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  1. #1

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    Default Denon Phono Cartridge

    Has anyone tried out the Denon DL-160 moving coil phono cartridge?
    My TT isn't great - not even close - but it works well and I thought it could benefit from a moving coil cart..........or should I just hold off and get a better TT first.

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    First thing I'd look at if I were considering an MC cartridge would be your phono stage. Can it provide the gain needed, or would you need to get a step up transformer or another phono stage?

    I think the DL-160 is a high output MC, so you wouldn't nec. need a ton of gain, but something to consider.

    Have you looked at the Audio Technica 440MLa? It's an MM design, but it's always mentioned when people are asking "bang for the buck" kind of questions. I think you can get it at LPgear.com for around $100.

    Edit: After doing some reading, scrap the 440MLa idea, try out the Denon, lemme know how it sounds. This thread in particular helped me reach that decision.
    Last edited by strider; 12-02-2008 at 03:46 PM.
    Wris****ch--->Crisco

  3. #3

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    Thanks Strider

    I was at my local Denon dealer today and he is going to give me 25% off cost.....not bad....

    My Rotel Phono Eq will do either Moving Coil or Moving Magnet......I have read a bunch of reviews on the Denon DL160 and they all say this cart will give the $500 level cartridges a run for their money - so I'll let you know - trying to get the Fiancee to get this for me for christmas.......

    Rock on

    Ray

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    I had a Goldring 1042, Audio Technica 440MLa, and in my opinion, the DL160 beat them both. It was smoother, less harsh, and just a darn good sounding cart. for the $. You be hard pressed in that price range to find something to beat the 160.

    I have used it on my adcom 565 without a separate preamp. You will have to turn the volume knob up a little vs a MM cart. but the high out does a nice job without a separate preamp.

    I still use the 160 but I now run it with a Pro-Ject tube box II se.

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    Outstanding - thanks for the review - which seems to be quite consistent with everything I have read - I am very excited as my fiance is getting it for me for Christmas - and my local AV dealer is giving her a discount on it because we have a nice relationship - all in all - it is good news

    1st album to be listenned to:
    Roger Waters - The Pros and Cons of Hitchhiking........I don't have amused to death yet.......

  6. #6

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    I have both the DL-304 and the DL-160.

    I can't recommend the DL-160 highly enough. Although not in the same league as the DL-304 it is a massive bargain.

    It works well through standard MM phono stages but also performs just fine through MC and MM options on a stand alone phono stage too.

    I am using it on a Denon DP-35F TT through a Luxman LV-107u amp into Polk RT 12 speakers.

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    It seems they are real hard to get - anything comparable from shure or AT

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    Jump onto ebay mate. I got mine from WilliamThakker.com on Ebay. Price was right, and shipping was fast.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Gretsch6136 View Post
    I have both the DL-304 and the DL-160.

    I can't recommend the DL-160 highly enough. Although not in the same league as the DL-304 it is a massive bargain.

    It works well through standard MM phono stages but also performs just fine through MC and MM options on a stand alone phono stage too.

    I am using it on a Denon DP-35F TT through a Luxman LV-107u amp into Polk RT 12 speakers.
    I've heard the DL-110 is just as good as the DL-160.. like the benefits are negligible compared to the price. I have a DP-300F and I was going to go with a DL-110 cartridge.. Does anyone have any suggestions? Has anyone heard BOTH?

  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by sdschwendener View Post
    I've heard the DL-110 is just as good as the DL-160.. like the benefits are negligible compared to the price. I have a DP-300F and I was going to go with a DL-110 cartridge.. Does anyone have any suggestions? Has anyone heard BOTH?
    Hello Polkies. Long time lurker here and long time Polkie. Proud owner of numerous Polk speakers throughout the years including my prized and never to depart from SDA-2's.

    As for the Denon cartridges, I've been a long time fan of them as well starting with the now discontinued DL-80. I just recently purchased a DL-160 to compare it to the DL-110 that was on my Denon DP-47f for more than a year. The 110 is a fantastic cartridge for the money. It blows away my Grado Blue, Shure 97, 95, and various inexpensive Audio Technicas. The first things I immediately noticed with the 160, after proper set-up, was improved bass response, clarity (less congestion), and stereo image. Some report less ticks and pops with the 160 over the 110. I specifically listened for this on a couple of records and, if there was an improvement, it was very minor.

