Nottingham Spacedeck vs Rega Planar 8 vs Technics SL1200G


Hey Everyone,

An analogue newbie needs your advice.

Firstly I am not looking for any TT recommendations other than these 3.

My system is Devore O96, and the amplification would be either Lyngdorf 3400/Coincident Frankenstein combo or a Shindo pre/amp combo (forthcoming). The phono stage is TBD.

The sound I like is rich, full-bodied, with a good bass (I love percussion, and the double-bass instrument and  Mingus is my fav jazz artist). I am very sensitive to even a hint of brightness. I don't care about the typical audiophile presentation -- gobs of detail and soundstage but no soul.

My music of choice is jazz, vocals and small-scale instrumentals. No rock, no pop, no western classical.

Would love your thoughts on these 3 choices.

Since I am a newbie, easy setup is big win, which might tilt me towards the Rega or Technics, but with Nottingham I have a great dealer support that I would completely miss out on if I went with Technics (no Technics dealer in a 5000 mile radius).

I used to own a Rega RP6, so am familiar with Rega sound, and like it. But my RP6 was bested by my DAC (AMR DP-777) so sold it a few years ago. So I want a TT that will compete with any sub-10000$ DAC.

Looking forward to your thoughts that will help me scratch my analog itch.


essrand
Nottingham. Full deep involving sound, on a warmer side of neutral, quiet and dynamic.
Set up once, check every year and change Nottingham kinetic oil every 12-18 months. That’s all, almost zero maintenance. Replace the stock mat, that’s no good. Motor is very reliable.
What ^(s)he^ said. To my mind there’s no reason to ever upgrade a Spacedeck unless you’re absolutely swimming in money and don’t know what to do with it all.
However: there’s no guarantee that *any* turntable will compete with a decent DAC or CD player. If you prefer the sound of digital, you prefer the sound of digital; if you prefer the sound of vinyl, you prefer the sound of vinyl. Very few people (out of those who care at all, that is) appear to have no preference.
Direct Drive all the way, so Technics! 


If you ever needed parts is Nottingham in business with their owner/ designer now passed? When I owned a Spacedeck I had trouble with the very fine tonearm wiring on the Spacearm. Most of the local dealers were afraid to touch it to rewire, even Overture. It sounded good, but I would never recommend it to a friend. Plenty of safer options with comparable benefits. 
I like the Technics too. Spend a good deal of time on your cartridge choice given your specific requirements...that will be a long thread with tons of suggestions. Cheers,
Spencer 
The Rega 8 is now offered at $k off retail if that means anything?
The Technics is the most speed stable of the three. Its also very well damped (so more locked-in sound stage and better bass). The platter pad does not do the machine justice and should be changed out. Its also possible to change out the arm; we've even got the 12" Triplanar to work on that turntable.
Rega are not known for prizing a sound that majors on being "rich, full-bodied, with a good bass". Clarity, timing and precision have usually been their hallmarks. Since the Technics is known for its neutrality I suspect it to sound closer to the Rega. So I'd advise giving the Spacedeck an audition first to see if it has that analogue sound you seem to be looking for.

Given your musical tastes and system, I suspect digital recordings will sound excellent, suffering little or zero compression artefacts you inevitably find with mainstream recordings.

In other words, very hard for any vinyl playback to better.
Nottingham is in business, as far as I know. Yes, wires are very delicate, you got to have precise hands or find someone to install the cartridge.
Ralph only knows direct drive. Dynamics is not a problem with Nottingham at all if the wall current is okay. Technics is DJ not audiophile turntable, there is a difference. 

The "G" is pretty much an audiophile tunrtable, it is not affordable for DJs at $4000 as they need at least two of them to DJ.

The "G" is equal to the "GAE" they are audiophile turntables for sure.

"GR" model is a compromise, it’s cheaper, so this might be for deejays, but "GR" ($1700) is not equal to the "G" ($3000-4000)
Also may depend on what cartridge you are going to use. Nottingham arm with low compliance heavy cartridge would not be a good idea.
At least no-one recommends Rega, makes no sense to pay big money for it. 
I have a Technics SL1200G turntable and absolutely love it.  I play more vinyl now than when I had a VPI Prime.  It is easy to set up, does not require constant fiddling and just sounds like music.
I know that you didn't want other recommendations, but this is sort of in the family:  IMO if you are seriously interested in the Nottingham decks you should definitely look at the Pear Audio Blue line.  These are the last turntables designed by Nottingham founder Tom Fletcher.  I believe that there are now five models and I think they are all great.

