To SUT or not to SUT with a Denon DL-103?

Discussion in 'Audio Hardware' started by Benzion, Jan 30, 2018.

  1. ProfessorC1983

    ProfessorC1983 Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Washington, DC
    I'm also planning to pair my 103R with the Lundahl LL1931 SUT in 1:16 mode. Did you end up adding a secondary load resistor? If so, what value did you like best?

    If I've got my math right, 47000 / 256 (square of turns ratio of 16) = 183.6 ohms that the cart will "see", which is maybe a tad high since based on my understanding the target should be 140 (10x the 14ohm source impedance of the 103R)... but that should still be kinda-sorta in the butter zone even without an extra resistor... right? Or am I totally off base here?
     
  2. JackG

    JackG Forum Resident

    Location:
    NJ
    I'm no expert, but I can quote them. :) Re: my own 103r:

    And from Bob's Devices:

    "You normally want it to be about 10-times the internal impedance of the cartridge. Now that is not a hard number, it could be 8-times and be fine, and sometimes 4-times can sound great. The important part is that more headroom is better. A lot depends on the characteristics of the phono preamp. Typically if you have enough headroom with impedance, the natural characteristics of the cartridge will be apparent. So, if you have a "bright" sounding cartridge, you may want to have a lower impedance at the cartridge, but if you have the impedance too low, it may sound muddy and flat.
    I no longer recommend adding resistors. There is considerable controversy over this and there is a lot of discussion elsewhere. The signal is so low coming from the MC cartridge, that is the one place I would not want to waste any signal. I work really hard to ensure that the output of the transformer has as short of a signal path as possible. That is the most critical part of the setup, where you have already reduced the current coming from the cartridge to gain extra voltage."
     
    ProfessorC1983 likes this.
  3. Davey

    Davey very clever with maracas

    Location:
    SF Bay Area, USA
    I have the LL1933 and love the sound. I haven't actually directly compared the LL9131 ad LL1933 (I know Kevin Carter has, so that is another data point, though he makes more money selling the 31 vs the 33), but do generally prefer the laminated cores to the amorphous, plus they are a lot cheaper, so think about that. I'm sure both are very good :)
     
    Last edited: Apr 13, 2019
  4. Doctor Fine

    Doctor Fine Forum Resident

    Location:
    Lewes, DE
    Both my K&K transformer setups sounded much better on 1:16 after I put in loading resistors.
    Having used them with adjustable resistors I really can't understand the idea of trying to hit the correct loading of an LOMC WITHOUT being able to fine tune the loading after you buy a pair of transformers.
    Going up or down even a little bit looking for a match I found I could clearly hear BIG changes with very little tiny change of the resistors I was trying out in the slots.
    And resistors are CHEAP. Even the "Vishay 1/4 watt metal foil resistors" I found on-line were only a couple of bucks. Somebody said better resistors also count in the musical presentation so I went for the good ones...
    There was one particular setting for each set where all the music sounded like a "whole" and I no longer listened to a disconnected unrelated group of sounds---suddenly it was an ORCHESTRA.
    AND the bass became real bass notes part of the instrument they came from and much more solid.
    And that number was---wait for it---130 Ohms.
    Which required (at 1:16) a resistor plugged in that was 120K Ohms.
    I am so happy with the K&K setup also because there are different grounding schemes wired into the "box" they put the Lundahls into.
    I found my system became dead quiet only after I experimented moving the included pair of grounding clips to ground the primary side and unground the secondary side.
    Or maybe it was the other way around.
    Moving the pins took seconds so I forgot which way I left it.
    But proper grounding with transformers is a BIG deal.
    Plus if you leave enough RCA lead wire to do it---you can then rotate the "box" all around in space looking for the one spot which they pick up no hum at all from nearby electrical polluters like wall warts.
    I used industrial strength Velcro behind my rack to freeze the "box" in the position of least noise.
    So that way both the wiring was grounded properly AND the physical position will not pickup up induced hum from nearby electrical devices either.
    Like I say both my setups are dead quiet using a Jolida JD9 tube preamp with one and the built in "el-cheapo" phono stage on the Rogue Cronus Magnum II.
    The Jolida is now set for 50dB of gain (all gain switches DOWN and using LOMC output RCAs) and I dropped the transformers back to 1:8 and loaded at 170 Ohms.
    I left the Cronus using the transformers at 1:16 as the built in Cronus phono stage has 45 dB of gain and 1:16 helped keep the noise down and the sound BIG which made the most out of a phono stage which is admittedly not the quietest nor the highest quality tone.
    The Cronus sounds truly great even so, if not quite as clear as the Jolida JD9.
    I have heard records sounding so magical and alive with both my sets that it takes me to another place entirely.
    The retipped diamond fine line stylii on both my cartridges also moved the 103r into truly world beating class even though it sounded musical back when completely stock.
    With the new stylii these cartridges as so clean and sweet in the top end you will bask in the shimmer of burnished Turkish cymbals from Zildjian cymbal company when listening to late night jazz.
    Yeah man.
    I wondered where those cymbals went to.
    Never hear them anymore when running digital.
    But with the 103r retipped they are BACK.
    Boy I missed them.
    Anyway I LOVE my 103 collection.
    And the K&K box like I say.
    I can't imagine a better "one stop box" transformer than the K&K.
    My two cents.
     
