How good is the Obsidian plinth of Technics SP10 ?

Recently I heard an SP10 MK2 playing music at a friend's place. It was mounted on the stock Obsidian plinth. It actually sounded very good. I wonder how good is the Obsidian plinth compared to:

1. Typical after market birch ply plinths ?

2. Custom designed plinth like the Panzerholz plinths made by Albert Porter ?

Any ideas ?
Had the MK3 with the Obsidian base and it was excellent and matched the SP10 well. Limitation was the length and no. of arms. I never liked the table in the wooden plinths that were available at the time in the Far East.

You should ask Albert about his Panzerholz, unfortunately I never heard it.

I've got an SP-10 MK II with the original obsidian plinth, dust cover, and EPA-100 tonearm. It is not yet set up. I'm toying with several options for an alternative plinth, but the answer may be as simple as keeping it stock except for filling the inside of the cast aluminum TT housing with epoxy mixed with brass powder. Some have stated that the obsidian base subtracts LF.
Pani, look at this thread for more plinth options:

I think original plinth is "too bad" because you can't use "10,5 and "12 inch tonearms. Also it looks ugly compared to slate OMA plinth and others.
Chakster, I have been through your thread. Thanks for pointing out anyway.

I am not really a fan of 12" tonearms so it is not a priority for me. All I am trying to figure out is how good/bad is the Obsidian plinth compared to other good plinths made outside. If I decide to try a SP10, should I try to find one with an Obsidian base or just buy naked and find a plinth from one of the after market vendors ?
Hi Pani, I own the SL 1000,Mk2 . That is SP-10 mk2 with
Obsidian plinth. One should remove the original footers
which are worthless and substitute them for AT pneumatic
636 or the bigger one. Your last question looks to me more
relevant than the first. Those Obsidian plinth's are very
expensive so you should anyway buy the SP-10 Mk2 (or Mk 3)
naked. There are all kinds of plinths for the SP 10 with
ditto prices (
In my direct experience, the factory Technics B3/B5/B7 Obsidian based plinths completely lack the inherent body, weight and tonal character required to allow the Technics Sp10Mk2 and Mk3 models to showcase their strengths. In my opinion, for these reasons, these complete Technics Sp10 models only received lukewarm industry press around the era of their introduction. Certain designers (ie. Artisan Fidelity, Porter, Dobbins) have invested years developing and improving Mk2 and Mk3 aftermarket plinths to maximize the potential of the platform, if it were as easy as coupling a factory Obsidian plinth to the drive, no one would have taken the time in the first place. If by chance you have the opportunity to personally hear a properly constructed hardwood/composite/Panzerholz constrained layer based plinth in comparison to the factory Obsidian plinth, you would literally be awe struck at the contrast.
Hi Chris, Your 'arguments':'lack the inherent body, weight
and tonal character' make no sense. To state whatever clear
one need to have some clear idea. You obviously have none
whatever. There is nothing wrong wit Obsidian plinth except
the footers. Try for example the AT 636 instead and even
a deaf person will hear the difference. So to speak.
Nothing really wrong with the Obsidian base. Many love it. BTW it is very heavy plastic composite not solid rock or glass. It is extremely dense, heavy, and well damped and has no obvious resonance--it feels more like rock than anything else. Many other companies experimented with weighted plastic composites, including Sony, Pioneer, and Kenwood. I have never seen anything from those companies better than the Obsidian base. Of course, if you worship your turntable, there is no limit to what you could spend on an Ultimate Plinth, and at some point with vast weight and technology you might make something better. But for the cost, you couldn't do significantly better than the Obsidian. I mean at the original price and current resale prices, which weren't outrageous when I got mine last year. The artisan designers of new super bases charge way more, of course, and I have not heard them. A simple birch plinth is not going to be better than the Obsidian unless the birch plinth is huger than huge.

The SL10 (SP10,Obsidian,EPA arm,dustcover) package got a bad name after a review in Hifi News claiming they had gotten feedback. Well, yes, they put speaker right next to turntable on the same table and cranked it to the max. The LP12 did better on this test. But it was unrealistic test, and with better feet or a suspension base for the SL10 it would likely have done better than the LP12 since virtually every part of the SL10 is well damped, except the little feet aren't very isolating for a big heavy table. For some reason, the reviewers thought the base was actual Obsidian, and they falsely blamed that, creating a meme that lasted through the 80's. However everyone now knows that if the SL10 has any serious problem, it's in the feet--which are fine if table is perched on an isolating stand.
Hi Nandric,
Where can I buy a AT 636 from ?
Hi Pani, Try Foxtan and Otomon (?) via ebay but also
Raul. Those AT pneumatic footers he recommended. As I
understand he is selling some of his carts so he may be
willing to sell his AT footers. There is btw a bigger version
then the AT 636 but to me those 636 look better with
Obsidian plinth.
Nandric, Typically, I shy away from such commentary but my friend, such naive and defensive comments to my post above literally bleed of inexperience. Posting emotional knee jerk reactions and defensive posturing ruins forums. Politely speaking, when an individual with direct experience shares their insights on a given topic, obviously you have every right to personally disagree with any sentiments expressed. However, before trying to discredit and blatantly claim this person has no idea, you may want to know who you are talking to first. In this case, your comments were directed towards someone who has owned and listened to more Sp10 based plinths than you can ever realize.
Hi Chris 74, well there are many 'things' that I can't
imagine. Say the number of particles or the speed of light.
Even some more to the earth things. Like, for example, why
should anyone buy a 4-5 K plinth for an $1000 SP-10 TT?
Not to mention the arguments like 'the inherent body,
weight', etc., which are as expressions inscrutable to me
in this context.
To recommend such plinths is of course your privilege but
to judge this recommendation as nonsense is my.
I recently got a TECHNICS SL-1000MK3D - SP10-MK3 SH-10B5 Plinth. and have just installed a Thales Simplicity II tonearm.  Surperb sounding table on my diy compression spring platform.  

