Great review. One of the best I've read on Audiogon!
I had a Technics SL 1200 from 1975-1992. Let it go for $50 :( Wish I had not done that.
I may buy another someday to go in my family room.
Agreed , outstanding review . Structured well informative and clear in presentation. Hell I want one after reading this.
I stand corrected. The Technics overhang jig is accurate if used properly. It just happens to put the cart further back in the headshell than it would be if you used a two-point protractor alone.
Note that if you (a) set the overhang using the Technics gauge and (b) get the cartridge parallel in the headshell, then (c) check the alignment with a two-point gauge, you may notice that the headshell is not quite parallel to the hash marks surrounding both points. But if you did it right, the cantilever will be parallel with the marks underneath it (if there are more than one) and/or perfectly overlapping the line directly underneath it. Provided the headshell error is equal at both points, I guess you're OK. (Try the gauge from Enjoythemusic.com -- the bold lines make it much easier to be sure the cantilever is aligned correctly.)
Note that, to help get the cartridge parallel in the headshell, you can set the Technics jig down on either point of a two-point protractor with the indent where the needle should be placed in the hole where the stylus would be if you were using the gauge in the traditional way. It's a good start before you fine-tune the alignment of the actual cantilever with the headshell again installed on the arm and table.
Thanks to Kevin at KAB, Psychicanimal and Woody, all of whom really came through with help on this subject -- much appreciated.
I haven't had much time to listen to the M97 now that it's realigned using the Technics jig, but if anything sounds strange, I'll follow up with an other post.
Anyway, this is all good news -- it means that aligning cartridges for SL owners is extremely easy. (Only Graham tonearm owners have it better!) I'll also follow up with a post after I set up a new cartridge I ordered to see if things work out with the Technics jig on that one too.
Spares for the SL are available from Panasonic (http://www.pasc.panasonic.com/epartr/PartsList.asp). You can order from their website. KAB Electro Acoustics in NJ is also a good source. There are also more than a few places that specialize in sales and service of the SL for DJs.
I wish to make just a few clarifications.
The cost of the arm at $70. Now that is just the wand and bearing gimbal, headshell socket and internal wand wire.
It does not include calibrated counterwieght, headshell, arm base, cueing system, antiskate control, threaded VTA base, or interconnects.
It is unfortunate that Technics does not provide a complete arm, but fact is they don't.
When you tally the cost of the individual parts above, the cost of a complete tonearm approaches about $200.00 and you would still have the labor cost of assembly.
I think it is fair to say that if these parts were made in a small machine shop, the comparable cost would be much higher than $200.00
On the direct drive jitter, I should report That I have scope'd the internal frequency generator of the '1200 and it does not do this. Once the speed is in lock, the table speed is steady. Corrections only occur when required and they are made slowly with a response time of about 30 ms, taking into account the flywheel affect of the platter. This ensures that there is no audible consequence.
And one last thing, on the power of the motor. A good contrast can be made here with other drive methods. Though the motor is very powerful, it only uses full power at start up or when you use a cleaning brush.
If you monitor the current draw from the motor, it is 200 mA at start up and then coasts way down to a nominal operating current of just 10 mA. That is just one reason why it is so quiet.
Oct. 6, 2004
I got mine couple of days ago. Not upgraded, just regular stock unit for $409 shipped from Electronic City.com. I must, say that it sounds as good or better than my $10,000 DAC. Highly recommended no hassle turntable.
Does anybody have experience with upgrading the sl's with a rega arm, RB250 for example? I saw the site:
And wondered if it would be wirth the money to do that.
Any experience on this would be great!
Origin Live offers a kit and it seems relatively easy to install, but somewhat costly. A better and more practical option would be to install the fluid damper from KAB Electro Acoustics, which will allow you to use the arm with lower compliance cartridges. The Technics arm is really very good -- the more I learn about it, the more I'm inclined to leave well enough alone. Yet another option is to try one of KAB's Ortofon Concorde cartridges that have been fitted with regular, not disco, styli. They eliminate the headshell from the equation and have the added benefit of instant perfect alignment.
I am a dance music DJ, and I'd like to record electronic music off vinyl to hard disk.
I'm wondering what people's opinions would be about fitting my SL-1200mk2's with MC cartridges to do the job. I have been looking at the Ortofon MC 10, 20 and the Denon 103 and 103r.
I am new to the audiophile thing and have no idea what sort of results I would get... any ideas?
