Denon DL-302 rebuild thoughts

While going through my desk drawer I rediscovered a Denon 302 cart with missing cantilever and stylus. I reached out to VAS and Steve quoted me different options to repair. The aluminum canti and elliptical ($175) is most cost effective and closest to original specs. He also offered aluminum with line contact ($250), aluminum with microridge ($300) and boron with microridge options ($450).

I never got to play the 302 before the canti broke, so have no idea how it sounds. There’s not much info about it on the web. It’s also got a really low output but should have that covered with a step transformer I can put to use with this cart. Looking for feedback on whether moving up the line with the canti and stylus options would be make an appreciable sonic difference versus the original aluminum and elliptical design. Thx!

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Well, it’s a nice cartridge to be sure, and you can’t replace it for the rebuild fee.  If you’re a fan of the Denon sound, (I am), then I would do it.  It’s a small price for the years of use you’ll get from it.


Thanks for the input JasonBourne52. @normansizemore you didn’t mention which canti/stylus combo you think might sound best on the 302? 

The best is the enemy of the good. The more complex the stylus shape the fussier the setup will be. If you don't have (or are not) a tt specialist, I would avoid the micro-ridge.

I have a Ortofon Cadenza Black I feel I set up pretty good and have the tools to handle it. What sonic advantages are there with the micro-ridge with the aluminum vs. the boron cantilever with this level of cart?  There is a $150 price difference between the two and curious if the boron will make that much of a impact. Thx. 

At $450 there is a Cart' produced by a very skilled Technician who has an endless list of appraisals for their workmanship qualities.

At $450 there is a whole new Cart' Adventure in the waiting that can easily require an extra $$$$'s outlay to get to a similar experience.

At $450 there will be a Cart' in your possession that can offer a LP replay at approx' $00.45 cents per LP replay. Now that is substantial VFM. 

As an advocate of using a Third-Party Services for a Cart' Refurb/Rebuild, I can only encourage this as a consideration.

As an individual who has heard a rebuilt Denon Cart' with a Boron Cantilever and Ogura Vital Styli, I can assure you it made a good impression as New Cart' on its debut, I never got to hear it after that but seen reports from the owner making claims of how it positively impressed against their other owned Cart's.