  I feel there is nothing wrong with the plinth as its very well damped. The feet however, I feel they might be able to be inproved?

  How do you get the feet off the SH-10B5 plinth?   I have tried unscrew the feet, however they will not budge and I don't want to break them.
Nandric, et al. If you want to take Raul’s testimony about the AT636, keep in mind that he recommended using them under the naked chassis of an SP10 MK2. No obsidian plinth; just set the chassis down on 3 or 4 AT636s. Raul and I went at each other over this practice; I still think it’s a bad idea, because of the fact that the chassis will want to twist in the opposite direction of platter rotation, and the feet are entirely insufficient to anchor the chassis. So, I must ask, Nandric. Are you using the AT636 under your obsidian plinth or under the naked chassis, a la Raul?
I used Stillpoint Ultra SS’s under the Technics mk3 plinth, by passing the feet. Results were poor.
Using the Mk3 feet was clearer sound, but a little bass heavy - more my rack than the Technics as when I transposed the technics onto the Granite/compressions spring stand - everything improved markedly.

Shane, That looks nice and simple.  Is that a Thales tonearm? Has it displaced the Technics tonearm?  Thanks.
Hi Downunder, if you are open for experimentation, you may want to find a Lead Console plinth from Japan. Many of the SP10’s users in Hong Kong have bypassed the original plinth and go with the Lead Console.

It was a very common combo in Hong Kong and Japan when the SP10’s were current. So, you can find a used Lead Console from Japan for 3 to 4 hundred dollars. But due to its weight, the shipping cost is often more than the buying price.

Hi Lew

  Yes, that is the Thales tonearm.  

 The tonearms are easily swapped as you just remove the entire armboard by removing the 4 screws.

  Hi Kong.

  many many different plinth options for the technics. I am happy with the Technics mk3 plinth, however I do need to find out how to remove the feet safely.

Shane, I strongly advise you to check out the Krebs mod for your Mk3, especially since you are a lot closer to Richard geographically than most of the rest of us.  It really grows on you.
I bought teak wood plinth with several armboards for my SP-10mk2 a while back and still happy about it. For the difference in price between my teak wood plinth and hi-end plinths (from OMA, S.Dobbins, Chris or Albert) i bougth two Luxman PD-444 turntables with it's own original heavyweight "plinth" that need no replacement or upgrade and now i'm even more happy that i didn't bought expensive plinth for my SP-10mk2!  
I have an SP10 MK II with the Obsidian plinth. I am using a Basis Vector arm with a Soundsmith Zyphyr MIMC. My audio room is on the second floor so I have always mounted my turntables on the large Target  TTW1 wall mount rack. I replaced the cheap target shelf with a 3" maple platform.
I removed the crap feet that came with the obsidian plinth and have the original version of the stillpoints pointed up to the plinth. I had my SP10 rebuilt by Hans Lazuadi as well as he fabricated a brass mat that was screwed to and balanced with with SP10 platter. My system also has two Seaton Submersive subs that I use in both stereo and surround modes.
Using the subs in stereo mode I can drive the volume up pretty darn loud before I get any sort feedback issue from the turntable.
   I too have wondered about other plinths but have been hesitant to invest big $ in a custom plinth not knowing if the incremental improvement would be significant.
  I will also comment that recently I have been ripping my vinyl to DSD128 using the Korg DS-DAC-10R. I find the playback of ripped vinyl via my Lumin A1 to be at least equal to playing the vinyl and superior in the aspect that I can truly crank the volume with two subs well beyond reason without any feedback.
Hi Tellefsen

 Something is not quite right if you are getting feedback from your turntable at any volume.
I guess here is where I pipe in to say that I commissioned the construction of a slate slab, 19x23x3 inches, to fit the Mk3 chassis.  I had a hole cut right through the slate large enough to allow me to position just about any tonearm.  Then I had the same company make me some slate tonearm mounting boards.  The slate weighs about 70-80 lbs, so that was a good plinth. But after a while I added a cherry wood base, about 4 inches thick. Into the wooden base I incorporated the dampening mechanism that Albert Porter uses, a block of solid brass (Albert uses solid iron), into which I insert a threaded brass rod, about 5/8" in diameter.  The brass block is firmly bolted to the wood and sits directly under the bearing. The brass rod contacts the underside of the Mk3 bearing well.  That whole thing is bolted to the underside of the slate.  Total weighs maybe 100 lbs. This sits on Stillpoints.
To Downunder:  The two subs I am using in stereo mode are the Seaton Submersives. They are dual 15" subs with a 3400 watt amp each. They are flat to about 10-14 hz...So they can definitely excite the cartridge/tonearm/table system into feedback with a record with a lot
of low frequency info at high volume (think Donald Fagen - Morph the Cat)...It never happens with just my main speaker running full range (Green Mountain Audio Continuum 3) which have a -3db at 27Hz.

feets Audiotechnica AT 636 does not exist if I search on the internet.