    ProfessorC1983 likes this.
  5. ProfessorC1983

    ProfessorC1983 Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Washington, DC
    Ooh, very interesting! My phono stage (Tubes4Hifi.com PH16) has selectable MM loading between 47k (which would give me 184 ohm at 1:16) and 33k (giving me 128 ohm) plus a few other choices -- you're making me think the latter option may be ideal. I'll try both, but I'll definitely pick up a set of those Vishay Dales so I can really dial it in perfectly. And I'll also be right at 45db gain which should be just about perfect. You've got me psyched...

    Can't wait! Just waiting to get my 103R back from retipping with a microridge stylus, boron cantilever and Paradox Pulse body, and I'll really be in business! :pineapple:
     
    Doctor Fine likes this.
  6. Doctor Fine

    Doctor Fine Forum Resident

    Location:
    Lewes, DE
    Professor.
    I know a lot of folks take the 103 cartridges apart and glue them into wood and metal bodies which makes them sound "amazing" as the stock body is plastic and looked down upon.
    I suspect the 103r simply benefits from ANY method of increasing the mass of the tone arm it sits in.
    Wood and metal bodies add 8 or so grams of weight to your headshell.
    So maybe (my guess) it's the increase in mass that helps as the cartridges are very stiff and need a lot of mass to push against or the sound of a 103 is thin and a bit weird.
    I run heavier than stock headshells PLUS two 4 gram weights screwed on top of my headshell.
    Never felt a need to go metal or wood body as I have the tonearm mass up to around 22 grams already.
    The 103r is said to have a dab of dampening goo wedged into the headshell motor assembly the way it comes from the factory.
    In a sense it is "potted" when stock.
    I forgo the body change as I feel it is a lot less important than the stylus upgrade to line contact.
    For what it's worth.
    Thought you might want this opinion for your project.
    ---the Doctor.
     
    myles likes this.
  7. myles

    myles Forum Resident

    Location:
    Near Marlow, UK
    I've just fitted a DL103R and am enjoying it immensely - my AT33PTG/II is having a few days off. The Denon is a bit of a low rider though, but sounds everything I expected it to be compared to my DL103 standard.
     
  8. ProfessorC1983

    ProfessorC1983 Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Washington, DC
    Yes, thank you Doctor! I've definitely been reading up on the weight/mass issue with the Denons, which is why I opted for the Paradox Pulse body which is 16g total. On my Technics 1200 Mk2 tonearm with the KAB headshell, that should give me around 28g effective arm mass (plus I have an extra 3g headshell weight "just in case"), and I bought about 40g of auxiliary weights for the back of the tonearm to set VTF correctly. If anything I might have too much weight!
     
  9. JackG

    JackG Forum Resident

    Location:
    NJ
    Davey - how would you say the LL1931/1933 compare to my older Cinemag (red) 3440A? In my head (no real basis for this), I imagine the 3440A to be more comparable to the LL9206 with either the 1931/1933 being an appreciable step up (haha).
     
  10. Bill Hart

    Bill Hart Forum Resident

    Location:
    Austin
    I had Steve Leung built me a Franken-Denon 103 (not an 'r') in a wooden body, potted with elastomers and retipped with a micro line stylus. It is installed in my second, vintage system and I needed a step up which is a fairly inexpensive Cinemag 3440AH (blue), loaded at just under 400 ohms. I'm still breaking in the cartridge, using it with a medium mass arm. I'm very impressed with the performance of this cartridge, as modified, given its price point. I had never used a Denon 103 before and have had a fair amount of experience with vastly more expensive cartridges. Impressive. (I'll revisit loading, VTA, etc. as the cartridge breaks in more).
    A photo for your enjoyment:

    [​IMG]IMG_1001 by William Hart, on Flickr
     
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  11. Davey

    Davey very clever with maracas

    Location:
    SF Bay Area, USA
    I'd guess your imagination is probably right, it is designed as a step-up transformer for MC cartridges instead of microphones, but I've never compared it to the 3440. They do have similar winding ratios available, the Lundahl has 1:8/1:16, whereas the Cinemag has 1:9/1:18/1:36. The Cinemag is about $90, whereas the Lundahl LL1933 is twice that price. So yea, more comparable price-wise to the $82 LL9206.

