08 November, 2017

Schiit Mani, Denon DL-103, Denon DL-A100

Brief Review: Schiit Mani, Part II, with Denon DL-103 and DL-A100 
Letter from NYC (72) 2017 (11)

Article finished in HK

Schiit Mani, Part I

Reader Peter asked me whether the Denon DL-103 will work well with the Schiit Mani. Although in Part I I had used the Denon DL-304 successfully with the Mani, I just wanted to make sure. So I inserted the Mani into the recently re-constituted System I:

Analog 1: Thorens TD-124/SME "3012"/Denon DL-103
Analog 2: Technics SL-1200 MkII/Denon DL-102
Phonoamp: Aurorasound Vida (and Schiit Mani)
Preamp: Manley Neo-Classic 300B
Amp: Wavac MD-11
Loudspeakers: YL 4-way horn system

The Mani's loading is somewhat unusual 47 ohm (a bit lower than usual) for MC and 47k for MM. I used mostly the 47 ohm setting. For  few days I played a few of my favorites as well as a bunch of pop music I just bought. Everything sounded lovely - definitely a good combination. Some people may worry about the lowish 47 ohm, especially since some think the DL-103 should be loaded a little higher than usual, but I encountered no problem. I also used 47k ohm on some classical - there is more sheen on the strings and quite listenable, though pop may occasionally become a trifle coarse.

Then I installed the Mani into my System III, in lieu of the StudioPhono.

Analog 1: Thorens TD-309/Denon DL-A100
Analog 2: Pioneer PL-50/Raos MC Mono
Phonoamp 1: Mofi StudioPhono (and Schiit Mani)
Phonoamp 2: 47 Labs Shigaraki
Buffer Amp: Schiit Saga
Preamp: Langevin 102
Amp: Wavac MD-811
Loudspeakers: YL 4-way horn system

The move is to test the combination in a shorter arm and lighter arm (not everyone has a heavy 12" arm, which is "said" to be optimal for DL-103). The DL-A100 is an anniversary version of the DL-103. Sonically the two are almost identical. And so in this system the same result was obtained. The Denon was able to play everything well.

It is simple to conclude that the Schiit Mani works well with Denon DL-103. I also once again am mightily satisfied by this cartridge, surely still after all these years a bargain. Its sound may not be the silkiest at the very top, and its bass may not be the tightest, but it is a good all-rounder. Most importantly, the DL-103 delivers emotionally, unlike many an expensive MC cartridge. Counting in the mono DL-102 and the DL-304 MC, I now have 4 Denon Cartridges in my systems!

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