    I am not a big believer in break-in but if does exist I can only hope things will get even better.

    For $40 more I believe the 160 is worth it if your system can take advantage of the enhanced detail and imaging it provides. If you are going to use it for casual listening, transfering LPs to CD for the car, or don't have an ideal set-up, than the 110 is a fine choice. The overall sound and sonic traits are very similar. The 160 just does it a little better.

    The 110 still has a place and replaced the 97 on the system with the SDA-2's.

    Maybe next year I'l get a 103(R) or 304 to compare it to the 160. :D

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    The Denon MCs have that rich, "they are here" sound that SET amp and high-efficiency/horn loudspeaker fans really love. Sort of hyper-reality. I don't mean to denigrate that sound; I like it too. There's a reason that the DL-103 has been around for decades.

    The MCs are low compliance and will be happiest in heavier arms (which are quite fashionable nowadays, anyway). They aren't the best-tracking cartridges you'll find, but they'll sound good while they do the best they can.

    FWIW, you can get (IMNSHO) some of that juicy sound in a more user-friendly format for similar (even less) $ with a Grado Labs MM (actually, technically MI) cartridge.
    all the best,
    mrh

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    Here is a good price on DL-160.

    Russ
    Last edited by ozzy21236; 12-23-2008 at 11:57 PM.

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    I've been considering upgrading my cartridge. I was looking at the AT440MLa, but I'm really more interested now with the DL160 thanks to this thread.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ozzy21236 View Post
    Here is a good price on DL-160.

    Russ
    That is a good price. It is also the typical price of the 110. Do a search on that same site and see what they are asking for the 110. Get the 160, if that is what they will actually ship you, while you can. ;)

    That said, you can find the 160 for that "good price" on a couple of sites. I paid 5 bucks more than that over at the auction place.

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    all the best,
    mrh

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    Well? Did you find one under the tree yesterday?
    Wris****ch--->Crisco

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    I pulled the trigger and ordered the DL160 today from Lpgear.com. I also ordered an Audio-Technica headshell. They're going to mount and align the cartridge for me since I'm half blind. Too much tossing off does that to ya. :p

    I'm eager to get this and compare it to the ATP2XN DJ cart I have in my table now. I'll follow-up and post my impressions once I spin some vinyl with it later on.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Keiko View Post
    I'll follow-up and post my impressions once I spin some vinyl with it later on.
    I'm looking forward to what you have to say about the 160.

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    Default Merry Merry Merry Merry Merry Merry Merry Merry Christmas

    Holy Moly What a Great Christmas - not only did my Fiance team up with my best man to get the Denon DL 160 Cartridge - but my best man scored me a late 70s belt drive Yammy TT and got the whole kit-n-kaboodle professionally assembled at the Speaker Shop in Buffalo, NY while he waited - big ups to them http://www.speakershop.com/
    .....He also picked me up a 200 gram Blue Note recording of Miles Davis that sounds absolutely amazing.

    Hooked everything up right away - and after a little finagling fidgeting and fondling got everything working real nice - quite an improvement - and after a couple of albums the sound started to fill in and then the bass started to make an entrance - oh yes quite nice............

    aaaaaaaaaand - my brother gave me an Audiophile USB external soundcard by M-audio.......which made quite an improvement to the quality of the sound coming out of my PC........as well as openning up the door to digital recording....

    I just got back home from my holiday travels and will be updating some stuff shortly....review on all to come......

    There is a Santa - don't let anyone tell you different........
    Although the real thanks goes out to my fiance ,my best man, and my brother.....
    Last edited by rayslifecycle; 12-30-2008 at 08:22 AM.

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    I'm so eager to get mine, the day after I ordered I started pulling albums for a playlist. Man, I can't hardly wait after reading all the stellar reviews for the DL-160. I probably paid a little bit more, but I'm having Lpgear mount the cartridge on a new headshell professionally. It's worth a few extra bucks for me. I'm hoping to have it by the weeks end. :)

  21. #21

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    OK, she arrived today and very nicely packed by Lpgear.com btw. I installed it on my table right away. I chose The Carpenter's, Yesterday Once More Lp for initial set-up and listening. Played with the weight and feel I get good performance from the 160 just slightly shallow of the recommended 1.6g tracking force. Right out of the box I was immediately impressed. I always noticed a slight sibilance with the ATP2XN cartridge which is now completely gone. I also noticed a great deal of improvement with seperation and soundstage with the DL-160. It tracks like a Ferrari and I only expect the performance of this little jewel to improve as it breaks in. My table's just a moderate
    Audio-Technica AT PL120, but IMO, this cartridge has really improved on it. Big thanks to the OP and feedback.

