SME 3012 S2 + DL103Pro = thin sound ????

Just a couple of days back I bought my first turntable. It is a Nouvelle Platine Verdier. The tonearm is a SME3012 S2 and the cartridge is a DL103Pro. The setup has done about 10 hours now. I am using a Auditorium 23 SUT for DL103 and a Leben RS30EQ MM phonostage.

The sound I currently hear is somewhat thin, compressed in dynamics and also a little dark. I am missing some body in the mids and transients are not as good as I expect from this setup.

The reasons I can think of are:
1. Cartridge and tonearm mismatch. The VTF is currently at 2.8 grams with some positive VTA.

2. Cartridge and TT bearing needs to burn in. It is currently only 10 hours old.

3. The SUT + leben phonostage is not producing enough gain. The volume knob on my amp is running relatively higher than what I listen to with my CDP.

Please advise.
Phono Carts. break in a lot. More than any other type of component. When they are new, you can actually hear them getting better from record to record. You need way more than 10 hours. Give it a little time and things should start sounding much better.
It's not surprising you perceive your phono sound as "thin." The SME 3012-S2 is light for the Denon 103Pro, making the two a marginal match. The SME's effective mass is 9.5g. The Denon's actual compliance (converted to industry standard test @10Hz) is just over 10. You're just on the high side of the cartridge's sweet spot with that tonearm. You're also tracking it a little heavy. The Pro version of the 103 is rated for 2g +/- 0.2g, but you probably have to in that combination.

The SME comes from the era of high compliance cartridges. If you want a Denon 103 sound character in that tonearm, the scarce and more compliant 103D and even scarcer 103M would be a viable match. The current production DL304 might work, on the low side of that cartridge's sweet spot in that arm. If you peruse the cartridge database at, just remember that when using the resonance calculator, you have to multiply Denon's compliance rating by 1.8X to convert Denon's 100Hz test figure to the standard 10Hz reference for compliance.

If you want to use a Denon 103 or 103Pro with your outstanding *first turntable!* a tonearm with an effective mass between 15 - 20g will work beautifully. An affordable and wonderfully compatible tonearm in that case is the Thomas Schick "G" length.

Thanks Blk25.
Is SME3012-S2 a good match for DL103 ?