Denon DL-301 MKII: recessed sound and impedance loading

the thin end of the wedge
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loopaddiction
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Denon DL-301 MKII: recessed sound and impedance loading

Post by loopaddiction » 19 Oct 2013 19:17

I received my DL-301 MKII a few months ago, which replaced a DL-160, and have been pleased with the sound for the most part…very smooth and natural. Yet there seems to be a range of frequencies which is less prominent and almost recessed, i'm gonna say the upper midrange - bottom high frequencies. A user review on Needle Doctor describes it as a "midrange suckout" and the reason why the cartridge exhibits such low surface noise. From my experience, I tend to agree.

I've compared some of my rips to the digital masters and sometimes instruments can sound less accentuated and pushed to the back, which makes the overall presentation subtle and less "punchy" compared to other cartridges.

The thing is, i've also read that the 301 MKII works best with impedance loads of 400 ohms and above. My phono amp can only do 100 ohms which makes me wonder, will a higher impedance setting via another phono stage or a SUT in the signal chain fix the recessed, sometimes dull sound? My set-up consists of a Technics 1210 M5G turntable, Cambridge Audio 640p phono stage, and an Apogee Duet audio interface.

I really love the sound of the cartridge otherwise but those recessed frequencies really bothers me, almost to the point that i'm considering selling the cartridge. I probably have around 40-50 hours on it for reference.

Any thoughts?

Jackd
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Re: Denon DL-301 MKII: recessed sound and impedance loading

Post by Jackd » 19 Oct 2013 19:57

Yes it will sound better at a higher setting. I would think 300 ohms would be the starting point, at least it was for me. I settled on 600 ohms after increasing it by 100 ohms from 300 ohms to 1kohm. I don't have in midrange suckout. To start with it is not as forward anyway as the 110 or 160.

tomytoons
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Re: Denon DL-301 MKII: recessed sound and impedance loading

Post by tomytoons » 19 Oct 2013 23:56

Jack has my DL301/MKII I ran it at 100 and 300 Ohms.
No suckout at all.
Sounds damn close to an AT OC9ML MKII.
All very nice but tastes and systems vary.

abril
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Re: Denon DL-301 MKII: recessed sound and impedance loading

Post by abril » 20 Oct 2013 07:35

Hi
I have a Denon 304 and it certainly improves with higher loading but frankly I would rather sell the Cambridge 640p and upgrade to perhaps this
https://www.vinylengine.com/library/pro ... e-ii.shtml
and set it at 220,which is the load I use for my 304.

Guest

Re: Denon DL-301 MKII: recessed sound and impedance loading

Post by Guest » 20 Oct 2013 14:41

The source impedance of the DL-301 MkII is specified as 33 ohms. That's a fair bit higher than most modern moving coils and would suggest a load impedance of about 300 ohms might be beneficial.
If you wanted to use a step-up transformer the turns ratio should be in the range between 1:10 and 1:13 in my opinion.

Alec124c41
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Re: Denon DL-301 MKII: recessed sound and impedance loading

Post by Alec124c41 » 20 Oct 2013 18:59

Using an SUT with the 640P does make the 301-II sound better.

Cheers,
Alec

plastico
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Re: Denon DL-301 MKII: recessed sound and impedance loading

Post by plastico » 20 Oct 2013 22:34

I must agree with Alec. I use a Denon AU300LC SUT with my 301 mk2 into the MM input of my preamp, and it sounds fabulous! This SUT loads it at 40 ohms.
Cheers, Plastico

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Re: Denon DL-301 MKII: recessed sound and impedance loading

Post by audiopile » 21 Oct 2013 03:27

I am wondering if some of the classic SUT's are actually loading the carts at the SUT's "marked" impedance ? There's no question that these work very well with the carts they were designed for - but is a "40 ohm" 1960's/70's era SUT actually hanging 40 ohms onto a cartridge ? Or does this mean it's a good match for a cart having a measured 40 ohm internal resistance - but actually is loading that cart at ??? ohms ?
Influenced by some of the headamps that I've really enjoyed listening to - I recently tried 470 ohm loading @64dB gain instead of the 100 ohms/64dB I'd tried previously. Definitely preferred Jensen, CineMag , Altec and Ortofon SUT's to my phono stage at 100 ohm/64dB gain. At the 470 ohm load it's very different story ? The very low output -low impedance Ortofon's are still better to me thru their own Ortofon SUT - but DL-103 (40ohm) ,103r(15ohm) and Technics 305MC (25ohm) -all seem to like 470 ohms into a very quiet phono stage ? This is flying in the face of several decades of prejudice in favor of SUT's on my part ?