    Happy New Year,

    Keiko

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    Hey Keiko glad to hear the new cartridge worked out well. I will give serious consideration to this denon cart next time I'm in the market. Let me know how it works with the vinyl transfers. Oh and Happy New Year!!
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    For the original post, it seems the DL-160 exceeds the needs of that particular turntable. Everyone seems to have low regard for the Shure M97xE, but places like amazon.com, onecall.com and others are routinely at $56 delivered anywhere in the US. You do need to be careful setting it up to get its best performance, but at nearly $50 it's hard to go wrong with this cartridge as a prime recommendation for turntables in the $200-$300 range.
    Last edited by inspiredsports; 01-04-2009 at 03:19 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Fongolio View Post
    Hey Keiko glad to hear the new cartridge worked out well. I will give serious consideration to this denon cart next time I'm in the market. Let me know how it works with the vinyl transfers. Oh and Happy New Year!!
    Will do bro. Got Rush, Moving Pictures on it right now as I'm typing this. Karma I won from ScompRacer back in July. The sounds incredibly rich with this Denon cart and seems to be improving with every record I put on.
    Just finished with Power Windows and WoW! You boys from the Great White North sure put out
    some juicey tunes. :D

    My Apple's in the shop now getting the optical replaced. When I get it back I can make some sample discs for some of y'all to check out if you want.

    Peace,

    Mike

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    Quote Originally Posted by inspiredsports View Post
    For the original post, it seems the DL-160 exceeds the needs of that particular turntable. Everyone seems to have low regard for the Shure M97xE, but places like amazon.com, onecall.com and others are routinely at $56 delivered anywhere in the US. You do need to be careful setting it up to get its best performance, but at nearly $50 it's hard to go wrong with this cartridge as a prime recommendation for turntables in the $200-$300 range.
    I like to exceed the need sometimes. ;)

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    Quote Originally Posted by Keiko View Post
    I like to exceed the need sometimes. ;)
    I was specifically thinking of Clark's original Yamaha YP-B4 from post #1 versus your Audio Technica. But you are so right, sometimes a better cartridge than necessary brings out the best in a turntable. I've been restoring my Thorens while off this holiday week and am considering a cartridge upgrade myself.

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    Actually - I had a realistic Lab-500 when I was looking for a new cart - and I got the yammy TT with the cartridge........I know it isn't the best - but it is the best I have ever had - and the cartridge can be installed on the next TT - which I really like "pro-jects".......and now that I have listened tothis cart for over 30 hours - it just gets better and better.

    One definitive way I can tell how much I like listening to this set up is that I would rather go upstairs and listen to records then watch a movie in the home theater.......it has been a long time since I felt that way.......if maybe ever.......

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    Thank you all for your input. As always your advice was sound.
    .....and thanks to you I am enjoying better sound....
    ...here's to the journey.

    Ray

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    Quote Originally Posted by inspiredsports View Post
    I was specifically thinking of Clark's original Yamaha YP-B4 from post #1 versus your Audio Technica. But you are so right, sometimes a better cartridge than necessary brings out the best in a turntable. I've been restoring my Thorens while off this holiday week and am considering a cartridge upgrade myself.
    I actually have more $$$ invested in this cartridge than I do the turntable. :o
    It really has taken the performance level up a notch or 2 for such a modest table. I got so involved with it yesterday that I listened to vinyl through most of the mid afternoon and into the evening around 9PM. The more I played the better the overall sound got it seemed. Anyway, have fun with your TT project. I saw some Thorens tables in a catalog recently. Those puppies can carry a hefty price tag. I was stoked seeing some models priced at around
    13K.
    Last edited by Keiko; 01-04-2009 at 02:32 PM.

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    The thing is: the old Japanese tts with heavy, S-shaped arms are better suited to (expensive) low-compliance MC catridges than the inexpensive MM cartridges they were typically used with.

    Really nothing crazy about putting a Denon MC on a YP-B4; it's a good combination.
    all the best,
    mrh

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