High Compliance Cart on Heavier Arm


Hi. To improve my Denon DL-103 cartridge on a standard removable headshell tonearm, I have added weight to the headshell (shell + cart + weights are about 22 grams or so), VTF about 2.4 grams.

I also have a Denon DL-301 higher compliance cart also on a weighted headshell to make an exchange easy between the two. VTF adjusted for the DL-301 (about 1.8 grams).

My question is: Is there any compelling reason why I shouldn't be running the DL-301 on a weighted arm? I know not to run the DL-103 on a high compliance arm but is there a penalty for the other way around with the DL-301 on a heavier arm (headshell) than required by Denon? For the record, it sounds great and seems to track well and I don't have to adjust the counterweight every time I switch. Thanks in advance, Andy.

andy8400
I have a rule. If it sounds great and tracks well, it is fine.
You can buy Hi-Fi News TEST LP to measure tonearm/cartridge resonance, you will see if the resonance is out of recommended range. 
Chakster's test record will definitively let you know where you are with any cartridge. 

If the cartridge is too stiff (low compliance) for the arm you are at risk for acoustic feedback which sounds like a howl. Many systems do not go that low so they will not notice a problem until they add a sub.

If the cartridge is too soft (high compliance) for the arm when the arm gets to the right warp it will go airborne. Same if there is low frequency rumble on the record. If you watch the cartridge during play it will be bouncing all over the place. You might even hear a warble.

Condition #1 is easy. You just add a little weight to the headshell until the feedback goes away. Condition #2 is worse. It is more difficult to remove mass and all that cantilever dancing routine increases distortion and wear. You can perhaps find a lower mass headshell.  This is why I do not like boat anchor tonearms. They limit your choice of cartridges. With an intermediate mass arm you can use all but the most compliant cartridges (over 20 X 10-6 cm/dyne).  If all you run are Koetsus and Air Tights these arms are wonderful. A Koetsu Rosewood Signature Platinum on a Kuzma 4 Point 14 is a very special experience. 


 
Thanks, I appreciate the feedback. I'm in basic agreement with Noromance's rule which why I had mentioned it.

Mijostyn, I have had no acoustic feedback or rumble (except on select records where it was recorded that way) except once when the TT faced the speakers. It was the hinged cover that was catching the bass as a scoop! Rearranging my room and placing the TT 90 degrees from the speakers solved the problem.

I just wasn't sure if there were hidden problems that would affect or wear out the DL-301's stylus prematurely. Also, even with the added weight I might still not be in "high mass" tonearm range. BTW, I'm my case it IS easy... just remove the weights!

Finally, I wonder if all high compliance cartridges, MM or MC, would perform better or with increased stability if the tonearm were adjusted for medium compliance, i.e., just a little stiffer or heavier than recommended. It seems to work for me, sound wise.
Andy, I always set my tonearm resonance as close to 8 Hz as I can get it. This means making the tonearm as heavy as you can without going over the red line. You need a test record to do this. Setting up the arm this way most definitely gives you superior bass.
Don't you hate it when a record comes with free rumble   🤬
If you do not have feedback and your cantilever is not shaking you are in the ballpark. Look at your cantilever head on. It should appear to be perfectly stationary. If it is not your tonearm is most likely too heavy for that cartridge. Once you are in the ballpark stylus wear is not an issue in any way as long as you don't clean your records with Ajax. 
A dust cover should never be attached to the main chassis ( the one holding the platter and tonearm.)
OK asked and answered! Thanks mijostyn and to chaster for the link. I can get that record from Music Direct or even from Amazon. It should be interesting to see how close I came. It will be my third test LP over 50 years starting with the "Shure - An Audio Obstacle Course".. showing you just how long I've been playing with hi-fi!

PS mijostyn, I don't use Ajax, I use Zud. Now you really know how old I am lol! Thanks for all of your advice. 73, Andy
@andy8400 that is very cool.  I too have the Shure record, I think I got it along with my first V-15.  I remember the V-15 was one of very few carts that would make it to the top level tracking test.  If it didn't it was probably the arm or table setup.  I also have the earlier HiFi News "and Record Reviews" disc and found it good as well.  If you are particularly sensitive to azimuth errors as I am, the Feickert Adjust+ is great if you have the gear to use it.  I have seen lots of sad test records over my decades too.  The one with the bad warp that made the rumble test more like driving a truck along a rail bed and the one with a hole so off center the speed test varied by about 15% +/- stand out.  Both were reviewed somewhere as the last, best test record you will ever own so be warned.  I have also learned a lot from not having any clue what I am doing and having to work back from my screw-ups.  Not very efficient but you can learn all kinds of unexpected things :)