Are you sure of the acronym or maybe are you confused with the AT 615?

best-groove, you overlooked that not Lew but Nandric mentioned

AT 636 footers. I own 4 of those so even their plural exist. But

this does not imply that they are available on eBay or elsewhere.

BTW I need to clean the cover of my Obsidian each week. Those

particles are everywhere and like death unavoidable. So without

the cover the dust has choice between platter or records...

@best-groove i got a set of 4 (Audio-Technica 636) in original box in mint condition if you need them. They are quite rare and very nice pneumatic insulators. 

Dear chakster, the Germans lost 3 wars because they combat on

4 fronts. You are busy on MM ''f'ront'', MC kind, turntables and,

it seems, also footers.  You must do well financialy ?  

@nandric sorry ...I did not read well

@chakster maybe i’m interested  but I do not know them (I've only AT 606 or 605)   ..... it depends on how much weight they hold and of course the cost.
send me an email in pvt that we talk about.

How does the price of your plinth compare to the price of an OMA or Albert Porter plinth? 

I'm picking up a MK2 today and I'm looking into plinths, but I don't want to spend a ton of money on a plinth.

I worked directly with a quarry in Pennsylvania, Structural Slate in Bala Cynwyd, PA, I think.  They cut a slab to my specifications: 23x19X3, and honed both sides, as I recall.  I then contracted with a water jet company in York, PA, to cut the slate using a pdf file to program their water jet; I think that pdf was available for the Mk3 chassis from Soundfountain, on the internet.  So that cost me total less than $500.  I then contracted with an audiophile/carpenter in Houston to make me a base out of cherry wood and baltic birch with a cut-out for the mass of brass which acts to dampen the Mk3 bearing, a la Albert Porter's idea. Albert uses a piece of solid iron; I was leery of putting such a big hunk of iron so near to the magnetic rotor of the turntable, so I chose brass, etc, etc.  I drilled the underside of the slate slab for female threaded bushings that I glued into the slate with liquid weld, and I then bolted the wood base to the underside of the slate. Total cost was probably around $800, even including the piece of brass (from On-line Metals) that I drilled and tapped so a threaded rod could pass through it and contact the base of the bearing housing, a la Albert. I am not going to pretend there was not a lot of physical labor involved.
Thank you very much Lewn. It's good to know I don't have to spend crazy amounts of money to get a good plinth! Especially a slate one.
In my opinion, the Obsidian plinths of Technics circa 1980's were a complete sonic disaster.  Anemic, flat and homogenized sounding.  My first Technics Sp10Mk3 had one, it was abhorrent and I thought at first it was just the turntable.  After purchasing my first properly designed bespoke plinth ~ Panzerholz constrained layer based, it completely changed my mind about the potential of the Mk3 and what a direct drive can really sound like.  After that, I tried a Slate OMA plinth, and although it was neutral, focused and slightly better in my system that the Obsidian,  I completely lost the tonality of the Panzerholz and exotic wood based plinth I had owned prior.  

There are people who claim to have talked with the Almighty.

Hearing is of course the necessary condition next to ''some

language'' ( among other conditions) for such occurrences.

The question is why most will  refuse to believe  that those

persons have heard what they claim to have heard but accept

all other kinds of hearing as a fact? Then there are contradictions

in what x and what y has heard. I, for example, enjoy my Obsidian

plinth with AT footers while others ''hear'' a complete ''sonic disaster''

from all plinths made by Technics . I ask myself sometime if any

comparison is possible without exaggeration? Not in this forum

I think.

Perhaps it has something to do with level one plays back music and the feedback generated? I recall Peter Aczel initially not caring for the sound of the SP10 until he mounted it in the Cotter base, realizing then that the sound pressure generated by his current Janis woofers excited the obsidian base to the point of negatively affecting the sound. So those using the obsidian at more moderate levels and better platforms may well experience no sonic deficiencies. Just sayin.. Our opinions of products are almost always based on our listening environment, which may be hugely different from someone with another opinion. I’ll never forget a friend coming over, listening to my Trenner & Friedl speakers and ordering a pair the next day. But in his room they absolutely sucked. No bass or body whatsoever. I realize speakers are totally room dependent, especially in the bass regions, but I think the principle holds for everything. Widely-varying listening environments make for widely-varying opinions. Peace.
Widely-varying listening environments make for widely-varying opinions. Peace.

Very diplomatically said and true.
Widely-varying listening environments make for widely-varying opinions.

Well put Chayro, agreed.  As do widely-varying associated equipment and personal listening preferences make for widely-different opinions.