Jump to content

Sign in to follow this  
metal beat

The Denon 103 thread

Recommended Posts

The denon 103 & 103R are great MC cartridges for very little cost in todays market and has been on the market in one variation or another since the 1960's and has a cult status with a lot of audiophiles.

PRAT is brilliant with this cartridge and so is the overall tone - on the warmish side. One weakness is the cheap plastic body of the 103/103R. In the 103R this can give a slight disjointed unbalanced sound - quite big bass coupled with a slightly ragged treble. PRAT is brilliant with this cartridge and so is the overall tone - on the warmish side.

There are many variations of the denon 103 these days, with most of them offering different bodies to the stk one. Zu audio have aluminium, Uwe had the original pressue fit wood bodies and even denon have the 103SA to name a few.

I bought a Stereo lab Ebony wood version of the 103R from Germany and it arrived yesterday. Setup is very easy now as the wood body has tapped screws, rather than the frustrating screw and nut on the original.

photo's below

http://www.stereo-lab.de/tonabnehmer/mc-moving-coil/ebenholzgehaeuse/index-1.html

How does it sound?

Well, it looks really kool and sounds smooth as soft butter, still with nice detail. The somewhat ragged treble has disappeared and the boomy bass has become one with the rest of the musical spectrum. the 103r is still fast sounding and highly addictive, even if it does not have the ultimate transparency and detail of other MC's.

Setting it up on a expensive TT may seem like a little crazy, however the Ebony body gives it such a balanced performance it is not outclassed and sounds really nice.

Soundwise it is in the Koetsu mold and not the Lyra/Clearaudio. If your system is warm and cuddly, the Stereo-lab Ebony 103R or any 103 will be too much of a good thing. However if your system is around neutral or slighty detailed/lean, it could well be a great match.

Well worth the 445 Euro and highly recommended to any music lover.

Gents, give us your experiences with the denon 103.

4071757000_dba50ce73c_m.jpg4071754008_36909e0d6f_m.jpg

4070999309_80ff522233_m.jpg4070998077_a1c8e49856_m.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Great Post turntable :cool: and nice cart.

The 103R or one of its variants has long been on my wish list of cartridges, and there is a ton of info out there if you dig deep. Can't remember offhand what the match would be like with a RB300 arm, if suitable I might get around to buying one sometime.

But.... what to buy?

The standard 103R, 103Pro,103SA,nuded 103R, the ZU, or the model Shane has?????? So many choices.

Chris

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Great Post turntable :cool: and nice cart.

The 103R or one of its variants has long been on my wish list of cartridges, and there is a ton of info out there if you dig deep. Can't remember offhand what the match would be like with a RB300 arm, if suitable I might get around to buying one sometime.

But.... what to buy?

The standard 103R, 103Pro,103SA,nuded 103R, the ZU, or the model Shane has?????? So many choices.

Chris

From memory Chris, you will need to add a headshell weight to the rega to get the best results - plenty of rega's users have 103's.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest JohnA

great read there Turntable.

You are correct, they are cheap enough to give a shot. Have thought about one myself

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites


Wow, aligning a circular cartridge must have been a little interesting?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I like the round ebony body of the new Stereolab 103R. :cool:

it looks very different.

Another 103 fan here.

I'm using a 103 in Uwe Ebony body with a 12 inch Jelco 750L tonearm on my Garrard 301 at the moment.

Uwe103.jpg

And a 103R in a Aluminium "Midas" body ( made by a friend on Lenco Heaven forum) on a Schick 12 inch tonearm until a few weeks ago.

Midasshell.jpg

CommonwealthwithSchickarm.jpg

I'd found the top end can still be a bit ragged at times with the aluminium body but it sounded good on the Schick arm,very lively, dynamic with a punchy mid range.

It's currently at Expert Stylus waiting for ruby cantilever and paratrace stylus. I'm hoping this will improve things even more and it will become my long term main cartridge on its return.

Edited by jaspert

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest JohnA
Wow, aligning a circular cartridge must have been a little interesting?

not really, depending ont he protractor used.

Some you line up the cantilever rather then the cart itsef

others that rely on lining up the cart, yep, lots of fun i reckon :cool:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Wow, aligning a circular cartridge must have been a little interesting?

You are correct it could be. I use a Mint alignment guage for my Phantom & Exclusive EA-10 tonearms so I align the cantilever against the mirrored line on the guage. see below

But you could align reasonably with any protractor either aligning cantilever to the line of aligning from the screws in the headshell.

best.JPGlincoln21.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites


4071757000_dba50ce73c_m.jpg4071754008_36909e0d6f_m.jpg

4070999309_80ff522233_m.jpg4070998077_a1c8e49856_m.jpg

Nice review Turntable.:cool:

cheers

2sheds

Edited by 2sheds

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I've always wanted one but they seem to like higher mass tonearms so I've never got it... Who knows, I might give it a shot as the 10.5i has a bit more weight than the 9 Sig, but still...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I've always wanted one but they seem to like higher mass tonearms so I've never got it... Who knows, I might give it a shot as the 10.5i has a bit more weight than the 9 Sig, but still...

