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Vinyl Asylum: REVIEW: Denon DL-S1 Phono Cartridge by nanbil

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REVIEW: Denon DL-S1 Phono Cartridge

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Model: DL-S1
Category: Phono Cartridge
Suggested Retail Price: $940
Description: LOMC
Manufacturer URL: Denon

Review by nanbil on August 21, 2011 at 08:58:02
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for the DL-S1

This is a fantastic cartridge. I set up the cartridge using the Rega Arc Baerwald protector found on Vinyl Engine and HiFi News' Analogue Test Record. I found that a VTF of 1.45 and a bias setting of just under 1 provided the best sound in my system. Right away the DL-S1 showed that it is a very fine cartridge. Initially it was slightly closed in, but started to open up after about 10 hours of use and continued to do so for the first 30 hours or so of use. The Denon had no trouble tracking all of HiFi News' tracking tests, including the legendary torture track number 9. The Denon DL-S1 tracks as well or better than any cartridge that I have owned. Compared to my former cartridge, an Audio Technica OC9 MLii (also a very fine tracker), there was noticeably less distortion in bands 7, 8, and 9.

Okay, how does it sound? The Denon is a very dynamic cartridge-almost as dynamic as the OC9 it replaces-but unlike the OC9, it plays with equal amounts of verve and elegance. This is an extremely sophisticated cartridge; it provides a highly nuanced and musically satisfying sound. Subtle differences in musical timbre (distinguishing between the first and second violins in a string quartet for example) are more distinct and tangible. Transparency is a word that comes to mind. The Denon simply plays what's in the groove; it does not artificially inflate or alter the recorded sound to appeal to a given HiFi constituency.

This is a very fine cartridge and will stay in my system for a very long time.

Product Weakness: Very low output
Product Strengths: Tracking ability, facility to differentiate between subtle musical timbres, musicality and musical transparency.

Associated Equipment for this Review:

Amplifier: B & K M200 Mono-blocks
Preamplifier (or None if Integrated): Musical Fidelity A3cr
Sources (CDP/Turntable): Rega P7
Speakers: Thiel Audio 2.2
Cables/Interconnects: DH Labs T-14, DH Labs Revelation
Music Used (Genre/Selections): Progressive Rock, Jazz, Classical Orchestral Music and Opera
Room Size (LxWxH): 30 x 22 x 10
Time Period/Length of Audition: One Month
Type of Audition/Review: Product Owner

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Topic - REVIEW: Denon DL-S1 Phono Cartridge - nanbil 08:58:01 08/21/11 ( 12)