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A bit of History

- The world’s first and only “Customizable" phono cartridge -

A legend was born...

The renowned and reliable Denon cartridge first manufactured back in 1962 for the broadcast community is one of only a handful of audio components that never ceased production and is still available today to the consumer. There is no doubt you must have a good design to begin with in order to withstand the test of time. It is thus not surprising to find it lurking in many of the world's ultimate sound systems often costing hundreds of thousands of dollars despite the 103's ridiculously affordable price. After all, these are people who could afford much higher priced cartridges and yet choose and love the sound of this particular "pickup" for its tremendous tone often courting company with classic SME tonearms and idler wheel Garrard turntables and the like. Sound aside, part of what makes it so appealing and prized for is its superb manufacturing accuracy in stylus assembly, overall build consistency and its choice of a spherical tip over competing and more exotic profiles, making it less finicky in cart alignment.


Wait a minute:

But like any consumer “stock” product, there are obviously some design compromises that were taken at the time and as to be expected, a few shortcomings that go with it. The most obvious are the use of a molded plastic shell that forms the main housing used to dress and mount the phono cart. Unfortunately, there are considerable voids between this plastic housing and the cartridge's core and the lateral walls are insufficiently damped, therefore propitious to distortion. Just as you would not instinctively use plastic to build neither a musical instrument nor a high-quality loudspeaker, there is no sound advantage of doing so either in this place. That is why some more adventurous audiophiles dispense altogether with the outer shell rendering them “naked” so to speak. Doing so rids the cart's propensity of storing energy and blurring detail. But this creates two drawbacks: a slight loss of weight in the bass in tandem with the treble gain (shifting the original tonal balance), plus the dangers of damaging the exposed motor assembly and delicate coil windings with a false move. This is not a new craze, in fact as far back as the late 1970s, Japanese audiophiles and people such as Jean Hiraga from “La Maison de l'Audiophile” in France and the DIY ultra-fi community were exploring all kinds of ways of improving upon the stock Denon 103, sometimes even replacing the plastic shell with lead instead. Nowadays one can find wood, aluminum or even stone aftermarket casings shells but none of them “tweakable” nor “customizable” as the MusiKraft. We are convinced we offer the best solution.

- Take Control of Your Sound -

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