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bgupton 01-06-2016 08:30 PM


Originally Posted by querstrommotor (Post 747862)
Thank you all for your nice comments

To give some more information about carts and especially the DL 103 and it´s variants, let me write some more lines here.

The Ligno Lab bodies exists in two versions, a heavy bronce and a much lighter aluminium variant.
The aluminium version has also threaded holes - so it is a little easier to mount.
I feel that the classic DL 103 fits better with the heavy bronce shell, while the DL 103 R is fantastic with the aluminium version.

Keep in mind, with the heavy bronce shell you DO NOT NEED A HEAVY ARM!!!!!!
The DL103 which you peel off the old plastic shell together with the Ligno Lab bronce has a total weight about 19g.
So make sure your tonearm, which should have an effective mass around 10-12g can handle that weight.
Sometimes you need a heavier counterweight it your tonearm supplier has something like that in the catalog.
The aluminium version has a total weight around 11g - this version needs a heavier arm - but I feel that the compliance of the more modern R version of the DL 103 is not as stiff, as the classic DL 103 - maybe I am wrong and is just the different coil dtructure they use in the R version - in my book a 18-20g eff mass arm will fit perfectly.

The difference between the standard DL 103 versions with the plastic body and what you can make out of it with both Ligno Lab shells is everything else than subtile - it is dramatic!!

If you characterize the standard DL 103 as the leave the factory in Japan, the DL 103 is limited in the higher frequencies, it has a special kind of presence, which maks it not so easy to hear the limitations at fist listen - this lively presence makes also the intimate and special charakter of the DL 103, which let you sometimes suggest, the singer is sitting directly in front of you - the DL 103 can minimize distance, like no other cart.
But it is on the other side no master of spatial information, which lets you think in the cinemascope direction, like a SPU can do - it is more focussed on the mono events in the middle of the spatial picture - and there is the vocal.....
The low mids are saturated and fat and flow nicely, the bass is highly dynamic, but limited it the range - it is not a bass which will shake your gear.

With the Ligno Lab bronce shell you do not change the basic character, but - and this is a BIG BUT, you bring all the things to a much higher level.
The limitation in Bass and much more in treble is now nearly gone - it is not a Lyra cart of course, but you get fine details and a lot more spatial information - not only on the mono axis, also a far wider stage and something the standard DL 103 cannot do - you get pinpoint drawings of the signals which are not in the center.
The microdynamic is on a whole different level - and the macro dynamic is as much in your face and in your body as a DL 103 can do - and this is one reason for the fun you will have - it is an emotional cart - nothing to count rows in the concert hall, but something to get heavily involved into the music - it grabs you - and if you like vocals it is something, you never will forget.

The DL 103 R puts more HiFi to the game - but it leaves also some of the special things the much cheaper standard DL 103 does behind...
More HiFi - and in that range it is clearly better as the standard DL 103 - but, if you measure your feelings while listening - I would give the standard version a higher score.
As i mentioned above - I like the R version more in the aluminium Ligno shell, and the standard DL 103 is a killer cart in the bronce shell.

Also keep in mind, the standard version of the DL 103 is that cart, while you have a DL 103 compatible SUT - the R version has not an internal impedance of 40 Ohms, it has much less - around 14 Ohms - and therefor it is quite heavy to find a matching SUT - I feel Denon made it more for modern active RIAA stages - because with the change of the internal impedance the R has also less output as the standard DL 103.
These two things make it not an easy task to integrate it in a classic tube system as Shindo is.
But if you want to make a DIY SUT with some Lundahl capsules - and a nice enclosure, than you can also go for the R version.

Both are with the Ligno shells in a class of it´s own.
If the cart is worn out - you keep the shell and buy a new DL 103 - the peeling off session is than a sort of warm up for you - it sounds more complex as it is - there are also manuals to do that online - also short films at you tube.

