VPI Classic 3 anyone try a Denon 103R

I have to admit, all the cartridges and turntables that I have been thru over the years, I really found that I really enjoyed the Denon 103R as much as any..AND I have had quite a few!

I just bought a new Classic 3 in Rosewood...I just wondering if anyone has tried it on a Classic 3.. Is it a match with this arm? Compliance issues? Other?

How bout phono stage recomendations?


I have a Classic with both weights. I use the Denon 100th anniversary model, another variation on the 103. I noticed that Soundsmith made a VPI specific cartridge and that is is a lot heavier than most other cartridges. I got a gram weight to add to the tone arm, it is flat and sits between the cartridge body and arm. I added blu tack between arm and weight, and between weight and cartridge. It sounds amazing, I am completely happy. I use Kimber silver cables into and out of a Parasound JC-3. It is dead quiet and compares to my Ayre CD player. It may be an old design, but the performance leaves nothing wanting.
In my experience, the Denon 103r benefits from an arm with more effective mass that the VPI Classic Signature.
I put it on a VPI Classic 1 and I was amazed. Best of Luck
It sounded so good that I demoed the ZU version of the DL-103R on the JMW 10-inch arm at audio shows (ZU DL-103R on the Classic 4). It also worked well on the JMW 12-inch arm. There is also one shown on a recent post on the Asylum by Seadog. I did not try the standard 103R.
Thanks guys!

Interesting... That's what I find when I search... Someone seyz no way, wont werk... Another seyz awesome...

Also considering the Dynavector DV20X2 or XX-2 II Low Output versions...

What about the Dynavector P75II Phono Stage? Decent? If it will drive all Dynavector cartridges as is . why does Dynavector offer a $3000.00 step up?

I listen to 99% Jazz... Double bass, Bari and alto sax, vocals...

What's important to me:

Likes: EASE in presentation, Weight in bottom, texture, bloom, midrange rich, not syrup but rich...

Dislikes: Hyper detail, cold, super fast, brittle, cold , sterile, any kind of glare, tizzy.


The Dyna 20x2 and XX-2 mate REALLY well with the Classic arm.

The xx-2 is twice the $$.. Can you tell me the differences?

How about that with the Dyana 75 phono..
Or Rouge Ares? Or ??


The Dyna 20x2 and the XX-2 definitely have a familiar sound. I would say that the 20x2 gets you 90% of the XX-2, but that last 10% can be expensive. I found the XX-2 better at retrieving subtle difference and micro dynamics
the classic table deserves a better cartridge

Can you go a little further with that thought?

The Denon Dl-103 family of cartridges while being known as solid performers for the money($400 range?), certainly can be bettered by many cartridges. Even some MM carts in my opinion will outperform the Denon-103R. Of course you will have to expand your budget to achieve this.Firstly and foremost you have to set a budget for both the Cartridge and phono stage because sky is the limit when trying to recommend a good set up. I do know Dynavector cartridges mate very well with the VPI 3. Also if considering the Denon like with many MC's, you typically will need a phono stage with at least 60 dB gain.
Your tunable is a very good one.....the Denon is only OK. Get a Good Dyna, Benz, Ortofon, Soundsmith, etc.
The Denon 103r is for budget systems. The Classic 3 is not a budget system and deserves a much better cartridge. Even the "budget" AT OC-9/II or /III would be a big step up from the Denon.
Thanks All.

I am considering the Dynavectors... My budget is not limited to 103R, but, I have had many more expensive cartridges that did not perform as well as the Denon 103D and 103R..

We have all upgraded to more expensive, highly touted audio gear without seeing much if any benefit... It's never about what is best , but, is almost always about what trade offs we can live with....and which best suits our system... Beware of anyone that recommends anything new unless they ask for system specifics and sonic preferences... Anyone can buy a system based on S-Phile, Class A components..but not all are compatable and provide synergy.

And, for the record, I do now how to calculate how much gain is needed for a given cartridge and looking for the appropriate phono stage/step up device accordingly.

****AND I have had quite a few!****

Which ones? That would be very useful information.
Miyajima Takumi, VanDenHul Frog, Koetsu Rosewood, Rosewood Signature, Urushi, denon 103 and 103R, a couple different ClearAudio, VanDenHul MM2, Ortofon 2M Black.. Dynavector Diamond 1980's.

Most impressive/ Best Value, Denon 103 and 103r. Koetsu Rosewood standard

Most disappointing: koetsu Urushi.

Fave tonearm Graham 1.5, really like the looks and design of the Schick 12" arm but haven't tried it. And of course the Triplanar ....

"Likes: EASE in presentation, Weight in bottom, texture, bloom, midrange rich, not syrup but rich...

Dislikes: Hyper detail, cold, super fast, brittle, cold , sterile, any kind of glare, tizzy."

You know what you like.
If the arm is too light for a stock 103R, Soundsmith sells weighted cart mounting screws and/or you could use a weighted spacer. You might have to increase the weight of the counterweight, but if it has to be positioned further from the pivot, that will also add to the eff mass.

I'm not sure of the 10Hz cu of the 103, but you might not have a problem anyway. If the cu is 10 and the arm is 10g (?), the resonant frequency should be < 12Hz.
Great Idea Fleib!

If you're still looking at phono stages, IMO, it's difficult to do better than a Herron VTPH-2. Nothing even close for the money. And the VTPH-2 has more flexibility that an Olympic gymnastic team.
What are these, the latest "buzz words"?
How many threads are we going to post on these products already.
Plus if you can buy a Classic 3 you should know better then to ask this by now.
How rude.

There are aspects of this that are beyond my realm of experience with these specific products. That's why I didn't elaborate. I'm told that the 103 family (w/5 cu @ 100Hz) sounds best on arms of around 20 to 25g eff mass, but the question arises about the unipivot. I would guess that conventional gimbaled bearings are preferred, but that's a guess.

Usually, much higher cu carts are recommended for the Classic arm(s). Maybe the Classic 3 arm is heavier with stainless arm tube?

Your question seems appropriate to me. If someone had experience with this specific combination it could be enlightening. I see no search function on this forum and a quick Google search didn't turn up any relevant answers.
Good luck.
I believe owning a $6500 turntable and considering a $370 cartridge such as the Denon is not really a valid question. As far as being rude, it's an observation, these analog threads seem to thrive on the VPI Classic and Denon 103. It's all been covered before.
Thanks all.


Idea: If it has been covered before and bothers you... Just hit the back button on your browser... and move on...

I will not be looking at or reponding to this thread again..

Thanks all for the input and assistance- much appreciated.

Why has this thread turned so ugly.... just comment on things stereo and omit the personal junk. This site is supposed to help not hinder
Bobc, again grats on your new rig. I am to thinking about going for a VPI TT. Most likely the the 2 but knowing that you have the 3 I would like to hear as to what you do finally choose as a cartridge. Keep us updated!!!