What does the PS do to alter the sound?
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I'm glad you brought this up, as I also have an M5G and am happy as all get-out with it.
For some of the questions asked and that will probably be asked in this thread, consult this A-gon review by Ed Kobesky. The thread started over 3 years ago but has had contributions up to this past May. The thread has 104 contributions, and some are about the damping trough, the outboard power supply, and even Origin Live's Rega adapter armboard.
Pay particular attention to A-goner Zaikesman's contributions. He has a very high end system overall, but still uses the SL1200 he bought in 1983. His contributions provide info on the trough and the outboard PSU. In fact, he may have been the first customer for the power supply unit.
I have some comments of my own:
1. I just got the trough about 4 wks ago. I found that (at least with my Denon DL-160) filling the trough about 1/3 is just right. I started at more like 60% and it was overdamped there. I REALLY like the sound of the turntable with the damper now. The music is very focused, yet still plenty lively with excellent transients and a lower noise floor.
2. I got an M5G (from Guitar Center) because it was cheaper than getting an SL1200 Mk2 plus tonearm rewire. Yesterday I extensively listened to a well-matched CD and LP (Pat Metheny's digitally recorded "Question and Answer"). My CD player's interconnects are single-crystal six-9s copper Audioquest. Switching back and forth between the CD player and the turntable, I can confidently say that the M5G's stock (but upgraded over the mk2 or mk5) tonearm/interconnect wire is on a par with my CD interconnects. I didn't feel that the turntable gave anything up to the CD player in speed, transparency, smoothness, frequency extension, coherency, or anything else you upgrade wiring for. Now I am totally happy and confident with the M5G wire.
If you don't want to spring for the time and/or expense of KAB's threaded clamp, his rubber $24.95 clamp will do just fine. It works really well, it will clamp even the littlest bit of remaining spindle, and it noticeably lowers the noise floor, particularly dropping surface noise.
You are not crazy; the SL1210 M5G is a good-sounding turntable and can be made to sound like a *really nice* turntable with the fluid damper, the right record mat, a Sumiko headshell, and vibration damping/isolating platform or feet. I look forward to spinning records every day, and enjoy the music emanating from this rig immensely.
Since I started this, let me try to hit the questions broached thus far bearing in mind my frame of reference has always been the venerable Linn LP12, now so costly it hurts:
So, what does the KAB power supply in conjunction with the Isonoe feet bring to the party? Bass is far more tuneful than before. This is hugely important to me. Frankly, I find tuneful bass to be the cornerstone of music-making. The Linn gets this right. The Technics, with the 2 mods mentioned, does too.
Further, I'm finding (hearing) stuff buried in the mix that catches me by surprise (in a good way, that is-it's all connected to the music, not pulled apart from it). This suggests the mods mentioned above help the TT and arm draw stuff off the record in a more facile fashion.
Finally, the musicians sound like they are more in the groove (more in the pocket). This is what it is all about, folks.
I have the damping trough installed. I will not talk about that mod because I have not been motivated to fill the trough just yet. The TT is so blowing my mind right now, I'm just leaving it alone for a while.
I need to add, this TT is being used currently with the KAB Stanton MM cart. I've used my table with a Shelter MC and it is better still.
What platter mat am I using? Standard Technics mat that was supplied by Kevin. I also own the Herbie's but, with the 2 new mods, have not ventured into Herbie's world at this time. It will improve the Tech mat. It did before. I see no resaon it will not with the 2 new mods.
I hope this helps. I'm not a hifi writer, just a music fan who (I think) knows a good product when I hear one.
Thanks Lindisfarne. Is it fair to say the sonic characteristics you mention as a result of the power supply and Isonoe feet cannot be specifically attributed to one or the other since you have not heard the table with only the power supply or with only the Isonoe feet?
I use a SDS (Sound Deadened Steel) Isoplatmat with good results. The SDS website has a video demonstration of the isolation material in action.
Seems things have gone full circle (no not of Wilson-Benesch fame!), as I remember a time when anyone who owned a Technics was treated like a pariah for having a direct drive turntable. I remember giving mine away to my brother-in-law when I bought a harmon-kardon T-60. I remember when the word was that the motor vibrations would inevitably be transmitted to the platter. I remember that if it wasn't a Linn or a clone thereof sitting in your room you were not an audiophile. Great to see that the Technics is alive and kicking.
Yep, it seems that in some ways, the high end never learns, and is all too eager to diss this or that design philosophy as invalid and circle the wagons.
I remember when no self-respecting "audiophile" speaker was ported. Now they almost all are. I remember (yes, I'm old) when some of the best home speakers were horns. Then when dome radiators came in, horns were no good. Then Avant Garde of Germany reintroduced horns with a new level of fit and finish, and guess what? Horns do dynamic range with ease where most other designs struggle. Metal domes (alumnum? titanium? beryllium?), fabric domes, poly cones, treated paper cones--they've all had their day.
How about when we couldn't wait to ditch tubes for the higher power, lower distortion, and operating stability of solid state? Or toss out analog ganged tuners for frequency synthesizer tuners?
Or when you HAD to have an S- or J-shaped tonearm with detachable universal headshell (the early Linns and Regas had 'em). Then they had to be straight with integral headshell? Or it had to be suspended belt drive; wait, no, mass-loaded belt drive?
More than any other design philosophy, however, it's the belt drive that the high end identified with and clung to as a mark of enlightenment and superiority. I think two reasons for this are that the sonically superior turntables that distinguished themselves early on were the AR and the Linn, but the REAL reason for their noticeably better sound was the vibration control and isolation afforded by the suspended design, not the belt drive per se; but the belt drive got the credit. The second reason was that anybody with access to cheap little electric motors, a machine shop, and rubber bands could put out a belt drive turntable. If you went with direct drive, you had to deal with Matsushita or JVC for the motor and drive mechanism, which was politically incorrect--selling out to the mid-fi of mega-corporations.
Michael Fremer gave the Monaco Grand Prix got a *pretty good* review, but consider this: It was the first high end turntable of its kind. How good and how affordable would high end direct drive turntables be today if high end manufacturers had been sourcing motors and spindles from Matsushita and applying their high-end philosophies to integrate them with better vibration control, isolation, and tonearms for the last 30 years?
At this point, we would have a $1K-$1.5K turntable equivalent to today's $3K-$5K products, and decidedly better than what's available at $2500.
BTW, Mr. Linisfarne, how well do the Isonoe footers keep vibration OUT of the turntable? For example, if you are playing a record and tap on your turntable shelf, can you hear it through the speakers?
Johnnyb53-No, you do NOT hear the tap. The Isonoe feet seem to do their job very well. I've got the TT on an Audio Tech (Italian) stand, no longer made, as I understand it. I've use it under Linn, Rega and Nottingham tables with stellar results. I've carried this stand with me from house to apartment to house for 30 years and I'm certain it too contributes to my great results.