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  • Denon 103R Cartridge

    Output: 0.25 mV
    Compliance: 5
    Internal impedance: 14 ohms
    Recommended VTF: 2.5 g
    Stylus: conical
    Weight: 8.5 g

    This cartridge was introduced in 1962 by by Nippon Columbia/Denki Onkyo (Den-On) and has been made ever since with some minor changes. Some of the cartridge's history can be found here: http://www.analogue-classics.com/html/denon_dl_103.html. The Denon at around $350 is one of the bargains in audio today with a few caveats:

    1. You will need a good phono section with adequate gain;
    2. It's not as fussy as other cartridges to setup because of its spherical stylus;
    3. You will need a medium to high mass arm because of its mass and low compliance.
    4. The Denon makes a great back up cartridge so can have music around the house without taking the hours off your reference cartridge.

    Other than that, the Denon is an honest sounding cartridge, maybe just a touch shy at the frequency extremes. One also would wish for a little more presence but at $379 or less, the Denon gives you a good idea of what the bigger MC cartridges do. There are reportedly some other versions available from Japan but they are hard to come by. OTOH, there are quite a few other modifications available for the Denon from Zu Audio, Soundsmith, Cala Might Sounds/Uwe wood bodies (Thomas Schick), Trans Fi Audio, Paradoxpulse and few others,
    Myles B. Astor, PhD, Administrator
    Senior Editor, Positive-Feedback.com
    ________________________________________

    -Magico S5 Mk.2 speakers with SPod feet
    -Goldmund Telos 280 stereo amp
    -Goldmund Mimesis 37S Nextgen preamplifier
    -Doshi V3.0 phonostage
    -VPI Vanquish direct-drive turntable
    -VPI 12-inch 3D Fat Boy dual pivot tonearm, VPI 12-inch 3D Fat Boy gimballed and SAT LM-12 arm
    -Lyra Atlas SL Lambda, Fuuga, vdh Colibri Master Signature, MutechHayabusa, MOFI Master Tracker, Sumiko Songbird cartridges
    -Technics RS1506 with Flux Magnetic heads, Doshi V3.0 tape stage (balanced)
    -Assorted cables including Transparent XL Gen. 5, Skogrand, Viero, Kubala-Sosna, Audience Au24SX, Genesis Advanced Technologies and Ensemble Power Cords
    -Accessories including Stillpoint Aperture panels, Cathedral Sound panels, Furutech NCF Nano AC receptacles; Silver Circle Tchaik 6 PLC, Symposium ISIS and SRA Craz racks, Audiodharma Cable Cooker, Symposium Ultra and assorted SRA platforms.

  • #2
    I had both the Denon 103 and the Denon 103 R cartridge, but I have sold them again, they are not best choice for classical music(They can not play a violin/piano as it is supposed to sound), which is my favorite.
    They paint a romantic (Colored) image of the music, which is not up my sleeve, just like the old Ortofon Spu or EMT designs are not to my taste.
    Each person, his poison.
    Its matter of taste and depends on who you are and what you want out of your system.
    But for 60´s and 70´s rock they will do just fine,

    Ps. I still got a Denon DL304 with an VDH 1 stylus in my collection, that's more up my sleeve when set up right.

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by MylesBAstor View Post
      ...Other than that, the Denon is an honest sounding cartridge, maybe just a touch shy at the frequency extremes. One also would wish for a little more presence but at $379 or less, the Denon gives you a good idea of what the bigger MC cartridges do. There are reportedly some other versions available from Japan but they are hard to come by. OTOH, there are quite a few other modifications available for the Denon from Zu Audio, Soundsmith, Cala Might Sounds/Uwe wood bodies (Thomas Schick), Trans Fi Audio, Paradoxpulse and few others,
      I've always said the audio snobs will snub the 103 but there are many astute phonophiles that can afford anything and have a 103 in regular rotation (I have a spare somewhere). That said its charm point is its cost $300 or so. Aftermarket bodies, IMO have only made it different not 'better' some claim resonances that don't exist in the stock cart, all they do is add weight (3-5g or more) which is not what you want in a 103. I've been down this path with the 103 and wasted too much time and money making a silk purse from a sow's ear. YMMV.
      Simon Yorke S10 + My Sonic Lab Eminent GL + B.M.C. MCCI Signature ULN | Simon Yorke S9 + Koetsu Rosewood Standard + AcousticPlan Phonomaster | Wadia X-32 | Innuous ZEN Mini Mk II | Valvet Soulshine2 | Linear Tube Audio ZOTL10 MkII | Avantgarde Uno Fino XD

