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Moving Coil Cartridge

Features - DL-103


Denon's classic cartridge, the DL-103, has been an industry standard for decades. Providing smooth response in many Hi-Fi systems, the DL-103 gives a pleasing sound and brings out the full detail of audio performances.

Reviews And Awards - DL-103

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Q&A - DL-103

Thanks Ken re Phono Box. Want to develop low cost alternatives for old DP-51F. Can you recommend low budget MM w/ headshell replacement for DL-103? Trying to get daughter interested in spinning old vinyl but cannot frighten her with high entry costs.

Asked by: Stephan
Hello Stephan, For lower cost MM replacement cartridge options, I would look into brands such as Shure, Numark, Ortofon and Audio-Technica. Thanks, Denon North America
Answered by: Ken C
Date published: 2018-07-27

I bought a used DP-51F with a DL-103 cartridge. All of my amps & preamps are strictly MM friendly. You have recommended a Pro-ject Phono Box DC, but the DL-103 is only 0.3mv output. Is the Phono Box good enough to provide excellent playback sound?

Asked by: Stephan
Hello Stephan, The Phono Box should be more than adequate to increase the mV output coming from the DL-103 so that the signal is audible and clean (not distorted) from your outboard pre-amp and amplifier. Thanks, Denon North America
Answered by: Ken C
Date published: 2018-07-27

Can I use DL-103 on mine DP-300F ? if yes do I need pre amp or I can use build in EQ ? I have receiver with phono out but it is MM !

Asked by: tomy
Hello tomy, Yes, the DL-103 will work with the DP-300F. With the EQ switch enabled in the 300F, there's no need for an external Phono pre-amp nor would you use the receiver's Phono input. If the 300F's EQ was disabled, then an external Phono pre-amp would be needed or you can use the receiver's Phono input. Thanks, Denon North America
Answered by: Ken C
Date published: 2018-07-27

could you please include the technical requirements such as output V, loading capacitance, etc Looking to replace dl160 on a dp45f someday,

Asked by: niccc
Hello niccc, Here you are: Stylus: 16.5 µm diamond spherical tip Cantilever: Aluminum Frequency Response: 20 ~ 45 kHz Output: 0.3 mV at 50 mm/s Output Impedance: 40 Ω Load Impedance: 100 Ω Channel Separation: Over 25 dB at 1 kHz Compliance: 5 x 10–6 cm/dyne (100 Hz) Tracking Force: 2.3 ~ 2.7g (± 0.3g) Weight: 8.5 grams
Answered by: Ken C
Date published: 2019-04-05

Would this be suitable for a Kenwood KD3055 and a Schitt Mani?

Asked by: Akadurf
Hello, It's tough to determine from our research. The best thing to do is to contact the turntable manufacturers and ask them the same question.
Answered by: Ken C
Date published: 2018-05-11

Hey I have a 2808ci receiver and also a powered amp. Can I run this cartridge as is with decent sound?

Asked by: Gusty83
Hello Gusty83, I have no issues with the equipment you are using, you will get good sound. But you want to make sure you are using a compatible turntable and phono pre-amp.
Answered by: Ken C
Date published: 2018-04-24

I have a Denon DP- 37F turntable, will I be able to use this cartridge with it?

Asked by: Algaer2
Hello Algaer2, Physically that will work. Then you want to get the Pro-ject Phono Box DC to connect to the receiver or amplifier. https://www.crutchfield.com/p_252PBDCB/Pro-Ject-Phono-Box-DC-Black.html
Answered by: Ken C
Date published: 2018-03-29

will this be ok on my technics sl-1900 ? and i am using a nad 1600 preamp with an MC,MM switch .

Asked by: llbnn
Hello iibnn, Since you are using a pre-amp with the MC and MM switch then you will be fine with this cartridge. Physically it looks like everything will fit just fine too.
Answered by: Ken C
Date published: 2018-02-27

Can I use this cartridge for a Denon 79-W?

Asked by: Sandy7
Hello Sandy7, Yes, you could use that but i would get a pre-amplifier box that would connect between your receiver and pre-amp.
Answered by: Ken C
Date published: 2018-02-22

Recently purchased the DL-103 for use with my vintage DP-62L Was recommended the Ortofon SH4 headshell. Upon setting it up, the lock collar on my "S" tone arm rides dangerously close to the vinyl. Wrong headshell? Spacer? What should I do?

Asked by: Mike Coffel
Hello Mike, it seems that the headshell may be a bit heavy and it is dragging the lock collar close to the vinyl. I would want to know how the lock collar rides with the straight tone arm. Please email me at ken.carter@soundunited.com for more assistance.
Answered by: Ken C
Date published: 2018-02-02

Hi , I just purchased a 103 .. my Nad 3150 has a MC-MM switch. But even on MC there is very little gain , I have to operate it at 60% to hear reasonable sound levels. I have 2 MM preamps which I tried with with my AUX input. Trying to avoid a MC preamp

Asked by: gord
Hello gord, I would try to connect the turntable to the phono of the NAD 3150 and see if that fixes the issue. If it does not, please call our service line at 201-762-6665 M-F 10am-7pm EST.
Answered by: Ken C
Date published: 2017-12-22

Hi! I intend to use the DL-103 on Lenco L70. I've read some think the L70/DL-103 will cause increased wear & not track well due the headshells fixed alignment. Should I be concerned or is this the type of arm/headshell the DL-103 was made for? Thanks!

