Another review of a tweaked Denon DL-103R ??? Oh no! Boring? Surely not! Please read it!
*First of all: I'm not affiliated with ANY of Companies mentioned in this post. Above all, I'm an enthusiast of state of the art audio analog components...*
This is my second post on Audiogon Forum and I would like to share with you, fellow audiophiles, my thoughs about a GREAT tweaked Denon DL-103R Cartridge: The "Paradox Pulse Guard R SMR Cartridge"
Being a Senior Electronic / Acoustic Engineer and worked with many Audio Companies in Germany and Japan, this led me to listen to all kind of analog components, from turntables to tonearms and cartridges since the 70's... the golden years of the analog sound!
Thanks to Siemens AG (in Germany) and Matsushita Electric (known as Panasonic) (in Japan), that I have worked for many years, I have had the opportunity to experienced all sorts of hi-end Cartridges, tonearms and turntables... for audiophile and professional purposes and although many components led me to great satisfaction, only a few them passed to my restricted test of building quality.
For tonearms, Fidelity Research (FR-66 and it's variants, made in Japan) and our own Technics EPA-100 showed perfect bearings... and Cartridges (EMT, made in Germany) among very few others that have the most perfect cantilever/stylus alignment.
For my surprise and great enjoyment, I ordered a modified Denon DL-103R (The Denon DL-103R is a venerable Cartridge in production for many years with a strict quality control), called Paradox Pulse Guard R SMR Cartridge, (from Terence Robinson), that has been tweaked to perfection.... (please go to www.paradoxpulse.com
for more details).
After removal of the original resonant plastic body, Terence mount the motor in an special aluminum body, including about 40 micro lead dampers and then finally fill all the gaps with a kind of epoxy to kill all resonances. After this, Terence do the "break in" process (for the wire and suspension of the brand new, selected DL-103R for matched channels) for about 100 hours. After that, he send the wholly cartridge to change the original aluminum cantilever/conical stylus for a Saphire cantilever/MicroRidge stylus. This is done by Andy Kim at www.phonocartridgeretipping.com
After years of triyng expensive Cartridges like Phasemation / Phase Tech (great cartridges!), Ikeda and many others, I mounted the Paradox Pulse Guard R SMR cartridge in the (very rigid) Ikeda IS-2T headshell in conjunction with the (also very rigid) Sorane SA-1.2 high mass tonearm and the results? OUSTANDING!
I NEVER heard piano notes with such lifelike realism! Vocals have palpable presence and the soundstage and depth above any criticism. The exceptionally perfect Saphire cantilever / MicroRidge stylus (made by Namiki, Japan) alignment (Thanks Andy and Terence, for your state of the art job) are so perfect that I ever seen only with such perfection on my EMT TSD15 (and a very few others), but the Paradox Pulse takes the sound reprodution to another level of refinement. Air between massed vocals and bass notes are to die for...This is the cartridge that satisfy me at a reasonable price, without breaking the bank!
This is Heaven & I'd die for it! The Paradox Pulse Guard R SMR Cartridge installed in the Sorane tonearm, Ikeda Headshell, through the fabulous Hashimoto HM-7 Step Up transformers, with a reflective load of 512 Ohms, took my System in another level of realism and satisfaction.
Would you like to share with me, fellow Audiogon members, your impressions and thoughs about your phono system?