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dwbasement

Which Denon Cart?

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Hi all, just want us if anyone has experience on Denon 103, 103R, 301 and 304? And which one do you prefer and why? I had a 103R before but didn't like it but want to revisit the Denon Cart again and thinking which one should I get....

Thanks

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If you a going to stick with the Denon 103 range would'nt the 103 Pro be the one to get

 

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Not to stick with 103 range, I am thinking the four I mentioned, it fits my budget, this my second TT, occasionally I like to try different carts on that TT just for a bit of fun.

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Hi Dennis, 

 

What didn't you like about the 103R? Might give an idea of what might suit you.

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Hi Dennis, 

 

What didn't you like about the 103R? Might give an idea of what might suit you.

I can’t remember exactly mate but I think it was the distortion on some records and not enough bass with my full range speakers...may be it wasn’t setup probably?! My setup is a bit different to what it was before hence I want to revisit the Denon cart also after I bought the DL102, it sounds great. And I used to have a dl110 too...

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Might not have been suitable for your arm then, as I've found that the 103R has powerful bass, and prominent mids.  In comparison the bass of the mono 102 is slightly more wooly, but shares similarities in having wonderful midrange performance.

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Might not have been suitable for your arm then, as I've found that the 103R has powerful bass, and prominent mids.  In comparison the bass of the mono 102 is slightly more wooly, but shares similarities in having wonderful midrange performance.

May be it was the arm, now it will be on a different arm, the 102 was great so things might change...
I heard people saying 304 is much better than overrated 103 hence my OP.

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19 hours ago, Rhythm Willie said:

If you a going to stick with the Denon 103 range would'nt the 103 Pro be the one to get

 

 

the 103pro or 103r po, are  supposed to be better than the factory models but both are also much more expensive and rarer,

 

the stock 103 is a good honest sounding cartridge, the 103r is more refined and in some systems a touch analytical compared to standard 103.

 

in between is the limited production dla-100, a souped up 103 made to celebrate denon's 100th birthday.

this is a superb cartridge, better balanced than either 103 or 103r but also more expensive ~$500usd

 

the ultimate 103 was the 103sa, long long out of production and sought after by collectors.

 

eg.        https://www.ebay.com/p/1625843930

 

s-l1600.jpg

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I've spoken to a few experts over the last year or so about what to do with a new 103R and all of them have said the single biggest improvement and it's a quantum improvement is to place them in a wooden body. I'm about to find out if they're right or not.

 

I'm sure some here would have had experience with wooden bodies on carts and the inherent benefits therein. 

Maybe that's an avenue you could look into

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2 minutes ago, Luc said:

I've spoken to a few experts over the last year or so about what to do with a new 103R and all of them have said the single biggest improvement and it's a quantum improvement is to place them in a wooden body. I'm about to find out if they're right or not.

 

I'm sure some here would have had experience with wooden bodies on carts and the inherent benefits therein. 

Maybe that's an avenue you could look into

 

Aah, Lee - here's a pic I took many years ago of one of the D103 bodies that the late, lamented, Duc made:

 

 

82871180_Denon103Body.jpg.2dccff1691a29a408242ee5023da5f51.jpg

 

 

Just beautiful, IMO.  Not sure if it's now sold off but if you like it ... contact "petng", to see if it's still available.

 

BTW, a "quantum" improvement ... is actually a very small improvement!  :lol:

 

Andy

 

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I went from the DL-110 to the DL-103, initially using it with an MM phono stage and a SUT.  The SUT was a Denon intended for use with the DL-103.  While I liked the 103 I thought it a little coarse, particularly on classical music, so I purchased a DL-301 II and was happy with that for a number of years.  I did replace the SUT with an active headamp and found that that improved the 103 significantly over the SUT.  When I eventually sent the 301 for a rebuild, I had the late Duc fit one of his wooden bodies to the 103 and found that that plus a change to 1Kohm load really had the 103 singing.

Most of the time these were used on a Michell Tecnoarm.

Dependent on what arm you are using, the 301 with its higher compliance may be a better fit for you.

On the Tecnoarm, prior to fitting the wooden body, I used a lead shim to add approximately 5gm extra mass with the 103, the 301 I ran as supplied, although I thought it a little better when loaded with around 212 Ohms.

I have no experience of the 103R or other variants of the 103 and the 304 has quite a low output.

 

Afterthought, the 103 series, including the R variant, are fairly low compliance and will usually sound better after playing one or two sides to warm up the suspension.  This is regardless of any break-in from new.

Edited by ophool

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As mentioned in the thread, I too have a 103r with a Duc made wooden body on a unipivot 10.5 VPI arm.  A fantastic setup.

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17 hours ago, ophool said:

 

I did replace the SUT with an active headamp and found that that improved the 103 significantly over the SUT.

 

Interesting to hear that ophool.  :thumb:  I am an advocate for a head amp - rather than a SUT - for the simple reason that you are free from the inherent load limitations of a SUT (47,000 divided by the square of the SUT turns ratio).  But it seems not many others are.  :(

 

17 hours ago, ophool said:

 

When I eventually sent the 301 for a rebuild, I had the late Duc fit one of his wooden bodies to the 103 and found that that plus a change to 1Kohm load really had the 103 singing.

 

 

What were you running the 103 at, before?  118 ohms?  (Which comes from 47000 / 20 ^2.  With an output of 0.25mV, I would expect the SUT would have been 1:20.)

 

Andy

 

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23 hours ago, andyr said:

 

Aah, Lee - here's a pic I took many years ago of one of the D103 bodies that the late, lamented, Duc made:

 

 

82871180_Denon103Body.jpg.2dccff1691a29a408242ee5023da5f51.jpg

 

 

Just beautiful, IMO.  Not sure if it's now sold off but if you like it ... contact "petng", to see if it's still available.

 

BTW, a "quantum" improvement ... is actually a very small improvement!  :lol:

 

Andy

 

Due to the generosity of a member here who knows I'm in a bit of an income downturn (to put it lightly) I I've been given a mint 103r with one of Duc's wonderful bodies. A former sponsor here who's a Linn expert and a fan of Duc's bodies says it's a major improvement.

I'll let you know one day

 

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2 hours ago, Luc said:

Due to the generosity of a member here who knows I'm in a bit of an income downturn (to put it lightly) I I've been given a mint 103r with one of Duc's wonderful bodies. A former sponsor here who's a Linn expert and a fan of Duc's bodies says it's a major improvement.

I'll let you know one day

 

Enjoy. mate!  :thumb:

 

Andy

 

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What's the best place to get Denon carts guys? Any places to avoid (any fakes?) Thanks!

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+1 for the Wooden bodied 103R from the late Duc, whom also supplied me with a little Dynavector SUT. Sounds very nice on my DP75 with a DA 307 tonearm. I couldn't comment on how the 103R would sound on other tonearms, I suspect compliance matching would be reasonably critical-apologies if this is a no brainer statement lol.

 

I assumed (wrongly) that a 2m Bronze/Black would sound killer on my tonearm, only to be quite disappointed. The 103R is a much better match.

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23 minutes ago, Jebediah said:

The 103R is a much better match.

Duc's 103R was the first choice and suggestion of the factory trained Linn tech that set up my lp12(knowing my budget which is basically zero. I can't afford higher specced carts ). He suggested Duc's body over the German bodies you can get and sadly he hadn't heard that Duc had passed away it came as a shock.

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