      "One of the great challenges of this world: Knowing enough about a subject to think you are right, but not enough about the subject to know you're wrong" - Neil deGrasse Tyson

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by Rob View Post

        I've always said the audio snobs will snub the 103 but there are many astute phonophiles that can afford anything and have a 103 in regular rotation (I have a spare somewhere). That said its charm point is its cost $300 or so. Aftermarket bodies, IMO have only made it different not 'better' some claim resonances that don't exist in the stock cart, all they do is add weight (3-5g or more) which is not what you want in a 103. I've been down this path with the 103 and wasted too much time and money making a silk purse from a sow's ear. YMMV.


        Good comments Rob and I agree. I personally wouldn't spend any money for someone to remount the 103 in a hunk of wood. Denon has been making cartridges since monkeys have swung from trees. My very first MC cartridge was a Denon that came in a large box that included a SUT. That was the beginning of my love affair with MC cartridges.
        Micro Seiki SX-8000 table with flywheel, SME 3012R arm, SME 312S arm, Lyra Etna SL and Dynavector XV-1S cartridges, ARC Ref 3 phono stage, Otari MX-55 tape deck, Ampex 350 repros, Roon Nucleus Plus server, PS Audio DSJ DAC, ARC Ref 6 pre, ARC Ref 75 amp, JBL 4345 speakers, and Def Tech Ref subs.

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by Rob View Post

          I've always said the audio snobs will snub the 103 but there are many astute phonophiles that can afford anything and have a 103 in regular rotation (I have a spare somewhere). That said its charm point is its cost $300 or so. Aftermarket bodies, IMO have only made it different not 'better' some claim resonances that don't exist in the stock cart, all they do is add weight (3-5g or more) which is not what you want in a 103. I've been down this path with the 103 and wasted too much time and money making a silk purse from a sow's ear. YMMV.

          Rob, I can understand your comments about the wood or other bodies making the 103R sound different but why don't you want the additional weight? It would seem that might help mate the cartridge to more arms?

          Peter Ledermann offers either changing or completely removing the body as well as stylus mods. Also a change in compliance too.

          http://www.sound-smith.com/denon/
          Myles B. Astor, PhD, Administrator
          Senior Editor, Positive-Feedback.com
          ________________________________________

          -Magico S5 Mk.2 speakers with SPod feet
          -Goldmund Telos 280 stereo amp
          -Goldmund Mimesis 37S Nextgen preamplifier
          -Doshi V3.0 phonostage
          -VPI Vanquish direct-drive turntable
          -VPI 12-inch 3D Fat Boy dual pivot tonearm, VPI 12-inch 3D Fat Boy gimballed and SAT LM-12 arm
          -Lyra Atlas SL Lambda, Fuuga, vdh Colibri Master Signature, MutechHayabusa, MOFI Master Tracker, Sumiko Songbird cartridges
          -Technics RS1506 with Flux Magnetic heads, Doshi V3.0 tape stage (balanced)
          -Assorted cables including Transparent XL Gen. 5, Skogrand, Viero, Kubala-Sosna, Audience Au24SX, Genesis Advanced Technologies and Ensemble Power Cords
          -Accessories including Stillpoint Aperture panels, Cathedral Sound panels, Furutech NCF Nano AC receptacles; Silver Circle Tchaik 6 PLC, Symposium ISIS and SRA Craz racks, Audiodharma Cable Cooker, Symposium Ultra and assorted SRA platforms.

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by mep View Post



            Good comments Rob and I agree. I personally wouldn't spend any money for someone to remount the 103 in a hunk of wood. Denon has been making cartridges since monkeys have swung from trees. My very first MC cartridge was a Denon that came in a large box that included a SUT. That was the beginning of my love affair with MC cartridges.