It might seem crude, but buy a couple of different headshell weights and listen. You will be pleasantly surprised

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
It might seem crude, but buy a couple of different headshell weights and listen. You will be pleasantly surprised

I've been playing with the idea for a while as I think the Shelter would also benefit from a few grams... I might give it a try...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites


I have a denon dl-103r nuded and mounted on brass which cleans it up quite a bit. I use it in a fidelity research fr-64fx...sounds really great. Sometimes I add some weight to the headshell to increase the mass, it all helps.

I prefer the 103r vs the 103 on my ZU's which are a bit dark, as the top end seems to cut through a lot better.

I have heard the Denon's love vintage transformers, and I used a cinemag for a while which was great but a little noisy on efficient speakers. The 103r still works great on the phono stage of my nakamichi preamp now loaded at 50ohms, very happy.

I had a 103d for a while too, which was smoother and more detailed, but I prefer the 103r in my current system. When I had speakers with ribbon tweeters, the 103d was my favorite.

I havent foudn any carts yet that give weight to the music like the 103 series, but I havent tried a SPU, xl-55, fr-7, etc yet...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Have had my Zu modded DL-103R for about a year now and find it a big step up from the Ortofon OM-30 cart I was using before it.

[ATTACH]11297[/ATTACH]

I also love the styling over the original.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
From memory Chris, you will need to add a headshell weight to the rega to get the best results - plenty of rega's users have 103's.

Yeah, I just like Denon carts period and the HOMC DL-160 is a great sounding cart too. I have the DL-103 over here in Adelaide but I've been thinking about the 103R for a while...........this thread will be enough to tip me over me thinks.:cool:

I tried the additional weight/mass in and out on an RB300 arm here and really didn't notice much difference if any really..........settled on no additonal mass and it sounds really good indeed.

Good thread too turntable. Where are you Tony?......... I'm sure you can add some knowledge here mate.:(

Cheers,

Keith

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

An update. I now have my Ebony 103R on my Excluisve P10 and it sounds really nice and has better synergy than with my raven.

any more updates from other inmates?

Looking forward to getting my rebuilt UWE Ebony 103R from ECS with a so called better profile stylus. Just when I am not sure.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites


Inmates?!:) Hopefully sometimes late February would be my guess. Very much looking forward to getting mine back too from ESC. I'm hoping for a leap or two in performance level.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

a nice read your post re this dl-103r, turntable. Stereo lab Ebony wood version of the 103R

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

how sigificant difference do you notice the 'before' and 'after run-in the ebony 103r?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

ebony I've never had one, but 103 (retiped by G.Brother), normal 103r, and current spinning one dl-103r retiped by soundsmith ny (ruby cantilever) in sme3009/thorens-124II, isnt punching/bright like standard 103r, openess very well and big improvement in mid-range. would give another update in another 20 hrs spinning.

[ATTACH]13645[/ATTACH]

Edited by fatgen
photos

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
how sigificant difference do you notice the 'before' and 'after run-in the ebony 103r?

To be honest it sat in the draw for a mnth or so when I took it off the raven. can't really say, except that it sounds better on the P10 and the sound has not changed much since on the P10.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Inmates?!:) Hopefully sometimes late February would be my guess. Very much looking forward to getting mine back too from ESC. I'm hoping for a leap or two in performance level.

Keep chasing them, i am interested in their retip work too.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Keep an eye out for the white bodied Denon DL-103S cartridge also. No longer made but it sounds VERY good. In its day the 'S' version sold for 27,000Yen (about $280USD) when the ordinary DL103 sold for 17,000Yen. Sounds better top-to-bottom than my regular 103 and tonally even better.

DSCN4918Medium.jpg?t=1265004003

The Denon literature describes it as "...the DL-103S is an improvement on the basic design of the famous DL-103. A cantilever, suspension, damping system of superior materials and a finely finished diamond stylus all work together to lower the weight of the entire assembly so that higher compliance if possible. A t lower tracking forces, tracing is clearer and sharper, with response all the way up to 60kHz for true high fidelity playback."

Regards,

Steve M.

Edited by Steve M

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

very nice Steve. One of the many versions of the 103 over the years.

BTW, you need to clean your stylus :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have used the 103 with a modded RB300 and was happy.

My favorite is the 103r on a 3009 SME

At first sounded ordinary till I stuck a 5gm lump of stainless between the cart & headshell.

The increased mass made it sing! -It does need a good stepup trannie though.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Sign in to follow this  

  • Classifieds Statistics


    Currently Active Ads

    Total Sales (Since 2018)

    Total Sales Value (Last 14 Days)

    Total Ads Value (Since March 2020)
  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×
×
  • Create New...