Best Cartridge for technics sl1200mk2


Guys I bought this turntable a few years ago with all the KAB upgrades but never set it up- So couple of questions- How good a table is it and what cart. should I get to match it- thanks gary
fluffers
It's a very good turntable and offers high bang for the buck, especially with the KAB upgrades.

I don't recall it being particularly picky about cartridge choice. One thing to keep in mind is whether or not your phono preamp will provide enough gain for a low-output MC cartridge or whether it will limit you to higher output MM and MC cartridges.

There has got to be a lot of people who own that turntable and could provide recommendations for a cartridge choice once we know what phono preamp you are using.
Check out posts by Johnnyb53...he's written a fair amount about carts for the
SL1210. Would think they'd apply. Personally just been running mod'd.
Stantons/Pickerings from KAB. Played those through a Lehman Black Cube and
now with Heed Quasar phono pre. Do attend to isolation. I also thought a mat
from Herbies on top of the heavy (stock?) rubber TT mat made a difference.

This thread (number?) might be a good place to start.
1284826376. Though unfortunately, not sure how to search on it. At any rate,
try searching (all words) on: johnnyb63 SL1200. You will get some hits.
I have the same table and went through 3 cartridges before settling on the Shelter 501. Used a Shure of some sort, Sumiko Blue Point & Grado Ref Platinum before settling on a Shelter 501. Also used a Grado preamp, Lehman Black Cube before settling on a Krell KPE phono.
My table has the KAB tonearm re-wire & Cardas RCA cables to the preamp. I also use a Sumiko headshell with either SME or Sumiko wires from the cartridge to the headshell, I don't recall.
The above works very well for me and cannot see changing anything. The cartridge is very forgiving on setup from what I can tell. I have moved the tracking weight up and down many times and settled on around 1.5-1.75 grams. I am not the big audiophile that so many are on this site, I really just like listening to good clean sound.
The KAB mods really opened up the sound and I felt they were well worth the price of admission,
Hopefully the above helps you make your decision.
Regards, John
I think Kevin, of KAB, is one of the most passionate and nicest guys I've ever done biz with but, having lived with his "modded" 1210, I simply do not agree with him that the Tech is better than, for instance, a Rega 3.

While I dug the Tech, because it's cool, I never cottoned to it.
Sorry about the typo in my note...that should be johnnyb53.
Audio-Technica AT150MLX.
+1 for the AT150MLX. Started out with the Ortofon 2M Blue when I first got back into vinyl. The AT150MLX is a clear improvement.
Surpisingly Ortofon ProS w/STY40 stylus for $369.00 pairs extremely well with the SL1200 MKII.

The advantage of the integrated design is that the arm wand, cartridge coils and cantilever are in alignment and there is no need for a headshell. These are custom assembled by KAB.

Unless.............you can find a NOS/almost new and pristine Stanton 881 MKIIs or ATML170/180 OCC.
All of these cartridges I have and they sound great on the SL 1200 MKII:

AT 440ml
AT 95e
Shure V15IV
Stanton 500e
Stanton 880s
Pickering XSV 3000
Pickering XV15
Grado Sonata Reference
Grado mono elliptical
Ortofon 2M Black
I would contest MY SL1200 MK2 to any of Project or Regas Top of the Line Turntable, or even an SME 20 when using an MC Cartrige. I did some personal mods that sets this table leagues above the competition. It is the best sounding component in my system, and my system is VERY revealing.

The stock wiring inside the tonearm and tonearm cable needs to go though. I am using my own custom tonearm cable which I believe makes a huge difference, however, it is combined with other mods I performed on my TT.

The drive stability cannot be beat.
In addition, when I performed these mods on my TT, all in a very rapid pace, it caused me to purchase at least 100 vinyl records that I already had on CD. It caused me to rediscover my vinyl collection in an experience I never though possible.

This is a VERY CAPABLE TURNTABLE which has much potential when performing the right mods to it.
In addition, when I performed these mods on my TT, all in a very rapid pace, it caused me to purchase at least 100 vinyl records that I already had on CD. It caused me to rediscover my vinyl collection in an experience I never though possible.

This is a VERY CAPABLE TURNTABLE which has much potential when performing the right mods to it.
I don't have as much cartridge experience as some of the posters here, but I have tried the Ortofon OM10E, Shure M97xE, Denon DL-160, and my preference for the past 6 years, the AT150MLX. I find the AT150MLX to be linear and extended, and able to extract a surprising amount of music out of the groove, especially at its price. Any cartridge I know of that others prefer is several hundred dollars more. For example, the Shelter 501 II costs FOUR times as much.

The AT150MLX is built very much as a high end component with top line parts--solid aluminum body with ceramic damping, PCOCC copper winding throughout, low mass tiny dual magnets for quicker response and better separation, metal shielding between the channels, gold-damped boron cantilever, and the MicroLine stylus.