Disclosure: I was formerly a dealer for Pear Audio.  I have owned several Nottingham decks in the past.  I elected to sell the Pear Audio Blue turntables because they preserved (or improved) everything I loved about the Nott decks and fixed almost everything I felt needed improvement.  I am no longer a dealer for these (or any) product but I still own two Pear Audio turntables and they are wonderful.  Just my 2 cents worth.

I never heard the Rega nor the Technics, but I own a very very old Spacedeck. I bought it used (much cheaper than a new one) after having fallen in love with Nottingham turntables through many auditions at a local store. 
The sound is sweet, full bodied, coming from a complete quiet dark. It's engaging. But what really got me into it, is all the concept: high mass and a low torque motor that requires you to start and stop the platter by hand. 
Regarding the service, they are amazing to their customers. My deck came with a defective spindle. It wasn't straight, causing a very annoying wobbling. I contacted their office (miss Penny) and in a matter of days they replaced my old damaged spindle with a perfect new one. For free! 
The arm is a bit dodgy to get in the right position, but once there, you don't have to touch it never again. I already replaced the internal wiring. Not an easy task, but I live near a fantastic technician (this guy also made my phono preamp).
By the way, miss Penny suggested me to use a MM cart from Nagaoka. I'm using a Goldring with very good results. She said that their tonearms are better matched with MM carts. 
We sell both tables give us a call.

Dave and Troy
Audio Doctor NJ
I use Goldring 1042 MM as well. Nagaoka MP500 is fine. It took me an hour or so to find the overall best anti-skate position but that was fun. VTA - arm in parallel, in my case, easy.
Nottinghams keep working for decades, maybe you'll have to replace motor once, maybe.
Pear Audio is definitely worth considering.
Wow! Thank you for all the responses.

I definitely prefer the analogue sound more than digital (the reason I liked my AMR DAC was that it was very analog sounding). But digital is important for me since most of the music I listen to cannot be found in analog.

@miguelca, yes I have heard such stories about Nottingham's customer service as well.

Pear Audio would be a no-go since no dealers nearby. Technics too actually but heard so many good things that I have been tempted (also heard its easy to setup).

Assuming I choose the right cartridge (a big if.....as this might be a journey in itself), which one would be the least thin-sounding (aka most full bodied) esp when it comes to strings (violin, double-bass, sitar, mandolin, flamenco guitar etc).


I have a Technics 1200G and am very happy with it.  I am amazed there is  "no Technics dealer in a 5000 mile radius" but you have a Nottingham dealer nearby!
In your case, I would consider the Nottingham. 
Not a fan of the Rega line...
Larry at Hollywood Sound, Hollywood, FL has parts and is as knowledgeable about the Nottingham table as anyone in the US(and a good guy). I had a 294 for years and enjoyed it.  Never had any trouble.  Did have a Nott Wave Mechanic motor controller which upped the wound quality by a quite considerable bit.
I would consider three MM cartridges - Goldring 1042, Nagaola MP-500 and Audio Note IQ3. Cost - about $500 - $1100.
You also need speed and 'bite' and explosive dynamics for real flamenco, not new age kind of flamenco. Nagaoka and Audio Note might be somewhat more sophisticated and polite.
Perhaps Roxan MMs would be fine as well.
Yeah, Nottingham motor controller wouldn't hurt, especially if the wall current is not good. Also Walker motor controller, maybe even better, about $1600 for either, I guess. I decided not to get it for now, but I have PS Audio conditioner/regenerator to use for the entire system. No, not a full substitute for motor controller but works well.
I owned Rega, moved up to NA Mentor (precursor to the Dais). The table is not suspended, so it can take an air bearing tonearm. I use the Trans-Fi, which is surely the best bargain in audio at $1000. Cartridge is a Koetsu.

The 'heavy' kit is worth considering, now or in the future. So is the Wave Mechanic. I gave away my older but well regarded Technics 150 Mk2; not in the same league. Not even close.
Assuming I choose the right cartridge @essrand

The right cartridge is Pickering XSV-3000 (or Stanton 881s) MM with original Stereohedron stylus (one of the best profile ever made) if you don’t want to spend more than $400 to get highly competitive sound up to $800 easily. It’s high compliance MM which is perfect for Technics tonearm. Victor X-1IIe with titanium pipe cantilever and nude elliptical tip is also nice one for under $350, but the Victor X-1II with beryllium cantilever and nude shibata stylus tip is better than all of them, but much more expensive if the condition is like new. Those Victor are mid compliance and great for most of the modern tonearms too. Grace F-14 and LEVEL II are absolutely killer MM cartridges along with the AT-ML180 OFC if the budget is over $1.5k

If you will buy Technics make sure to remove stock rubber mat and replace it with SAEC SS-300 alloy mat with disc stabilizer like Micro Seiki ST-10

This is your ticket to high-end analog 
I am so far based on your responses leaning towards a spacedeck.

