Cost no object tonearm for DL-103

I know the concept sounds silly to spend top dollars for a tonearm to use with 103, I am just looking for a high quality tonearm to use with cartridges like the Denon, EMT and the likes. I have tried the vintage SME 3012 but it lacked resolution for my taste. My question is, should I look at vintage tonearms like the Fidelity Research FR-64S, EMT 997 etc or are there are modern tonearms that would do better justice to these cartridges ?
I have a ZU Audio modified DL103 cartridge mounted on my JMW9 arm and it sounds fantastic
You should ask A.J. Conti at Basis if he thinks the Denon would be compatible with a Vector 4 tonearm. I changed from an Origin Live tonearm to a Basis Vector and it made a huge difference with a Shelter cartridge
The Jelco SA750D and the longer L if your table can accommodate them are fantastic with the 103.

Good listening

I have a Zu Denon 103R that I've had the ESCCO mods done on (sapphire cantilever, Paratrace stylus), and used in conjunction with a Dynavector 501 arm, has worked out to be a great combination.

The matchup was a good one before the mods, but they took it to a much higher level afterwards. Whether or not any 103 is worth using with a world-class arm is a question better answered by someone that has tried the combination.

I have a Zu Audio/Denon 103 on a Zeta (Van Den Hul) arm on an Oracle Delphi MKIV that is superb.
I have a VPI 3D arm and think very highly of it. Surely recommend it.
I have to agree with Peter's recommendation of the SA-750 series arms. If possible, opt for the "L" 12" version. Quite nice. Had a SA-750D on a modified TNT with very good results. And at their price you can afford to buy more recordings.

I was alternating between an AT-OC9/ml and a Lyra Clavis da Capo with great results.
Nobody talks about the formidable Fidelity Research FR-64S or the Schick or the Scheu Classic (12") ? My turntable is Verdier, it can take almost any tonearm, at the moment I use an ARO. It is a very well sorted arm but not exactly ideal for 103 and TSD-15.
For the DL103 and R you want an arm of at least 16grams effective mass. If you look through the spec chart on every arm you might consider, you'll find how the manufacturer rates its arm for mass. But keep in mind that an arm of lower mass can usually be increased simply by adding a head weight between the cartridge and headshell. Additionally, many arms are offered with add-on weights for the counterweight end. This allows you to accommodate cartridges like the DL103 which have stiff suspensions that require more weight over them to keep the stylus in the groove.

16G to 20G for the DL103R.

There is more to know but this is the short version for matching up arms and cartridges. Additionally, you can calculate at what frequency a given arm and cart match-up will resonate by a short formula. The idea being to have the arm/cart system resonate between 8hz and 12hz.

Here's a link to a page with more info on this subject:

You may want to check out the Ikeda labs arm. I just heard one, but with an Ikeda cartridge. Very impressive.
Dear Pani: +++++ " the formidable Fidelity Research FR-64S... " +++++

formidable for whom, the FR tonearms are the ones with higher self generated distortions out there. That some people are unaware of those tonearm generated distortions or that they like that kind of distortions does not means the arm is " formidable ", certainly it is not: I own it and only stay with to compare how a tonearm has not to performs.

Regards and enjoy the music,
I heard a Van den Hul retipped 103 on a FR66S tonearm. The combination was wonderful.
Dear Mosin: Good that you like it as likes to other persons.

I owned a FR66 and own a FR64.

Problem with the FR tonearms is that are all metal NON-DAMPED balanced designs.

Trough my experiences the worst self resonance/vibrations tonearm/headshell build material is metal or a blend of it.

A tonearm must " fight " against stylus/cantilever and cartridge body generated vibrations/resonances ( at microscopic level between the TT mat/platter and LP/stylus-cantilever. ) that one way or the other needs to be damped and at the same time that the tonearm/headshell can stop/disappears the feedback of those cartridge/LP generated resonances/vibrations: this can't do it by the all metal NON-DAMPED FR design and not only that but due to those microscopic cartridge/LP resonances the tonearm wand and bearing is exited with creating additional resonances/vibrations/distortions that degrade the cartridge signal as in no other tonearms. Again, problem is that the FR are a NON-DAMPED design.

Additional the FR balanced design kind of operation has its own " ringing "/noise " to operate in balanced way with out no single kind of dampening that could stop those " vibrations "/distortions.

