Denon DL-A110 Cartridge Lab Report

Lab Report

This iconic MC design offers a useful 0.55mV/200ohm output (re. 1kHz/5cm/sec) – albeit with a moderate 0.85dB channel imbalance in our sample – which is some 3dB higher than the rated 0.39mV that came with the certificate. The reference response also supplied with each DL-A110 shows a slightly 'smoother' top-end than realised here with separate lateral (L+R) and vertical (L-R) cuts [black and red traces, Graph 1]. The mild resonance seen at 9.5kHz may be a reflection of that long, double-walled alloy cantilever's finite stiffness. Interestingly, the peak is far less obvious on response traces measured using a stereo cut where the MC mechanism is moving in both planes simultaneously. Answers on a postcard to the usual address...

There's also a slight generator asymmetry, the left channel having a milder treble – dipping to –2dB/10kHz and –5dB/20kHz [right channel illustrated in Graph 1]. Distortion is moderate, the unequalised figure amounting to 2.2% at 1kHz/5cm/sec (0dB) while the RIAA equalised trace increases from 0.5-12% (lateral) and 0.6-12% (vertical) across 20Hz-20kHz at –8dB [see Graph 2]. Nevertheless it's clear to see that the peak in distortion is deferred to very high frequencies just as its 'character' is well matched across the stereo soundfield.

Tracking is aided by the high 2.5g downforce, achieving ~75µm via both channels, respectively, and keeping hold of a high +15dB groove modulation (re. 315Hz/5cm/sec) at ~0.3% THD. VTA is spot-on at 18-20o but the dynamic compliance is very low at ~8cu, suggesting it is best matched with medium-to-high mass tonearms if the resonant frequency is to be pushed down below 12Hz. PM


Frequency response curves (–8dB re. 5cm/sec) lateral (L+R, black) versus vertical (L–R, red)


Lateral (L+R, black infill) and vertical (L–R, red) tracing and generator distortion (2nd-4th harmonics) vs. frequency from 20Hz-20kHz (–8dB re. 5cm/sec)

Generator type/weight Moving-coil / 8.5g
Recommended tracking force 22-28mN (25mN)
Sensitivity/balance (re. 5cm/sec) 550µV / 0.85dB
Compliance (vertical/lateral) 8cu / 13cu
Vertical tracking angle 18degrees
L/R Tracking ability 75μm / 75μm
L/R Distortion (–8dB, 20Hz-20kHz) 0.85–11.5% / 0.50–12.1%
L/R Frequency resp. (20Hz-20kHz) +0.9 to –4.5dB / +0.9 to –0.9dB
Stereo separation (1kHz / 20kHz) 33dB / 25dB
Price £499

Sound United/D&M Holdings
Kanagawa, Japan
Supplied by: D&M Audiovisual Ltd, UK
02890 279830