Clinamenaudio cartridges based on Denon Dl103 & DL103R cronology
"After many years producing cartridges on Denon DL103 base (we were the first ones in Italy) the moment of change has come. So far we’ve offered three shell options: graphite, ebony and cocobolo. Due to our experience we will only keep cocobolo, since we consider it to be the perfect mix of the virtues of all the shells without any substantial faults (we don’t like the ‘dryness’ of graphite and we like cocobolo better than ebony, the former being more balanced in the timbre and more refined in the mid-range). Furthermore we will stop the production of the ‘special’ on DL103 base, focusing only on the DL103R; indeed the small difference in price between the two models is counteracted by the considerably better performance of the ‘R’ model. This is mostly due to its internal impedance, less than half that of the standard model.
We think the right thing to do is to slim down the range of products offered, because in the work we carry out daily we have achieved the results that we want to offer the enthusiasts. Not everybody has the possibility to try 6 pick-up variations (2 pick-ups for 3 different shells); thus the experience we have built is conveyed to the consumer as a range of offers aimed at giving the best value for money and consequently maximization of the customer’s satisfaction.
Therefore from 2022 we will only offer one model of cartridge based on DL103R and with a cocobolo body: The CL103R♯ (diesis), it will be sold at 1200 Euros and it will be a completely new cartridge with incredible performance, since it will boast a more solid cocobolo shell, and most of all it will have a boron stylus and a Shibata diamond tip.
Info about Cocobolo harmonic wood
"Cocobolo wood is a tropical harmonic wood coming largely from Central America. For its beauty and its hardness it is used in the creation of tops, keyboards, bands and bottoms by lutists. It is an ideal material to replace the plastic shell of the Denon DL103, it adds a great harmonic richness, articulation and delicacy in sound reproduction. Compared to carbon block it is less present in the low range but has more harmonic content and in general more suitable for the reproduction of bowed instruments and voices.
The Clinamenaudio cocobolo body are obtained by numerically controlled processing of wood blocks aged for seven years. The finish is hand made, final protection is made with shellac & microcrystalline wax."
Clinamenaudio CL103R ♯
The CL103R ♯ ( diesis) is a moving coil cartridge on a Denon DL103-R base. It was designed with the purpose of exalting the virtues of the Denon DL103R, completely removing any flaws and placing it on a class of pick-ups that we can call ‘ultimate’ without fear of contradiction.
Clinamenaudio CL103R ♯
CL103R ♯ with purpose-built stylus protector
We have designed a new body made from cocobolo, weighing 3.25 gr, which is much more enveloping and stiff than the previous one. It is CNC made and it incorporates stainless steel M2.5 nuts to facilitate the assembly. The frontal part of the shell has an inlay with our logo, which can be either light maple or amber Bubinga.
New cocobolo body with maple front inlay
Cocobolo body with Bubinga front inlay
Many hours have been spent for the CAD design of the new cocobolo body; among its peculiarities we can mention the protrusions near the holes for the fixing screws, in order to guarantee the necessary toughness. The plan view is rectangular and not round in order to allow an easier shaping of the pick-up. We have also provided for a wide accessibility to the front polar armor to guarantee possible future repairs and substitution of the cantilever. Finally, internally, we have also provided cavities that will work as a ‘reservoir’ for the glue that firmly fixes the cartridge to the body. We are the first ones to introduce this feature.
Protrusions near the fixing holes
The new 3.25 gr CNC cocobolo body
The other drastic modification the pick-up underwent is the substitution of the cantilever and relative diamond. It is equipped with a refined BORON cantilever and a SHIBATA diamond tip.
The trio cocobolo-boron-Shibata diamond gives the CL103♯ a sound connotation that we have sought for a long time. Its expression is in a formidable bass, due to the genetic connotation of the 103R and elevated by the steadiness of the boron cantilever; it is also in a great fineness and tracking ability due to the Shibata diamond tip. All this without any harshness and indeed with great harmonious gentleness, thanks to the whole cocobolo body. In this view, the match with our cocobolo headshell is particularly synergetic and suited.
Boron cantilever ending with Shibata stylus
The plastic sheet that used to protect the mobile coils has been replaced by a more suitable sheet of rice paper.
We’ll conclude by describing two final delights which deal with the practicality and the maintenance of this investment.
The first is the construction of a purpose-built stylus protector which perfectly wedges in on the pick-up body, protecting the precious cantilever from accidental damage due to inattentive cleaning.
The second one is the design of a purpose built elegant wooden box, laser cut and printed. The box has a false bottom; in the lower part instructions, stylus protector and small parts are kept. Then a removable layer with two easy extraction eyelets hosts the pick-up. The upper lid has two vertical bulkheads which steadily fix the inner panel with the pick-up to the box.
The CL103R ♯ package, with its false bottom box
- The weight of the cartridge is 11.2 gr.
- Cartridge height (between mounting plane surface and Shibata diamond): 17.8 mm (2.8 mm greater than the original DL103 R)
- The electrical and interfacing characteristics are the same as the original cartridge. The internal impedance is 16 Ohms
- Output Voltage 0.3 mV
- Tracking force :2,5 gr +/- 0,1 gr
- Antiskating: adjust to 33 rpm with smooth disc, so that with the tracking force of 2.5 g, the cartridge remains stationary onto the disc, or is dragged slightly towards the center
- I recommend using the cartridge with PASSIVE step-ups with RATIO between 1:12 and 1:17. If you go for higher gains (1:17), ask the SUT manufacturer to specify the primary inductance of the transformer; it must have a minimum necessary value of around 400 mH, a value aimed at ensuring correct reproduction of the low audio register. Personally I love to work the CL103R diesis (and obviously the standard 103R), with gain between 1:15 and 1:17, this ensures, in combination with the standard load of the 47K MM phonos, a correct load on the moving unit of the cartridge, giving it the right electromechanical brake.
- Middle-high mass tonearms are advisable, given the low compilance of the cartridge.
Selling at 1180 euro plush shipping cost