Beginner's Technics SL-1200 questions

I've decided to take my Thorens TD-160 offline for a bit while I work on the common mods that are well documented online. In the meantime, I ordered a Technics SL-1200. This is one of the STOKYO refurbished-in-Japan decks- hopefully I'll report on the quality of that when I get it.

1. The turntable is shipping without any sort of mat. Searching on line, I see a lot of references to layering of mats, and different thickness. Rubber and other materials. What do I need to get to have the 'standard configuration'? The items available at KAB seemed to need to be mated with an "Isoplatman"?

2. I ordered the standard headshell and an AT440MLa cartridge. In addition to the overhang tool, what other tools will I need to set this cart up correctly?

Thanks for following along with these very basic questions.
Check for Boston Audio Mat (second edition) as the best cost effective solution for technics. To set-up cartridge you might use technics 52mm white plastic template or simply buy Hi-Fi Analog Test LP (great tool) with free protractor (looks like slipmat). Another option is to download and print the protractor from vinyl engine site, but can be tricky with printing errors.
Adnan, I also have a Stoyko Technics SL 1200 mk 5. I put a Herbies matt on it and it sounds great. I set up the cartridge using the alignment tool that came with it and as far as I can tell by listening , it sounds wonderful. But, to be sure about it I have ordered a Mint LP alignment tool for the Tehnics arm.
The mat, any mat, will have a major if subtle effect on sonics. In the end, there are many "good" choices depending upon one's personal preferences. Try a few good candidates before deciding, is my advice. On my Denon DP80, I found that a Boston Audio Mat1 was "better" (to my ears) than a Herbie's mat. The only generalization that applies, IMO, is that the stock rubber mats of yesteryear, the ones that typically were supplied with Japanese DD turntables, can easily be bettered. If you want to try a metal mat, I advise you to choose one that is not much heavier than the OEM mat, so as not to screw up function of the servo speed control mechanism, which is tuned to the total mass of platter plus mat.
Ok thanks guy. Regarding the little alignment tool which provides for the 52mm offset- is this the only thing I'll need to align the cart? I don't do this in conjunction with one of the protractors, correct?

Violin, what did you think of the Stokyo refurb? Did everything arrive in order?
I've been using an SL1210M5G for 8-1/2 years and incorporated some tweaks along the way, each of which has made for a sonic improvement. Many of them, such as the tonearm wrap, better headshell, footers, and butcher block platform, lower the noise floor, minimize resonances, and as a result increase dynamic range, bass extension, overall linearity, better tonal balance, and inner detail.

KAB's fluid damper improves tracking and lowers the amplitude of the arm/cartridge resonance, enabling morre good cartridge matches.

The tonearm is hollow and has a distinctive high pitched ringing resonance. You can make this go away for next to nothing by wrapping it with Teflon pipe thread tape. It's only about $1.50/rool, and you only need about 18" of it.

The LpGear Zupreme is much better. It has better wiring, the headshell is more rigid and inert than the stock Technics headshell, and it is also adjustable for azimuth. The Sumiko headshell is very similar, but almost twice as much and not quite as good, so why bother?

I use a KAB record grip to snug the record to the spindle. It also audibly reduces noise, whether it's from the turntable mechanicals or record surface noise, I don't know, but it works.

The stock footers on the Technics are not very good. In spite of their serious look, they don't isolate well from room vibration nor do they drain internal vibrations from the turntable. There are many many replacement footers available, but the simplest and most cost-effective are the Vibrapod Cones, and are even better when placed on matching Vibrapod 2 Isolators. This comes out to $56 total. You lose the height adjustability, but I use small stacks of 3x5 cards to level the table. You can even cut the file cards into circles using a Vibrapod Isolator as the template so they're not visible.

Of course a good mat is important. My mat works very well but I can't realistically recommend it because I was just lucky. I asked at my local used audio dealer and they offered me an out-of-production Oracle Groove Isolator, a heavy sorbothane (but *not* sorbothane gel) mat that effectively drains record noise and isolates the LP from internal mechanical noises. However, you have a lot of choices, and those leather mats intrigue me.

I actually place my Groove Isolator on top of the felt slip mat that came with the turntable. It sounds slightly better and significantly damps the platter's tendency to ring compared to the Isolator mat by itself.