Have a nice weekend


Here are some calculations Bob from Bob's Devices provided and gave me permission to post. Does this jive with your thinking?
HI Brian,
When an input sensitivity is specified, that is the Floor, or the Lowest value that the equipment is capable of supporting without distortion or losses. Therefore you don’t want to use anything lower than 3mV into the Shindo. Since the Koetsu is somewhere between .4mV and .6mV (they all seem to vary within that range. I have measured different outputs from several Koetsu cartridges and they all are different, probably because each one is hand-made…I digress) So, with a 1:10 ratio, your output will be around 4-6mV, all above the 3mV sensitivity floor. 1:10 will work fine with the Koetsu, but the reflected impedance seen by the cartridge will be 470 ohms. Ideally, cartridges do best with about 10 times the internal impedance. Since the Koetsu has an impedance of about 5 ohms, the best match would be around 50 ohms. Using a 1:30 step up ratio would provide you with 52 ohms of reflected impedance and an output to the Shindo of about 13-14 mV. Normal phono stages will overload at about 10mV, however, the Shindo does not overload until about 1,200 mV according to their website. That is why you can use the Homage t2 with the EMT. My understanding (I have not measured it, but Art Dudley told me that he thought the Homage T2 was 1:40, which is why I sent him the 1131 (also 1:40) to audition. I have not been able to verify the step up ratio personally. If the Homage T2 is 1:40, then the EMT would be effectively producing through the Homage an output of over 20mV. Reportedly, it sounds great.

Based on this information, the proper step up ratio for the Koetsu into the Shindo is 1:30.

The ZERO has an output of around .4mV and an internal impedance of about 6 ohms. It is electrically about the same as the Koetsu and would use the same step up ratio.

If you were using a normal phono stage, and not the Shindo, I would recommend a step up ratio of 1:15 for both the Koetsu and the Zero.
I hope this explanation helps. Remember, I am the manufacturer for these devices, and not just a dealer, and am also a Registered Professional Engineer. If you want more information, there are a few white papers on this page:

Best Regards,

junker 01-08-2016 01:58 PM

EMT puts out 1mV @ 5 cm/s - so at a 1:40 ratio it would be producing 40mV! :confused-12:


Originally Posted by bgupton (Post 751383)
Here are some calculations Bob from Bob's Devices provided and gave me permission to post. Does this jive with your thinking?
HI Brian,


If the Homage T2 is 1:40, then the EMT would be effectively producing through the Homage an output of over 20mV. Reportedly, it sounds great.


Best Regards,

querstrommotor 01-10-2016 12:05 PM

a cotter is an amazing match with koetsu carts . they all have 5 ohm impedance - it is a fantastic match!!!!!



bgupton 01-10-2016 02:06 PM


Originally Posted by querstrommotor (Post 752228)
a cotter is an amazing match with koetsu carts . they all have 5 ohm impedance - it is a fantastic match!!!!!



In your experience, does any other SUT sound better with a Koetsu?

querstrommotor 01-14-2016 10:43 AM

Dear bguptonm,

talking about Koetsu means a lot more than just the SUT.

First of all - the absolute basic ist the tonearm.
Koetsu carts have a compliance of 5cu measured at 100hz.
In comparison a Lyra has 12cu, a SPU Classic has 6cu a Royal N has 8, an Ikeda 9TT has 7cu.
As you might see, we need a heavy tonearm.
Most of the cases we will see a Koetsu at the end of a SME V oder IV, Triplanar oder Graham - all these arms are too lightweight.
Also the idea to use the most common SME 3012 is not a good ides - the only heavy SME 3012 was the first series with the steel tube - all later SME 3012 are also too lightweight.

You need an arm with minimum 19g eff mass - better more, from 19g the game starts...

Imagine a Fidelity Reserach FR66S has an eff mass of 32-26g (depend on the headshell)!!!!

Maybe you read in the different forums a lot about the Koetsu sound.
In most of the cases you weill read something like that.
Indifferent bass, whooly, over emphasized and not very deep.
Great mids - to die for, great vocal performanc and also strings are rendered very nice.
Rolled off top a little bit muted on top.

All these descriptions are true in a SME V, Triplanar (lesser margin here) Graham (also lesser margin) and so on.

If you pair a Koetsu with a proper arm - you will get something totally different.
Match it with a 12" Schröder with a Snakewood or Ebony armetube andyou have a totally different story .
If the matching to the arm is nearly perfect - you get the to die for mids - they get even more precise and the rendesring is not anymore flat in the localisation - you will have a nearly pinpoint rendering, the bass gets precise and deep and very powerful - no over emphasized spectrum around 100-250hz anymore.
The top end is open and cristal clear without any hint of grain - it sounds as natural as breathing.

