KAB SL-1200MK2 vs. new SL-1200GR


I'm currently am using a KAB modded SL-1200MK2 and wondering how the newer SL-1200GR would compare.
Looking for anyone that went the KAB route and switched to the GR.

My KAB mods are as follows:
-Tonearm damping system
-Cardas tonearm rewire
-Cardas ICs hardwired to TT
-Complete Isonoe footer system
-PS1200GX Power System
-Poly Glass Mat w/ Thin rubber mat

That’s about as far as I can/want to go with KAB mods. The mods + the original 1200 price is equivalent to a new 1200GR. The new GR, as I understand has a much better stock tonearm, better plinth construction, new drive system.

All thoughts,opinions, suggestions welcome! Thank you in advance.


7bc4daa2 be3e 4e1a 95da 243581b9bbb5robelvick
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@robelvick new Technics is completely different turntable, the only ONE part from an old series is the dust cover! You can not tweak an old Technics to the quality of the new model, the motor is completely different, the plinth is different, all parts are different.

This is the answer why the price is way different too.

KAB mods is ok for an old $300 SL1200mk2, but you can score high-end SP10mk2 for $1200 (or SP20 for $750) to add some nice plinth and tonearm and it will be a killer set up compared to tweaked sl1200mk2. I have all of them.

Here is Technics SP-20






Upgraded SL1210mkII with Isonoe footers, Kardas and Zu Audio Wires, Flueid Dampers:


It's better to start with SP-20 or SP-10mkII if someone would like to have a decent Technics. 

KAB mod is upgrade of the stock SL1200/1210mk2, but the SP10mkII is another level !!! 

I think the new SL1200GR not as good as the old SP-10mkII 

I knew you would chime in, and I appreciate it. Great pics.

I’m wanting to stay with the SL-1200, so it looks like the GR model is my best bet.

I’m thinking I can use my current mat(s) and footers on a new GR, unless you think the stock versions are better.
you're welcome
not sure about the stock footers on the new technics, but i like the isonoe
Any tips on where to buy a new SL1200 or SL1210 in US?
I had a KAB modified SL1200Mk2 and switched to a GAE almost 2 years ago.  The GAE does sound better, more open, better defined.  The ergonomics on the two are identical, the easiest TT to set up and to use in my experience.  I like the GAE better every day.  You can't go wrong.

Thank you,  that's great to hear.

I'm leaning towards the GR model,  it's more in my budget.  Hopefully there is some trickle down performance  from the GAE to GR.
Just purchased the SL1210GR from HiFiHeaven.  Shipping out today!
Let us know your impressions.  I also have a KAB modded 1200 so this of great interest to me!
I heard the G and the GR at RMAF and they didn't seem that far apart but it is hard to say for sure in that setting.
the KAB mod has nothing to do with the motor, the new motor is Coreless Motor (the best DD motor).

Not every cartridge needs a Silicon Damper offered by KAB as an upgrade (it's good for very high compliance cartridges).

External power supply by KAB is expensive. The rest of the KAB mod is just new Cardas cable (under $100). The mat is optional, many mats available on the market. 

The new Technics must be far more superior to the KAB upgraded classics, because it's completely new turntable. If you think there is not a big gap between old and new then i'm surprised why do they charge that much for G or GR ? 
I was comparing the G to the GR based on what I heard at RMAF.

Check out the new Pioneer PLX-1000 turntable. Its design is taken from the SL-1200 and its built like a tank. Weighs 29 lbs. The Technics tables have a rumble/noise ratio of -78 db, the highest out of any direct drive motor, a common figure with belt drives. The Pioneer is the highest outside the Technics table's with a rumble/noise ratio of -70 db. Much higher than the direct drives from Stanton or Audio Technica. The Pioneer
has a better platter then the Technics model's with a very thick rubber coating on the underside of the platter for much higher damping and much lower noise. A very good table for only $699.00.
@andysf  oops, sorry 

@audiozen the OP just bought the new Technics SL1200GR, you're comparing Pioneer to the old Technics. The Pioneer is not bad for dj use, i tried them in Paris few years ago, but it is not build like a tank. Anyway they are both inferior compared to the new Technics 1200G, 1200GR or 1200GAE turntables. Simply because Pioneer is relatively cheap professional "disco" turntable, while the Technics is High-End turntable for audiophiles. 

Stanton is a crap since Mr. Walter O. Stanton sold the company to the new owners (Stanton Group).  
chakster..I agree that Stanton is crap, as well as the Pioneer PLX-500, but Pioneer markets and explains on their website the PLX-1000 was designed for both in home Audiophile's and DJ's. It is slightly heavier than the Technics with its solid all zinc chassis. Compared to other Pioneer model's, it goes beyond being just a "disco" table. For example, the PLX-500 has a rumble/noise figure of only -50 db which is garbage. Once you start getting above -65db then your in high end territory. Regardless of brand, the critical measurement over all else is the noise/rumble db level.
The Sota tables have db levels between -80 and -90 which is killer. Only a very well designed table and motor will get you at or above above -65 db's. Typical DJ tables don't even come close to those number's which is why the PLX-1000 is an exception. 
Well, i'm a big fan of the Pioneer products from the 70s and early 80s, but now their target is professional market. The only real "disco" turntable is Technics SL1200mkII and higher models, the rest are just clones of the legendary Technics. I'm happy about return of the Technics. Those clones must die. 