That's what the FR owners are hearing and what you heard.

That, as some of you, like it what are hearing does not means in any way that those very high distortions disappeared just because you like it: NO you are hearing those distortions and this is what you like it, period.

Now, not one but two times a gentleman that knows a lot more that any one of us, because he is a cartridge designer, he ( I assume. ) tested his cartridges with almost any kind of vintage/today tonearms and he knows exactly how each tonearm affect the cartridge signal, well he posted ( when some one asked. ) that the FR is not a tonearm he prefered and even posted that the Ikeda tonearm are a little better than the FR ( even that comes from same designer. ). I agree with him about.

The FR subject ( as any other in audio ) is not what we like but what is wrong or right. Yes, that " wonderful " you used in your post or what ever adjective you can give to those tonearms are weighted with " tons " of distortions that you are unaware of..

As with TT a tonearm needs dampening even at higher level that in a TT. This is not science is only common sense.

Yes, I know that you like it: so what?, is wrong what you like it or you like it higher distortions and nothing wrong with that because is what fullfil your cup of tea.

IMHO and trying to help to other audiophiles we all have the responsability to understand what is happening " down there " ( in any audio subject ) before we can " spread " " marvelous information " that could contaminate the learning proccess of any audiophile precluding the " right " to grow up each audiophile has. Misinformation only stop each one growing up proccess and life is to short to stay " stopped ".

The spreaded information of this specific tonearm was made for sellers to take money from us that were unaware of the facts because our ignorance level on that specific subject was really high.

Some already learned by first hand experiences.

Btw, you can ask your self : why a tonearm needs " damp " by design?, I'm sure you can find out the answer in a few minutes.

Mosin, vibrations/resonances/feedback/generated noise are the Music/sound ENEMY in all audio alternatives but especially on analog. We need: TT, cartridges, tonearms and the like with the right " dosis " of dampening to be nearest to the recording.

Am I against the FR tonearms?, certainly not what I'm is in favor of MUSIC and against anything that can degrade it in the way those tonearm does. Tha's all.

Regards and enjoy the music,
I have the Denon D-103R mounted in one of my FR-66S tonearms and concur with Mosin on its compatability (resonant frequency measures 12 Hz).
With the FR-66S however....."Cost no Object Tonearm" is indeed a prime factor.
But must find one? :-)
Problem is that some persons never learn or don't want to learn for whatever reason.

IMHO from the point of view of cartridge/LP needs the FR tonearms maybe are the worst ones to achieve those cartridge needs, as a fact can't achieve it.

The main subject is not if we like the huge FR distortions but if helps to be nearer to the recording and certainly it can´t do it but the other way around: puts us far away from the recording.

For any one interested on the importance of tonearm damping please read the TAS ( 234. ) Ortofon TA-110 review. Certainly Ortofon is an expert on cartridges as JC and their knowledge level is way superior in that regards that any one of us.

Makes no sense to spread misinformation with out precise foundation. At the end of the day what H. is saying is that tonearms ddoes not needs any kind of damping ( the FR has none. ): go figure!?!?!?.

I repeat, the subject is not what we like but what the LP reproduction needs and at tonearm level it needs damping.

Btw, as longer a FR tonearm as worst the distortion levels.

Regards and enjoy the music,
as longer in: length. So, the 66 is worst than the 64.

Dear Pani: Today exist several tonearms that can works fine with the cartridges you name mit and many more but if you want a vintage one my advise is that look for the Lustre GST-801.

This tonearm design was and is " light years " a head the FR in every single tonearm parameter/characterisitc design and even for today top designs a challenger for.

IMHO the Lustre along the Technics EPA-100MK2 are one of the best ever designed pivot tonearm and performs according. These people really knew how design a tonearm to achieve the cartridge/LP needs and they did it with full success.

Regards and enjoy the music,
i agree with Raul.
i have heard and own the FR66s arm and it is very overrated tonearm ever . it didn't worth what is bring and didn't sound as good as for what it worth .
for denon 103 cartridge something's like the underrated audio technica AT=1503 mk3 will e my choice.

Dear Ldvalve: Unfortunatelly exist dishonest sellers of that FR tonearm and is unfortunate for the buyers that paid very high prices : 3.5K to 6K big dollars for a tonearm that in reality honor no more than 800.00.

