Denon DL103 Version Opinions

the thin end of the wedge
farmstar72
member
member
Posts: 39
Joined: 09 Jan 2010 14:51
Location: USA

Re: Denon DL103 Version Opinions

Post by farmstar72 » 16 Dec 2018 03:03

Thanks Ed, that's exactly the stuff I was looking for!

regarding the 103M; would you consider a Soundsmith MCP-2 to be up to the task? Is it worth it? Or still best to avoid?
As for tonearms, I have a Rega RB250 with a Michell Technoweight with the 3 different weights. I also have a Stax UA-7 with both the metal and carbon fiber wands - I believe it has a very flexible weight system as well but I have yet to use that arm.

My plan is actually to use the Stax arm and have a few 103's mounted to headshells that I can swap out with very little fiddling. I'm so impressed with my Zu 103 Mkii that I don't feel like messing with Lyra, Koetsu, etc. But to keep it fun, I'd like to play with different 103 variations.

Scott

EdAInWestOC
long player
long player
United States of America
Posts: 1354
Joined: 03 Feb 2004 01:39
Location: Glen Burine, MD USA
Contact:

Re: Denon DL103 Version Opinions

Post by EdAInWestOC » 16 Dec 2018 06:38

farmstar72 wrote:
16 Dec 2018 03:03
Thanks Ed, that's exactly the stuff I was looking for!

regarding the 103M; would you consider a Soundsmith MCP-2 to be up to the task? Is it worth it? Or still best to avoid?
As for tonearms, I have a Rega RB250 with a Michell Technoweight with the 3 different weights. I also have a Stax UA-7 with both the metal and carbon fiber wands - I believe it has a very flexible weight system as well but I have yet to use that arm.

My plan is actually to use the Stax arm and have a few 103's mounted to headshells that I can swap out with very little fiddling. I'm so impressed with my Zu 103 Mkii that I don't feel like messing with Lyra, Koetsu, etc. But to keep it fun, I'd like to play with different 103 variations.

Scott
Scott,
You can use most 103 models on the RB250 but an arm with higher mass would track better and have a bit better bass reproduction. I used a DL-103R with boron cantilever and line contact stylus, on a RB-300 with a Technoweight and Incognito wiring, with good results. The Stax is supposed to have a 16 gram effective mass and, if that is the case, Denon 103 models with a lateral dynamic compliance of 5 x 10-6 cm/Dyne (e.g. DL-103 and DL-103R) would be better used on that arm. If you happen to find a 103D that would be best used on the RB-250.

According to the SoundSmith website, the SoundSmith MCP-2 has a MC gain of 62db and that would be too low for the 103M. You will need a minimum gain of 67db for the 103M. With an output of 0.12mv, 67db of gain would yield an output of 269mv.

The above consideration does not take into account LPs that are mastered at low volume levels. If you have some of those in your LP library, or if you end up with some, you will want a phono preamp with at least 70db of gain. Lower than that and you will end up with a noisy background.

Ed

Audie
senior member
senior member
Posts: 661
Joined: 17 Nov 2003 03:55
Location: Australia

Re: Denon DL103 Version Opinions

Post by Audie » 16 Dec 2018 13:46

Thanks Ed. for such good info. on the Denon 103 cartridge series.
I have the Denon 103S and used it for awhile and was fascinated with it's special sound.

I still have it, but became pre-occupied with higher end cartridges. But it's sound still lingers in my thoughts , and often yearn to set it up again, when time permits.


Audie.

addicted-to-analog
senior member
senior member
United States of America
Posts: 263
Joined: 04 May 2008 00:18
Location: USA

Re: Denon DL103 Version Opinions

Post by addicted-to-analog » 16 Dec 2018 19:07

Been using the DL103 and the 103S since 1977. The 103D since it was released.

Stock 103 and 103S need mass, lots of it, to perform at their best. I use 12" Grace and 12" Audio Technica arms with high mass headshells.

When you rebuild one of the DL103 variants (agree that the S and D are the best candidates) the correct arm will depend on the compliance of the new parts used.

The Stax UA7 arm is a good all around performer and should be able to handle the rebuilt 103 as I am pretty sure the result will be more compliant than the original.

Just my opinion.

Boltman92124
senior member
senior member
Posts: 895
Joined: 22 Jan 2016 23:18
Location: San Diego

Re: Denon DL103 Version Opinions

Post by Boltman92124 » 16 Dec 2018 22:56

If you want to hear a real smoothie cart as a daily driver with your DL-103, check out the el-cheapo AT95ce (LP Gear .5 x.6 spherical). So nice.

BMRR
vinyl addict
vinyl addict
United States of America
Posts: 5505
Joined: 23 Aug 2013 03:48
Location: Maine, USA

Re: Denon DL103 Version Opinions

Post by BMRR » 16 Dec 2018 23:16

As a Christmas present to myself, I bought a Stanley Engineering wood body for my DL-103. I chose the cocobolo wood version.

From a purely aesthetic standpoint I prefer this look over the Pulse Paradox and the various other aluminum bodies, and it should still provide some sonic improvement over the stock plastic body.

He also has wood bodies for the AT95 series, which I might try after this.

golgi
junior member
junior member
Posts: 21
Joined: 19 Oct 2006 03:56

Re: Denon DL103 Version Opinions

Post by golgi » 17 Dec 2018 15:18

I would think you will hear a significant improvement with it being repotted into the wood body. One thing to mention, I'm not sure how much the wood body weighs. But I did notice that the Paradox Pulse bodies have a good amount of lead shot glued into the empty spaces. This definitely makes it heavier on the tonearm which requires more weight for balancing. But I think that it makes the sound even better. So, after you get the cartridge put into the wood body, maybe something to consider about trying it out and then adding weight to see how it affects the sound.

