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I currently run an LP12(valhalla)/Ittok with a Denon DL304. Though I like some aspects of it, I would like to change the cartridge for something with:
1. A lower compliance (to better suit the Ittok, - a medium compliance cartridge would be fine),
2. Higher output (0.18mv is on the low side). I am close to getting hiss with my 1:12.5 step up into my valve phono stage)
3. A lower internal impedance (the DL304 is 40 ohms) so I get a better bass response with a passive transformer.
I don't really want to break the bank or go crazy, so the cartridges that really appeal to me are:
1. ATOC9 (0.4 mv, 12 ohms, 9 cu)
2. AT33PTG (0.5mv, 17 ohms, 10cu) supposed to be worth the extra over the OC9
3. AT33R (0.5mv, 17 ohms, 10cu). Like the PTG but better quality at double the price.
4. Shelter 501 (0.4mv, 12 ohms ? cu).
The AT cartridges seem to offer phenomenal value at the bargain prices they are available for. Does anymore know if the AT33R is worth double the price of the AT33PTG? How about the Shelter? (Supposed to be good with an Ittok I've heard?) The Dynavectors could meet my criteria but seem overpriced to me. The Denon 103 series is not bad but the compliance is too low for the Ittok really. Also after living with the DL304 (a very detailed cartridge in the treble region) I don't think I could live with a spherical stylus again (I used to run a DL103). Having sound that the 103R looks nice as it is supposed to have a similar midrange presence sound to the standard 103 but is a bit brighter. Any other sugesstions?
One of my friends is very impressed from this Incognito Shibui Cartridge. It is a modified Denon 103, but he says, it is a total different kind of Cartridge. He uses it with a Graham Phantom.
Does anyone have any thoughts on the AT cartridges and the Shelter?
I know you prefer new offerings, but why ? There were so many classics, that you might be able to locate, with low hours and in fine shape, for even less money.
For example, a Koetsu Black might cost less than the Dyna. Owners of these often upgraded to even more expensive goodies. If they can assure you the suspension is good and their item sounds sweet, why not ?
Another classic that might suit you is the Linn Asak...
How about the Monster Genesis 2000, now reissued as one of the very, very expensive ZYX offerings ? I have that Monster Cable gem and love its' speed and imagery.
For every modern cart I have tried, and they were numerous, I still always seem to go back to my preferred reference-the Ortofon SPU/SPE. I have one that has been used, very heavily, for over 17 years, now. The tip is still beautiful, even after thousands and thousands of hours, easily 8,000 hours ! There were/are versions available, destined for the Asian market, that came without the step-up tranny, that was tandem mounted in the headshell originally. The original SPU/SPE carts are so sweet and detailed. Those later offerings must be scrutinized, because just like the Denon 103R, upgraded wire materials might cause brighter highs, which are not to everyone's taste.
These are just a few thoughts. I wish you luck in your search for your favorite illusion of sonic reality...
I would love a Koestu, but am a touch wary about secondhand and you'd have quite a bit of overhang with an Ittok due to the length of the cartridge. Not a problem sonically really but it's not going to look too neat.
The Ortofon SPU original and the Monster Genesis sound nice. Will keep an eye out. Thanks for the tip.
I had an OC9ML/II and find that the Sound-Smith re-tipped DL-103 is better in all respects than the AT.
The DL-103 was re-tipped by Sound-Smith after about 500 hrs of use with the $250 job (consisting of replacing the aluminum cantilever with a Ruby one and the conical stylus is replaced with a modified line contact type).
The now modified SS-103 retains all of the positive, musical qualities of the original DL-103 but gains greatly in resolution and detail.
For the going rate of $150 shipped for a new DL-103 on ebay + the $250 modification, it is the best $400 I have ever spent on a cartridge.
Born To Tinker!
Many thanks, a modded 103 sounds interesting. Does this raise it's compliance, and do you need less tracking weight than 2.5 g with the modded cartridge?