In the other side, I forgot the AT 1503 that I own and have mounted in my system. Very good performer and way better that the 66/64.
As you said the AT tonearm is an underrated one.

Regards and enjoy the music,
FWIW I use a Denon DA-307 with my DL-103D. I would not say it is cost no object but it is a great match, especially with the PCL-5 head shell.
hi Clio: are you using that set up with your what-must-be-killer Concert Fidelity restored Denon tt?
IMHO the Lustre along the Technics EPA-100MK2 are one of the best ever designed pivot tonearm and performs according.

Raul, how about the Technics EPA-100 (MK1) ?
Banquo, yes that would be the Denon DP-3000 as totally refurbished by Masa Tsuda at Concert Fidelity. It's an all Denon set up. As an alternative I use a Denon DA-401 with either Grace F9, B&O MMC-2, or Sumiko Talisman Alchemist III-S.
Dear Pani: The Epa-100 MK1 is very good too aand recpmendable. You can't go wrong with these Technics tonearms anmd can be sure you own a top performer designed for the cartridge needs.

Regards and enjoy the music,
Dear Clio09: what a beautiful " arsenal " you own. I hope you can have time to share in the MM/MI thread your experiences about. Thank's.

Regards and enjoy the music,
Dear Pani: Many of us take audio decisions at " blind ", we trust on reviewers/dealers/manufacturers/$eller$ or non-informed " audiophiles and that's why we grow up extremly slow and doing mistakes after more mistakes and we have to pay for each one of those mistakes : not onloy money but the most important part our no-return TIME.

Here we are talking of tonearms and you posted " formidable 64 " and you posted that because is what you learned reading non-informed owners or dishonest sellers.

Take a look on the Koshin Denki Lustre GST-801 design that speaks for it self. You can attest that even today exist no single tonearm with that kind of knowledge level on what a cartridge/LP needs characteristics and the build quality is second to none too:

check the " report and the manual. Btw, Sumiko was the seller in those old times.

Now, if we speak of Technics this are " big big words ". Technics is part of the electronics biggest japanese group: Matushita-Panasonic.

Did you know that the motors in the Micro Seiki TTs came from Technics?, did you know that the DD motors used on the recording proccess ( cut machines. ) came from Technics? did you know that one of the best ever cartridges designs came from Techynics: EPC 100C MK4? did you " hear " about the Technics SP10s? and of course the Technics EPA 100 and 500 tonearm designs.

These people at Technics not only have the desire to build first rate analog items but any kind of resources: enginnering, research, tools, money and knowledge level that no single man can be surrounded for design.

I think that if today Technics or Koshin " revive " and decide to design a today TT, tonearm or cartridge maybe could outbeat/perform almost any other competitor and not because the today manufacturers are not good but because the kind of resources they have on hand. Maybe at lower prices too.
And all that in favor of MUSIC and we music lovers and audiophiles.

Check the EPA-100:

In audio ignorance and misinformation is what we all have to improve. We have to be informed: well informed, with true unbiased information.

Regards and enjoy the music,

Happy Thank's Given Day!!! for USA citizens.
Raul, it is because of the MM/MI thread that I have this arsenal. Except for the B&O which I purchased new nearly 20 years ago, the others were purchased based on recommendations in that thread. I will make a note to post back over there with my experiences.

Thanks for starting that thread.
Dear Clio09: Appreciated.

Regards and enjoy the music,
Pani: I think I forgot:

Compare both tonearms: Lustre and Technics with that " formidable " one.
Hi, Because the Denon has a low compliance it needs a Heavy arm, TemaadAudio produce an arm, their Warlock SL 12 inch, which is specially designed to accommodate the Denon. It is also not that expensive at US$990-00 or US$1,100 with VDH internal wire.
Not to sound rude, I am generally interested in the answer. If cost is no object, why not swap to a different cartridge ? It is interesting to hear people mating the 103 with components that outclass them in terms of cost. Now I get that cost doesn't always equate to better sound, and I will say I have never had a 103 in my system, but there seems to be better technology out there. Micro contact diamonds, boron/ruby/sapphire cantilevers, figure of 8 coil windings etc..What is it about this particular cartridge that makes people go so gaga over it?