the recommended tracking force is 2.5gms, +/- .3gms. Some guys like the 103R tracking at 2gms as it gives it a little more life. Mine is tracking at about 2.3 currently.
The vinyl engine has a nice English manual for the 103 on their web site under the library link.
Thanks. I had it set at 2.6 without the manual. I thought that was a little high but I think I will leave at that for now. One more question, how many hours till this puppy's broken in?
2.5 grams works for me
Also note that if you're using a Shure stylus force tracking gauge that everyone I've tested is about .3 grams optimistic, meaning that when you think you've dialed in 2.5 grams, you are in fact tracking much closer to 2.2 grams.
Thom @ Galibier
I think this setting is critical for the 103R. If it is not set optimally, then it will sound like you're listening through a curtain. You will still get the great balance and timing that the 103R delivers, but not the considerable clarity, openness and focus that it can provide. This cartridge has a broad, deep and open soundstage with good perspectives of individual instruments - when set up right.
I just checked my 103R and it's currently set at 2.15g (this accuracy may be suspect, since I'm using the Shure balance, but that's as near as I can determine with it's scale). I suggest you set the VTF to 2g and start working up in small increments until clarity and focus is optimal. It appears to me like the 'sweet spot' in the magnetic gap is rather small - careful azimuth setting (if you have it) also yields dividends (as do antiskate and arm damping).
It's quite possible that the exact 'sweet spot' varies from cartridge to cartridge. Your ears are the best judge, but rest assured VTF does make a substantial difference with this cartridge.
What do you think the most accurate & easiest to use Tracking force gauge is.
The SFG-2 runs about 0.3g high eh? Maybe I'll have to buy some calibrated weight to try on mine. Any ideas where I can buy a 1 or 2 gram certified weight?
I agree it can't be the most accurate gauge, but I assume it gets you in the ball park, from there I use my ears to dial things in. But I'm a numbers guy and would like to quantify things when possible.
The cost of the digital gauges (as most things in the high end) are hard to swallow given the frequency I would use one.
Actually digital scales with 0.01g (claimed) accuracy are getting pretty cheap. I just bought one off ebay (new) for A$45, complete with 50g calibration weight.
It should get here sometime next week and I'll be able to check the accuracy of the Shure.
I also found this scale specifically made for VTF measurement, it's still nearly 3 times the price but not really outrageously expensive:http://www.decibelhifi.com.au/prod388.htm
I agree with the note on placing no more than 2.3 gms to the Denon, and i took me more then 75-100 hours for full break-in.
Should it be the extra copper on the r?, I don´t know.
DL103R runs best at the higher end of the tracking force range, and 2.75g has always sounded best in my system.
Well, in my system, the best sound has well and truly left the building waaaay before 2.75g or even 2.5g.
Out of curiousity, what arm are you using?
I use the Origin Live Silver Mk1 on a Teres Model 245.
I wrote a review of this cartridge for the Audiogon review section back in 2002. Perhaps you've seen it there.
Nope, I haven't read the review, but I will.
Your high VTF setting is completely at odds with what I hear in my system - perhaps this is arm dependent??
I've actually got my 103R backed off to under 2.1g now (by the Shure's reading), which is how I had been using it for many months prior to some very recent tweaking.
VTF at <2.1g sounds better than the slightly higher setting I was using above - more open and present, more 3D soundstage with better delineation of recorded layers, instruments placed more solidly and with greater transparency at the rear of the stage, better ambiance recovery etc.
This cartridge has plenty of audiophile thrills when it's dialled in........but in the area of pacing, musical communication and sheer fun factor - I consider it a perfect '10'. Though I have limited experience (none with the very expensive designs) I can't imagine how it can be beaten in these later regards.
In these most important factors it kills my Crown Jewel (aka Shelter 501).....kills!! and then stomps and dances on it's grave.
BTW, the Crown Jewel is a cartridge I've owned and loved for more than 3 years, and my favorite cartridge prior to the 103R.
This observation may be naive but couldn't the optimum tracking force vary from one DL 103R to the next and wouldn't the mileage on the cartridge as it relates to suspension have some effect also? What about VTA? Doesn't that change slightly with additional tracking force as the cantilever is deflected more? Then, of course, there are other potential factors like altitude, attitude, atmospheric pressure, inebriation, indoctrination, ineptitude, and interpretation. It's a hobby within a hobby. Those digital folks are missing out on more than half the fun.
How much did you pay for that Denon from Japan?
Completely agree that the 'right' tracking force will probably vary from cartridge to cartridge. Arm setup, temperature etc will all have some influence. Even so, there is a pretty big difference between my setting of 2.1g and the 2.75g used by Twl.
Perhaps when I get my digital scales in a few days I'll discover that my Shure balance is reading significantly 'light' - but who knows. The key point is that this cartridge requires experimentation with VTF to extract its considerable best.
I bought my 103R from Audiocubes in Japan for $250 + $6 shipping to Australia. One of Audio's true bargain buys IMO.
I also suspect that there could be a difference in Shure VTF scales. I think that within the same scale they are pretty consistant, but from scale to scale could be a different story altogether.
Very good to hear from TWL! I'm sure I speak for many in saying we'd like to hear more from you, Tom.
Thank you Dan.
I'll be trying to be as helpful as I can with my posting.
I'm glad to be back.
An update on my VTF with the Denon 103R.
I received my digital scale (50x0.01g) and have checked against the Shure SFG-2.
Not even close!!
Basically the Shure appears to be reading at least 0.3g too light! This actually puts me up close to Denon's recommended tracking weight. I actually measured 2.35g with antiskating applied and 2.43 with antiskating defeated (interesting).
I have posted some pics of this over at Audio Asylum:http://www.audioasylum.com/audio/vinyl/messages/517131.html
Be 'Shure' to read my follow-up on this issue:http://www.audioasylum.com/audio/vinyl/messages/517200.html
More investigation required.
Well, I'm a bit pissed with myself for stuffing up the initial measurement with the digital scale - ie didn't think of magnetic attraction from the cartridge.
I want to rig up the little 'Wally' adapter so I can place the digital scale on the platter (rather than jacked up on cards etc) and still have the measurement surface at record hieght.
The digital scale appears most consistent when the weight is distributed evenly in the middle of the scale. The adapter should make this easier than the jerry-rigged lid/cards etc. - I have to fiddle around to get these into a half decent masurement position on the plinth of my TNT.
I'll post back when I've made up the adapter. With all this fussing about, I can see now that the Shure's simple operation is an attractive feature.
Well I made up the 'Wally' jig for my digital scale.
I found that the digital meter was reading 2.02-2.03g consistently as long as care was taken with setup (the scales are very sensitive). This is within <0.05g of the Shure's reading (~2.06g), so the 2 scales produce very close results.
Assuming the digital scale is accurate, the SFG-2 (mine at least) is very good VTF scale given it's (apparently) unsophisticated construction.
There are some pics of the 'Wally jig' setup here:http://www.audioasylum.com/audio/vinyl/messages/517619.html
TWL, it was your excellent review of this cartridge that prompted me to purchase this model from Japan in the first place. I took the liberty of reprinting it in it's entirety on an another thread. Anyone interested in reading this can follow "Answers" next to the name Dreadhead. It is worth reading.