Has anyone taken the body off a Denon DL103?


diyAudio Moderator Emeritus
2003-01-18 7:57 am
Near London. UK
Has anyone taken the body of a Denon DL103?

As per the thread title, has anyone done this, and did they take any photographs? Or, to put it another way, what ought I to know before I buy one brand new and open it up?

Why do I want to do this? Generally, naked moving coil cartridges sound better. More "open" if you like...

A fella is offering a service over on lenco lovers. He will strip your 103 bare and mount it on a bit of alu with 2.5mm tapped holes for easy mounting. He's looking for €50. Neat looking job.

Now of course you can do this yourself - there are pics of the completed job on lenco lovers.

FWIW, I have been pretty unimpressed with the sound of a standard 103 so it would indeed be interesting to try this out. Likewise it would be good to try this on a DL110 or 160.

Let us know how you get on, with photos if you have time!

EC8010 said:
Thank you. That's even more than I dared hope for. Looks easy enough. It's a shame the base the magnet structure is on isn't capable of being fitted directly to an arm, but I could always make up a threaded plate to glue onto the back of the cartridge.

My pleasure. Thomas does make it look easy, but then I get the feeling he's done a few.;)

Here is another link with additional info on mods for the 103.

Hi, here some mod.

maybe you can have a rough idea.Is in Italian but you can try with a babel fisn or similar translation...

sadly it's not possible to insert an hyperlink so you have to do the follow:

go to www.audiocostruzioni.it

look at the sidebar on the left, inside the pale green space click on "giradischi" (aka:turntable)

click on the center image: Tweaking etc...

scroll the page. for sure you'll recognize a naked DL 103.

click and read.(well, maybe you have to translate first).

DENON 103 body.

When I lived in London we (Be Yamamura & I) did this several times. I would try and find a duff cartridge for a dummy run before trying it on a new one....

You are correct that it will result in a much improved sound..especially if you fill the gaps.

The operation obviously requires a light touch. We either used them naked or made bodies out of fine grain carbon and we also filled the air gaps - such as between the magnets and the terminal plate - with warm (to induce liquidity) epoxy resin. Make sure no naked signal wire or solder touches the carbon... it is highly conductive! This treatment also works well with other cartridges - I 'glue-filled a few naked SPU cartridges and made a skelatal carbon head block to accommodate the raised magnet. These were exceptional.

I can send you 'gratis' a little carbon with which you should be able to fashion a body ( because your 'fighting cat' is much liked by my domestic-half) but is not, i am afraid, available to others: such carbon is very expensive and is very difficult to source. I have only a small supply at present. The only supplier I knew of was in the Croydon area. They were on 01 688 7979 which I assume is now 02086 887 979. The company was ( in the UK) a one man outfit called Ringsdorff. They are German based. They were extremely helpful. Your email is disabled on your profile.

This tweek/rebuild is very worthwhile.

Best of luck,

I should have been more explicit.....

...regarding the epoxy resin fill. (Today I would use a little 'Hard as Nails').

The important fill is at the rear of the pole where the angle is formed with the magnet. also between the rear of the magnet and the pin-connections. A smear across the pole piece magnet joint lines also helps rigidity. KEEP THE GLUE AWAY FROM THE COIL and also away from the cantilever.
Good luck.


diyAudio Moderator Emeritus
2003-01-18 7:57 am
Near London. UK
Re: DENON 103 body.

brianco said:
Your email is disabled on your profile.

Hello Brian, I've enabled email. I'm glad you like my cat "Anode".

Here's a (rather poor) photograph of a naked Ortofon Quattro. I thought it sounded super, but when I first took the body off, it was rather sibilant. I decided that this was probably because the magnet was resonating on its mount, so I wedged a small piece of balsa wood between the magnet and the cartridge top plate. The sibilance disappeared.


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Hi EC8010.

'fraid that your email is still closed to mere mortals!
Perhaps a Moderator could help!!

The Ortofon exercise is useful...have you still got it? If so try try glue trick...they are better cartridges in so far as there is a bolt holding it together. Fill the gap between the magnet and the tube as far as you can without risking damage to the coils.

There was no company involved at that time - the eventual product was a specially built Audio Tekne with lower output than even an Audionote Io! They were without yoke (polepiece) and were absolutely astounding. My few prototypes all got broken as the cantilever was exposed to every risk possible. In a Wheaton it was sublime and also in a (rare) damped breuer. I often wonder if any are still in existence!

Good luck!



2007-05-28 2:53 am
Did you get round to doing anything with your DL103? I followed Thomas Schick's video and it was a very painless process. I decided to go for 4mm thick brass plate and mount the cartridge using Araldite 2-part epoxy resin., which was fashioned by someone I know. Don't try at home unless you're willing to sort some custom counterweights!

For £15, this upgrade has literally transformed my system (Technics SL1210 with custom three-piece counterweights). An incredible gain in detail, wider soundstage & better at the frequency extremes. A night or day upgrade!


nice weight


I tried the nude thing with the brass plate and liked it very much. Much more open detail. I also like the Panzerholz and/or ebony wood body made by Uwe.

the plastic body is the fault here. Removing it removes most of the issue. there is still some plastic and apply epoxy to it while it sits on the brass plate would finish the job as well as cementing where the generator is secured.

The good thing about the wood body, aside from adding a sympathetic resonance, is that you can pot the cartridge taking care of all unwanted plastic resonance.

This cartridge has had a fine line retip /w a ruby cantilever. the thing is a finished project now.