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My 103D experience

I own one. Having set it up on 3 medium mass arms, I came away feeling that the 103D was totally overrated. It was a quiet cartridge, for sure, but the thing sounded soft and uninvolving, just like 16/44 red book.

A gent here at the VA was kind enough to point out to me that the 103D was actually a high compliance cartridge, and would be better off installed on a low-mass tonearm. At the time, I had a Signet XK-50 tonearm mounted on a Luxman PD-444, so it seemed like a good situation for the 103D. It was.

I put on some regular old, 2 dollar copy of "Kind of Blue". Believe me, this particular pressing is nothing special, and yet the imaging, detail and dynamics were really good! The 103D looks a bit big at the end of a XK50, disproportionate actually, but man was that combo really wonderful.

So the XK50 is a low mass arm, made during the ultra low mass craze. Like the ADC and Grace arm-cart combo's, the Signet/ Audio Technica arm/cart combos have a great synergy, and that synergy is not limited to these combos. There are matches between companies that are magic, like the Denon/Signet.

Or course, your challenge is to match your 103D, once gotten, to the right low mass arm. If you are unwilling to do this, then you'll have to ask the Soundsmith to rebuild the suspension and lower its compliance so that it is a better match with your medium to higher mass tonearm. As Harry Weisfeld of VPI stated on this forum within the last few days, most of his clients problems are the arm/cart interface, much of which stems from compliance mismatches.


"Hope is a good thing. Maybe, the best of things. And no good thing ever dies."


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  • My 103D experience - Curious 14:03:10 08/26/13 (1)

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