            I could see it if that hunk gave the cartridge just a smidge more midrange presence. Or a little more frequency extremes and weight.

            Bodies do affect the cartridge's sound. I remembering nuding my Parnassus years ago; all I had to do is remove four screws and be ultra careful.
            Myles B. Astor, PhD, Administrator
            Senior Editor, Positive-Feedback.com
            ________________________________________

            -Magico S5 Mk.2 speakers with SPod feet
            -Goldmund Telos 280 stereo amp
            -Goldmund Mimesis 37S Nextgen preamplifier
            -Doshi V3.0 phonostage
            -VPI Vanquish direct-drive turntable
            -VPI 12-inch 3D Fat Boy dual pivot tonearm, VPI 12-inch 3D Fat Boy gimballed and SAT LM-12 arm
            -Lyra Atlas SL Lambda, Fuuga, vdh Colibri Master Signature, MutechHayabusa, MOFI Master Tracker, Sumiko Songbird cartridges
            -Technics RS1506 with Flux Magnetic heads, Doshi V3.0 tape stage (balanced)
            -Assorted cables including Transparent XL Gen. 5, Skogrand, Viero, Kubala-Sosna, Audience Au24SX, Genesis Advanced Technologies and Ensemble Power Cords
            -Accessories including Stillpoint Aperture panels, Cathedral Sound panels, Furutech NCF Nano AC receptacles; Silver Circle Tchaik 6 PLC, Symposium ISIS and SRA Craz racks, Audiodharma Cable Cooker, Symposium Ultra and assorted SRA platforms.

            Comment


            • #7
              Cartridge bodies are made from everything under the sun:wood, plastic, composites, metal, and stone. Like everything in audio, there is no consensus on a *best* material to use. The only time I had a cartridge that had been monkeyed with was a very long time ago when I had a Grado Long Horn. Anybody remember that modified Grado from Van Alstine?
              Micro Seiki SX-8000 table with flywheel, SME 3012R arm, SME 312S arm, Lyra Etna SL and Dynavector XV-1S cartridges, ARC Ref 3 phono stage, Otari MX-55 tape deck, Ampex 350 repros, Roon Nucleus Plus server, PS Audio DSJ DAC, ARC Ref 6 pre, ARC Ref 75 amp, JBL 4345 speakers, and Def Tech Ref subs.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by mep View Post
                Cartridge bodies are made from everything under the sun:wood, plastic, composites, metal, and stone. Like everything in audio, there is no consensus on a *best* material to use. The only time I had a cartridge that had been monkeyed with was a very long time ago when I had a Grado Long Horn. Anybody remember that modified Grado from Van Alstine?

                Longhorn version? Sure I remember!
                Myles B. Astor, PhD, Administrator
                Senior Editor, Positive-Feedback.com
                ________________________________________

                -Magico S5 Mk.2 speakers with SPod feet
                -Goldmund Telos 280 stereo amp
                -Goldmund Mimesis 37S Nextgen preamplifier
                -Doshi V3.0 phonostage
                -VPI Vanquish direct-drive turntable
                -VPI 12-inch 3D Fat Boy dual pivot tonearm, VPI 12-inch 3D Fat Boy gimballed and SAT LM-12 arm
                -Lyra Atlas SL Lambda, Fuuga, vdh Colibri Master Signature, MutechHayabusa, MOFI Master Tracker, Sumiko Songbird cartridges
                -Technics RS1506 with Flux Magnetic heads, Doshi V3.0 tape stage (balanced)
                -Assorted cables including Transparent XL Gen. 5, Skogrand, Viero, Kubala-Sosna, Audience Au24SX, Genesis Advanced Technologies and Ensemble Power Cords
                -Accessories including Stillpoint Aperture panels, Cathedral Sound panels, Furutech NCF Nano AC receptacles; Silver Circle Tchaik 6 PLC, Symposium ISIS and SRA Craz racks, Audiodharma Cable Cooker, Symposium Ultra and assorted SRA platforms.