Should you ever choose to leave your DJ profession, the world of letters awaits you. This review was a wonderful read - lots of fun and very informative. Thank you.
I had a 1200Mk2 back in the 80's. I agree it is beautifully and heavily built. I don't agree that it sounds very good. In comparison to budget belt drives, I remember it having a dead sound without much body or air. Not dimensional, kind of flat. Wish I had better memories of the sonics, but I'll have to say I'm a bit baffled by how highly you think of its sonics....
Unfortunately, neither the Ortofon MC10, MC20 or Denon DL103 family are a good compliance match for the SL. It may be possible to use them with the addition of the KAB fluid damper but I would still stick with a high to medium compliance design to assure compatibility.
In response to Kevziek:
Thank you for your comments. I agree that the SL1200 isn't for everyone--one has to figure out one's priorities sound-wise before buying any piece of budget gear, I think--but having owned a number of other tables, I still believe it's the best value at its price point. Its tonearm adjustability makes it easy to dial in the best sound from any compatible cartridge (something that's impossible with a Rega arm, for instance), and its dead-on speed accuracy is reassuring, especially in a price category where you can't take that for granted. I believe the Technics is a faithful music maker but so were my Rega P2, Linn Axis, Dual CS-505, Harman Kardons, Thorens and Music Halls. The SL1200 distinguishes itself in build quality and functionality but all that is meaningless if you don't like its sound. It's a shame it's not widely available for audition -- at the very least it would make for some fun comparisons.
Great review Ed, you could write for Positive Feedback.
I think it's important that products like this get their due. There are many who would consider playing that old stack of LP's they have sitting around, but are frustrated at the idea of spending a lot of money to get back into analog.
The Technics is a safe and fun way to reintroduce that music into their life and at a price that won't leave them feeling guilty.
Like I commented in the Lenco thread, this is what hi end audio needs. Fun, great performing products people can get excited about.
Why Technics continues with this turntable is a total mystery to me. In view of the fact that the Technics SL 1100A with tone arm and the SL 110A without tone arm was and is vastly superior to the 1200 series as was the SP line up from Technics. All of these hit the market in the late 70s for the most part at the zenith of analog production then.
Plus the tone arm on the SL 1100A was vastly superior to the other Technics arms of the day and approached a level that was on par with some of the finest separate arms of the day. Although not quite on the level of the SME,Grace,Rega and Sumiko of the day. But close indeed and with proper cartridge selection and set up could give a run in the separtes category. But fell short of Technics separate EPA arms which were stellar by any standard.
A lot of customers chose the arm less SL 110A and had the Technics EPA 100,250 or 500 tone arms installed and really got a taste of high end for about $900.00. But in the late 70s that was a ton of money for a turntable set up.
However one sleeper of the bunch was the SL 23B from Technics that offered exceptional value for the money.
But in my view with the possible exception of the above listed tables the Technics line of integrated tables only offered pedistrian performance at best. And were usually part of a package deal in Mid-Fi shops. Where one could get a good mid power receiver,turntable,and speakers for under $500.00 in the late 70s.
Clearly Technics had an edge in overall margin in profit to the dealer, compared to the Dual,Thorens and Miracord product of the day. Although for the most part overall performance of the Technics line of the time may not have been on par with some of the Dual tables of the day.
However that all changed when the Harman Kardon T series of turntables came out in the early 80s and rewrote the design parameters and sonics in this price category and the HK T series remain to this day very sought after tables.
I for one would dearly love to see the reintroduction of the SL 1100A and SL 110A. Combined with the improved materials and manufacturing of today,I believe would occupy and restablish Technics line in the audiophile community. Out of the box the SL 1100A was vastly superior to the 1200 series.
Today a good condition SL 1100A brings more in the used market that the $380.00 they were new in 77-79 as does the SL 110A without tone arm that was $300.00 in the same time period.
But without question Technics brought good tables to the market in the day, that was more than affordable for the vast majority of home audio buyers at the time.
Ed is quite right in the belt drive vs direct drive debate.There were stellar examples of direct drive, from Denon,Kenwood,Technics,Luxman and who can forget the mind blowing Nakamichi Dragon turntable or the Kenwood LO7D turntable. Both so rare now, that when available bring twice their retail in todays market place.
However in my opinion the 1200 series, will never match up to the other Technics offerings of the time.
For what it is, basically a DJ table, with some usefullness in home audio application, there is far better both new and used at its current price point.
