Technics SL-23 TT opinions.. mated with Denon DL-103?


I was looking through Craigslist and found a Technics SL-23 for sale for $150.00.  Would this be a good table to mount a Denon DL-103?
429f63ec 7c97 48b3 acd4 6924e51e5d41coachpoconnor
Yeah sure, why not? Sounds like a really nice vintage combo to me. Clean it up, lube it up, slap a nice new belt on and enjoy!
Of course not, ONLY heavy tonearm is a good match for a very low compliance cartridge like Denon DL-103. You are way off with Technics tonearm for low compliance catridges. You need superheavy tonearm for this cartridge.

Technics tonearm designed for MM cartridges, they are all mid or high compliance, but your Denon 103 is a low compliance.

Read this article first

Buy a decent vintage MM cartridge instead of DL-103 MC and you will have much better sound

Whatever.
I must say though, having read the reviews, VERY impressed with your cartridge!
All the cool guys have one. At least one. Really cool dudes have like three or four. Sometimes, you even meet a girl who uses a Denon DL-103, but she is invariably extremely hot. Her name is Charlie or Ingrid or Scarlett, or some crazy crap like that. She owns more records than you do. She’ll eventually want to move your furniture. If you’re smart, you’ll let her. And when you’re done moving furniture, you’ll sit down with a glass of gin and a smoke, and you’ll drop the needle on Dexter Gordon’s Our Man In Paris. You’ll take the stairway to the stars and spend a night in Tunisia.—Stephen Mejias
Read more at https://www.stereophile.com/content/denon-dl-103-phono-cartridge#EgW5JePFE3TAiL9y.99

Does it mean the more DL-103’s the more I’ll get laid? 😎
Chakster.. could you give me some examples of TT with Heavy arms?
It would be appreciated!
thanks
coachpoconnor,
One thing you got to learn around here, lotta guys with next to no actual experience perfectly content to blow smoke throwing terms around trying to sound good. Classic knows just enough to be dangerous scenario. Now at this point, believe me, I could launch into a kilo-word dissertation but as educational and fun as we all know that would be the previous two sentences are all you really need to know.
Sure, you have to look for tonearm effective mass, not every manufacturer will let you know what is the actual effective mass, but this is the most important as you can read in the Ortofon's article: "Cartridge and tonearm systems resonance frequency." 

Cartridge dynamic compliance and Tonearm effective mass - this is what you have to take in count. 

I can't give you an example of the turntable with high mass tonearm if your budget is $150.

The best high mass tonearm is Fidelity-Research, but it's about $1500-2500 just for the arm. 

But my advice is to buy some nice MM cartridge for your $150 turntable, sell your Denon DL-103 or just don't buy it. If you want to stay with Denon's "oldschool sound" and conical tip just look for DL-107 MM, designed for NHK broadcast (just like the DL-103). 

If you're looking for high-resolution cartridge with much better stylus (and much longer life-span, less record wear, better sound quality) look for Audio-Technica AT-ML150 OCC MM (Beryllium Cantilever / MicroLine stylus tip), which you may find for $400 NOS. This cartridge has medium compliance and it will put in the dust much more expensive cartridges. 

BTW I don't like Denon DL-103 and all the hype about it.   




That Technics is made for a mm cartridge. Most of the arms on those tables have a mass of 12 grams. If you use that cartridge the resonance frequency will be a high 16hz.
https://www.vinylengine.com/library/technics/sl-23.shtml
See what I mean?

I would just go check out the CL table. Ideally mount your cart and play a record. But if for some reason you can’t, then check it out. Pull the platter, turn the bearing by hand feeling for smoothness and slop. Check the belt for suppleness and signs of age like cracking. Replace the platter with the belt disconnected, give it a little spin and watch how long it takes to stop. Watch carefully when it stops- did it stop smoothly? Or abruptly at the very end? Or worse, stop and then go back as if the bearing were falling into a notch? Because that may be exactly what’s happening.

Handle the tone arm. It should move freely and without slop of any kind. Adjust VTF and anti-skate to zero and the arm should float and drift freely without ever sticking any one place. Bearing in mind this is an older budget level rig, and these tests check out, then for $150 you got yourself a $300+ table. I would take it and run.




