Jun 182017

While it’ll be a while before I get a full formal review written for Positive Feedback about the Audio MusiKraft ‘Tunable’ Denon DL-103 phono cartridge I received from Guy Pelletier (it’s a ways down the review queue), I want to keep you appraised of developments along the way about this interesting phono cartridge here at Jeff’s Place.

The very nicely packaged Audio MusiKraft Denon DL-103 cartridge kit.

As Guy and I were discussing the particulars of the Audio MusiKraft Denon 103 kit he was going to send me (there’s lots of potential options), I mentioned to Guy that I thought I should leave it to his experience on the choice of shell material and the choice of wood inserts.

I offered only that my tastes tend to run to the warm, information rich, and dimensional side of things, rather than to the neutral, lean, or analytical side of things, and suggested he include wood examples that would demonstrate the range of voicing that the various woods can provide, as it would make for interesting listening sessions and discussions.

Guy can also help you with recommendations that will best match your system’s voicing, and what you’re trying to achieve tonally.

The wood tuning kit: maple, lime (basswood), black walnut, jatoba (Brazilian cherry), and oil that can be applied for a damping treatment of the wood inserts.

Guy sent me an Audio MusiKraft Denon DL-103 cartridge kit with an aluminum shell and wood inserts of maple, lime (basswood), black walnut, and jatoba (Brazilian cherry), with an oil that can be applied for a damping treatment of the wood inserts. Very nice!

At the link you can see the choices of the various kinds of woods that are available for damping use.

Top / end view of the Audio MusiKraft Denon DL-103. The aluminum shell is beautifully machined and fitted to the DL-103.

Guy put 70 hours of run-in time on it before sending it to me, so I wouldn’t have to wait for it to run-in for comparisons, which was very thoughtful. Thank you, Guy!

Front / top / side view of the Audio MusiKraft Denon DL-103.

Guy told me:

“The MusiKraft kit I sent you is presently set up without any wood inserts (nude), and there is no applied tension yet on the three “tuning” set screws. I suggest you start listening this way. This could provide you some sort of baseline reference between the original DL-103 and our straight modified version.”

“Then after getting some listening time in, I recommend you play with tension in the setscrews to hear what adjusting the setscrew tension does.”

“Then later take the adventure with the wood inserts to get familiar with that aspect of tuning, and then finally try the oil dampening treatment to hear what that does”

Side / bottom view of the Audio MusiKraft Denon DL-103.

Sounds fun!

Much more to come!

As always, thanks for stopping by, and may the tone be with you!

 Posted by at 9:03 am

  10 Responses to “The Audio MusiKraft ‘Tunable’ Denon DL-103 Phono Cartridge!”

  1. Very interested to hear the review, especially the comparison to stock. Very stylish nude option, looks a lot more like a fully designed cart than most diy bodies, and the tuning option seem a great idea. My first foray into MC carts was a Ewe bodied and-103r bought from a friend, beautiful open sound, but ended up snapping the cantilever in short time . So now I have my training wheels on with a stock 103r! Still very musical but from memory more subdued.

    • Robbie,
      You might want to try Andy Kim at http://phonocartridgeretipping.com. Highly recommended for cartridge repairs. He did a ZU Denon repair for me. I couldn’t be more pleased.

    • Hi Robbie,

      The Denon DL-103 is a great cartridge, and has a long history in audio and broadcast applications.

      I am looking forward to some listening comparisons with the Denon’s, but they are still a little ways off, as now I am working on writing up the Sumile phono cartridge and the Arai Lab step-up transformer.

      More to come!

      Kind regards,


    • Hi Robbie,

      Indeed it will be interesting to discover the difference between the DL-103 stock and subsequently converted into a MusiKraft cart. From the get-go, there are definite sound aspects that the MusiKraft package addresses but it is important to mention above all that the philosophy behind the MusiKraft product is actually a multitude of cartridges-in-one. From there, one cannot make direct comparisons as if it was between two regular carts. Once Jeff explores some of the many options and shares his observations through his blog, then the user will start to see the enormous range of possibilities. Every change as small as it may seem, makes it actually a different product, it is like redefining it every time, from there the beauty lies. So, every MusiKraft cartridge becomes authentic like a Porsche that you personalize to your liking. Here, the user customize its performance according to his stereo equipment and his musical tastes.

      Best Regards,
      Guy Pelletier

  2. Jeff,

    Do you know the mass/weight of Audio MusiKraft’s Denon body replacements vs. the original DL-103? If significantly different, does Audio MusiKraft address this specifically?

    Thank you for your fine work and website!


    • Hi John,

      I’m just getting started with introducing the Audio MusiKraft tunable Denon 103 phono cartridge, but I will discuss all the details as I go.

      Thank you for your question, and I shall address it shortly in a follow-up post.

      Please wait for it!

      Kind regards,


    • Hi John,

      In theory for the Denon DL-103 and 103R the manufacturer mentions 8.5g while here, I repeatedly measure 8.75g. They weigh 7.25g once stripped from their plastic casing.

      The added mass of our shells will vary from 2.8g min. (magnesium nude shell) to 4.9g max. (Aluminum shell w/Ipe wood).

      Depending on which wood option selected and once combined with the DL-103 / 103R our shell kit weigh varies as follow:

      Nude: 11.4g
      W / wood inserts: 11.7g (min.) – 12.1g (max.)

      Nude: 11.2g
      W / wood inserts: 11.5g (min.) – 11.9g (max.)

      Nude: 10.0g
      W / wood inserts: 10.3g (min.) – 10.8g (max.)

      Our current selection of metal shells are the lightest available on the market (when compared to others in the metallic category).

      You can also refer to question “Q3” on our website FAQ page: https://audiomusikraft.com/faq/

      Best Regards,
      Guy Pelletier

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