The Hana EH: Redefining the budget phono cartridge

Many have long regarded Denon’s DL103 as the benchmark in “budget moving coil” cartridges. In production more or less constantly since the early 1960’s, it has occupied a spot in thousands of analog enthusiasts’ hearts (and headshells). For many, it was as close to a perfect transducer as we could ask for under $1000. At $200-250, it was a¬†fantastic overachiever, let down only by a slight reticence, or politeness – in fact the 103’s sound was so balanced that some concluded it was like a Honda motorcycle: so composed and dependable, it might just be a tad on the dull side. It’s often been described as smooth; rarely is it called exciting. Competitors haven’t had much success dethroning the venerable DL, though. Shure tried, but always stuck with MM designs. Sumiko tried, with the Blue Point. Dynavector’s 10×4 (later 10×5) was a worthy attempt. Ortofon later took the low road with its’ 2M series of MM’s – trying to beat Denon on price. Even Denon’s own DL110 has from time to time been pumped as the bargain champ – probably when supplies of DL103’s were low. None could ultimately match the 103’s combination of price point, its deft touch with … Continue reading The Hana EH: Redefining the budget phono cartridge