Denon DL-103

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Brief description[edit]

The Denon DL-103 is a moving coil (MC) cartridge with a low output voltage. It was developed in the early 1960s for use in broadcast studios.



  • Manufacturer: Denon
  • Model: DL-103
  • Years of manufacture: since 1963
  • Made in: Japan
  • Color: Black
  • Weight: 8.5 g
  • Original price approx.: 450 DM (1979), 310 DM (1998), 299 Euro (RRP, as of 2020)

Technical data

  • Principle: Moving Coil (MC)
  • Frequency response: 20 - 45,000 Hz
  • Channel separation:
  • Channel balance:
  • Crosstalk attenuation: > 25 dB (1 kHz)
  • Output voltage: 0.3 mV
  • Terminating resistor: > 100 Ohm
  • Output impedance: 40 Ohm
  • Needle type: spherical (R: 16.5 µm), aluminum needle carrier
  • Recommended contact force: 25 ±3 mN
  • Needle compliance: 5 µm/mN (at 100 Hz)

Special features

  • two-piece aluminium needle carrier



  • Extract from brochure: Denon DL-103

Denon DL-103-1.jpg

  • Excerpt from brochure: Denon DL-103, DL-110, DL-160, DL-301, DL-304

Denon DL-103-160-301-304-Prospekt-1989.jpg


  • Audio issue 6/1999
    • Audio buying tip
    • Audio rating: 3 ears
"This MC started its career decades ago as a radio workhorse, today it is an analogue cult object. Even on medium-heavy, or even better on heavy arms, the bulky plastic block unleashes so much dynamics, power and musicality that it has already made many an owner of expensive noble sabastes wonder."
  • Stereoplay issue 12/2000

Sound: top class (41 points)

"But the test unexpectedly has another winner: the DENON DL 103, already for a long time stereoplay highlight and precise workhorse of the editorial staff, proved that its series quality increased over the years. The classic thus shot up to 41 points in the rank & name list."
  • LP Magazine Issue 2/2005
"bottom line... You can say a lot about the DL-103, except one thing for sure: that it's boring. The Denon is an unusually extroverted system that at times seems a little boisterous in the lower spectrum. Nevertheless, it never gets on your nerves - the DL-103's joy of playing, energetic temperament, immense openness and large pots of sound colours make it a likeable speaker. And as a tip for those looking to save money, the DL-103 plays great tennis at a ping pong price!"