Asked by: jmah80
As long as the tone arm is balanced properly with the correct tracking force adjustment, there should be no problem. If there are specific factors to adjust for where that tone arm is involved, be sure to enter that into your calculations.
Answered by: Mike D
Date published: 2017-04-17

Hi - I was given a lightly used DL103 with a label reading 3.2CT on the front of the cartridge - does that mean something to anyone here? It just skates across records, unable to find a groove. Could it be intended for 78s? Thanks in advance!

Asked by: neptunejazz
This cartridge has a diamond tipped stylus, and although this label is not something I've seen, it seems to indicate a 3.2 Carat diamond. I honestly don't see this spec for the stylus documented in any of the manuals and spec sheets readily available to me, so I can't say for sure that this is the specification of the DL-103 currently available. There have been some different versions over the years available in different markets (I see that you're in Europe), and this may be one of them. About the problem you're encountering. I see two possibilities: 1: The "gently used" cartridge is damaged and does not catch a groove, and therefore skates across the record. 2: The turntable is not set up properly for the new cartridge. If you replaced your old cartridge with this one, and did not make any adjustments, that may be your problem. You may want to double check the balance, tracking force, and anti-skate adjustments based on the specifications of the DL-103. I hope this helps. Thanks!
Answered by: Mike D
Date published: 2017-01-19

What is the output of the Denon DL-103?? Will it work well with a medium weight tonearm?? Is the DL-110 a better sounding ? .Still looking for a turntable. Considered a Musical Fidelity " Roundtable" T/T $299.00 on line. Looks solid

Asked by: chuckyteenage
DL-103 works well with arms that are medium to medium high mass. I use it on a Technics SL-1200 Mk5 with 2 grams added headshell weight, tracking at 2.75g. This works very well for me. Effective mass of this arm + headshell + weight is about 14-15g, which is similar to the Musical Fidelity arm, so it should work OK. The plain jane 103 is an excellent cartridge. Unbelievable value for the $. IMO, the best was the 103D, but that has been out of production for years.
Answered by: anmpr1
Date published: 2019-09-06

How long is the playing life of the stylus and can it be re-tipped?

Asked by: Joel
Hi Joel, We don't have a life expectancy specification to provide, the DL-103 has a long lasting diamond tipped stylus which will provide many years of great audio quality. This cartridge does not have a replaceable stylus. If the stylus does eventually wear out the cartridge will need to be replaced.
Answered by: Vincent S
Date published: 2016-11-29

Hello I what to add the DL 103 cartridge to an SME3012 S2. I have the cambridge azur SR20 topaz that it does not support MC cartridges. I thought is to use the cambridge CP2 Moving coil phono preamplifier is this a good match in your opinion?

Asked by: gkogketsof
Hello. As long as you have a moving coil phono preamplifier it should work with the DL-103.
Answered by: Mike D
Date published: 2018-07-07

I have a Sony GX9ES receiver that has a MC phono stage - pretty sure that the phono specs show 0.5mV input MC requirement. Would you mind pulling up that manual and checking? My question is whether you offer an MC cartridge that I can use.

Asked by: rpw123
The DL103 output voltage is 0.3 mV, which falls short of the 0.5mV spec you quoted, which I also found online in my own search. You could use a phono pre-amp and connect to another available input, or use one of our higher output moving coil cartridges: DL110 (High output moving coil) - 1.6 mV DL-103R - 0.25 mV DL-301II 0.4 mV I hope this helps, thanks!
Answered by: Mike D
Date published: 2017-09-21

This is a low output moving coil cartridge, correct? I have inherited one on an older Denon turntable along with a step up transformer (NP-30?). Will try them out and see if they work together

Asked by: Mr Mike
Hi Mr. Mike. The DL-103 is a high-performance moving coil cartridge, with an output voltage of 0.3 mV. Since this is low relative to a MM type cartridge, the use of a MC step-up transformer, or a MC head amplifier is recommended. I'm not familiar with the NP-30, but if its a step-up transformer designed for moving coil cartridges, it should be OK.
Answered by: Mike D
Date published: 2016-08-08

thanks for your response..the one I have was produced in 1982 and looks like a stock 103 , but with a gold finish. Is this just lipstick? or is there some changes in the spec's. the cantilever looks like standard aluminum . a web search will provide a pic

Asked by: el gordo

I have a phono preamp that has adjustable Gian and Load . The load switches between 47 and 47k . What would be the best setting for the DL 103 Cartridge ? I think I have the gain at 48 db ...........

Asked by: Tim2408
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