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linden518
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Denon 103 vs 103R?

I figure I won't truly be able to say I'm going through my analog journey without trying a Denon 103, which I've always wanted to hear. (I'd probably try the Zu variant of Denons, actually, especially after reading AD on the Zu...) But I had a question on the Denons, the 103 vs. 103R. What sets these apart, and what are their relative virtues and deficiencies in your personal opinions? Thanks.

struts
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Re: Denon 103 vs 103R?

Audiophilia Nervosa already SD?? Didn't think you'd stick with that Clearaudio for long. Haha!

Sorry, but I have no opinion on the Denons; I've heard them but don't have nearly enough datapoints to plot a line. The difference with the R is something to do with the wiring IIRC. It's a budget classic but IMHO while your rig would probably get the best out of it the reverse is unlikely to be true. My advice (since you're asking) would be to check out a SS Voice.

Where did you end up on phono stage btw? When I last checked in you were just about to return the Hagerman to sender. Ever get to hear the Leben?

PS Still have that Verdier?

Only kiddin'..

linden518
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Cartridge Fantasy

Curse you, Struts, curse you! You come back to this forum only to taunt me! *shaking fist in the air*

I still like the Virtuoso Wood, despite the fact that I'm now hearing what I'm NOT getting out of the LPs with it, and am not going to really upgrade yet. Denon 103 costs less than the Virtuoso Wood, and since it's such a classic cartridge, I thought I'd be remiss if I didn't get to hear it in my set-up. If I wanted to upgrade and consider non-LOMC, the SS The Voice or Strain Gauge would definitely be at the top of my consideration, but then again, I'm not really jonesin' to upgrade right now.

Haven't heard the Leben yet, but can't imagine it wouldn't sound great with my CS600, as I'm sure Hyodo-san would make sure that there's synergy with house components. Right now, I'm trying the ModWright SWP 9.0SE phono stage. It's a pretty crazy phono stage, tremendous amount of gain. One definite plus of the ModWright would be that except for the super-lowest-output LOMCs, you wouldn't need an SUT... with the Leben or the Hagerman Trumpet, you definitely need SUT if you go LOMC. The ModWright also doesn't sound typically tubey. Very fast, crazy bass, and hits all the audiophile buttons... REALLY quiet. Less lush than the Hagerman but still has that tube liquid sound & musicality.

Talking about eventual upgrades, I'll just list some carts I'd be keen to try... Shindo SPU, Miyabi 47, any of the Audio Note or Kondo IO carts, Van den Hul Condor or Colibri. The bad thing about cartridge purchasing is that you can't really audition these things without buying. I have no idea how they sound, and would have to jump in blind, almost. Of course that's what I did with the Verdier and I lucked out with that roll of the dice...

Any ideas or opinions on these carts, and not just Denon 103 carts? In fact, what are some of the cartridges you are interested in, or that are your favorites? Jump in, everyone!

struts
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Re: Cartridge Fantasy

Hehe, only because you take it with such good grace

I guess with cartridges I am less adventurous than some, I had a mid-range Ortofon on the SME for many years (the head of customer support at SME didn't just recommend it he virtually told me to buy it; it seemed like sheer folly to argue) and always felt that it was a great performer for the money. Likewise I am very happy with the Dynavector on the Artist and do not plan any moves there for the forseeable future.

My bias is generally to stick with well known brands with a really solid track record; along with Ortofon, Lyra and Dynavector would be near the top of my list, although, as you well know the Strain Gauge beats them all on pure SQ in my (somewhat limited) experience. But then of course you have the whole 'system' debate not to mention the rainforest aesthetics.

The one to add to your 'exotic' list would IMHO be the Allaerts. Your French mistress would certainly approve and it is the perfect match for the Schr

linden518
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Re: Cartridge Fantasy

Hey, Struts, Ella's doing well. She's definitely different from her big sister, Iris, who is very cautious around equipment. I'm thankful I have a lockable basement... I got Iris a little pink record player & she loves playing records on it. She's probably the only 3.5 yr old who knows how to put on a record, run the record brush over, lower the needle. Her favorite song is "Lullaby in Birdland" with Sarah Vaughan & Clifford Brown. So proud of her!

As for carts, that's for way down the line for me. I'm going to try the Denon 103 because I feel like it's a big part of the analog audio history & don't want to miss out on the experience. I'll be swapping that, back & forth, with the Virtuoso Wood for a while.

struts
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Re: Cartridge Fantasy

Swapping back-and-forth is a great way to hone your cartridge setup skills but I suspect you'll find the novelty wears off quickly, especially if you are as anally retentive as me and have to have your cartridge set up just right.

