is it worth upgrading on a old Dual CS 503-1 TT

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MrChriiiz
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is it worth upgrading on a old Dual CS 503-1 TT

Post by MrChriiiz » 17 Jun 2018 23:43

Hi there

I'm a bit of a newbie to vinyl and have just recently inherited a very old but barely used Dual CS 503-1 "Audiophile Concept" turntable. As far as i'm aware it has basically sat in my grandad's living room since purchase with very little use but now I have it and i'm really enjoying playing records through it i'm interested to see whether it's worth upgrading in my early pursuits of improving the sound.

Lots of forums online seem to recommend upgrading the cartridge and i've been looking at things like Ortofon 2m red. Although the price is relatively reasonable i'm wondering whether it's even worth putting that kind of money into a table this old? Obviously down the line i'll probably look to invest in something better but for now i'd be interested to know your thoughts on getting the most out of the Dual.

Many thanks in advance

jacrider
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Re: is it worth upgrading on a old Dual CS 503-1 TT

Post by jacrider » 18 Jun 2018 03:14

Not a bad simple table. Look online, there is the ability to adjust the speed. A better cartridge is a good idea. Look at the Nagaoka MP-110. Check the audio cables. Also at the age of the table, look for a new drive belt. Then enjoy.

MrChriiiz
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Re: is it worth upgrading on a old Dual CS 503-1 TT

Post by MrChriiiz » 19 Jun 2018 01:04

Thanks for your advice. Looked into the cartridge which looks great and i'm kinda interested to get the headshell with it. Can you even have a straight headshell with a straight arm or would that not be compatible with the required angles?

lini
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Re: is it worth upgrading on a old Dual CS 503-1 TT

Post by lini » 19 Jun 2018 15:10

MrC: While it would make sense to upgrade the cartridge, neither a 2M Red, nor a MP-110(H) would appear to be a really good idea - not only because these would rather be crossgrades compared to the DMS249E (alias Ortofon M10), but also because both would be less ideal for the ULM arm than the DMS249E/M10. And the included headshell of the H version of the Nagaoka indeed would be of no use for you - not only because it wouldn't fit to the arm geometry, but also because of the different connection.

Most convenient would of course be a simple needle upgrade, but unfortunately the needles for the DMS249E, Ortofon M10 and Digitrac 50EP already were the top needles for that family and just on level with the (Super)OM10, 510(II)/VM White and 2M Red, i.e. bonded, medium-sharp elliptical level. However, you could consider what some of the Dual fans, facing similar problems with their Ortofon-made 1st and 2nd gen. proprietary ULM mount cartridges, already did, namely to grab an original or 3rd party replacement needle and have the original tip swapped for a Shibata tip by a professional retipper. Iirc, those guys had that done by Nadelspezialist(.de) for ca. 160 Euro.

Personally I'd rather consider a different cartridge, though. Given that some of the Dutch vendors currently still seem to offer the original SST needle for the GP351 new old stock at a comparatively fair price level, using that on a used or new old stock ELM family (GP330/331/350/351) body/cartridge (half-inch mount version, of course) could be a good idea, if you'd like another comparatively slim and comparatively light "long nose" design, which would look nice on your 3rd gen. ULM headshell, be a good match from a technical point of view (*) and a real upgrade: The SST needle for the GP351 basically sports a moderately sharp FineLine-like tip, comparable to Ortofon's needle 30, but it's nude diamond being round-shanked only (while the Ortofon needle 30 sports a nudie with rectangular shank). One of those Dutch dealers currently also still appears to have a complete new old stock GP351 cartridge (body & needle) for not quite 200 Euro - a good bit cheaper than a new OM30Super, and another plus of the Philips is that it isn't quite as high as a (Super)OM, so you won't have a problem with the tracking angles (SRA & VTA).

Greetings from Munich!

Manfred / lini

*) in terms of compliance as well as cartridge height (as already mentioned above), but due to it's comparatively low weight also regarding the aspect of conserving the ultra low mass approach.

lini
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Re: is it worth upgrading on a old Dual CS 503-1 TT

Post by lini » 19 Jun 2018 15:57

MrC: Oh, and generally speaking the 503-1 isn't a bad table at all (and better than Dual-Fehrenbacher's current CS455-1 and CS460). Basically its only real weaknesses are the somewhat suboptimal motor location and, in the long run, the motor itself, because that's one of those little "cassette deck motor"-style DC motors, which aren't really designed to be serviced and won't run forever. So, if your 503-1 exemplar still is in good condition and you're happy with it, I'd suggest you to consider grabbing a spare DC210 motor (old version!) and maybe also one or two spare headshells, while sources like Dualfred(.de) still offer these new old stock at comparatively fair prices.