The Pioneer turntables for me starts with PL-70 mkII and their Exclussive series like P3. Those were fine :) But Pioneer can't do anything like that anymore. It's hard to imagine the price for Exclussive P3 if it was made today. But who knows, maybe they could return to high-end to battle with new Technics SL1000R. Would be nice.   
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congrats on the new table!  i am waiting to pickup my own new GR when the dealer receives the cartridge I ordered.  
for what it's worth, i was ready to buy the G model but the owner is emphatic that the GR sounds nearly as good. 
after doing some research it seems that the improved damping and mass of the G model make it less sensitive to a less than ideal cartridge to tonearm match with respect to natural frequency. 
bottom line- make sure you have a dead on cartridge match on the GR and it will sound amazing!   


Thank you.  Congratulations to you too.  Right now, on the SL1200mk2 I'm switching between Clearaudio Maestro and Ortofon Kontrapunkt B carts.  I'm not sure if either of those are a "dead on" match, but I do know that they sound fantastic.

I used both of those carts on my previous tables (VPI, Pro-Ject, & Music Hall) and strongly prefer the SL1200MK2.  I hope that's a good enough sign that they'll work well with the GR.
invictus005-Afford ability. At $699.00 it will get you a lot at less than half the price of the Technics models. Personally, I'm purchashing a Technics table at the same time my integrated amp, the Virtuoso from Belles is released, which I found out this morning has been delayed until mid-April.
The phono board in the unit is killer.
@audiozen I wouldn't support a rip off like that even if it was free. Just like I don't support Chinese crooks. 
invictus005-I agree. My final system I'm setting up going into semi-retirement has electronics and speaker's all hand made in the USA and Japan. I have never liked the idea of putting my money in a off-shore bank in a Communist country. God Bless America!
if invictus is serious about selling his 1200g, i would be all over that.  I have not heard a better table under 20 large.  different, maybe , better, no.
Audiozen, It is "dangerous" to compare turntables based only on the manufacturer's published specifications for S/N, simply because we have no way of knowing how the measurements were made.  There were once standards for making S/N claims for turntables, but these days I think all bets are off.  
@tzh21y Serious. Box, accessories, full warranty, sale’s receipt, purchased from authorized dealer. Mint.
Yesterday i took some nice pictures of the last Audio-Technica AT-ML170 VM OFC i have for sale. Perfect for Technics tonearm. My favorite cartridge! Will keep the AT-ML180 OCC which is slightly better. 
I already have one.  You will make somebody a very happy camper.
I was going to buy an sme 15.  The Technics is better to my ears.
Face it, when they decide to do it, Japanese can out-produce anybody at anything  .
@tzh21y Sounds like you regret not buying the SME.
not at all.  I listened to both.  The 1200G is better.  Much more engineering genius in the 1200G.  I will never go back to Belt drive again
Two more days until the GR arrives, and it got me wondering what type of RCAs I should use?  Since the 1200mk2 had them hardwired, I never thought about changing them out.

I have a bunch of different length and brands laying around, Audioquest (Golden Gate, Black Mamba, Mackenzie), Wireworld (Equinox 7) and Pangea Premier SE.

First thought is to go shortest + most expensive, ha.

Eager to hear everyone's suggestions.
Audioquest leopard on my G, but I do like wireworld for line sources and amps
I'll just try them all, and choose the best sounding pair.
1210GR has arrived, and is hooked up & playing.

Pictures are posted on my "Systems" page.

I will post my thoughts once it’s had a while to warm up, but it sounds slightly better than the KAB mod MK2, right out of the box. Just going off memory of course, so not very definitive.

My phono preamp has two sets of inputs, so I will set up both tables and do a direct A/B in the next week or so..

Love the black much more than silver too...
One thing I've noticed right away is that it's louder than the 1200mk2.  Same phono preamp/integrated/cart.  I'm using AudioQuest Mackenzie ICs right now, and am wondering if that is the difference?

Sounds great, just have to turn the volume down a bit from my usual listening level.
@robelvick   If it seems louder then I bet your noisefloor has dropped with your new TT.  Great system pics BTW, I much prefer the black 1210GR over the silver 1200GR.   I have a silver original 1200 mk2 and this thread is tickling my buying bone🤑  
@gshepardbuster  Thank you.  

There is one used at hifiheaven if you decide to pull the trigger.

 I much prefer the black 1210GR over the silver 1200GR.  

I think the best finishing Technics ever made is this one 
Technics SP-20 was made in 1976. Only this rare model has unique crumpled black finishing, it looks so nice. Took those pics last year, but today i've been working on a system for a friend. The turntable is: SP-20 in custom teak wood plinth with Victor UA-7045 tonearm. Great combo. More pictures soon.    
Cool!  Now I want an SP-20 too!  
Hi Rob,
Any update on how you like your new 1210GR table now that you have had some time with it?