Remember, if any of the key parameters such as the height of the body, overhang or azimuth is sufficiently different between the two you may even have to futz with the arm setup in order to dial them in properly. Maybe things are that bit easier if you just keep each cartridge mounted on a separate armwand. No experience with the Moerch so I don't know.

If you do go that route (and aren't ready for the Feickert PC program yet) I can definitely recommend the Feickert Alignment Protractor. It takes a little bit of figuring out as ze instructions haf been tranzlated to ze Inglish viz ze computer program, ja? but once you've cracked it it gives repeatable results for a wide range of effective arm lengths for both Baerwald and L

linden518
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Re: Cartridge Fantasy


Quote:
Swapping back-and-forth is a great way to hone your cartridge setup skills but I suspect you'll find the novelty wears off quickly, especially if you are as anally retentive as me and have to have your cartridge set up just right.


I hear you. That's why I'm planning on going with 2 arms, sooner or later. I'd love to go with Denon 103 with Moerch and some other arm + cart in the other. Now if I could go EMT 997/Shindo SPU, that'd be pretty dreamy... but probably the best thing would be to go with a mono cart in one of the arms, and if so, I'd definitely like to try the EMT cart that AD reviewed. Anyways, pipe dreams for now, but if history's shown me anything, it's that these "pipe dreams" tend to materialize quicker than I think.

As for wknd off, no way mate. Worked in the AM yesterday, and am back in my office. I get to go home early, but work is work...

linden518
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Re: Denon 103 vs 103R?

I couldn't resist the Zu Audio Black Friday sale and got the premium version of Zu 103 modded cart, the 0.1% tolerance version. Saved a chunk of change! I just HAVE to try the Denon 103, no doubt about it... I'll be curious until I actually do. Like I said, I can roll with either the Zu 103 or Virtuoso Wood on the 2nd arm when I go w/ 2 arms later... but if AD's review is spot-on, this might be that everyday cart that I can use w/ any record, especially on grungy rock stuff. Will report back once I set up!

struts
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Re: Denon 103 vs 103R?

SD, Well I'm looking forward to hearing your impressions, I know you'll report in full

Possibly the biggest disadvantage of the "swapping back-and-forth" regime you describe above and which I failed to mention is the risk you run of a horrible accident every time you switch. Just an idea (and I really have to pinch myself to remind myself that you are in fact a vinyl newbie) but I would very seriously consider getting a really cheap cartridge to practice the mounting/setup/dismounting ritual on. You can then try some dry runs to 'get your hand in'. Cartridges with tapped mounting lugs (that don't require a nut) are easiest, 'open' mounting lugs (i.e. that don't completely enclose the bolt) can be a nightmare.

I thought about this when my friend was describing the cartridge shootout where he and some friends first auditioned the Strain Gauge. By some quick math they were juggling cartridges worth over $50k that weekend. Sweaty hands? Oops! Now I have a crooked cantilever on my Tiger Eye Platinum. Atchoo! Oh dear, that's a snapped Litz wire on the Schr

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Re: Denon 103 vs 103R?


Quote:
............................................... Possibly the biggest disadvantage of the "swapping back-and-forth" regime you describe above and which I failed to mention is the risk you run of a horrible accident every time you switch.

So true, and my long, tragic and very costly experience tells me that the more expensive a moving coil is, the more fragile, temperamental and demanding it's going to be.

Quote:
Just an idea (and I really have to pinch myself to remind myself that you are in fact a vinyl newbie) but I would very seriously consider getting a really cheap cartridge to practice the mounting/setup/dismounting ritual on.

Sane idea but what do you call 'really cheap'?

Quote:
.......... Sweaty hands? Oops! Now I have a crooked cantilever on my Tiger Eye Platinum. Atchoo! Oh dear, that's a snapped Litz wire on the Schr
struts
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Re: Denon 103 vs 103R?


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Sane idea but what do you call 'really cheap'?


Haha! Nice try Johann, but I know an elephant trap when I see one!

Clearly that is between each one of us and our pocketbooks to determine. However just so'z you don't think I'm fudging here, when I made that suggestion the picture I had in my mind was of something like this, i.e. under 30 bucks.

linden518
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Re: Denon 103 vs 103R?

I hear you, Struts & JSB. Trust me, I'm not going to play 'musical chairs' with the carts and my arm. For a prolonged while, I'm going to have the Zu 103 mounted on my Moerch with heavy wand, no swapping back & forth. I already have a good idea on what Virtuoso Wood MM sounds like, so when I go 2 arms, either one of those will serve as the 'battle warrior' cart, if you will, to play all those great LPs that are in less than pristine shape.

