Denon 103D or 103R is an incredible choice, .25mv and only half the budget. You can e-mail me and send me the other half as thanks.
Txs guys. I´ve read thru prior posts on the Forum, and it seems like there are different versions of the 103 (D, R, Q, etc). I have done some searches on the web, but the places I´ve found that sell Denon cartridges seem to have only one available, with no letter following the number. Any suggestions on where I might find the full line up and, if so, which version might be the best match wth the Ekos?
All the models of DL103 are available direct from Denon USA, except for the DL103R model, which is not imported. It is my favorite one of this series. It can be ordered from Singapore via Audiogon member "Martin" through the Audiogon member lookup system. He runs an audio store there called Triode Zen, and he is a reliable source for these cartridges, and that is where I got mine. About $250. Any other model can be gotten from Denon. The plain DL103 is about $149. The other models are somewhat higher, and probably worth it. The 103R is simply stunningly good for the money.
I've done some more diggin thru the Forum posts, and had a question for you guys on compliance. The Arkiv's compliance is 12 cu, whihch is moe than twice that of the basic Denon 103, and higher than the Shelter's. Now, if the Arkiv is designed to be a perfect match for the Ekos arm, woouldn't these lower compliance cartridges be problematic in my rig?
The lower the compliance, the higher the resonant frequency of the arm/cartridge resonance (this is modeled just like a spring). Fortunately, there is a broad range of acceptable arm/cartridge resonant frequencies. The medium mass Ekos is well within the operating range of the Denon, Shelter and Ortofons mentioned above and, from a resonance standpoint will provide a good match. This spec is certainly not as great a concern as bearing integrity when dealing with relatively low compliance cartridges. You are good to go.
I spoke with Denon USA a few days ago and found that the DL103 and the DL103D are available and that is it for the 103 line; ie, no "R" or limited editions through Denon USA. That's the bad news; the good news is the DL103 is $ 150.00 plus 5 bux shipping...such a deal! The DL103D is 348.00 so quite a bit pricier. I ordered a DL103 as I could not pass it up at that price; that is what people are trying to sell them for used.
Marty, the regular 103 for $150 is the conical, although I have heard some refer to it as spherical. Either way, it is a very small contact section. This stylus shape is much more forgiving regarding alignments, than elliptical or especially line contact types. I tend to prefer the simple stylus shapes. My current Shelter 501 is elliptical. That is about as long as I would like to go.
The 103D and the 103S have the elliptical styli, and are more expensive. They are also the medium compliance family, compared to the 103 and 103R, which are very low compliance.
Tom, I should've just contacted you directly. As usual, you are a font of knowledge and I really appreciate your input. I think I will be looking to replace my 103D soon. It is actually a line contact stylus, I believe. I don't share your appreciation of the conical stylii, but I have had really good luck with my Koetsu Black, which is a simple elliptical, I think. Other ellipticals have worked well in my system also. Do you know if that 103S is still available? Thanks again.
I was in the market for a 103 awhile back. I found this thread somehere regarding the differetn 103 versions. I can't remember now where I found it, and I apologize to the author for not mentioning their name. Anyway, with all of this talk again of 103's, this info might be of use to someone. The original author refers to the cartridges as "he's" not "she" or "he/she". So, blame he/she if you are offended! :-)
Looks as though this list could use some updating in light of Tom's mention that the 103S is still available.
"103C Hes got a black body thats got square edges (not rounded off like one of his siblings), a white center line, and no letter designation. Hes the original 103 cartridge the first stereo MC ever, if my history lessons have been correct. Given the C nickname because of his conical stylus. A rather [very] low compliance cartridge he needs a lot of tracking force, 2.5-3g. 0.3mv output. Started life in 1963, and still in production!
103D This guys the classic in the eyes of most 103 users. Hes got a olive\tan colored body with a red center line. An elliptical stylus replaces the conical found on the C much more compliant suspension too. 0.3mv output, 1.5g track. This little guy is the magic maker mid-range to die for! IMO, the finest sounding pickup ever made! Sadly, Im fairly sure hes out of production. [not true, these are still available from Denon USA].
103S Hes pretty close to the D, but does away with the elliptical stylus, in favor of a Shibata. Hes always dressed in a white body with a red center line. 0.4mv output 1.5g track. Hes long out of production.
103M He gots a black plastic body with metal [aluminum?] inlayed around the perimeter of the body. Hes physically shorter than his brothers are, if I remember correctly. Donno what stylus hes got? 0.15mv output, 1.4g track. Again, out of production.
103C1S A modernized version of the C pretty much the same low compliance, super stiff suspension as the C. He comes dressed in a black body like the C, but this time with rounded corners and edges, a metallic fleck paint job, a silver centerline, and the text DL-103C1 silk-screened on the side. 0.3mv output, 2.5g track. Also out of production, if Im not mistaken.
103R Dont know a ton bout this guy, cept that hes got a black body, like the C but with a gold center line, and the text DL-103R on the side. Hes got coils wound from 6 nines copper wire. Not sure on the output or track. I do believe hes still in production!
My info gets even more fuzzy from here Im also assuming everything from here on in is out of print.
103Special white body
103G Black body, made of some sort of carbon/composite, if memory serves. Coils wound from gold wire.
103FL Fine line stylus white body
103C2 Black body, black center line
Another correspondent who lives in Japan added:
There were many other cartridges in the DL-103 series over the years, such as DL-103 PRO (lower compliance), DL-103 gold (gold wire) DL-103FL, etc etc."