Should I get a ace-space arm or are there better tone-arms for this TT?
Nottingham's tonearms are widely regarded as not being on the same level as their turntables.  Personally I don't particularly like them and chose a Jelco SA-750E instead.  The old line of Jelco arms are excellent performers and still easily available online (eBay seller 2juki is an excellent source), or there's the new line at roughly twice the price.
The (old) Jelcos will perform very well with a large span of cartridge weights and compliances and represent by far the best bang for the buck where tonearms are concerned.  I've not yet heard a new one, so I can't comment on those.
There are many more amazing tonearms on the market, do not limit yourself with a brand new tonearms like Jelco. They are OK, but nothing special.

Look and read more about Japanese High-End tonearms from the past, all of them in the list below have VTA on the fly, unique features, special materials, precision bearings. Those arms are absolutely amazing and much better not only compared to Jelco, but also compared to some $5k tonearms made today. They are all in $700-1500 price range . 

Lustre GST-801
Victor UA-7045 and 7082
Technics EPA-100 and EPA-100 mkII
SONY PUA-7

Don’t forget about Fidelity-Research FR-64s and FR64fx but they are normally $1500-2500 depends on condition

When it comes to a brand new High-End tonearm with precision adjustement of everything including azimuth on the fly and vta on the fly i would recommend Reed 3P series if the budget is up to $5k
I have owned a Spacedeck w/heavy kit and Ace Space arm for 15+ years now. I have never given a thought to upgrading the arm or turntable and can't speak to how other arms compare to the Ace, but here is an older thread that may be of interest to you.

https://forum.audiogon.com/discussions/best-arm-for-a-nottingham-spacedeck?highlight=arm%2Bfor%2Bspa...

Dear chakster, I hope the British Russian ''poison'' issue was

not the reason to avoid mentioning some interesting  British

tonearms in the same ''price category'':

Zeta, Mission Mechanics, Alphason HR 100 and Syrinx Pu 3.

I have heard the Zeta.  its excellent.
@nandric well, never tried them, i can only recommend what i have tried and what i really like. But you're welcome to add more interesting tonearms. 
We have a demo 294/ with the matching 12 inch arm,if you are interested the package sounds incredible we just want to play with a different table.


thanks @jdodmead for the reference to the old thread.

Looks like I will stick with the ace space arm then.

Apparently the best cart to start with then is the Nagaoka. Too bad a starter Koetsu wouldn't fit this arm, it might be the sound I am looking for.
I used a Koetsu black and it sounded great!
There is no such thing as "the best arm" for certain turntable, unless the pivot to spindle distance and the armboard allow us to mount the arm we have many to choose (depends on the cartridge).

Reed 3p tonearm does not require even a hole in the armboard (just 3 screws), the arm available in many versions such as ’9 inch, ’10.5 inch and ’12 inch which i am using. Reed is great because we can choose the right armwand for certain cartridge, each armwand has different mass.

Azimuth on the fly is absolutely unique feture of the Reed, watch how it works. Any other tonearm has this feature ? I guess none of them.

P.S. Koetsu Black is the worst model in Koetsu line, it’s the cheapest one and many people claimed it does not have a magic of Koetsu upper models. This information available online, so anyone can ferify.

There is one low compliance cartridge that easily compete with the best Koetsu like Coralstone, but for much better price. This cartridge is Fidelity-Research FR-7fz and you can read about it here. This is absolutely amazing cartridge for FR high mass tonearms.

In general i think the best and useful advice coming from folks who actually change the arms and turntables, not from the people who never changed anything in 15 years and never compare one thing to another. At least wheni’ve been looking for the decks and arms or cartridges i was more influenced by people who experiment with high-end gear. Only in comparison we can actually find out what is the best.