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Re: Denon DL-301 MKII: recessed sound and impedance loading

Post by Guest » 21 Oct 2013 11:03

audiopile wrote:I am wondering if some of the classic SUT's are actually loading the carts at the SUT's "marked" impedance ? There's no question that these work very well with the carts they were designed for - but is a "40 ohm" 1960's/70's era SUT actually hanging 40 ohms onto a cartridge ? Or does this mean it's a good match for a cart having a measured 40 ohm internal resistance - but actually is loading that cart at ??? ohms ?
Influenced by some of the headamps that I've really enjoyed listening to - I recently tried 470 ohm loading @64dB gain instead of the 100 ohms/64dB I'd tried previously. Definitely preferred Jensen, CineMag , Altec and Ortofon SUT's to my phono stage at 100 ohm/64dB gain. At the 470 ohm load it's very different story ? The very low output -low impedance Ortofon's are still better to me thru their own Ortofon SUT - but DL-103 (40ohm) ,103r(15ohm) and Technics 305MC (25ohm) -all seem to like 470 ohms into a very quiet phono stage ? This is flying in the face of several decades of prejudice in favor of SUT's on my part ?
You're absolutely right about the ambiguity of labelling a transformer as "40 ohms". I seriously doubt that plastico's transformer is presenting a load of 40 ohms to his cartridge. More likely the transformer is meant to work well with a cartridge of 40 ohms source impedance. Not the same thing, really.
As with (nearly) all audio electronics, the load impedance should be higher than the source impedance. A factor of ten is usually considered about right to get the best signal transfer. The same thing applies with step-up transformers. A cartridge with a source impedance of 10 ohms should see a load of 100 ohms or more, not 10 ohms.
Of course, that's the simplified version of events and the reality is a bit more complicated. At the low end of the audio spectrum the load presented to the cartridge isn't determined simply by the turns ratio of the transformer but the primary inductance of the transformer. This determines the low frequency cut-off point. With, for example, cartridge of just 5 ohms source impedance, there will be plenty of bass even if the primary inductance is a bit low. However, the DL301 MkII's 33 ohms source impedance means there could be some audible bass roll-off if the transformer's primary inductance isn't high enough.

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Re: Denon DL-301 MKII: recessed sound and impedance loading

Post by audiopile » 21 Oct 2013 18:12

One further point - it is safe to measure the internal resitance of a cartridge with any modern DVOM . IT is NOT safe or even just a pretty bad idea to hook a DVOM up to a SUT to measure it. Don't ask me how I know this ):- .

Guest

Re: Denon DL-301 MKII: recessed sound and impedance loading

Post by Guest » 22 Oct 2013 11:34

Measuring the resistance of the windings of a step-up transformer with a digital multimeter shouldn't cause catastrohpic failure. The windings will certainly handle the small current required to make the measurement. However, that current could magnetize the core of the transformer and impair its performance. Magnetized cores can be de-magnetized though, so the damage isn't permanent.

Actually, knowing the resistance of the windings is of limited use. It won't tell you the turns ratio or what "the impedance" of the transformer is (whatever that means to you).

audiopile
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Re: Denon DL-301 MKII: recessed sound and impedance loading

Post by audiopile » 22 Oct 2013 16:39

I guess that would be my point - about all measuring the SUT with a DVOM will tell you is if the thing is open on one channel ( this tends to be pretty obvious anyway) and then you've got to reform or erase what the DVOM has done to the SUT. Just not a worthwhile test or measurment for SUTs .

soulsetter
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Re: Denon DL-301 MKII: recessed sound and impedance loading

Post by soulsetter » 24 Oct 2013 15:43

I just got a Denon 301 MkII and am very pleased with it. I had the Denon 103R before which is also very good. I prefer the sound of the Denon 301 over the 103R but the 103R seemed to be a bit more quiet in the grooves.
As a step up I am using a Bob's devices sut with two settings 20x and 40x. I was using the 40x with the 103R as it had lower output. Bob suggested the 20x setting for the Denon 301 MkII and that seems to be right. At 20X it has a lot of gain and I don't have to move my preamp setting beyond the 9 o'clock position. I think that matching up the correct transformer with a moving coil cartridge is a big part of getting the sound you want. I haven't really noticed any midrange suck out with my current setup. For the money the Denon 301 MkII is a great cartridge.

packgrog
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Re: Denon DL-301 MKII: recessed sound and impedance loading

Post by packgrog » 27 Jan 2014 21:19

I'm also experiencing a sense of recessed highs with the DL-301 MKII, and I can't quite figure out what the problem is. I addressed a lot of vibration issues in my system that helped get rid of a lot of the bass cloud that was causing a veil with everything else, messed with loading settings on my Musical Surroundings Phonomena II (currently on 660 Ohms, 57.5 db gain), and while there's much improvement, the highs still seem veiled/recessed on my recordings when compared to every other version of certain albums that I've tried. I don't know if the Michell Special RB250 is just a poor arm choice for this cartridge, or if I'm starting to just fight with the sound of the cartridge itself. it's kind of maddening. Thoughts?

Alec124c41
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Re: Denon DL-301 MKII: recessed sound and impedance loading

Post by Alec124c41 » 27 Jan 2014 22:50

Which alignment are you using, packgrog?

Cheers,
Alec

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