I have been told that the standard Denon 103 likes a tonearm with a high effective mass of around 15g (due to it's low compliance). The Ittok has an effective mass of 11.5 g (medium) though you can compensate for this by add weight to the headshell to raise the effective mass and this improves the delivery with the 103.
Remember that the quoted compliance on a Denon cartridge is measured at 100HZ so at 10 HZ it's may be closer to 11-12 x 10-6 cm/Dyne and should work quite well tonearms down to 9 grams effective mass.
That means that the Denon DL-103 or DL-103R should be a prefect match, compliance wise, with your 11.5 gram effective mass tonearm.
JMHO, YMMV and WTFDIK?
P.S. If you are going to shoot the moon with a Sound Smith Re-tip at $250, go the extra mile and get a DL-103R. ;-)
My guess is that would give you $1000+ cartridge performance for about $550.
If that's the case then why does the DL103 need such a high tracking force? (2.5g).I know some of this is due to the conical stylus needing quite a bit of weight but I was under the impression it needs a high force because of it's low compliance and that much force is necessry for the stylus to actually stay in the groove?
If Denon measure all of it's cartridge compliances at 100 Hz then the DL304's compliance (quoted as 14 x 10-6 cm) much be massively high at 10 Hz, and the cartridge a bad match with the Ittok as the arm/cartridge resonnance is much lower than I even thought, and prone to being excited by record warps. Indeed the suspension on the DL304 is very very springy and soft, and it will track at 1.2g or even less.
and that brought the sound home for the DL-103. Sound is deep, full of all those tones and colors. At less weight the sound broke apart or rather was not cohesive. VTF is 2.5; at less VTF there was a small bit of breakup on certain records in certain places ... no more now.
There are no nasty anomlies whatsoever in this setup for me.
I can't talk about "what is supposed to be", only what is. There are a lot of post saying that the 12gram arm is just right. There are also many post contrary to that. The suspension on that cart is pretty rigid. I don't see it give at all when I set the needle down. The DL-160 gave a bit. The ADC gave in a lot. The DL-103 is stiff as a running board.
Damn big headshell weight! ;-)
If you add x to the headshell and y to counterbalance the total effective mass added is x + y.(x^2/y^2) which is x.(1 + x/y).
From his data x appears to be 3g so assuming y = 27g (to make 30) then the effective addition is 3.(1 + 1/9) or 3.33g
Have a look at the link. I do not pretend to know what is 'right' or correct or anything at all. I just know that when I massed up the arm the sound came home.
Goto bottom of page ....
~ Pat O'Malley
...I have listened to a DL-103 extensively on an Empire 980 arm (effective mass measured in ounces). The Denon works great on that arm, tracking at it's recommended 2.5 grams. An SPU sounded really good on that arm also.
The Denon's compliance is not measured in a standard fashion, my HiFi news test record is not the end all in measurement either. John Ellison has the Frequencies of the HiFi News record mapped out in his image gallery I believe.
Experience with the Denon seems to tell me that it doesn't mind a heavy arm as much as a light one. It (the DL-103) did work and sound good on my SME 309 and it is a 9.5 gram effective mass arm, no added weight needed. The Denon did not sound as good on my Stock RB300 (compared to the SME), The AT OC9ML/II sounded better on the Rega in comparison to the Denon. Why (shrugs shoulders)? I dunno.
I wish I was still tight with the guy that had the Empire 980 (mounted on an elaborate granite plinth, driving a Sota vacuum platter & bearing with a string driven by a Hurst motor) so that I could listen, quiz and measure...and listen some more.
Born To Tinker!
so maybethere is something re the rb arms that needs to massed up for the DL-103's? Whatever ... I will look around next year at tax time for a true high mass arm for my Thorens. Which means that I will probably go for a 304 in the short run and save the re-tip for the 103 on the Thorens w/ high mass arm.
That in my brief experience with a DL-013 on a RB300, it sounded better with a 3 gram weight mounted on top of the head.
right, I added the 3 gram weight but had to add a lot of mass at the back on the counterweight so I could balance.
