REVIEW: Soundsmith Denon DL103
The decision to purchase this cartridge took a considerable time to evaluate...
- exactly how much better was it over the stock DL103?
- although more revealing, it would probably reveal more issues with some of my older pressings?
- what about setup? - is it as easy as a spherical stylus?
Well - it is SO MUCH better than the stock DL103 - no comparison! But it still retained the very nice balanced performance the stock DL103 has always delivered - it just had more of everything!
More revealing in so many ways - the worst of which effects albums that are not in premium condition - now I know which albums are in serious need of replacing.
Setup has taken on a whole new level of precision. The more precision you apply in cartridge setup - the more magnificent this cartridge sounds.
The hi-end details are superbly clean and crisp, with a smoothness that has me believing it is doing exactly what it is supposed to do.
Low-end control is tight, with textures I had never heard before.
Mids are full bodied, warm and extremely textured.
Imaging is considerably deeper than the stock DL 103 and the venue acoustics had me believing I was in the performance.
Orchestral pieces convey an enhanced spacial awareness in depth and width across the entire orchestra - just as in a live performance
Now, I didn't have Soundsmith mod an existing cartridge, but I would assume the improvements the Ruby cantilever makes would apply to them also.
Not really anything new here - most other reviews report similar findings - but my comments apply to the venerable Denon DL 103!
I have an Audiomods Arm which uses a Rega Arm Tube, so I did need to augment the effective mass with a brass head-shell spacer/weight - but what an improvement!
I think Soundsmith's advantage lies in their Ruby Cantilever, which conveys extremely fine details in a very controlled manner.
If you are undecided about a Soundsmith mod - come on in - the details are incredible.
One of the best value upgrades I can think of