A Soundsmith Denon dl103 retip question

I have been reading a lot about this mod and the improvements that are attained

E.g. - the general consensus of the Soundsmith ruby retip is a more detailed playback as the main benefit.

However, replacing the cantilever also replaces the tip with one of a different profile.

So my question is - are there a downside to this mod?

- can microscopic particles of dirt in the groove become more audible making older albums sound worse?
- will a stiffer stylus make skipping due to scratches more of an issue

Anyone out there notice any negative side to this mod

The D103, with the round stylus, keeps this venerable cartridge from being as good as it can be, and that is very, very, good.

I sent my D 103R (a Zu Denon model), to ESCCO in Great Britain for their white saphire cantilever/Paratrace stylus mod. It's now my best, and favorite cartridge, better than my Dynavector XX2MKII with Soundsmith's best replacement cantilever/stylus.

Essco takes forever and a day, but it was worth the wait. Soundsmith also has a long turn-around.

Agree with Dan

I have my Ebony wood body 103r with ESC saphire/ruby transplant.
Excellent sounding cartridge.
The practial downside is that, if you get the basic aluminum cantilever with elliptical stylus, record wear will be increased by some small amount as the contact patch of a conical stylus is greater than an elliptical stylus, meaning that for a given tracking force that force is spread over a greater area.

The radical stylus profiles will have an even greater contact patch and thus less record wear, if they are properly aligned, which is not always a given.
Viridian - thanks for that insight

I also found this very informative post over on View yl Engine

I've also read of a guy ( in Italy I think) that completely rebuilds the entire cartridge (nude) that is supposed to be amazing.

I think to start with I'll go for the OC/CL from soundsmith

Now that's been cleared up can anyone comment on the benefits of
1. Nuding the 103
2. Installing the wood body

Many thanks
I own a wood bodied 103. The additional mass and the lack of plastic body resonance (not to mention the threaded screw mounts) make the 103 a joy, but be aware that a heavy arm is a must for good tracking.

I also own a SoundSmith 103 Gold. This too has a wood body but also has the optimized line contact ruby cantilever. It also has the suspension reworked to be a lot more compliant and thus much easier to optimize with a modern arm.
This is a real giant killer: great tone and detailed.
- can microscopic particles of dirt in the groove become more audible making older albums sound worse?
As a rule, finer profile styli are quieter in the groove than larger, coarser styli.

- will a stiffer stylus make skipping due to scratches more of an issue
The stylus won't be stiffer. For LP playback purposes, all diamonds are equally stiff. The cantilever and/or a rebuilt suspension may be stiffer. If so, that may increase the likelihood of skipping. It will also affect the rise time and amplitude of signals generated by groove modulations. Whether for better or worse depends on the system and listener.

All that said, the best/first answer is, clean your records and replace the badly scratched ones. There's no reason to play dirty records. The only reason to play a badly scratched one would be if it were some irreplaceable rarity (in which case you should at least clean it properly).
Doug - None of the "dirt issues" I experience are annoyingly overbearing, but they are there and I have read that a finer stylus can make them even more apparent - hence my question (BTW nicely answered)

I try to ensure my vinyl is as clean as I can get it with each play and have tried several cleaning devices. None of which I have found to be perfect at removing ALL of the dirt - one of the joys of vinyl :-)

What would you recommend to clean vinyl?

WW - If you're looking for system to clean records, I suggest looking at a vacuum-type record cleaning machine (RCM) like the ones from VPI. Using a record cleaning fluid such as one of the formulations from The Disc Doctor will provide cleaning about as good as it gets.
Bpoletti - do you have one in mind?.

I've tried one and it left me disappointed, so I was put off from trying others.

I currently use the Spin Clean and only use pure distilled water - I'm not a great fan of the various chemicals.

I've been using Disc Doctor cleaning fluids with a VPI 16.5 for a long time. Owned 16.5 since probably 1990. I have been very satisfied with the process and results. Sometimes I have to clean a particularly dirty disc a couple of times, but the results are always good.