The Denon weighs 8.5 grams without the hardware. The maximum weight for that tables arm is 8.5 grams without hardware. You might not be able to balance the arm with that cartridge. I'm just giving you the facts that you asked for!
coachpconnor,
Just to further counter the inexperience based misinformation above, here is what Origin Live has to say about the relevance of compliance matching:
Cartridge compliance calculations are an overrated simplification of complex problems. For example the vertical compliance is sometimes different to the horizontal compliance but this is not stated. As far as compliance issues go – Origin Live and many dealers find theory bears little or no relation to reality. This view is now increasingly held. There are too many surprising experiences where theoretical optimums mis-track and theoretical mismatches track perfectly.


That's Origin Live. https://www.originlive.com/cartridge-compliance-tonearm-effective-mass-cartridges-work-well-origin-l...

Its not that what they're telling you is wrong. Their harmonic resonance theory is perfectly valid... theory. Its just that this is the real world. 
No axe in this match but I would not be adverse to trying the 103 and seeing where it shakes out.

I have a Denon DD tt with Infinity Black Widow arm, extremely light!
The 103 played perfectly well on it imho.
Sure it may not have given its best on that arm but it was more than acceptable.

If you already have the 103, give it a shot, you may be surprised.
@millercarbon

Do you know what is resonance frequency and why it shouldn’t be in the musical range? If you don’t know just buy yourself a Hi-Fi TEST LP, put low compliance cartrige on lightweigh tonearm, play Test LP and you will see how your arm and cartride will start shaking, a thrilling experience. This is resonance frequency. Do you want your arm and cartridge shaking while you’re playing normal record?

This is what’s on the Test LP:

Tracks 2 & 3: Cartridge & Arm, Lateral & Vertical Resonance Test
These two tracks are used to test the resonant frequency or your tonearm and cartridge combination in both the vertical and horizontal domains. These tracks offer both a visual and auditory indication of the resonant frequency; the stylus will “wobble” and the test tone will warble.


P.S. With Denon DL-103 cartridge a high mass arm must be used (20-30g effective mass), not a lighweight arm, this is the basics.

Denon is not the best cartridge at all, but using it on lighweight arm like @uberwaltz Black Widow (3g effective mass) is just the opposite to the common sense. The Black widow designed for MM cartridge with a compliance figure at least 4 times higher than DL-103 compliance. Also the effecive mass of the Black Widon is 10 times lighter than it should be for DL-103. The music will be transferred from LP to the speakers, but it’s a total mismatch in terms of tonearm/cartridge resonance frequency. I would never do that!


The cartridge is too heavy for that arm. He won’t be able to balance the arm anyway!
It’s a simple matter to turn a low or medium mass tonearm into a high mass one; just add weight at the headshell. For $150 it’s worth a shot. I would not be intimidated by the apparent mismatch between a 12g tonearm and a Denon DL103. If after adding 5-10g of weight to the headshell there is a problem with inadequate counterweight, that can also be addressed by sticking some bluetack to the CW. (Try it with no added headshell mass first and then add mass incrementally.) Have fun. I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised.
Chakster
Please do not insult my intelligence as though I do not know it should not work and that it is a total theoretical mismatch.

That is not remotely what I said.

I stated that it worked well enough for me to be a pleasant listening experience but obviously not as good as it could be.
Or indeed as a great lightweight vintage mm on same arm is.

But the point was it worked and was actually fairly resolving, much more so than theory would have you believe.

And that if the OP already has the 103 then he has NOTHING to lose by trying it.

As already stated there are plenty of ways to make a lightweight arm heavier, some prettier than others granted.
I have very successfully run an Acutex cartridge, with stated compliance of 42, in a Fidelity Research FR64S (high mass) tonearm using a 10g headshell.  (The original FR64S headshells were much heavier and only added further to the high effective mass of these tonearms.) I listened to that combo for months on end, and it always sounded great, with no hint of a problem with bass frequencies.  One reason for this result, in my opinion, is the age of the NOS Acutex; I doubt it exhibits the compliance originally spec'd for it because of stiffening of its suspension.  But I also take that to indicate that the compliance spec for most cartridges is an approximation at best, due to sample to sample variability in the construction of any cartridge.  Like Uber said, there's no harm in trying.
Presently, I have a Onkyo CF-1280f DD turntable with a Nagaoka MP-110. It’s a good looking old turntable from the 80’s I believe. I also have a Music Hall MMF 2.2 and did not like the sound of it with its factory cartridge.  I had heard some good things about the Denon cartridges and was interested in giving a MC cartridge a chance.
I thought that if I could get the Technics TT for 125.00 I wouldn’t have any issues epoxying weight to the counterweight or the head shell, but I also not crazy about throwing money away either. Maybe a better decision would be to buy a Denon DL 110 and mount it on a Onkyo head shell.