BMRR
vinyl addict
vinyl addict
United States of America
Posts: 5505
Joined: 23 Aug 2013 03:48
Location: Maine, USA

Re: Denon DL103 Version Opinions

Post by BMRR » 17 Dec 2018 15:21

Good points. I do have a rather hefty headshell that I use with my 103. The headshell alone weighs about 15g. I wouldn't want to add much more weight at this point because my counterweight is already as far back as it can go without falling off. ;)

farmstar72
member
member
Posts: 39
Joined: 09 Jan 2010 14:51
Location: USA

Re: Denon DL103 Version Opinions

Post by farmstar72 » 17 Dec 2018 22:02

You can use most 103 models on the RB250 but an arm with higher mass would track better and have a bit better bass reproduction
Doesn't the Zu, Paradox and others address this with their heavier bodies?

Scott

Delta667
long player
long player
Russia
Posts: 2310
Joined: 29 Aug 2013 14:10
Location: from CCCP, Vladivostok

Re: Denon DL103 Version Opinions

Post by Delta667 » 18 Dec 2018 11:04

I want to add that "103M" has nothing to do with the construction of the "103". My opinion is that this is a misunderstanding of a typo which they did not correct. This cartridge had to be called "301M" ))
I wrote about this on VE with illustrations.
36728
Pay attention to the location of contacts. Right "301".

farmstar72
member
member
Posts: 39
Joined: 09 Jan 2010 14:51
Location: USA

Re: Denon DL103 Version Opinions

Post by farmstar72 » 18 Dec 2018 12:07

Good stuff Delta - that helps wipe the "M" completely off my radar - Thanks

EdAInWestOC
long player
long player
United States of America
Posts: 1354
Joined: 03 Feb 2004 01:39
Location: Glen Burine, MD USA
Contact:

Re: Denon DL103 Version Opinions

Post by EdAInWestOC » 18 Dec 2018 13:23

Delta667 wrote:
18 Dec 2018 11:04
I want to add that "103M" has nothing to do with the construction of the "103". My opinion is that this is a misunderstanding of a typo which they did not correct. This cartridge had to be called "301M" ))
I wrote about this on VE with illustrations.
36728
Pay attention to the location of contacts. Right "301".
Sorry but the 103M is a different product. I own a new 103M and have mounted and listened to it.

http://www.edsstuff.org/103M.JPG
http://www.edsstuff.org/dl103M_mancave.jpg

The 103M is a strange 103. It is a very low output MC cartridge, 0.12mv, that has medium compliance, 13 x 10-6 cm/Dyne, and it comes with a boron cantilever and special elliptical stylus. Its pretty odd that it has such low output and a rather high internal impedance, 40 ohms. Generally a very low output MC has much lower internal impedance but this cartridge does not.

NOTE: I got my 103M from Denon USA parts before they stopped selling cartridges to the public. They had two in stock and I should have bought both of them but I'm glad I got the one.

I have never tried to see if the metal on the body is just a outer layer or if the whole body is made from the metal. The 103M is a lower mass cartridge than the other 103's, 5.6 grams.

Ed

Delta667
long player
long player
Russia
Posts: 2310
Joined: 29 Aug 2013 14:10
Location: from CCCP, Vladivostok

Re: Denon DL103 Version Opinions

Post by Delta667 » 18 Dec 2018 15:33

103M has "air" coil, this is precisely due to its low productivity.
His magnetic system is exactly the same as in the photo below:
34698
As we see it is very different from the classic construction "103".
41520

EdAInWestOC
long player
long player
United States of America
Posts: 1354
Joined: 03 Feb 2004 01:39
Location: Glen Burine, MD USA
Contact:

Re: Denon DL103 Version Opinions

Post by EdAInWestOC » 18 Dec 2018 19:31

I have no doubt it is very different internally and I also have no idea why it was named the 103M but Denon did what they did. As far as I am aware it was not a very popular 103 model. It has far too low an output to make it compatible with most MM/MC phono preamps.

In the DL-103 lineup, it is pretty odd. It would have been better named the 301M for sure. I bought it because it was different, nothing else. If I had the time and wasn't so happy with my current cartridge, I might try it again but I doubt it would perform anywhere as well as my Windfeld Ti.

It is a strange product.

Ed

nezbleu
senior member
senior member
Canada
Posts: 314
Joined: 29 Jan 2013 12:55
Location: Halifax, Nova Scotia

Re: Denon DL103 Version Opinions

Post by nezbleu » 19 Dec 2018 21:11

Delta667 wrote:
18 Dec 2018 11:04
I want to add that "103M" has nothing to do with the construction of the "103". My opinion is that this is a misunderstanding of a typo which they did not correct. This cartridge had to be called "301M" ))
I wrote about this on VE with illustrations.

Pay attention to the location of contacts. Right "301".
Fascinating stuff! Clearly the 103M had very different construction that the other 103's, and was at least superficially closer to a 300-series.

I have another Denon oddball, the DL-311LC. It is clearly part of the 300 series, has a nice aluminum body and low output impedance. The cantilever looks tapered to my eye, but no idea about the stylus. The VE database says line contact, but other sources say "special" elliptical. Delta have you ever had one cross your workbench? Perhaps some day I will have to send it to you for refurb, if I can ever let it go that long. :) It still seems to have plenty of stylus life, so it won't be any time soon.