Dl-103 with Stock Ar Xa Tonearm?

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austinite
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Dl-103 with Stock Ar Xa Tonearm?

Post by austinite » 15 Sep 2011 01:11

I've searched high and low, but I can't find any personal experiences on this forum about using a stock DL-103 with AR XA's stock tonearm. Is it recommendable? A mismatch?

Alec124c41
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Post by Alec124c41 » 15 Sep 2011 04:43

The DL-301 has higher compliance, other refinements. One of my favorite cartridges.

Cheers,
Alec

pivot
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Post by pivot » 15 Sep 2011 14:25

I have not tried it but the stock AR arm, in spite of the clunky looks, is somewhat low mass for the 103.

A high output Denon 110 works dandy.

fscl
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Post by fscl » 15 Sep 2011 14:54

pivot wrote:I have not tried it but the stock AR arm, in spite of the clunky looks, is somewhat low mass for the 103.

A high output Denon 110 works dandy.
Second the 110 recommendation, just watch the magnet attraction onto steel plinth..... :shock: :shock: :shock:

Try this simple tool on VE:

https://www.vinylengine.com/cartridge_r ... luator.php

Good luck

Fred and though simple, guided my DL-110 to a Thorens TP35 tonearm.... :) :)

austinite
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Post by austinite » 15 Sep 2011 15:16

Drat. I was using the DL-103 with great success on a '1200, and I just bought an XA that has a Shure M91ED mounted on it. The '103 sounds like an inadvisable path to take.

I had already planned on getting a Soundsmith MI cartridge later . . .

Thanks for your answers.

pivot
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Post by pivot » 15 Sep 2011 15:23

austinite wrote:Drat. I was using the DL-103 with great success on a '1200, and I just bought an XA that has a Shure M91ED mounted on it. The '103 sounds like an inadvisable path to take.

I had already planned on getting a Soundsmith MI cartridge later . . .

Thanks for your answers.
Well heck, if you have the cartridge and table in house why not try it and tell us how it works out. Maybe we are all wet.

You then become the expert.

fscl
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Post by fscl » 15 Sep 2011 15:32

austinite wrote:Drat. I was using the DL-103 with great success on a '1200, and I just bought an XA that has a Shure M91ED mounted on it. The '103 sounds like an inadvisable path to take.

I had already planned on getting a Soundsmith MI cartridge later . . .

Thanks for your answers.
If the M91ED is viable, ie stylus not ripped off, then use as is...... :shock: and see <---- actually hear what you get..... :) Back in the day this was an ideal matching....... the M91 is even listed in the AR Owner's manual..... :)

This is the exact same combination I had on an XB that sounded very good way back in the 70's through the student years and saving up at first jobs through to upgrading to better gear........ :) Still have the XB and a now a garage sale XA...... :)

Just got a replacement M91 stylus and itiching to see how she sounds in newer equipment.

Good luck.

Fred

austinite
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Post by austinite » 15 Sep 2011 22:01

I bought a stock AR XA from Dave Archambault at Vinyl Nirvana. The 'table was boxed well and everything was as it should be. He suggested a new stylus for the M91ED and I said "okay" to the suggestion. It was a good transaction and I might get the upgrade bug later.

When I first listened to an LP, I was dismayed by the aggressive treble. But after a few more LPs, the stylus started to break in. There is definitely a good-sized soundstage with solid imaging, though that isn't what is most important to me. I require an easy-going, musical presentation with good transient response , and this turntable/cartridge combination has plenty, as far as I'm concerned. I also cross my fingers and hope to hear a "texture," a visceral realism that will give me goose bumps. I haven't experienced that yet, but I suspect that the much better DB Systems phonostage might take me there if the DL-103 is a good match for the XA's arm. A friend will bring his Hi-Fi News test record over to test the resonance of the cartridge/arm combination. We'll probably use our ears, too. The XA's pitch stability is very good, and that's a pleasant surprise.

