VPI Classic---Denon 103 won't fit on arm??

I was all ready to order a VPI Classic turntable from Music Direct, but then last night I read a comment on audiokarma that the Denon 103 cartridge cannot be mounted on the JMW 10.5i arm because the pins interfere with the back of the headshell or some such thing---does anyone know anything about this? I'm having a hard time believing this, but I want to be sure. I own a Denon 103R, currently mounted on a Rega P25. I'm going to give Music Direct a call and see what they say, but any info from you guys is appreciated, thanks.
I have a 103 mounted on the standard 9" arm and it is hard to see how the 10.5 would be different. Contact VPI and make sure,
I don't see any reason why you couldn't, but a super-low compliance cartridge on a unipivot arm? That doesn't seem like such a good idea, unless you like to watch your tonearm rock back and forth like a boat at high tide.

Stanwal, does it work well for you?

I suppose that damping fluid would help, but if you spent all that money for a VPI Classic, you should get a cartridge that matches up with the JMW-10.5i.

I've never tried it, so keep that in mind. It might be fine.

UPDATE: I talked to Mike at VPI---he told me that he himself hasn't tried mounting a Denon 103 on a VPI Classic, and he doesn't know of anyone having any problems attempting to do so, but if it does indeed pose a problem for this particular cartridge, VPI can simply mount the tonearm about 1/8" farther back to accomodate the Denon wanting to sit farther back on the headshell. He said this altered tonearm placement wouldn't affect any other cartridge that one would want to mount later.

So I went ahead and placed my order with Music Direct, and they're special ordering for me a VPI Classic with the modified tonearm placement to accomodate my Denon 103R.

So I would definitely recommend to anyone who wants to buy the Classic and mount a Denon 103 or 103R on it to do the same to avoid any problems. Mike at VPI said there was no extra charge to do this.

One other thing---Mike also told me to have Music Direct specify that the armtube be stainless steel instead of aluminum, but Music Direct's website and every other online site that sells this table already lists as one of it's features "JMW-10.5i Classic Tonearm with Stainless-Steel Armtube", so I'm not sure why he told me that.
Any other carts that would be problematic with this combo ?
It works well for me, the compliance of the 103 is not that low. The tests of it in the 70s and 80s recommended a 6-16 gram mass arm. I have seen the classic Japanese detachable head shell arms of 20 grams + recommended on the grounds that the arm will flex more with them. I cannot see how that is a good thing, arm rigidity is more important with MC than MM. I owned many of the old arms when they were new, FR 64, several ATs, Luster 801, Micro Seiki 505 etc. and would rather have the VPI arm. I see questions about the VPI being a unipivot but there are several other top arms that are unipivot which are used with moving coil extensively. I also have an Aries with 12.7 that I use with a Denon 304. That sounds better than the Scout or Scoutmaster with the 9" arm and 103 but it dammed well ought to considering price differential. As a VPI dealer I picked out the 103 because I think it is good enough to give an excellent sound with the tables but not at a high cost. I am not a Denon dealer. The Dynavectors will give an improvement at a much higher cost. I am a Dynavector dealer but in this economy I am trying to put together a vinyl system that can be had at the most reasonable price and allow for cartridge upgrades later if desired. I recommend Bob's Devices step up transformers for MCs, major bargain. I have no connection with them except using one.
I'm running a Uwe-podded DL-103 on a 10.5i arm with no problems, and believe me the Uwe pod is more massive than the original DL-103. I'm not using the Classic TT, however.
After reading many of the posts and rave reviews for the DL-103 family last year I decided to mount a DL-103R on my original VPI Aries TT w/ JMW 10 arm. Compliance?... I don't need no stinkin' compliance! It sounded very good, but I eventually discovered that it tracked best at over 2.5g.

After 6 months I realized that as good as I thought the Denon cart was, I was missing much of the weight and rhythm I was used to hearing. I reinstalled my old Grado The Reference at 1.4g and it was better. Certainly not as open and detailed as the Denon but just a better for for the arm, IMHO.

I'm not saying that the Grado is the best cartridge for this arm (it is not); just that to my ears it was a better fit for my JMW arm than the 103R. I am going to be ordering a pair of Soundsmith cartridges from Peter soon and we'll see how that goes.
Again, I don't have first-hand experience with certain cartridges, such as Denon's or Shelter's, which i ASSUME would be problematic based on specs alone. I think the experience of Br3098 supports my concern about the Denon. I have stuck to cartridges that have been well known good matches to the VPI arm. I have run Dynavector, Grado, Audio Technica, Lyra, and Benz Micro cartridges all with great success. The Benz L2 Wood body that I use now is definitely my favorite of the bunch.

It seems the cat is out of the bag... VPI tonearms will now have a stainless steel arm wand. My 10.5i seems to be aluminum. I wonder what the sonic difference is.
UPDATE: I've changed my order with Music Direct, I'm no longer doing the special order thing, partially because it could take up to 6 weeks and I'm too impatient, but primarily because my research indicates that the Denon 103R indeed may not be the best match for the JMW 10.5i arm because of compliance etc. So I'm getting a regular in-stock Classic from their warehouse, and I'm trading in my dead Dynavector 17D3 (the suspension died after only 1 year!) for *another* brand new 17D3 that they will mount for me, and hoping *that* one doesn't meet a similar fate. It's such a great cartridge I'm willing to roll the dice.

Now I need to figure out what tonearm cables to buy for this baby. Think I'll start a new thread...
I think you've made a wise decision. While you've got your wallet out... I would get a good digital stylus tracking force gauge and a mint lp protractor so you can be confident, should the new 17D3 die in a year, that its demise was not due to poor mounting/alignment.


I too feel this was wise also. An earlier post I wrote never made it here, but it mentioned that it just didn't make sense to me, to alter stock S-P Distance for one Cartridge, that you may've soon moved beyond in the future.

The Dyna should work fine. Then again, you may change your mind, after you sleep on things for a bit? Best of luck, Mark
Tom, thanks for the recommendations---I do own a decent digital stylus force gauge, and as for cartridge alignment aids, I have a Geo-disk and the Hi-Fi News LP paper protractor, but I'll look into the mint lp protractor if that is superior to either of those.

I did give some thought to getting a Sumiko Blackbird cartridge (seems to be a popular cart for the Classic and VPI tables in general), but after reading all the comments I could find about it in audiogon and audio asylum etc., I came away with the impression that's it's a somewhat polarizing and "controversial" cartridge, i.e. there seems to be a more positive general consensus among audiophiles concerning the Dynavector carts. Plus I already had the 17D3 on my Rega P25 so I'm familiar with it and really enjoyed it.

Anyway, I'm really looking forward to getting this VPI Classic, there seems to be quite the positive buzz being generated out there by people who've bought it. Sounds like an extraordinary turntable---we shall see...
All you need a small counterweight for Denon. My benz cartridge weighs as same as denon 0.3oz. Sounds great on 10.5 JMW tonearm and calssic 3. Call VPI and ask a lighter counter weight. Their customer service is second to none.
Classic 3 with JMW 10.5 stainless tonearm is absolutely one of the best turntables and can compete against anyone out there regardless of price.
I'm using Herron Audio cables between my Aries / JMW0-12 and phono stage with very good results. Cart is LOMC AT-OC9/II.