As for 103, I'm sure there will be certain sonic deficiencies compared to the top-flight LOMCs. But I was pretty much going with AD's assessment of the Zu 103, that it does bring all of Denon's musical intensity - which he says surpasses all of his expensive carts except for the MIyabi 47 - and that it does clean up the bass & some imbalances in the sonic performance. And my brief but pretty intense life in this hobby has shown that I'm not much for looking for sonic properties when listening to music. I just look for the best way to connect, that's all, and when I hear something right, it clicks in the right way... The one I got is supposedly the rare 0.1% tolerance version among the batch, which Zu charges twice as much as the standard version that AD tested, but given the Black Friday sale, it cost less than what the standard version would MSRP. Kind of an easy decision, really.

So I'll be playing with my Zu 103 for a long while until I mount a second arm in the distant (or not too distant? ) future. Again, all input will be appreciated on the 2nd cart choice.

Buddha
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Re: Denon 103 vs 103R?

Dang. I'm a day late.

The 0.1%'s are not listed at sale price any more, or I'd have joined you in the purchase and some comparative listening!

Damn.

Buddha
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Re: Denon 103 vs 103R?

I'm more bummed out now than I was an hour ago.

linden518
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Re: Denon 103 vs 103R?


Quote:
Since leaving behind my long and tragic love affair with moving coils and settling down with Garrot Bros ruby cantilevered 'Optim' F.G.S. moving magnet ( can I use that kind of dirty language here ?? ? ) I haven't had as single episode of the MC palpitations and I also don't have to contend with that extra stage of difficult to get right phono preamplification.
As for swapping cartridges around I have the Garrot 'Optim' pre-mounted on my VPI JWM arm wand and for mono. pre mounted on another arm wand, a Garrot modified Decca 'London mono cartridge. Takes me no more than 30 seconds to swap them and there's no hassle with balance, azimuth etc as that's already taken care of. The calibrated VTA adjustment on my arm base allows me to return quickly and accurately to any required setting, so again no palpitations. BLISS ! !--- finally after decades of fighting with moving coils and arms with nightmarish ergonomics.


JSB (it's weird addressing someone alive by those initials!), can you give a really quick primer on what the Garrot Bros carts are? If you have some links, that will be great, too. I can't speak for everyone, but at least Struts & I aren't such hard-core LOMC only vinylistas... thanks.

linden518
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Re: Denon 103 vs 103R?


Quote:
Dang. I'm a day late.

The 0.1%'s are not listed at sale price any more, or I'd have joined you in the purchase and some comparative listening!

Damn.


Aw, man!!! That would've been fanTAStic. Crap. I would've loved exchanging impressions & notes with you, Buddha. Why, oh, why didn't you check the forum yesterday!?!!

Okay, what about trying to get this seller of Soundsmith Ruby cantilever tipped Denon 103 in Uwe ebony body to come down a bit on price?

http://www.audiogon.com/cgi-bin/cls.pl?anlgcart&1233083751&/Denon-DL-103R-uwe-ebony/new

BillB
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Re: Denon 103 vs 103R?

On that Juno page you link to, there is also a device available called The Buddha Machine. "...(a small soundbox which comes with batteries, an integrated speaker, a volume control, mini jack-out and a switch to choose between nine different loops)"

It's under $20 and I guess it can lead to satori. That's cost effective. Buddha, do you have something to tell us?

struts
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Re: Denon 103 vs 103R?


Quote:
Okay, what about trying to get this seller of Soundsmith Ruby cantilever tipped Denon 103 in Uwe ebony body to come down a bit on price?

http://www.audiogon.com/cgi-bin/cls.pl?anlgcart&1233083751&/Denon-DL-103R-uwe-ebony/new

Down to $450 today!

linden518
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Re: Denon 103 vs 103R?


Quote:

Quote:
Okay, what about trying to get this seller of Soundsmith Ruby cantilever tipped Denon 103 in Uwe ebony body to come down a bit on price?

http://www.audiogon.com/cgi-bin/cls.pl?anlgcart&1233083751&/Denon-DL-103R-uwe-ebony/new

Down to $450 today!


C'mon, Buddha! You can work it down to $375 with your charm and sarcasm!

linden518
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Re: Denon 103 vs 103R?

My Zu arrived today! It's bloody beautiful-looking...

tom collins
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Re: Denon 103 vs 103R?

congrats SD. can't wait to hear your take on it.

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