First impressions of Denon DL-160 fitted to Dual 505-2

Our much-anticipated Denon DL-160 MC cartridge was delivered this week, and I finally found a moment to get it installed in place of the ULM65/DL-165e the deck was originally supplied with.  Having confirmed everything was lined up, we’ve had a quick listen to the results:

  • The first note played with the new cartridge told me that the new cartridge is really giving a very different presentation to the original.
  • Much better handling of sibilants, especially appreciated in rock/pop recordings.
  • Wider and deeper soundstage.
  • More detail exposed.
  • More attack on percussion instruments.
  • Much-reduced surface noise – including pops and ticks.
  • Slightly reduced “bloom” around 130-200Hz, compared with the Dual ULM65/DN165e combination the deck was originally supplied with.
  • Lower, cleaner bass below 120Hz.
  • Massive increase in playback quality of extremely worn/damaged LP’s.

In my wife’s words: “Everything just seems to sound like it should”.  And I have to agree.  The vinyl warmth, dynamics and musicality are much in evidence, but with a consistency and tonal accuracy more commonly associated with digital playback.

I think it fair to say that the purchase was a resounding success – the cartridge clearly is working very well in our setup, better in fact than many who know our deck might think it worth spending money to achieve.  More detailed findings to follow…