Wednesday, August 01, 2018

Phono Cartridge Comparison - Audio Technica AT95E vs Denon DL-110

I wanted to see how the Audio Technica AT95E stacked up against a more expensive cartridge, in this case the Denon DL-110 which lists for $300 in the U.S., but can easily be found for around $210.

Here's a comparison using Colin Blunstone's "Caroline Goodbye" from his 1971 LP, 'One Year'. It was the first album he released after the dissolution of the Zombies.

Here's another cut from 1971, Al Green's classic "Let's Stay Together" from the album of the same name.

My preference here is for the Denon DL-110, and a look at the frequency response graphs for each cart shows why.

As you can see the DL-110 offers flatter frequency response, particularly on the 2kHz to 10kHz region. This is a particularly critical region as human hearing is the most sensitive from about 2kHz to 5 kHz. 

So the $160 question is whether the difference between these two carts is worth the difference in price. I can't answer that question for anyone other than myself, but perhaps these videos can help you decide for yourself. Some might complain that it's not possible to make this kind of evaluation via a compressed YouTube video. This is a fair point, and I wouldn't advocate making any decision exclusively based on what you hear in a YouTube video. But at the same time, in my estimation the essential differences in sound between the carts comes through in the videos. 

Next we'll listen to how the Denon DL-110 compares to a brighter sounding cart like the Groove Tool, then I move things in a bit of a different direction that I hope you'll find interesting.

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