Dave sent me the cartridge already installed in the headshell, and the VTA looks like it's spot on. I've set the VTF to 1.5 grams. I have to admit that I was underwhelmed by how cheap-looking the chassis, arm, counterweight, and the motor was. No anti-skate? No ground wire??? The two platters look impressive. My XA is quiet: I don't have a noisy motor, no obvious bearing noise, no hum. I am thankful and impressed!

Right now I'm listening to the Shure/XA into an Accuphase C-200 (using the Accuphase's MM input), McCormack DNA-0.5, and Maggie MMG's. I will use a Chinese tube linestage, an Audio Experience Symphonies R-Plus, with the DB Systems phonostage. I'm also in the middle of building a Get*Set*Go 6B4G amp. I will use that with my Klipsch Heresy's eventually. The Heresy's are the first version, with Crites tweeters/XO upgrades.

One thing I'm doing that might be considered unusual is using a trio of vinyl-covered juggling balls (rice-filled, I think) as supports for the XA. Better bass, focus, and a lot easier to level the table: moosh the 'table's chassis a bit and it stays put in the position you want (within reason). It's easy to make quick, fine adjustments. It sounds better than when the chassis is resting on the tiny felt dot feet, or at least the placebo effect tells me so.

I will try out the DL-103 on Saturday and report back on that experiment. I will be using a DB Systems DB-8HG phono stage.

austinite
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Post by austinite » 15 Sep 2011 22:13

Alec124c41 wrote:The DL-301 has higher compliance, other refinements. One of my favorite cartridges.

Cheers,
Alec
I overlooked your comment about the 301, Alec. I saw "higher compliance," went "huh?," and saw that you were talking about a different cartridge. And now I'm thinking it might be a solid alternative to the 103 if that one doesn't work out. Thanks for an excellent recommendation!

bauzace50
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Post by bauzace50 » 15 Sep 2011 22:16

Hi,

agreed that the AR XA tonearm is on the light side for a DL-103. But remember that the AR XA worked well with the very ancient Ortofon SPU/T, a very heavy monster. (I had this combination which worked well for me). AR even made a special add-on counterweight, and plastic headshell insert, to use in addition to the regular counterweight and headshell.

Just try it out, and I would almost bet the DL-103 works well. Perhaps a verification of the low frequency resonance will yield a peak around 12 Hz, which is still OK.

And, of course, the DL-301 is a delicious cartridge with substantially higher compliance and no issue regarding compatibility on the XA.

Good luck,
bauzace50

austinite
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Post by austinite » 17 Sep 2011 19:21

What an ordeal!

Initially it looked like I would have to shorten the arm an 1/8" or so to compensate for overhang. But swinging the arm to the spindle and seeing how far the stylus protruded past the spindle confirmed that both the Shure and Denon had an almost identical effective length overall.

I had already resoldered the black wire that had broken off the lug as I was examining the headshell (didn't even tug on it).

After screwing in the DL-103, I noticed rocking fore-and-aft play, "pitch" as a pilot or sailor might describe it. I found a couple of hard rubber washers to use as shims, cut one in half and screwed the cartridge back in. Still too much wiggliness. Then I noticed I had broken off the white wire. Damn it! Soldered it back on. Put the second halves of the rubber washer over the first set.

Screw wouldn't reach the hole. Damn it! Removed all the rubber washer halves, and wrapped electrical tape around two of the halves. That solved the problem. Cartridge was snug and secure.

Time for the acid test. I put on Robert Cray's Strong Persuader. Immediately it sounded good. Sat in my chair and continued listening: sounds great! Much better than the Shure. (But realize that the Shure's signal was going through an inferior phono stage and preamp. Still . . .) I'm not going to bore you with audiophile talk; suffice to say that I am enjoying some good music right now.

There's a datum point for you.

nunkivt
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Re: Dl-103 with Stock Ar Xa Tonearm?

Post by nunkivt » 17 Jan 2020 19:55

I really like my new Denon DL-103 with my AR, even more than my DL-110 which was my favorite. This is also first use of the Quad Eights, and it is hard to imagine being happier.

AR XB + DL-103 + Cinemag CMQEE-344a transformers + vintage Quad Eight CA37 preamps with added RIAA passive eq + Bottlehead tube preamp and amp + ADS L420 speakers

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