Denon used to sell a package of the DL103 plus a small step-up transformer specifically designed for the DL103. I still have that package, even though I no longer use either the cartridge or the trafo - I just can't bear to part with them...
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Turntable Questions - Page 3
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Ronald, one of the best DL103 step-up options is the Cinemag CMQEE-3440APC transformer. You can order direct from Cinemag and roll you own, or you can order a commercial version like the ones from Bob's Devices. You'll also notice that this transformer is used in the Eddie Current Transcription Amplifier which is a very high quality phono stage. I've been using a DIY version of this and am very happy with it. I might someday go to a Shelter 501 cartridge, but the DL103 is a real favorite and has a great price.
Edited by Uncle Erik - 7/16/10 at 8:44am
I an a Eddie Current Transcription owner, and I love it - and the high-quality transformer for the MC stage was a big reason I bought it. It's great with my Benz LP-S.
Thx all. I have it in mind to do something similar to the cinemag devices mentioned above but using transformers from this company.
They are more local for me . I'm sure Cinemag are very good but it avoids potential hassles as well as associated shipping charges.
Being able to compare the specs with those recommended by Denon themselves is very useful.
I actually called Denon UK to ask them direct but they couldn't find anyone willing and able to answer. Seems they still import the cart but not the related amps and all the expertise must have retired.
Yes, Sowter makes excellent iron. I have a few pieces from them and am impressed with their quality. Also, you might want to look at some of the Lundahl transformers out of Sweden. They're excellent, too.
To run a DL-103 at it's best you really need to use a transformer based pre pre amp. Not to cause a row or upset anyone. It'll work but it'll be a low level and comparatively noisy (~2/3 dB). Shame because the arm/cart is a decent match but like I said you really need to add in the cost of a transformer based (or v. dear int. unit maybe) to make the whole thing worthwhile.
It is strange that although you can now buy a half decent anything else in the audio chain for as little as $100 no one has ever produced a turntable that has been really recomendable at less than the Rega 2/3 or more recently the Technics1200. Been the same for over 30 years.
Never heard that one but there is always a lot of debate around the DL-103 . I use one at the moment with a modded Vestax / RB250 into a Naim 32 with the K board which was originally designed for an '80s Linn MC of Supex provenance. It's a lot of musicality for not much money which ever way you look at it and less of a liability if a child gets near it.
I think step up transformers seem to be more popular in the USA than in the UK as you are of course adding an extra potential load of mains noise into the signal path. Perhaps the mains is quieter in USA? if you live far away enough from an industrial zone.
I don't think it's that strange that nobody makes a decent turntable for 100USD considering what a niche market vinyl is these days. Turntables require decent materials and skilled artisan levels workmanship which was never cheap or else serious design and high precision engineering to work on an industrial scale. Technics were the only company that really got the latter category right and you can still pick up the SL-BD20 for around 150USD if you hunt around. The SL1200 is so worth the extra though.
I guess the Rega P(lannar) 2/3 wasn't that much more than 100USD back in the day which makes the Technics an inflation beating bargain too.
To the OP some reviews here
The Audio Technica AT0C9 would be the next step up from a Denon which might be a better more "source first" investment than more electronics. http://www.lpgear.com/Merchant2/merchant.mvc?Screen=PROD&Store_Code=LG&Product_Code=ATC01&Category_Code=XMAS
How does the Eddie Current Transcription compare with the Ray Samuels Nighthawk phono stage in your experience?
Hey guys, through a bit more research and your guys' help I think I'm going to have to go with the Technics SL-1200 Mk2. It seems to have a lot of support from every end of the hi-fi community and a lot of potential for upgrades, which will allow me to take my time in upgrading it. What I'm not sure about first off is the cartridge, how is the Shure M97xE compared to the Denon DL-103? Are they in the same weight class?
That said, how does the Grado Prestige Gold compare to the those two? Also, what should I be looking at in the future for tonearm upgrades?
The Shure M97xE (MM) & Denon DL-103 (MC) are different types of cartridges. Assuming you have a decent quality phono pre amp (that accepts MM and/or MC) you will most likely get better results with the Denon DL-103.
The Rega RB250 & RB300 seem to be very popular choices for tone arm upgrades.
Edited by sk3383 - 7/17/10 at 4:01pm
Ah, I figured as much as the Denon is an MC. I'll likely grab the Shure before I get the Denon. Will it preform well (well enough, at this budget level, anyway) with the phono preamp you recommended way up-thread?
If you're referring to the Tcc-750 preamp, it is a good performing unit, dsicrete design with no opanps, little to no self-noise, the LC version has adjustable output level which can be handy. It will be good for the shure right out of the box, but for the denon you'll have to put a stepup transformer before that phono stage, ...the dl-103 has low compliance and is thus said to form a great combination with the rather heavy sl-1200 tonearm, however i'd go for the shure and save some money...
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