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In the Forum: Analog Playback
In the Thread: Denon 103: myths and the reality
Post Subject: Denon 103MPosted by Romy the Cat on: 10/4/2004



Hm, I just paid attention that over 1000 people  have reviewed this thread…

I’m keep receiving emails form people who feel “insulted” that I did not keep the popular DL103 and DL103R at the level of respect as it treated by those Audiogon intellectuals and other audio-lumpenproletariat that dominates Hi-Fi.

Yes, the “stiff” Denons with high VTF are bad, very bad and you will NOT be able to move them with high affective mass arm. I would not be able to explain to the most of the Audiogon-like audio hoodlums what exactly wrong with Sound of 103/103R as they have no sensibility, not remote comprehending of real sound ingredients and not civilized methods of audio evolutions.  Let them die with this pathetic secret…

If you are so desperate to stay with Denon family then stay with “soft” Denons: S1, 103D and 103M.

The 103D is not available anymore and it has as I said above quite gray and “cotton” sound. The top of the line S1 is quite expensive but it should be fine (I personally did not have it). The 103M is a new mystery for me.

I own 103M for a year or so and I made multiple attempts to deal with it. It is ultra low output (~.12mV... so, I use 74dB gain in RIAA corrector) and some kind of “very kinky” suspension. This cartridge is VERY different, constriction-wise, from any other Denons. It has superbly fluent and liquate sound with very strange and very attractive sense of peacefulness. However, it lucks some dynamics, actually quite sensibly and  has somehow challenged transient response. Recently I did find a way to make it a little bit more jumpy, to perform dynamic-wise almost OK and I am falling in love with it. I have been using the 103M for a few months now as my second or “ever day, casual needle” and I have to tell you that it is ||-so close to where it should be that sometime I do not bother to switch to the “better” arm/needle (but, do not fool yourself, the delta certainly is still there and sometime I do the switch)...

The Denon DL-103M is available from Denon for a little over $220 and I feel that it is a very much ultimate Denon among all that I had.

The image below is the Denon DL-103M playing the Ravel’s Concerto For The Left Hand via Andrey Gavrilov and Simon Rattle with London SO in 1978...

The Cat

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