I’ve been looking forward to giving the Audio MusiKraft hot-rodded and tunable Denon DL-103 a listen, and comparing it to my stock Denon DL-103, a trusted friend of many years.
I think the idea of a tunable phono cartridge is brilliant, and I applaud Guy Pelletier, the owner / propriétaire of Audio MusiKraft, for bringing to market such an illuminated approach to the Denon DL-103.
Guy told me, “I need to mention that I cannot take the full credit for this idea. Two long-time audiophile friends of mine (in a group of five), Stefan Figiel and Richard Quirion, are the originators of this great idea.”
Guy did the final development, all the necessary manufacturing, and then made the tunable Audio MusiKraft Denon DL-103 available as a commercial product.
The Thomas Schick headshell is my current favorite for a headshell, and I would have liked to have bought two Schick headshells to use for for comparing the stock Denon DL-103 and Audio MusiKraft Denon DL-103, but I couldn’t afford it, as my financial resources are being poured into the Thorens TD124 project that I’m doing with Christopher Thornton at Artisan Fidelity.
So instead I bought two identical Turntable Lab Edition Audio-Technica AT-HS1 headshells to use for the comparison.
These AT-HS1 headshells are inexpensive ($17.95 USD at Amazon), but would you like to hazard a guess as to which sounds better, a Schick with the stock headshell leads, or an AT-HS1 with DCA26GA headshell leads?
If you guessed the latter you’d be correct, as headshell leads affect the performance as much as the headshell itself.
If you put the Duelund DCA26GA headshell leads on the Schick, then as you would expect, the Schick then outperforms the AT-HS1 with DCA26GA.
Moral of the story: Both headshells and headshell leads make a significant difference, and if you’re still using stock headshell leads you’re not getting near the sonic and musical potential that your phono cartridge is capable of.
I have been waiting for the Audiosilente cartridge clips I ordered to arrive so I could build up two identical sets of DCA26GA. They’ve arrived, so last evening I made up my first pair of Duelund DCA26GA headshell leads with the Audiosilente cartridge clips.
I am impressed with the Audiosilente cartridge clips, they’re shorter than the Cardas clips I’ve been using, so they’re easier to fit into the tight spacing of a headshell. The Audiosilente clips also grip the cartridge and headshell pins more firmly, and don’t deform and get loose like the Cardas clips do. The Audiosilente cartridge clips are the best I’ve come across to date.
I conditioned the Audiosilente / DCA26GA headshell leads on my FryBaby2 in voltage-only mode for 12-hours, and then mounted them on the AT-HS1 headshell with the Audio MusiKraft Denon DL-103.
I removed my Ortofon SPU Classic GM MkII stereo phono cartridge from the Woody SPU tonearm, and installed the Audio MusiKraft Denon DL-103 in its place, and did the setup for the change. I removed my Intact Audio SUT’s for the SPU and connected the Auditorium 23 SUT that is designed to get the best out of the Denon DL-103.
I put on the Eric Johnson ‘Europe Live’ album that just arrived a couple of days ago for the first listen. Eric Johnson is a phenomenal guitarist from Austin, Texas. Eric is well known to guitarist insiders for his talent but not as much with the general public. If you haven’t yet had a chance to give his music a listen, I recommend you do, he’s a terrific musician!
My first impressions are very positive, and I thought the sound quality and musicality of the Audio MusiKraft Denon DL-103 were excellent on Europe Live!
I just put on Gillian Welch’s ‘The Harrow & The Harvest’ LP and it too sounds impressive with the Audio MusiKraft Denon DL-103.
We’re off to a good start with the Audio MusiKraft Denon DL-103, and I’m looking forward to comparing it to the stock Denon DL-103, and then doing some voicing Audio MusiKraft style!
As always, thanks for stopping by, and may the tone be with you!