    I'm using some vintage Partridge 1:6 transformers in my other CJ Premier 15 preamp, they are pretty nice sounding too. The pair was $243 at today's conversion rate (GPB 199.95) via dr-tron on ebay. I just mounted and wired them inside the chassis on the phono inputs, so no extra cabling ...

    [​IMG]
     
    JackG likes this.
  12. mkane

    mkane Musics a Passion

    Location:
    Cloverdale,CA
    If I recollect we use a SUT @ 330 Ohm with the 103, it's a D variant though.
     
  13. sfoclt

    sfoclt Well-Known Member

    Location:
    United States
    I use the LL1933Ag with my Zu 103r retipped with a boron cantilever / microridge stylus. Sounds great.
     
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  14. Davey

    Davey very clever with maracas

    Location:
    SF Bay Area, USA
    Nice, I bet it does sound great!
     
    sfoclt likes this.
  15. JackG

    JackG Forum Resident

    Location:
    NJ
    Fantastic job. I may give the 1933 a shot as it's been over 10 years now with the 3440A and it's all I know. Pre-built from K&K is pretty reasonable compared to the price of the transformers, and I'm not much of a DIY-er at the micro level, so I'd likely go that route.
     
  16. Uglyversal

    Uglyversal Forum Resident

    Location:
    Sydney
    Have you ever tried them right out the tonearm cables? It might be worth it.
     
  17. mkane

    mkane Musics a Passion

    Location:
    Cloverdale,CA
    SUT should be as close to the deck as possible.
     
  18. Davey

    Davey very clever with maracas

    Location:
    SF Bay Area, USA
    My tonearm cable is one piece from cartridge to phono preamp, so no, but agree that would probably be best if noise is a problem.
     
  19. Uglyversal

    Uglyversal Forum Resident

    Location:
    Sydney
    It wasn't noise what I had in mind just less loss of sound when the signal is at the lowest level but I imagine chopping the cable is not an appealing option. At the moment I have a solid silver 25cm cable going straight to the SUT and not only added clarity but dynamics are beautiful. The only downside is that is impossible to move anything due to the short cables.
     
  20. JackG

    JackG Forum Resident

    Location:
    NJ
  21. Uglyversal

    Uglyversal Forum Resident

    Location:
    Sydney
  22. wbass

    wbass Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Chicago, IL
    Well, in my perhaps far too thorough audio equipment research, I've compiled a list of the SUTs that seem to get commonly recommended for the DL103 and DL103R. I'm just starting out on my MC cartridge journey, looking to pair a 103(R) with a good SUT into a Graham Slee Era Gold V MM phono stage that I already have. Out of a SL1200-GR, with full knowledge that I have to add weight to arm and use a spacer for the stock head shell.

    Here are the SUTs I've found (with pretty rough idea of pricing for each). Would welcome comments/opinions on any of the below. Right now, I'm considering one of the Ortofon SUTs or a K and K. Since I'm new to this, I'm not so keen on going above $700. The Bob's Devices and Auditorium A23 look great, of course, but are pricey and, for the latter, hard to find? Thanks for any thoughts, and hope this list might be helpful for others.

    Altec 4722 (~$700)

    Quicksilver ($695)

    K and K (basic assembled $385, premium assembled $650)

    Decware ZMC ($880)

    Rothwell ($590)

    Bob's Devices ($1000+)

    Denon AU-320 (~$300)

    Denon AU-305 (~$300)

    Denon AU-300 (~$300)

    Audio-Technica AT-630 (~$300)

    Ortofon Verto ($1000)

    Ortofon ST-7 ($680)

    Auditorium A23 ($1000+)
     
  23. JMAC

    JMAC Forum Resident

    Location:
    PDX, OR, USA
    You have to add Dave Slagle’s 80% nickel wound step up transformers from Intact Audio or Emia to the list. He will make them specifically for the 103 or 103r, and the price to performance ratio cannot be beat in my experience. I haven’t heard Hashimotos but I have heard Altecs, Denons, Ortofons, and Peerless transformers, and I prefer the Slagle SUT for an almost tactile presentation. It’s the difference between a slice of deli meat and a rib eye steak. More to sink your teeth into, more flavor.
     
    wbass likes this.
  24. wbass

    wbass Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Chicago, IL
    Dave Slagle/Intact ($250 each, need two?) added to the list.... Thanks!

    The EMIA is pricey. $2400 (copper) and $4200 (silver), but is no doubt amazing.

    If useful, I'll repost the list with additions if/when I get other suggestions.
     
  25. JMAC

    JMAC Forum Resident

    Location:
    PDX, OR, USA
    Yes, you need two for stereo, and some assembly is required (chassis, wiring to RCA, etc.). But when you’re done, you basically have a DIY version of his Emia units for 1/4 of the cost.
     

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