                Comment


                • #9
                  It looked like a big handlebar glued to the front of the Grado cartridge.
                  Micro Seiki SX-8000 table with flywheel, SME 3012R arm, SME 312S arm, Lyra Etna SL and Dynavector XV-1S cartridges, ARC Ref 3 phono stage, Otari MX-55 tape deck, Ampex 350 repros, Roon Nucleus Plus server, PS Audio DSJ DAC, ARC Ref 6 pre, ARC Ref 75 amp, JBL 4345 speakers, and Def Tech Ref subs.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Click image for larger version

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Views:	96
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ID:	4376


                    Did it stop the jigglies?
                    Myles B. Astor, PhD, Administrator
                    Senior Editor, Positive-Feedback.com
                    ________________________________________

                    -Magico S5 Mk.2 speakers with SPod feet
                    -Goldmund Telos 280 stereo amp
                    -Goldmund Mimesis 37S Nextgen preamplifier
                    -Doshi V3.0 phonostage
                    -VPI Vanquish direct-drive turntable
                    -VPI 12-inch 3D Fat Boy dual pivot tonearm, VPI 12-inch 3D Fat Boy gimballed and SAT LM-12 arm
                    -Lyra Atlas SL Lambda, Fuuga, vdh Colibri Master Signature, MutechHayabusa, MOFI Master Tracker, Sumiko Songbird cartridges
                    -Technics RS1506 with Flux Magnetic heads, Doshi V3.0 tape stage (balanced)
                    -Assorted cables including Transparent XL Gen. 5, Skogrand, Viero, Kubala-Sosna, Audience Au24SX, Genesis Advanced Technologies and Ensemble Power Cords
                    -Accessories including Stillpoint Aperture panels, Cathedral Sound panels, Furutech NCF Nano AC receptacles; Silver Circle Tchaik 6 PLC, Symposium ISIS and SRA Craz racks, Audiodharma Cable Cooker, Symposium Ultra and assorted SRA platforms.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by MylesBAstor View Post
                      [ATTACH=CONFIG]n4376[/ATTACH]


                      Did it stop the jigglies?

                      oh geez...
                      Simon Yorke S10 + My Sonic Lab Eminent GL + B.M.C. MCCI Signature ULN | Simon Yorke S9 + Koetsu Rosewood Standard + AcousticPlan Phonomaster | Wadia X-32 | Innuous ZEN Mini Mk II | Valvet Soulshine2 | Linear Tube Audio ZOTL10 MkII | Avantgarde Uno Fino XD

                      "One of the great challenges of this world: Knowing enough about a subject to think you are right, but not enough about the subject to know you're wrong" - Neil deGrasse Tyson

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Rob View Post


                        oh geez...

                        Myles B. Astor, PhD, Administrator
                        Senior Editor, Positive-Feedback.com
                        ________________________________________

                        -Magico S5 Mk.2 speakers with SPod feet
                        -Goldmund Telos 280 stereo amp
                        -Goldmund Mimesis 37S Nextgen preamplifier
                        -Doshi V3.0 phonostage
                        -VPI Vanquish direct-drive turntable
                        -VPI 12-inch 3D Fat Boy dual pivot tonearm, VPI 12-inch 3D Fat Boy gimballed and SAT LM-12 arm
                        -Lyra Atlas SL Lambda, Fuuga, vdh Colibri Master Signature, MutechHayabusa, MOFI Master Tracker, Sumiko Songbird cartridges
                        -Technics RS1506 with Flux Magnetic heads, Doshi V3.0 tape stage (balanced)
                        -Assorted cables including Transparent XL Gen. 5, Skogrand, Viero, Kubala-Sosna, Audience Au24SX, Genesis Advanced Technologies and Ensemble Power Cords
                        -Accessories including Stillpoint Aperture panels, Cathedral Sound panels, Furutech NCF Nano AC receptacles; Silver Circle Tchaik 6 PLC, Symposium ISIS and SRA Craz racks, Audiodharma Cable Cooker, Symposium Ultra and assorted SRA platforms.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          The current 103 while still a very good cartridges has changed and has a different quality than the vintage versions. There was a time that nearly everyone with a SPU or EMT also had a 103 in their collection but not so much anymore.

                          The SHURE V- MR series is another fantastic cartridge that US high end buyers never picked up on. Its an extremely competent cartridge, all time tracking champ with a detailed, musical, and very natural sound that IMO still competes with many of today's mega buck cartridges and easily kills all the older cult "K" cartridges of the 80's and 90's.