At $325, the AT150MLX is not only an initial-purchase bargain, it is also economical to own. According to my local dealer, the ML stylus shape is unusually durable. Whereas 1,000 hours is the typical life of a stylus, the MicroLine's life is closer to 4,000 hours. That proved to be the case with mine. My AT150MLX's sound didn't dull for five years. I bought a replacement stylus and it still plays like new. Currently the replacement stylus is $179 at LPGear.

To get all that performance at that price, the AT150MLX does have limitations, mostly in loading and setup. It needs a 47Kohm load and a total capacitive load of 100-200 pF, The SL1200's interconnect cable is about 100 pF, so the phono stage should have between 0 and 100 pF input capacitance. Given that it is a high resolution transducer, you will also find that it will be sensitive to tracking force and possibly anti-skate settings. I wouldn't sweat the tracking force too much. Start it at close to 2g to break it in. After it's broken in the 2g will probably sound a bit bass-heavy and you'll want to dial it back to 1.25 to 1.5g where it'll probably stay until you replace it.

I definitely recommend upgrading the headshell. Both the Sumiko and LPGear ZuPreme headshells come with upgraded cartridge leads. Having both, I like the Zupreme better because the finger lift is mounted to the headshell and makes cartridge mounting easier than on the Sumiko where the finger lift has to be mounted along with the cartrige itself. Its also quite a bit less money at $54.95 vs. $90 for the Sumiko.

As for tonearm rewiring, this new KAB tonearm wire looks intriguing for both electrical and mechanical performance and is economical to boot.
Nice review. That's exactly why I recommend that particular A-T.
I believe the Denon 103 is a good match for the Technics arm.
I believe so too. Great cart.
I have been using the AT150MLX and the Zu Audio modded Denon 103 for years on a 1200. Both sound fantastic. The AT is certainly a bit less finicky and will work with a wider arrary of phono stages. The Zu 103, however, is a thing of beauty -- very very engaging. Hard to go wrong with either.
Doesn't the Zu Audio modded Denon 103 cart require a totally different tonearm to be mounted on a Technics 1200 series TT in order to get the best sq out of it? That was the impression I got when looking at the Zu Audio Denon years ago.

http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-Rjvct_JGfL4/TaH2qg3FAhI/AAAAAAAAA_s/mRYuktU61co/s1600/zu1.jpg

Also Thanks Johnnyb53 for the heads up on the KAB tonearm wire. I'm going to add it onto my list of potential mods to be done to my 1200.
I believe that I spent some time with the Zu 103 on the Sumiko headshell on the Technics tonearm. I then put the SME 309 arm on with the Zu and it was a very noticeable jump up. I'm now playing around with a Rega arm.
Mine has been on loan for so long I may never see it again. The upside is a good friend is back into vinyl.

I began with an Audio Technica, not sure of the model. It tracked right over Telarc 1812 cannon shots like an F1 run off. The Shure V15 Type three with the brush down tracked a new Telarc perfectly and had a more of everything else.

The SL 1200 is a good deck but I found that arm simply industrial. This was followed by a very used SP 10 with an Ortofon arm and cartridge. The improvement was so substantial that I hopped on the merry-go-round.
A slight correction: The Shure V15III never had a brush, only [in the V15 series] the V15IV and V]. I presume the 1812 version is the notorius Telarc, right,M-db?
SHURE V15
I have these decks since 1998 and it was my dj set-up for ages. All cartidges i have tried in the beggining were total crap in terms of sound (but it was very long time ago).

The best hi-end cartidges i have tried later and liked very much on this deck were:

1) MM Technics EPS-100cMK3
2) MM Technics EPS205cMK4 (both headshell integrated).
3) MM Denon DL-107 (with Orsonic headshell or Audiotechnica Magnesium headshel ala Technicard)

4) the winner: MC Audio-Technica ART-2000 (limited edition) - probably the best cartridge, sounds amazing even on cheap technics sl-1210 tonearm with Kab Fluid Damper.

After all upgrades i've done to my SL-1210 i have just bought another much better turntable and i'm more happier now with Technics SP-10 mk2 with Technics EPA-100 or Thomas Schick tonearms (on my plinth i can use "9, "10'5 or "12 arms easily). But it's not the end, so many thing to try ...

********* Doesn't the Zu Audio modded Denon 103 cart require a totally different tonearm to be mounted on a Technics 1200 series TT in order to get the best sq out of it? That was the impression I got when looking at the Zu Audio Denon years ago.

You're right, Zu DL103 or stock DL103 or 103r are all very low compliance cartridge. You need heavy tonearm to work with low compliance cartridges. That's why Zu Audio use Audiomods Tonearm made in UK on their modded technics sl1210 mk2 decks. Audiomods is actually improved rega arm!
Those old Technics MM carts were excellent. I wish I had bought one when they were around.