I have to agree with Ferrari on most of his comments. I still love the SL-1200 for its slick engineering, easy setup, adjustability and tank-like build quality. I stand by my statement that you cannot buy a better built turntable for the money. But it's true that the SL-1200 has a literal sound quality compared with a Rega or even a Harman Kardon T-series. I never got around to trying it with the Origin Live RB250 conversion kit, which might have made a significant improvement. But the supplied arm does very well with just about any budget moving magnet cartridge. If vinyl is not your primary source and you want to buy one turntable to last for the rest of your life, well, for me it's a toss up between a new SL-1200 or a Rega P2 or P3.
WRONG--both you guys.
Alex has said that the modded 1200 is on par to $5K decks. Recently someone in the Asylum posted that his modded 1200 sounded better than a $6K deck. The Creature is a serious unit for real world audiophiles.
The stock Technics arm outperforms the Rega 250 and 600. Alex has used them both in his 1200 and gone back to the stock tonearm. I use Marigo dots on my tonearm and the results are truly impressive.
With psychic power and primal intensity,
It's possible the Technics arm might outperform a Rega -- but only with the high compliance cartridges it was designed for use with. That's fine if you want to restrict yourself to low to mid-priced moving magnets from Shure, Ortofon, Stanton, etc.
I've tried the Technics with a low compliance Denon DL-110 and the results were...well, okay. It was acceptable but not a match made in heaven. Granted, you can always add the KAB Fluid Damper, which I have no dobuts about, but the fact remains it's an aftermarket patch designed to nudge the arm toward modernity.
It's also possible that the Rega arm and the Technics table just aren't a good match. Happens sometimes.
So, I'll leave it at this: the stock Technics arm may well outperform the Regas, but only on a Technics 1200. The real test would be to stick the stock Technics arm on a Rega P3 or Linn LP12...then we'd see what it's really made of. If anyone's crazy enough to cut an armboard and do it, I'm sure the 10 or 12 of us who care would be eternally grateful for your impressions.
Ed - No sense in flogging a dead horse. However the Technics tone arm EPA 100,250 or 500 on a Rega or a Linn. Now that would be very interesting indeed.
Good thing I had a browse of reviews, and found your own posted here. I believe that theoretically all the 'proper' direct drive decks should wipe the floor with there modern day contemporaries. When I say 'proper' I mean the SP10, SL1200, Onkyo's, Denons, Marantz, and most of all the EMT's.
I say this because Vinyl was the main format at Radio Stations, and in homes then. Big Japanese companies, and one German one, threw all their resouces at their designs, and even with economies of scale factored in, they were more expensive than Linn Sondecks!
On the other hand, when the multi-national boffins turned their minds to CD, the majority of those left designing turntables were excentrics - sorry but it is true. This is because analogue playback was to all intents and purposes irrelevant obsolete technology.
My justification for this is to simply take a look at an EMT 948, 927, 950... manual. Each was about 30 pages or more and explains every facet of the design. Compare that to the current crop of super decks, and they are very wanting, and more than anything they rarely justify there designs.
What I am saying is simply this, I am happy that you like your SL1200, as it introduces vinyl to whole new generation without the pretentiousness of many pieces of kit, and when plugged into a good amp, and kitted out with a nice cartridge it can really sing too.
I say all this on the back of me having an Amazon Model One, with a Transfiguration Temper Cartridge, and an EMT 950 on the way for restoration.
Ed? I'm a bit perplexed!?!?
"I've tried the Technics with a low compliance Denon DL-110 and the results were...well, okay."
I just purchased a DL-110 for use on a Technics SL-1210 based partially upon your glowing review in Positive Feedback:
"The Denon DL-110 is a winner. Setup is fuss-free and tracking superb. After a brief break-in period, it goes about its business with an ease and refinement that belies its modest price. If you've been wondering why many audiophiles prefer moving coil designs, you'll find some enlightenment here, but be forewarned—unlike most beer-budget cartridges, the DL-110 exhibits genuine character."
When I said the results were "okay" I was referring to the COMPLIANCE match between the cartridge and arm, not the resulting sound quality of a given setup taken as a whole.
The post you're referencing deals specifically with the quality of the Technics tonearm in comparison with the Rega RB250/300 -- not arm/table combos -- so what we're talking about there is the ability of either arm to wring maximum performance out of a given cartridge in purely theoretical terms, not the performance of any one arm or cartridge mounted and playing on a turntable.
As I emphatically stated in my review for Positive Feedback, the compliance match between the Denon and the Technics is acceptable but for some it might be out of their comfort zone. Not mine, though.