Greetings from Munich!

Manfred / lini

MrChriiiz
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Re: is it worth upgrading on a old Dual CS 503-1 TT

Post by MrChriiiz » 19 Jun 2018 18:54

Lini: Many thanks for all your information and suggestions this is all quite a steep learning curve for me and I really appreciate your Help.

I've had a quick google for GP351 and I have come across the replacement needle on a few sites (https://www.lpgear.com/product/PHLGP351.html) however unless I misunderstood you you are also suggesting there is a GP-351 cart that would need to be purchased along with it to mount to the headshell? I can't seem to find anyone selling anything like this so as I say apologies if i've completely misunderstood but do you have any links to where I could potentially get some of this stuff you suggest? You mentioned some dutch vendors but i'm not sure who these would be?

Also just for my own clarification and general understanding is it mainly a weight thing as to why you don't recommend using the 2M Red or MP-110 cartridges or are the connections just completely incompatible with a ULM arm? I wasn't sure what you meant by crossgrade?

Once again thanks for the Help and greetings from London!

Chris

jacrider
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Re: is it worth upgrading on a old Dual CS 503-1 TT

Post by jacrider » 19 Jun 2018 19:34

Chris: Manfred is right, the Nagaoka headshell is not compatible with the Dual headshell.

He has lots of great advice on the table itself.

I am assuming you have the Ortofon 5e cartridge today. There are nice upgrades to the stylus available for this cartridge. Here is an Amazon UK listing for the OM10 stylus:

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Ortofon-Stylus ... B000A0C0X0

I would recommend cleaning it. Blowing out the dust from underneath. Check the speed of the table, change the belt, replace the stylus and sit back and enjoy.

MrChriiiz
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Re: is it worth upgrading on a old Dual CS 503-1 TT

Post by MrChriiiz » 19 Jun 2018 20:53

jacrider: no I have the original cart DMS-249E with the original stylus. Would the 5e be something worth getting along with the stylus and how do I know it'll work with this setup well?

lini
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Re: is it worth upgrading on a old Dual CS 503-1 TT

Post by lini » 19 Jun 2018 21:17

Chris: Unfortunately I can't link you to that Dutch (= .nl ending) vendor that also still appears to offer a complete GP351, because that vednor belongs to the sites that shall not be named here on VE due supposedly having stolen comtent from VE for commercial purposes. So all I can tell you that's this particular vendor belongs to the ones that currently offer the original needle for 139 Euro - there aren't that many, so you should be able to find that vendor. And yes, unless you'd buy a complete GP351, you'd also need one of the ELM family bodies to put on that original GP351 needle.

And the 2M Red as well as the MP-110 would be technically less ideal matches due to the needles of these being less highly compliant, but also due to being quite a good bit heavier and thus fitting less well to the ULM concept. And then I'd also think that these wouldn't look as nice in combination with the comparatively slim headshell.

Well, and "crossgrade"/"sidegrade" means a pretty equivalent (above in terms of needle quality) alternative, which doesn't really represent a technical improvement/technically superior product, but of course might nevertheless happen to be more to your taste. Like for example Audi A6, BMW 5er and Mercedes E class - or Wenger and Victorinox Swiss army style knife...


jr: At least over here the stock catridge of the 503-1 used to be the aforementioned DMS249E alias Ortofon M10. So that's not one of the renamed OMs like the ULM63E/65E/66E/68E Dual used on most of the other models with the low-profile vesion of he 3rd gen. ULM arm.


Greetings from Munich!

Manfred / lini

MrChriiiz
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Re: is it worth upgrading on a old Dual CS 503-1 TT

Post by MrChriiiz » 19 Jun 2018 22:25

Manfred: ok and in your opinion would you say it's worth paying €200 ish for the 351 because i've just found the full 331 cartridge for half the price but yeah not sure whether the upgraded option would be a significantly better investment?

lini
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Re: is it worth upgrading on a old Dual CS 503-1 TT

Post by lini » 20 Jun 2018 00:17

Chris: Hifistereo(.nl) even appears to have one for not quite 60 Euro, but the GP331 with its original needle would just be another crossgrade/sidegrade compared to the DMS249E/M10. However, of course it could still be an attractive option, because that way you'd get an extra needle, which you could use for party duty or a a "scout needle" for records in questionable condition - but on the other hand the GP331 was the only ELM family member with different body & needle colour, so in terms of visual appreance a complete GP351 or the GP351 on a GP330 or GP350 body would seem preferable. Well, and a GP331 for ca. 100 Euro would seem unattractive to me - a GP350 for that price would still seem justifiable, but not a GP331.

Greetings from Munich!

Manfred / lini

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