You can further isolate the turntable with a butcher block cutting board. The thicker the better. I started off with a $20 one from Ikea, but later moved up to a massive 3-1/2" thick maple butcher block one. Normally these are $200-300, but I got mine from for about $100. You can further isolate by getting a pair of silicone gel keyboard wrist rests from an office supply store. I have my butcher block resting on a pair of these, which run the full width of the cutting board.

You can see my turntable setup here.

I can only add some info to Johnnyb53 post that another great solution is Isonoe feets ( That is what i use for my two technics 1210 (in the second system). Fluid damper from Kevin (KAB is also great. Kevin is a great guy, so you can ask him. Check for AudioTechnica Technihard headshells (they are great and fully adjustable for overhand and azymuch). Orsonic headshell is another good option. You have to rewire internal tonearm cable and external rca cable with cardas or better one to improve the sound. Later you may replace the tonearm to SME or Jelco or Audiomods depends what cartridges you want to use.
Not having anything to compare with, it seems to me that Stoyko did a good job of refurbishing my table that I got from them. It was well packaged and there was no visible damage and it plays beautifully.. The only thing that I am probably going to do is send it to Kevin at KAB and have the arm rewired with Cardas Litz wire. I have a Mint LP cartridge alignment tool being made for the arm to be sure that the cartridge is aligned properly.
Thanks for the response Johnny. I'm planning on listening to the new deck for a few weeks, and will probably go after the fluid damper and rewire if it feels like a long term relationship. Although I'm not completely clear on how the fluid damper works.

Regarding isolation, I have access to various sheets of thick rubber and foam (neoprene, EPDM, silicone, etc) and may try that out. Is the goal of isolation under the feet only for foot steps and effects of bass?
Regarding isolation, I have access to various sheets of thick rubber and foam (neoprene, EPDM, silicone, etc) and may try that out. Is the goal of isolation under the feet only for foot steps and effects of bass?

IMO, with these materials, you will add bounce to the entire rig. I have tried many materials under my Linn TT and have found you need properly designed tweaks to prevent "footfall" and isolation from sound waves. Yes, the Linn is a suspension TT, but isolation applies to all TTs.
The Vibrapod system is a good cost effective way to isolate the TT or any component. Also, a major factor in isolation of a TT is preventing vibration thru the floor; eg, a floating floor, and the type of stand you are using. Sometimes you need to move the TT to a different place on the floor or wall mount it.

Enjoy that Technics.
Adnan - hope you enjoy your TT. I've got an SL1210M5G purchased from KAB Electro Acoustics back in 2007. The fluid damper is definitely worth it. It's a small trough to which you will add a viscous silicone fluid. A small "paddle" from the tone arm contacts the fluid. The viscosity of the fluid helps dampen tone arm movement. If you overfill the trough, you can definitely have too much of a good thing (too much of the paddle will be in contact with the fluid) resulting in over-damping. In my set up I've only a few millimeters of paddle actually penetrating the surface of the silicone when the stylus is playing a record. Good luck getting things sorted out.
Is the goal of isolation under the feet only for foot steps and effects of bass?
No. As Johnnyb53 explained just above:
The stock footers on the Technics are not very good. In spite of their serious look, they don't isolate well from room vibration nor do they drain internal vibrations from the turntable.
Both goals are important, though different.

Isolation from structure-borne vibrations prevents mistracking/skipping and lowers the system sound floor. As such vibrations tend to be at fairly low frequencies, reducing them reduces the LF mud that gets into the system, which reduces the work for every component in the signal path. The sonic result is blacker backgrounds and the ability to hear lower levels of detail.

Draining vibrations that are already in the rig (motor vibrations and stray energies escaping from the cartridge) has a similar effect, but as such noises can occur at many frequencies, their effects, if not drained away, are more complex. But they're always noise, so less is better.

Improving bass and dynamic response requires that the turntable be as immobile as possible. The turntables which produce the lowest, tightest, strongest bass and punchiest dynamics are high mass designs. Suspended and lightweight tables allow the tail to wag the dog, so to speak. To whatever extent this occurs, dynamics and bass response will suffer. My TT weighs nearly 90 lbs. It has better dynamics and bass than any light/suspended table. But even this fairly heavy table suffers weakened bass and dynamics if I put overly compliant footers beneath it.

From the above, you could correctly deduce that isolating from external vibrations while maintaining maximum bass and dynamics are somewhat conflicting goals. This makes finding an optimal support solution for any particular turntable/tonearm/cartridge a matter of experimentation and sometimes luck.