                          david
                          Manufacturer: American Sound Turntables and The Nothing Rack
                          Distribution: NEODIO

                          Special Sales: van den Hul
                          Industry Representation: Lamm, Kharma OLS Speakers, Ortofon, ZYX, Keith Monks, Audio Desk, Jensen Transformer, Venta Airwasher

                          Unique Items: Vintage Horn Speakers
                          http://www.audionirvana.org/forum/ti...stening-room-1
                          http://www.audionirvana.org/forum/ti...earfield-setup

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by david k View Post
                            The current 103 while still a very good cartridges has changed and has a different quality than the vintage versions. There was a time that nearly everyone with a SPU or EMT also had a 103 in their collection but not so much anymore.

                            The SHURE V- MR series is another fantastic cartridge that US high end buyers never picked up on. Its an extremely competent cartridge, all time tracking champ with a detailed, musical, and very natural sound that IMO still competes with many of today's mega buck cartridges and easily kills all the older cult "K" cartridges of the 80's and 90's.

                            david
                            We listened to the Shure back in the '90s and while my memory isn't as good as it used to be, the Shure's main issue was that it seemed to just roll off the upper octaves. Kinda dulled the music. Just the opposite of the MCs of the day. OTOH -MR was very smooth (the tracking ability) sounding and tracked anything. Who knows? Today it might also sound better because we have better set up tools and are paying more attention to cartridge setup.
                            Myles B. Astor, PhD, Administrator
                            Senior Editor, Positive-Feedback.com
                            ________________________________________

                            -Magico S5 Mk.2 speakers with SPod feet
                            -Goldmund Telos 280 stereo amp
                            -Goldmund Mimesis 37S Nextgen preamplifier
                            -Doshi V3.0 phonostage
                            -VPI Vanquish direct-drive turntable
                            -VPI 12-inch 3D Fat Boy dual pivot tonearm, VPI 12-inch 3D Fat Boy gimballed and SAT LM-12 arm
                            -Lyra Atlas SL Lambda, Fuuga, vdh Colibri Master Signature, MutechHayabusa, MOFI Master Tracker, Sumiko Songbird cartridges
                            -Technics RS1506 with Flux Magnetic heads, Doshi V3.0 tape stage (balanced)
                            -Assorted cables including Transparent XL Gen. 5, Skogrand, Viero, Kubala-Sosna, Audience Au24SX, Genesis Advanced Technologies and Ensemble Power Cords
                            -Accessories including Stillpoint Aperture panels, Cathedral Sound panels, Furutech NCF Nano AC receptacles; Silver Circle Tchaik 6 PLC, Symposium ISIS and SRA Craz racks, Audiodharma Cable Cooker, Symposium Ultra and assorted SRA platforms.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by MylesBAstor View Post

                              We listened to the Shure back in the '90s and while my memory isn't as good as it used to be, the Shure's main issue was that it seemed to just roll off the upper octaves. Kinda dulled the music. Just the opposite of the MCs of the day. OTOH -MR was very smooth (the tracking ability) sounding and tracked anything. Who knows? Today it might also sound better because we have better set up tools and are paying more attention to cartridge setup.
                              Give a vintage V15 another listen, plenty NOS is still around for $200 or less. What I remember from the 90's is the harsh, bright sounding Clearaudio tables & cartridges that HP was so fond of, of course anything balanced and neutral would come across as bland if Clearaudio was ones standard. Fortunately everyone has come a long way since then.

                              david
                              Last edited by david k; 02-21-2016, 09:09 PM.
                              Manufacturer: American Sound Turntables and The Nothing Rack
                              Distribution: NEODIO

                              Special Sales: van den Hul
                              Industry Representation: Lamm, Kharma OLS Speakers, Ortofon, ZYX, Keith Monks, Audio Desk, Jensen Transformer, Venta Airwasher

                              Unique Items: Vintage Horn Speakers
                              http://www.audionirvana.org/forum/ti...stening-room-1
                              http://www.audionirvana.org/forum/ti...earfield-setup

                              Comment

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