Thanks for checking in.  

I love the 1210GR.  Very similar sound signature as my KAB modded SL1200.  I was able to A/B them, although I only did this for a couple hours.

Both tables were connected to a GoldNote PH-10 phono stage, and both arms balanced for a Clearaudio Maestro V2 cart.  For the test, I simply swapped out the headshells and played the same records.

The 1210GR had a smoother, louder sound, with slightly more detail on the majority of the albums I played.  It wasn't huge, but definitely noticeable.  There were a few albums I couldn't tell the difference, although always sounding great.

I'm happy with the SQ improvements overall, and my wife prefers the black over the silver, as do I.

Nice balanced thoughts of the new Technics vs the old.

I love the 1210GR. Very similar sound signature as my KAB modded SL1200... ...The 1210GR had a smoother, louder sound, with slightly more detail on the majority of the albums I played. It wasn’t huge, but definitely noticeable.
If the difference in sound it not huge then replacing a stock tonearm on old SL1200 can make it even better compared to GR model.

But i'm pretty sure SP-10mkII is much better turntable compared to GR, someone should compare them. 

If the difference in sound it not huge then replacing a stock tonearm on old SL1200 can make it even better compared to GR model.

What tonearm did you try?

Spindle to pivot distance is 214mm with the stock arm on old SL1200 mk2 series. But replacing armboard will give you more freedom.

With about 220mm (spindle to pivot) it can be SONY PUA-7 stand alone version, the build quality of this tonearm is oustanding, one of my favorites! Earlier SONY PUA-1600s also cab be used.

For high compliance cartridges it can be Luxman TA-1 - rare stand alone version with removable armwand and superheavy tonearm base stabilizer from the bottom (not the simplified version people are selling like TA-1, they are not TA-1). Spindle to pivot distance is about 225mm. This tonearm was made by Micro Seiki and easily outperform another low mass Infinity Black Widow.

I think even Victor UA-7045 can be easily mounted on Technics and this is another oustanding toneam for such a low price! Lustre GTS-801 is another option.

Actually many vintage tonearms can be used to beat the stock SL1200mkII arm, some people use SME or Jelco, but i never tried them.

My intention to replace the stock arm faded away quickly, a pair of SL1210mkII is not my main turntables for listening, i use them for different reason (with fluid dampers, isonoe footers, they are rewired).

I have SP-10mkII, Luxman PD-444, Victor TT-101. But i have owned all the tonearms i have mentioned above, still use Luxman TA-1 and SONY PUA-7.

P.S. I expected huge difference between old modded SL1200mkII and new GR model (i realize GR is not the G or GAE, but anyway), but @robelvick said the difference is not huge. I’m surprised. The old Technics can be upgraded with a better tonearm, i think it is more important than the drive to be honest. 
I would have liked to compare my modded SL1200mk2 to a stock unit.

The GR with no upgrades, sounds better (not a huge difference) than the heavily modded SL1200Mk2 though like I mentioned previously.  Better is always good. :) 

And last night, I took the Isonoe footer system, and poly-glass + thin mat off of the SL1200MK2 and put it on the GR.  

The GR improved even more.  Not sure the mat did a whole lot, but the footers seem to help the noise and soundstage noticeably. 

For now I'm staying put with the tonearm on the GR.

@chakster , have you compared an SP10 mk2 against a Luxman PD-444 ?
@pani i’ve been using them all together, i have two PD-444 and one SP-10mkII, but to compare them correctly i nee to use the same tonearm on both turntables, it was impossible. For a long time my reference tonearm is Reed 2P "12, it was always on SP-10mkII. Last month i sold my teak wood plinth to a friend (with Technics SP-20 and with my Luxman tube amp with phono stage) and now i don’t use SP-10mkII.

I’m gonna put my Reed 3p on Luxman PD-444 to try this combo. Maybe i will put the EPA-100mkII on Sp-10mkII when i will find a new plinth (or will make one locally) or maybe i will use it "naked" on Auio-Technica pneumatic suspension insulators AT616 (the big one, supported for up to 60kg) with tonearm pod, or maybe i will sell my SP-10mkII.

I like Technics for high torque, quick start/stop, i’m a big fan of Technics, but practically I prefer my Luxmans, i do not hear any disadvantages is sound quality when i use it with my favorite vintage tonearms, and i can swap tonearms very quick (i have many luxman armborads for almost any tonearm). The toneam quest is not finished for me, it’s enless, so i can not stick to one tonearm even if this arm is Reed 3P "12. But what i really like about Luxman is that i don’t have to worry about plinth at all (same about armboards). So the high price on PD-444 is reasonable in my opinion. It’s metal, it’s heavy. Also i think this is the best design in the world (imo) :)) A top class turntable for 2 tonearms http://www.thevintageknob.org/luxman-PD444.html