High-end tweeks for a vintage Technics Tuntable


I will appreciate your recommendations on all the tweeks and/or upgrades for my Vintage Technics turntable model SL-1600 MK2 from the early 80's in my home office system. My main system has a Linn LP-12 fully loaded with EKOS tonearm, Archiv cartridge, Lingo power supply, Lingo phono pre amp, circus, trampolin, etc.

I just purchased a new Shure Type V XMR cartridge for it and will like to add some more upgrades like a better mat, headshell wires, record clamp, high-end phono cables, isolation devices, and more ....

Have anyone done this with this kind of turntable ?

Here is a brief description of the unit and you can connect to this internet link if you want to see a picture of it: http://mark.kouts.home.mindspring.com/1600mk2.html


Quartz Phase-Locked Direct-Drive Automatic Turntable

ca. 1979-80

Total quartz-locked continuous (analog) pitch adjustment of +6%. Aluminum die cast cabinet with Double Insulated Suspension System utilizing TNRC (Technics Non Resonant Compound) Inner Base. Underside of turntable platter vibration-damped with specially-fabricated rubber matting. Integral rotor/platter motor with full-cycle detection FG delivers 1.5 kg/cm starting torque, allowing platter to reach 33 RPM within 0.7 seconds. All front-panel controls, including start/stop, cueing, speed, and LED pitch variation display. Control buttons are precision-designed to require a moderate but definite amount of pressure for activation, providing a sense of positive control while minimizing the possibility of accidental operation. Automatic disc-size selection and Repeat Play Control with infrared sensor. High sensitivity, low-mass gimbal-suspension tonearm. Fully automatic tonearm operation controlled by microprocessor. Muting circuit eliminates unwanted noise at needle touch-down and lift-off at beginning and end of record. Universal interchangeable headshell design. Gold plated contacts. Helicoid arm-height adjustment over a range of 6 mm to accommodate varying cartridge dimensions. Stylus illuminator for low-light conditions. Quick stops achieved with a fully electronic braking system. Red LED strobe illumination controlled by the extremely stable quartz oscillator rather than potentially unstable AC line frequency.

This player came out as an updated and improved version of the SL-1600, and in the process replaced the SL-1300Mk2. Unlike the relatively minor changes from the SL-1300 to the SL-1600, the second Mk2 series was a complete redesign from the ground up, incorporating a new motor, new quartz-controlled electronics, and new tonearm. Like the rest of its series, the SL-1600Mk2 was marketed as a high-end "professional" item, much like the SL-1300Mk2, but differed from that model in several important respects. Firstly, it utilized an analog (vs. digital) pitch control system. Secondly, the tonearm was redesigned, and the trouble-prone arm-lift mechanism was replaced by a more reliable and smoother-operating microprocessor-controlled, motor-driven assembly. Lastly, through tighter electronic integration and manufacturing advances, it was also significantly cheaper to produce and sell than the SL-1300Mk2.

