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In the Forum: Analog Playback
In the Thread: Denon 103: myths and the reality
Post Subject: Is the 103’s reality a sane substance?Posted by Romy the Cat on: 12/7/2004

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T, ‘m glad to see you around.

Your position is quite educational although not an unproblematic. I do not agree with some of the points you brought up (I mean that 103-is very low compliance cartridge - 5x10-6 cm/dyne (except D and M), disagree with effect of capacitance to the 103, disagree the 3012, disagree with estimate of the loading and many other things) but instead of debating with you about your single proclamations I would suggest the readers made up their own mind and you and I did. In the end it is not about sharing experiences: which cartridge is “better” but rather to share experiences how we approach the process of cartridges evaluations and the way in which we interpret the results.

I still stay with my not-thrilling sentiments about the 103.

It should be considered that I used 102, 103, 103R, 103D, 103M and I consider the “default” cartridge is 103 not 103C as you suggested. I do not know 103C and I do not know anyone who use it. Also, and this is quite fascinating… I know dozens of people who parse the 103 and none of them use or are familiar with 103C. Practically all of them admire the “improvements” of 103R and so on. All of them suggest me that I “have no idea what I am talking” when I tell them that do not like those 103s and all of them use very different, mostly controversial arms and other tools. The most invigorating that you propose totally alternative vision and totally different way to used this 103 and you suggest that other ways are disabled to deliver a positive result. So, if both of you are correct and if you use totally antagonistic and opposite-exempting approach and methods to utilize this cartridge then is it possible that one of you wrong? How could it be if you both like the 103 very much?

I am not exactly typing to justify my use of word “Morons” – I can do it, as you know, freely and without any justification. You know that I do not trust audio people and I speak only on behave of my personal account. During my experiments with all my 103s I was not able to get the result that I would consider worth attention, and I did use quite different arms including some of them that were specifically built for 103 in 1976 (Unless the Cho-sun, the Micro Seiki chef, was lying to me)….

Now the important part: I have no doubts that you are quite familiar with this needle and that that you was able to get out of it what you might consider good sound. However, a few years ago, I pitched to the AA Morons (I do no think it is there anymore - it was vandalized by the AA administrative dirt along with anything else that was valuable at that site) that there is in fact a much smaller distinction between cartridges then I commonly believed. The concept was that each single cartridge might be placed in a specific operational condition when it would yield a superiors performance and looking at this level of performance… you might observe a very littler differences between the cartridges. (Probably with exception of tractability)

So, what do you propose? To take the estimable 103, find for it a “special tonearm” (and it is not exactly know if this arm would “embrace the 103’s idiosyncrasies” or it would l mask out it’s imperfections), find for 103 a “special transformer”, and find a “special SS cheap phonostage”…. Besides that you suggest that the “special tonearm”, the special transformer” and the “special SS phonostage” should be crappy (even you have quite sensible reasons to propose what you propose) may I ask you what we are doing by working so hard with 103? Are we exercising your wishful thinking by proving to ourselves that it is theoretically possible? In addition, T, I know that you are familiar with good phonostages, so tell me: how a SS phonostage taking out a receiver would benefit that “exceptional performing quality” of the 103?

In the end, would the efforts spent to “dealing with 103” and off-the-wall tools that it needs be used worth anything. Isn’t it better to cash out the time a person would spend eBaying the microphone transformers and junk arms into a billable hours and for a few extra bucks to get a problem-free needle for $800?

I think the primary beauty of the 103 is that fact that it cost very littlie and for whatever reasons people attribute the low cost as “sonic factor”. When I talking about the PERFORMING CHARACTERISTIC of audio gismos I approach them in  a mode completely disconnected with their price. Would it cost $100 of $30.000 is irrelevant. The subject of my attention is what they do but not my attempt to build up a consumer report guide. I do not deal with purchasing decisions, have no interest in it and therefore the price is not a factor. Certainly we have price as a consideration when we buy or sell but what it has to do with a sonic potency?

Yes, one more thing.

I know that you like some older SPU needles… so would you be able to divulge any advantages of using the “better” Ortofone cartridges loaded into your 7788-RLC-7721 corrector instead of using that 103 loaded into a God know what? The pun is very much intended….

The finally, Thorsten , why should a person to waste a tonearm on his or her TT if “the 103 will never be the last word in extreme LF or HF nor quite in resolution, still, it does at least as well as MANY modern High End pickups do in average setups”. I understand I am playing it but I am a multi-armed freak and I use 103 with a dedicated arm that I play while I am working and do not care how it sound…

The mildly sarcastic Pussy

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