And if you want to use a stone body coetsu, you need even more eff mass - my measurements show that they are even e little bit stiffer - which is somehow compnesated to the larger weight of the stone bodies - but not enough.

That is the tonearm story - if you reed the Koetsu official distributors advice you will find on the pint arm mass midle heavy-heavy - that is just half of the truth.
The mark should be on the word heavy!

Coming to the amplification of such a Koetsu.

If you match it with an active RIAA stage, you have to use 100 Ohm termination resistance.
You will read also here different things - because the SME V club tries now, with an incompatible arm, which also is slow in rendering and has a thick low end (but very comfortable in adjustment) - you will read about the termination practice.
One says use 400 ohm - it is more oben than - (remember ist sounds almost dull in the wrong arm) - and yes it is true - you get more treble out of the Koetsu at 400 Ohms.
But you losse even more bass precision, and the quality of the treble is now bad - the treble does not come anymore from the source which produces it - it comes in front of the source.
Imagine a flute - the attack is now located in front of the instrument - not a good thing.
So all the rendring in the deepness of the spectrum - from front to back is now destroyed - but it sounds more open and you get more treble - you compansate a bas tonearm matching with electrical termination, a thing which never will have succes.
Because a MC cart is a feather mass system - you HAVE TO GET THE RIGHT MASS (arm) against the feather (compliance).
You cannot compensate a mechanical mismatch with an electrical mismatch....
Some claim - use even 1Kohm - the things get more worse than I can describe here.

So - now, we are talking......

The sometimes bad reputation regarding Koetsu comes only from using arms, made in the 80ties and 90ties with carts in mind, as MM carts (Shure V15) VdH, Benz and so on....

If you use the correct equipment, than you get something very special - something you won´t find exactly that way one again.
A Koetsu can sound like has something, I would call soul and there is flesh on the bones, and the midtones are amazing, the treble is clear, and natural and you can touch it,
The ambiance rendering is also in a class of it´s own.

Coming to the SUT now.

A Koetsu has 5 Ohm inner impedance.
We let the platinum versions out of the game for a moment....

And the Koetsu puts out something about 0,4mV - maybe a little bit more ( not the platin magnet version - I know).

The original vintage Koetsu SUT used Triad capsules - they were very, very good.
The original SUT had a fixed 5 Ohm position - and the whole thing sounded amazing - they are extremely rare today - and you cannot compare them to what is available today from Koetsu - the "new" SUT sounds dull and forget that!

A cotter - and there is not one cotter - so read the technical specs - a cotter with a matching 5 ohm position is an amazing match - truly heaven!

If you use a SPU compatible SUT the Koetsu gets too much damping - such a SUT has a 2 or 3 ohm tap (position) - so it is a little bit too much.

Such a 5 Ohm tab SUT is also perfectly usable for Lyra carts, Zyx (low output), Ortofon (because today only the Meister Silver and the A95 have really low impedance - the Synergy is another story).
So a 5 Ohm tab SUT is a good investment.
Carts like Meister Silver and A95, SHindo SPU, Ikeda, My Sonic Lab, Air Tight and so on - means really low impedance carts needs a lower figure - the need a 2-3ohm tab.

A Kondo IO needs even a 1 Ohm tab - so another story.....

Hope that helps....

But keep in mind - everything starts with a proper compatible arm....
And I forgot - such a low compliance cart need also a high torque table - so no Oracle, Linn and so on....
A heavy table, like a Micro Seiki 1500 or even better 5000, a Platineis a great match.
A direct driven moded Technics SP10 also.
And idler wheels are what Sugano San used to design the cart - so a modded Garrard 301 or 401, a Commonwealth from Australia ( great table), a EMT, Thorens TD124 all are compatible.
Newer Designs with high torque is for example a Bauer DPS - in USA distributed by Ayre.

