The DENON DL-102 MONO Cartridge
The Denon DL-102 Mono cartridge, is an inexpensive introduction to high quality mono LP playback.I  have assembled this page from my personal experience.

 instruction sheet

Here is a link to my English translation of the Japanese instruction sheet shipped with the DL-102.

I purchased my DL-102 from Schopper in Switzerland.
It is also available from EIFL in Japan. I am not affiliated with any of these dealers.

DENON DL-102 REAR VIEW Basically, the DL-102 is a high output MONO moving coil cartridge which has incorporated both vertical compliance and a 0.7 mil radius stylus, making it compatible with stereo LP playback and is intended for playback of both Mono and Stereo Records. 

The DL-102 is NOT a stereo cartridge strapped internally for mono, but is specially designed to output a mono signal from a stereo LP, so there is no danger of damaging a modern LP by its use.  Denon's own instruction sheet states "The DL-102 is a monophonic output moving coil cartridge designed for monophonic replay as well as the monophonic playback of stereo recordings."

As can be seen in this photo, the cartridge consists of a single solenoid wound moving coil mounted between fixed parallel pole pieces. 

The pole piece faces are oriented at a  90° angle to the horizontal axis of the cantilever resulting in the cartridge producing its maximum output from lateral stylus motion, as is required for mono reproduction.

Stylus motions with angular displacement other than 90° to the horizontal axis, produces progressively diminished output, with a distinct null when the stylus motion is vertical

This  graph shows the cartridge's measured  response to 100 Hz lateral and vertical modulation from the CBS STR100 test record. The yellow trace shows the cartridge's output from 100 Hz horizontal modulation of the stylus while the blue trace shows the much diminished (-27 dB) output from 100 Hz vertical modulation.  With careful adjustment of azimuth for a well defined null, the vertical output component could have been reduced further. Also visible above are the second and third harmonics appearing at 200 and 300 Hz respectively. The blips at 180 Hz and 240 Hz are hum related artifacts of the test setup and can be ignored.

I made these measurements with the cartridge mounted in a REGA RB300 which works ok but is probably not enough mass for the DL-102s fairly low compliance. Use in the REGA arm requires adding additional mass to its counterweight to balance its substantial 13 gram bulk.

This graph shows the cartridge's measured frequency response from 500 to 20,000 Hz. (The response below 500 Hz is not shown here due to the test record used but it does extend down to 20 Hz with a gentle rise of about 1.5 dB relative to 1 KHz.)
Denon spec.'s the DL-102 frequency response from 50 to 10,000 Hz ± 2 dB. The actual measurements show that if the amplitude window is enlarged, the response could be easily specified from 20 to 20,000 Hz ± 3 dB. The top (blue) trace is the output of the cartridge loaded by 47,000 ohms, which is the nominal input impedance of most moving magnet phono stages. The lower trace (red) shows the output of the cartridge loaded with Denon's recommended value of 1,000 ohms.

Although the DL-102 is a moving coil cartridge, it's high output voltage of  3.0 mV makes it more suitable for moving magnet than moving coil phono stages and in fact will overload most mc step-ups including transformers and head amps. 

DENON DL-102 Suggested Connection The output terminals of the cartridge consist of a pair of extra long gold contact pins which facilitate easy parallel connection within a conventional stereo head shell. The use of cheesy cartridge clips like the ones pictured here, make it a simple matter to stack the hot and cold wires of the left and right channels on the long pins, conveniently connecting the mono signal to both stereo channels. 

The cartridges output polarity is not specified by Denon and may vary from one sample to the next. To determine absolute polarity, my recommendation would be, to observe the cartridge's output with an oscilloscope, while playing a known record.

© 2002 by Murray Allen