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Denon DL-103 Phono Cartridge
Product Review:
The DL-103 is a living legend in audio product history. Denon collaborated with the Japan Broadcasting Corporation Technical Research Laboratories in 1963 to make this extremely reliable, high performance low-output phono cartridge. As the first moving coil cartridge, the DL-103 will always be the standard of reliability in every aspect, even the price. From quality inspectors at EMI and Decca, to recording studios, broadcasters, and music lovers around the world, the DL-103 is synonymous with great sound. The mark of the Denon is excellent tracking, as pops and ticks are pushed farther into the sonic background.
Only $229.00
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Widely used in the past for broadcasting , the Denon DL-103 uses a high-quality nude, square shank meticulously mounted to Denon's own conical aluminum cantilever with a cross-shaped armature. This reduces mass such that rich tonal qualities are natural and convincing. This cartridge boasts independent moving coils, a flat frequency response, and a single-point suspension system.

Read Full Review: Stereophile Listening #58
Denon DL-103 ($229): Audio maven extraordinaire Garth Philippe, who passed away in July, was among the most eloquent proponents of this simple, reliably musical device. (So, for that matter, is friend and fellow Listener alum Rob Doorack.) Gray-market samples were all we could get for a while, but thankfully the DL-103 is once again an official part of Denon's US product line. Like Bill Monroe's lost love, the DL-103 gives you body and soul—and it's a hell of a bargain. The Denon has an unusual combination of output and impedance specs, which are 0.3mV and 40 ohms, respectively. Its compliance is quite low, and its stylus profile is conical.

Read Full Review: TNT Audio Review of Denon DL-103
As opposed to 'modern' sanitised hifi components the DL-103 sounds powerful and enthusiastic. The midrange thrives on instrumental timbres that seem correct and that, simply said, are beautiful to hear. Drums are tight, dynamic, and explosive, and as such, are one full notch above what I'm used to from more expensive cartridges.

Read Full Review: Audiogon Denon DL-103 - DL-103R
The sound of the regular DL103 is outstanding, and a super bargain at it's price point. Many have heard of it referred to as a super-cart, or giant-killer. And it is. It has the wonderful characteristic of allowing the music to come across as a composition, and not as a group of dis-jointed parts.

Read Full Review: AudioReview.com Denon DL-103
Very good soundstage, very low noise level, good dynamics. This far outshines every comparably priced cartridge in its class and outperforms many costing multitudes more. Using an ADC test record, the DL103 clearly recreated 1K and 5K tones and when seperated left & right had no discernable crosstalk.

Read Full Review: HomeTheaterReview.com Denon DL-103
At under £100, and working enchantingly, no, make that almost magically in a Rega arm, it has to be - after three-and-a-half decades - the entry-level moving-coil cartridge. Considering that in real terms it costs less now than it did in 1970, you are entitled to think of it as a blessing, a mitzvah, in these days of the 99p litre of petrol. So take my advice: buy one now, before it goes the way of the Shure V15. Or, even more likely, before Denon realises what it's worth and quadruples the price.

Read Full Review: Positive Feedback - the Funk turntable and a few words on the Denon DL-103 cartridge
However, I still have to look at the fact that the Denon sells for only $229. Based purely on its ability to make music on records sound great, and to mate up extremely well with the Rega arms, I have to think the DL-103 is one of the few true bargains in the hi-fi world. I'd say the new hot ticket has held that position for about forty-five years!

Read Full Review: Denon DL-103 - a true classic mc cartridge
The Denon DL 103 was developed by Nippon Columbia / Denki Onkyo (Den-on) and the japanese radio and television broadcast corporation NHK in 1962. This “standard” DL 103 is still in production.
User Manual Denon DL-103
Specifications Denon DL-103:

  • Frequency response (Hz): 20-45,000
  • Output@1khz, 50mm/sec: .3mV
  • Output impedance: 40 ohms
  • Load impedance: 100ohms
  • Channel seperation at 1kHz: over 25db
  • Channel sensitivity: 1dB or less
  • Tracking tip: 16.5 micron special round solid diamond
  • Copliance: 5x10-6cm/dyne (100Hz)
  • Tracking force- 2.3~2.7g
  • Cantilever: aluminum, conical
  • Mass: 8.5g

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