If you do not already own a 103 then no, it would not make sense to buy one to mount on that technics tt.

If the tt is in good order then by all means buy it but then be better off looking for a good vintage mm cart that will match the arm better .

Chakster is likely the man to suggest best mm cart although I have my opinions and current favourite as well.

If you prefer to go with a new cartridge there are still plenty of great bargain mm carts out there in the same budget as the 103.
The Technics turntable would be well matched with an Audio-Technica VM540ML mm cartridge in all respects. The micro-line stylus profile is vastly superior to others, especially conical styli from a wear and tracking perspective also. 
I've heard from a few members that FR 64s tonearm can be used with High Compliance cartridges, i got the arm, but i've never tried any High Complinace cartridge on that arm, simply because i have different arms for High Compliance cartridges. BUT The FR arm has detachable headshell and optional light counterweight, so it can be adobted a bit for experiments with higher compliance carts. Ikeda-San designed FR-64fx then for cartridges with higher compliance (i have it too).   

The Black Widow tonearm does not have detachable headshell or optional counterweight to add mass. This toneam has very thin armtube (easy to damage). The whole combination designed for High Compliance cartridges like Stanton, Grace, ADC ... The effective mass of Black Widow arm is just 3g (this is extremely low mass). Honestly i think it's a very bad idea to use this arm for low compliance cartridges. I'm pretty sure Raul can hear the resonance frequency all the way from Mexico @uberwaltz 


Who here mentioned using a Black Widow with a low compliance cartridge?

But just in case, keep in mind that the mass of the cartridge is added to the effective mass of the tonearm. Since most low compliance cartridges are heavier than most high compliance cartridges, such an apparent bad idea might actually work ok.
Another factor at work to mitigate mismatching is the equation for resonant frequency. It’s inversely proportional to the square root of M*C. Once you take the square root of the product, big differences in M andC are ameliorated.
@lewm

Who here mentioned using a Black Widow with a low compliance cartridge?

You’d better read a content of my answers or entire thread Lew, because you missed the point. I was shocked to see our @uberwaltz is actually using DL-103 on his Infinity Black Widow. Will you accept that? See below:

I have a Denon DD tt with Infinity Black Widow arm, extremely light! The 103 played perfectly well on it imho. Sure it may not have given its best on that arm but it was more than acceptable.

Chakster
At least you make me laugh....
Not sure if you are being deliberately obtuse but yet again you missed my point entirely!

No I never said it would be a good idea to run a 103 on a BLACK Widow.
No I am not advocating everybody rush out and buy one and do this.

My point was to the OP that if he had a 103 then just because on paper it is a total mismatch do not be afraid to try it.

As it turns out he does not own the 103 so no obviously not sensible to buy one on the slim off chance it could work but rather go for a good known mm.

And I never said I am actually USING that combo either!

When i bought the table it came cw 103 mounted to the Widow already so obviously I tried it even though theory said it should be awful.

It was not and it was actually listenable.
But not as goid as vintage mm carts which rapidly replaced it.

I was relating my experience but you seem to only want to take oblique sideswipes at me instead of seeing my post for what it was.

But here you go Chak if it will help you sleep tonight.

You are right.