All the best


maril555 01-15-2016 10:05 AM

Your excellent posts could serve as a primer on the subject of cart/ arm compatibility , as well, as SUT-related issues.
When you talk about Koetsu needing SUT with 5 Ohm tap, it's understandable, but the problem is, that many manufacturers don't publish this value, only a step-up ratio.
As an example:
Ypsilon MC10- step-up ratio is 1:10 and corresponding load presented to cartridge is 500 Ohm. (when terminated into 47kOhm)
Does it mean, that tap value is around 50 Ohm? As it usually about 10 times lower, than the load?
Also, there is a correlation b/w step-up ratio and the load presented to the cart:
The higher the ratio, the lower the load
So, the Koetsu SUT with a 5 Ohm tap ( meaning appr. 50 Ohm load?) has relatively high step up ratio?
BTW, do you have any experience with Ypsilon step-ups?
Thanks again

querstrommotor 01-26-2016 08:45 AM

Dear guys,

the Koetsu SUT has a turn ratio of 1:20 - also the one we could buy a while ago - which is also discontinued.
The tab thing with the transformers is a special story - I think it should made things easier - the idea was - if you know the internal resistance of your MC coils, - let´s say an SPU (3 Ohm) than you choose the 3 Ohm tab - if it is a DL 103 (40 Ohm) you should use the 40 Ohm tab.
That does not mean, that the cart "sees" 3 or 40 ohm....
With the SPU on a 3 Ohm tab connected to a 47Kohm RIAA the SPU "sees" something about 50 - 60 Ohm - and the DL 103 connected to the 40 Ohm tab "sees" 100 Ohm.

So a lot of people think now...ok, - if I use a Koetsu on an active RIAA I should terminate it with 100 Ohm (as I wrote above) - so it is correct to use the 40 Ohm tab - wich let see the cart also 100 Ohm...but that is wrong.
SUT termination is something completely different, than with a resistor.
The SUT termination works with current, the resistor with also the amplification is done differently current versus V...
So - keep that in mind.
With a SUT a Koetsu should "see" something around 60-70 Ohm.
With a DL 103 compatible SUT it will sound too nervous in the hights and the treble again does not come anymore from the source of the instruments - it is up front, which is not what it should be.
Listen always carefully - sometimes the first obvious thing is not that, what matters.....
A lot of people dance an jump because now the Koetsu has more treble energy - but it is not a natural treble coming from the source of the instruments - it is synthetic.

By the way - read again the tonearm facts regarding Koetsu - 80% of what we read is the sound of a not compatible adjusted Koetsu - worst thing - in an SME V arm, which can do miracles with a Kiseki, which is high compliance!

Have fun and enjoy the music

querstrommotor 01-26-2016 08:55 AM

Dear maril555 - no I do not have any experience with Y SUT´s.
There are so many fantastic SUT´s vintage and new on the market, that the big question is, what does Y bring to the table.....

Great SUT´s are: - to name a view....
A23 Hommage T1
A23 Hommage T2
Audio Note Japan S7 (vintage) widely switchable
Audio Note Japan KSL (now also vintage) switchable between 1, 3 and 40 Ohm
Cotter - all of them
Air Tight ATH2A - switchable between 2 and 40 Ohm
Air Tight ATH2A Reference - switchable between 2 and 40 Ohm
Vintage Koetsu (5 Ohm tab fixed)
Lyra Errodion ( also 5 Ohm tab fixed - especially with a Lyra Skala a revelation)
Jensen DIY
Lundahl DIY
De Paravicini vintage ones
Ortofon T1000 - great for SPU - but not the same quality as the Hommage T1
EMT / Haufe specially for EMT (has 22 Ohm and 1:7)
Vintage Partridge
Jorgen Shou great for SPU
Triad - found in old Shindo Arome
WE - also found in vintage Shindo SUT
Bent Audio / Stevens & Billington
FR sut - specially the low impedance types
And so on......
Not all are in the same class - but are good to outstanding - better than most of the more popular ones....

So what does Y do???? - I think another me too product....
It is not so easy to put a vintage FR or Ikeda SUT into dust...or a SUT technology everything was said in the past - and they built great ones - really outstanding ones...and you do not have to pay 8000,- for it....!


DesW 01-26-2016 07:01 PM

Ah yes excellent Précis of the SUTs Q--not forgetting the prince of them all

The Expressive Technologies SU-1

Thank you again for your outstanding contribution to his thread


querstrommotor 01-27-2016 04:13 PM

Hi DesW,
my SUT list is not complete of course;-)))
And the Expressive SU-1 is really one of the best ever made - so sorry for leaving that masterpiece out....

Greetings to you all


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