Interesting. I too have heard that when you add mass to the headshell the delivery of the DL103 improves a lot. I will try this with my spare DL103 in my Ittok and report how I get on. I have only tried it with my Ittok in standard (i.e. 11.5 g effective mass) form with the DL103 and it sounded good. Maybe it will sound better with more mass. Maybe people who say is works fine in a tonearm with a effective mass of 12g or 8g have only heard it like that and haven't tried adding mass to the headshell?!
And yes the suspension on the DL103 is very rigid indeed. The most rigid I've seen. I find it hard to believe the compliance could be as high as 9 cu.
Unforunately I obviouly can't reduce the effective mass of my Ittok for use with my DL304. I wish I could! I can only use the heavist counter weight possible as close to the pivot as possible to get the lowest possible effective mass with that arm.
the 304 sounded nice on my rb250 'unmassed'. Very smooth. Fair ammount of detail but no edge at all. No breakup, whatever.
Wait aminute, I did add the TWL mod and that was on there, but it ran sweet with the side weights.
OMalley, you are a sorcerer. In the tru spirit of a sonic adventurer, I applaud your attempts ! We should all learn from this !
Adding so much mass is not an instinctive move for most of us. Kudos to you and your adventure !
This is living proof that this hobby/obsession is really about proper equipment combinations, and these proper combos are not predictable. We must try and try and keep on trying...always in search of our favorite illusion of sonic reality...
Not sure what to make of this statement.....
A stereo system can in no way reproduce the sound of a live event. Not in any stretch of any imagination. If this is what you mean then I am in agreement with the illusion of sonic reality.
"favorite illusion" is an apt term for those that buy a system that sounds good to their ears without regard to how the actual live perfomance sounds. I would say 95% of audio buyers fall into this camp. Maybe even more.
I applaud O'Malley because he is working hard to optimize his system to achieve the highest possible fidelity. This is an enjoyable pursuit for many of us on the Asylum. Even when we get really close to perfection I find many of us decide to make changes just for the anticipation that even better sound is available with a new product or service.
O'Malley is not a sorcerer by any stretch of the imagination.
just in case ...
It is my understanding that after the conical stylus in the Denon DL-103 has been replaced with the Sound Smith line contact the required VTF is reduced by about a gram.
My Shelter 501 MK II is a true low compliance cartridge, lower than the Denon DL-103, and it requires only 1.6-1.7 grams VTF.
I really don't think there is a direct linear relationship between stylus force requirement and compliance, per se but all other things being equal, there seems to be a relationship between stylus force requirements and stylus profile.
Yes, the Denon 304 is indeed a high compliance cartridge and would likely work well with say a 7-9 gram effective mass tonearm which there are many out there.
That said, many people here find that they can get very good results well outside the “accepted” guidelines for compliance and tonearm mass.
JMHO, YMMV and WTFDIK?
issues. The dynamic compliance of the cart is about 8-9 cu at 10Hz.
My "SS-103" tracks and sounds it's best at about 1.5 to 1.7 grams of tracking force on my SME 309 tone arm (9.5 grams effective mass).
I had an OC9ML/II and the Dyna stomps it.
Thanks. I had considered the 20XL. It all the specs I want (ouput could be a bit higher though) but for over double price of a AT33PTG or OC9? I could get a AT33R from Japan for that price which I am pretty sure would be better.
inherent musicality about it that is hard to describe. I use mine in a JMW-9 arm on a Scout. Best buy I've made in years. It gopes into a CineMag SUT, then a Hagerman Cornet II phono stage.
Many thanks. I'll keep the 20XL in mind. The DC resistance is low as well (5 ohms). I could use a 1:20 step up and still get a full bandwidth sound and plenty of output to boot. Anyone know where I can find one for a good price?!
Does anyone have experience of both the 20XL and OC9 (or AT33PTG) in an Ittok?
Hi Henry, it seems you don't accept unsoloicited email. Can you email me first so I can reply?
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