There, feel better now?
Zu audio produces a modified Denon DL 103 that is meant for a Denon VL-12 turntable. How does this combination fit into low compliance cartridge, heavy mass arm theory? 
When I was into vinyl, I was beyond all of the lp playback gear mentioned above. Just saying. If I were buying a Denon 103 ( or any low output mc cartridge ), to be used on a Technics SL 23, I would rewire the tonearm cabling, without a doubt. I would further damp the subchassis, the platter, and change the mat. I am also of the belief ( as I started out as a Linnie ), that a better table is the key. Think of it this way. The tt / record is a road. The tonearm is a car. The cartridge / cantilever / stylus is the tire. The entire record playing process is to minimize any additional vibrations / resonances as seen by the stylus. This is the reason I got out of vinyl. My ear continued to hear imperfections in the playback gear, and the cost it required for me to enjoy it became exuberant. YMMV 
mrdecibel I appreciate your input. I was hesitant to go down this road.
Zu audio produces a modified Denon DL 103 that is meant for a Denon VL-12 turntable. How does this combination fit into low compliance cartridge, heavy mass arm theory?

I must say that i am a big fan of Zu Audio speakers, also i like people at Zu Audio.

But regarding the cartridge i have to say they are NOT manufacturer, Zu Audio just replaced the stock Denon plastic body to a much better one made by ZU in USA. Their higher graded Denon is just selected stock Denon. Zu Audio has been selling Denon DL-103 in a custom body for years and the best arm for their cartridge was Audiomods (made in UK).

Before Zu Audio started selling modified Denon DJ tunrtable they did an excellent mod of Technics SL1200MK2, the stock arm was replaced with Audiomods and the cartridge was Zu Denon DL-103.

I’ve never tried that new Denon turntable, but with superheavy headshell, heavy mounting screws and maybe heavier counterweight the tonearm mass can be increased.

Personally i have no idea why anyone should use DL-103 if any vintage MM cartridge (same price) is much better than Denon.

But i know why Zu Audio are happy to make their modified version of Denon DL-103 and even modified version of new Denon turntable. I think it’s profitable and the wholesale price from Denon for Zu Audio is pretty low (i’m sure it’s a good business).

However, if you will visit Zu Audio show in USA you will see Sean Casey playing record from Luxman PD-444 turntable! The arm is Thomas Schick designed for low compliance Denon DL-103 and Ortofon SPU.


Being that the SL 23 was my first table years ago 
the OP should take note the speed adjustment pots all
seemed to become intermittent and require cleaning if not 
done so already. 
Regarding use of the 103 if you have it try it out, otherwise 
there are other more suitable at least on paper options.
@uberwaltz

When i bought the table it came cw 103 mounted to the Widow already so obviously I tried it even though theory said it should be awful.It was not and it was actually listenable. But not as goid as vintage mm carts which rapidly replaced it.


So why bother with it, on the wrong arm, if it’s "not as good as vintage MM" ? I just don’t understand the logic, even if the OP has DL-103 the arm is not optimal and the best result will be with higher compliance MM on that arm anyway. For this reason i’ve mentioned DL-107 MM as alternative to Dl-103 MC for his arm if "Denon sound" is what he likes.

I was relating my experience but you seem to only want to take oblique sideswipes at me instead of seeing my post for what it was.But here you go Chak if it will help you sleep tonight.

I never sleep

DL-103 on Black Widow is the worst nighmate i can imagine. The worst ever could be only Ortofon SPU

Chakster
For Heavens sake!
You are just polluting this thread now in your vain attempt to have the last word!
You obviously will never actually comprehend the meaning of my post whether deliberately or not.

It was already mounted on the arm when I received it or are you going to SERIOUSLY tell me you would not have tried it just out of curiousity? ( no answer required......)

It was an example for the op that just because theory says it should not work, do not always let that stop you experimenting as you just never know.

It was on the assumption the op ALREADY OWNED a 103!

Now we know he does not it is a moot point.

So just give it a rest!


coachpoconnor...
I’ve had my SL23 for 42 years and love it. Yes the speed controls need cleaning once in a while. My only mods are the 6mm thick solid rubber Technics mat (which damps the platter better than the stock one), and the Pro-Ject Clamp-It record clamp (which isn’t really heavy but clamps to the spindle). I run it with a Denon DL301MkII MC and it sounds great in my system. The DL301mkII is higher compliance than the DL103.  Tried the DL110 and didn’t like it, seemed uneven frequency response. I prefer the DL301mkII loaded at 476 ohms. Much more air and focus with the MC in my experience. 
Good luck!