arm , the cartridge pefectly aligned other than perfectly setted the VTF-VTA
Than you need a very good Preamp because the 0,24mv. of the DL103 isn't an easy output for many pre .. add further the DL103 needs 40ohm load into the active preamp meanwhile my loved DL103R needs 100ohm
When you have all this we hope you have a very good amp and very good loudspeakers to appreciate le lovely and unique midrange tonality of the poor DL103

Pratically only few real Vinyl Lovers and TT addicted have had the opportunity lo listen the DL103 in its best condition .. and these are the those crazy ppl you read on many Hi-Fi Forums...

My cent!
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Postby François » 18 Dec 2006 16:27

Hi guys,

Well, like everything, you may love or hate the Denon DL-103 (I, personaly love it) but one thing is sure, no other cartridge provocates such passion in both ways...
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Postby Guest » 18 Dec 2006 16:28

Strip the cheap plastic body off - that will improve things alot for the DL-103.
Argue what you like but FACT IS FACT: High distortion, slow and muddled bass, highs losing 8dB in the innergrooves with even more distortion, rounded transient response, lazy on the detail.....
Go and have fun with it but strip the body so without body it will rise from a 'bad system' to a 'not all too bad system'....
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Postby Guest » 18 Dec 2006 16:33

Hi,

I agree with some of the basic sentiment.

THe DL103 in terms of "performance" is hopelessly outclassed by modern cartridges.

However in terms of "doing what is says on the tin", which is this case is
as a broadcast cartridge for radio, on some rather clunky equipment,
tracking at 3 to 4 grams is hard to think of anything better for the job.

It also suits certain hi-fi systems, due to its laid back frequency response.

To be strictly accurate it does not lose 8dB of highs. Tracing loss on the
inner grooves is around 3dB, you can add the cartridges response to this.

But the fact is many records are preboosted by 2 to 3 dB on the inner
grooves deliberately, a spherical tip is ideal to play these back. Also
a spherical tip is less of an issue for 45s.

Personally I'd never use one except for singles, tracking force is too high.

:)/sreten.
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Postby Arlequen » 18 Dec 2006 16:39

sreten wrote:THe DL103 in terms of "performance" is hopelessly outclassed by modern cartridges.


Partially right .. Sreten
I should always clarify I like and love the Denon DL103R and not the poor old sister normal DL103
Btw who blames the normal 103 should try the finest sister before to continue to criticize this product
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Denon bashing

Postby blakep » 18 Dec 2006 18:55

These Denon bashing posts really are comical. If you don't like it, don't buy it-simple as that. I've never used the plain 103 but there are a lot of people who like the cartridge. I have a 103R; the research I did before buying (based on fairly large numbers of people who have used the Denons with very good equipment-a necessity as Arlequin points out) suggested that the 103R was worth the extra money ($250 vs. $150 U.S.) in terms of being more detailed and extended while maintaining the very impressive midrange performance that the 103 is known for. I really couldn't be more happy with the 103R and really doubt I'd buy any other cartridge. My previous two cartridges were a Koetsu Black Goldline and an Ortofon MC 20 Super.

Just do a search at Vinyl Asylum in Audioasylum or at Audiogon on the Denons. There are very high end turntable manufacturers that use the 103R to demonstrate their product. There are many audiophiles who have used much more expensive and highly thought of cartridges who use the 103R. As to poor performance, inner groove distortion and a high end down 8db, I can only say that with respect to my 103R that this is absolute bulls**t. I'd attribute comments like this more to shere ignorance than anything else, quite possibly combined with improper installation/setup & matching of the cartridge with improper arms (low mass for example) and phono stages. Yes, ignorance is the appropriate word here.

Hi Fi World, by the way, has the 103/103R on their list of most recommended cartridges (November 2006 issue), not that that really means much to me.
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Postby Gerard » 18 Dec 2006 19:51

ElectricHead

What system were you using??? Rega arm???

Never heard of the 4-5g...but yes as the weight of a plate to increase mass, but tracking at 2.2-2.5g as recommended.

Sounds to me as if you've never set one up correctly.

What you describe is certainly not what I've heard.....but then maybe I'm deaf!

:lol: :lol: :lol:

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Postby Guest » 18 Dec 2006 22:37

François wrote:Hi guys,

Well, like everything, you may love or hate the Denon DL-103 (I, personaly love it) but one thing is sure, no other cartridge provocates such passion in both ways...


Great comment monsieur, thats for sure!
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Postby Guest » 18 Dec 2006 22:48

Gerard wrote:ElectricHead

What system were you using??? Rega arm???

Never heard of the 4-5g...but yes as the weight of a plate to increase mass, but tracking at 2.2-2.5g as recommended.

Sounds to me as if you've never set one up correctly.

What you describe is certainly not what I've heard.....but then maybe I'm deaf!

:lol: :lol: :lol:

Regards
Gerard


I'm not crazy like some German fanatics using the DL-103 with 3-4g and state that it is sounding "Wunderbar!".
...and destroying their grooves...yeah great!

I used it on my sold LP12/Lingo with Ekos arm and on my Thorens TD-3125 yes 3125 (a marriage with TD-125 and TD-3001) with SME 3012. A friend of mine using it on his old Micro.
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