Tube guy, unless you just have an emotional attachment to this table, and please believe me when I say I understand if you do, but I genuinely think your money would be better spent buying another table. It sounds like you are willing to spend almost $200 or so in upgrades, and I just think you could buy a used Rega, Revolver, Thorens and a couple of others that just don't have the difficulties this table has, which lead to its sonic difficulties. I sold that table when it was new, I know the table, and its not that I think it is bad for what it is, I just think audibly you could spend your money wiser elsewhere. If you are going to keep it, the biggest area of audible improvement you will be able to make is suspending or floating the base, as it is very susceptable to sonic and movenment interference. Then tacking the platter and heavy matting it, as it too is vibration prone. Then on to the arm and headshell rewiring, which is not going to be an easy task. I hate being negative , but that the way I would suggest you go.
Tube guy, I have not found a table that doesn't benefit from installing a set of Walker Valid Points. Had you thought about installing an IEC outlet to experiment with power cords? Good Luck! Tom
While i basically agree with John ( Jvia ) almost word for word, i think that Kevin at KAB Electro Acoustics can give you a few tips on this table. Francisco aka Psychicanimal has a Technics and i think that he mentioned KAB as a source of good info for his. Try dropping by their website and sending them an email. It's at least worth a try. Either way, they are a great source for vinyl related gadgets and easy to work with. Sean
Hi Tube guy,
I've got this exact turntable (although it has been boxed up for nearly 15 years). Brings back memories... that orange/red strobe light in the dark kinda' looks like a glowing tube. :^)
we have a member here who's very into Technics direct drives. Contact Francisco (membername = Psychicanimal) no doubt he can share his expertise & is usually chock full of enthusiasm for his Techincs TT
Hi Tube guy. As an owner of an original Sl1300, I can tell you in direct comparisons even the little revolver turntable easily bettered it. And the revolver[no longer made] was not quite as good as the rega[better arms on the regas]. You might also watch for drift on the motor as it ages. You can watch the sl1300 speed hunt on startup but my nephew uses it...its still working..there are some lovely used regas but the sl1600 is auto and that may be a factor for you...cheers,
Listen to the Psychic...

but first you've got to read the post: "in my home office system." Having an automatic TT is a great convienience--you're *supposed* to be working and might be on the phone with a customer or vendor when the album is over...

My first tweak would be to have the interconnects and the headshell wires changed (and Pro Gold everything) and the spindle oiled.

Second: Get a good base--I use a marble cutting board (garage sale) with four adjustable brass cones under; an Ikea Rack table supports all this. Make sure everything is level and correctly installed.

Third: Get a record clamp--I use a JA Michell but Kevin's is also supposed to be real good (www.kabusa.com) too.

Fourth: place a Bob Regal foot or a brass cylinder on top of the plinth to the left of the tonearm gimbal--you'll have a new turntable!

Fifth: talk to Kevin of KABUSA and find out if the tonearm fluid damper he's designed for the 1200 can be adapted to the 1600--it's an impressive upgrade for $149.

Sixth: Kevin is working on an outboard transformer for the 1200. That's what starts making noise after a few years. I wouldn't bother for a home office system, though.

Seven: make your own protractor to optimize the Shure's performance. You can download the software from www.enjoythemusic.com

Eight: upgrading the caps on the circuit board. Again, not worth for a home office unless you're having problems.


1) Don't mess with other mats--the 1600 has no VTA adjustment. They might make the bass floppy, too.

2) Phono stage is usually more important than TT/cartridge combination, so that and good line filtering is paramount.

3) Make sure you get work done!

I am getting true high end performance out of my modded 1200--would not trade it for a Linn, Rega, Pistol or anything similar. It is an awesome deck for what I've invested. So far only one A-goner has auditioned it (Deano). Where's Sean & Bob Bundus? Come hear for yourselves!
Re: caveat #1 in Psychicanimal's post. I know it's been 15 years since I've used the 'table, but my SL-1600MKII had VTA adjustment... via a large ring at the base of the tonearm. Great post though, makes me want to go break that bad boy out of storage (built like a tank).
If the 1600 does have VTA with a ring like the 1200, then the tonearm fluid damper will probably fit (call Kevin). I used to have a 1700 and it did not have VTA adjustment--I thought they were the same except for one being semi-auto and the other fully auto.

The KAB tonearm fluid damper is absolutely AMAZING. It steps up performance and musical enjoyment so much! When you place a Bob Regal foot or brass cylinder (like from Mapleshade) next to the tonearm it's another major upgrade. Vibrations at the base of the tonearm that would otherwise get magnified in amplitude and lowered in frequency when reaching the stylus tip become heavily attenuated. Overall clarity and bass snap increase.

I'm a hardcore audiophile with a real world budget (helped pay for college working at a couple audio stores)and three times as many LPs vs CDs. I wouldn't have bought and modded a 1200 if I didn't honestly believe it was the best performer in its price range.

Thanks for your praise, Binaural. When I first defended the 1200 someone posted that I was a whore!