P.S. Stanton/Pickering with Stereohedron styli are killing the Nagaoka, read why.
would a Reed 9.5 fit on a technics 1200?
@tzh21y

Look for mounting distance on Reed website

Pivot to spindle distance is 223 mm for ’9.5 inch Reed 3P tonearm
Yes, you can mount it on Technics SL1200G if you will make a custom armboard, the distance is fine and the tonearm cable will be on top of the armboard (not under the armboard). You need a solid steel machined armboard with just 3 treated holes for 3 screws to mount the Reed 3P on it. This is the most beautiful high-end tonearm imo. 
@atmasphere ………………………………..

In your opinion, what mat would you use on the Technics SL1200G?
Not sure if Ralph ever tried rare SAEC SS-300 alloy mat, but in my opinion this is amazing mat for Technics turntables of all kind from the SP-20 to the SP-10 mkII and SL1200 series 
Do you think the alloy mat will take away the benefit of having the brass in the SL1200 G platter?
"We have a demo 294/ with the matching 12 inch arm,if you are interested the package sounds incredible we just want to play with a different table."

Shameless plug



I obviously must vote for the Nottingham!
Own a Spacedeck cw with Spacearm, many say the arm is the weakest link but I have had no reason to change it yet, maybe some time in the future.
Very sturdy troublefree deck. Big plus was adding a Walker motor controller.
Also I run everything through an Equicore 1800 power conditioner so likely got as good a power feed to the motor as I am ever going to get.
Presently running a ZYX RS50 mc cart. Have not experimented with any vintage mm carts on here, I do that on my Denon DD deck.
Considered upgrading from the Nottingham a few months ago and then sanity returned! It's here to stay.
The Nottingham is the epitome of the word musical, the Rega tables are faster and more articulate.

As mentioned before we have the 294 with the 12 inch Spacearm and the arm is great it does not seem as well finished as other arms that are mentioned but the design of the arm is excellent and ithe combo is super musical and engaging. 

You really can't go wrong with the Nottingham or the Pear Audio tables.

Dave and Troy
Audio Doctor NJ

I listen to some of the fastest and articulate performers one can think of - John McLaughlin and Paco de Lucia. I also heard Paco de Lucia live. Nottingham is good enough in this respect, again the current should be good but that's with any turntable. Rega is not high end.
Putting different arm on Nottingham will throw the whole thing off the balance if the match is not right, it is a complicated endeavor to try a few other arms. I feel no need and have no wish to do it but I might upgrade to top Nottingham arm in the future. I heard people got excellent results with Origin Live better arms but cannot personally verify.
Chakster

I only mentioned the  Black on my table, because the op was under the impression that it wouldn't be a good fit for the Ace Space arm.  I was not trying to steer him towards a Black, that's his choice and there are many of them. And as far as not changing anything for 15 years, I have had a few tables previous to the Nottingham  and I got off the merry go round once I got it.
" Putting different arm on Nottingham will throw the whole thing off the balance if the match is not right, it is a complicated endeavor to try a
few other arms. "

This is, with all due respect, utter nonsense. Matching is a non-issue, beyond finding a match with your wallet and personal preference, while fitting fitting it is simplicity itself. Nottingham will supply an arm base for any arm, or for that sake you can have one made locally. Or you can make it yourself if you have less than nine thumbs and access to the necessary tools.
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oddiofyl"Clearthink is obviously affiliated with Audio Doctor..."


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I feel like someone like @jdodmead who's owned the table I am looking at, his opinion matters for sure, especially cause I am looking to buy a table that I will not change for the years to come.
Glad to hear Koetsu works.

@inna got it, will not bother about changing tonearms, esp for a noob like me who hasn't even changed a cartridge that sounds like silly way to start the analog journey.

What's a good starter cart, that I will not outgrow too soon? Based on someone's reco on this poster, a Nagaoka Mp-500 seems like a front runner for this TT/arm.
If an MM is what you want, then the Audio-Technica AT-150Sa is a steal @ $340 from LP Gear. Recently discontinued, it is in most respects the same as the current VM750SH. For my money one of the best MM cartridges around and the only one I currently own.

The Goldring 1042 is another no-brainer, though it’s more expensive @ $575 (again from LP Gear). I used one for years and the Gyger S stylus is truly excellent.

I’ve only heard the MP-110 and MP-300, but given how good they sound I’ve no doubt the Nagaoka MP-500 has earned it’s reputation fair and square.

Of the three, I’d say it depends on your subjective preference and on whether your current system tends more towards the bright side or the dark side. Audio Technica’s cartridges are generally very, very neutral, as is the Goldring 1042, only very slightly warmer and the Nagaokas (that I’ve heard) a touch warmer again. Certainly not overtly coloured, but the added warmth is noticeable in A/B testing.