The DL-110 itself is an amazing bargain but people who use it with the SL-1200 should know that they're combining a low-mass arm with a medium-low compliance cartridge. The Technics arm is best suited to the high compliance cartridges that were popular when it was designed (i.e., Shure V15, Ortofon OM series, Stanton, etc.) Of course, there are two simple solutions:
(a) Add a bit of mass at the headshell by using either the balancing plate supplied with the Denon or a Technics accessory weight. Not a complete solution but a cheap, practical and effective one that I lived with happily.
(b) Install the KAB Fluid Damper which eliminates much of the possibility for any stray resonances resulting from arm-cartridge mismatching.
In most situations -- 95% of the time or greater, in my testing -- the DL-110 and the un-damped SL-1200 arm with added mass got along more than acceptably well.
As an aside -- about 15 years ago, Stereophile's Sam Tellig tested the DL-110 and DL-160 on his Dual CS-5000 (with low-mass arm) and noted no problems.
I enjoyed the pair for quite awhile and feel that the DL-110's cavernous (some might say exaggerated) soundstaging helps make up for the SL-1200's tendency to sound a bit constricted in terms of soundstage width, if not depth.
With any afforable arm-cartridge combo, there will likely be some issues to resolve. This is one of them. Don't let it stop you from enjoying your rig and don't waste time listening for problems that may or may not be audible. You're better off tweaking VTA, VTF and bias (and of course, your alignment) which will make far more of a positive difference.
One note, though: as with nearly all cartridges in my experience, track the DL-110 at the high end of its acceptable tracking weight -- at least 2g.
I have a new SL-1210M5G and wonder what mats others recommend. I bought my table from KAB, so I have the upgraded mat that Kevin supplies. I also have a fiber/felt mat of unknown make. I like the mat KAB sells with the table better, but I am open to trying other things. Please email me with your thoughts. Bruce at firstname.lastname@example.org
Nice review; I had one of these way back in the 1970s and thought it was pretty good for the money.
Nice review and very helpfull. Just went to the Audio show in Mtl and saw the Music Hall 5 and the Project...
To be honest a glass platter or a high density board platter does no do it for me. THe tables look really cheap for the money..
I just bought a used technics Q2 turtable..Its also heavy at about 20 pounds or so- but no tonearm VTS ajustment.So I will get a SL-1200 that has the VTA.
I have a cheap but major modification that I did and do recommend: simply put the turntable on top of metal cones!! The base of the cone is on the bottom and the point on into the bottom of the turntable...
THe difference with the Q2 was like night and day! It cleaned up the sound big time...I will also set it up on a TARGET point table....
So I will do the same with the SL1200 and put a fairly good Grado red cartridge.
I meant to post to this thread some time ago and didn't, so I'm glad it's cropped up again. A lot of what I have to say I've already said on other threads before. To briefly recap: I've owned my 1200 for close to 23 years now -- buying it as soon as I could afford to upon first using an SP at my college's radio station -- and don't have in-home experience with other audiophile-worthy tables. While the rest of my system has been replaced at least three times over since I got the SL, I continue to be satisfied using the Technics table. But I sorely lack points of reference for making any claims about where the 1200 falls within the universe of audiophile belt-drivers, either around or above its price range. All I can say is that it's durable, swell to use, its sound doesn't suck or fall short in any obvious way, and is not lacking compared with my digital separates in a system that presently would retail for over $25K* -- not top-drawer, but not chump change. I generally feel that if I did replace my 1200, I'd have to begin looking at around five times its current price, and I'm not sure that the improvement -- if it was even comprehensive -- would necessarily be commensurate.
I upgraded my unit a few years back with Kevin at KAB to include both the fluid damper and the outboard power supply (as well as the 78rpm mod). Both work basically as claimed, and the p.s. in particular is now to my mind a prerequisite for using this table in an audiophile context. I was Kevin's first customer for this accessory, and commissioned him to do a customized installation that provided a method for switching between the stock, onboard p.s. and KAB's outboard one, so I could perform A/B comparison tests. As far as I know, I am still the only owner with this capability, and I can assure those interested in buying the regular mod that its effect is entirely beneficial and worthwhile if you own a high-resolution cartridge and system. The changes are fairly subtle yet all-encompassing -- if you only play Black Sabbath through Cerwin-Vegas you may not hear (or need) them, but for well-recorded, more sensitive material and better systems, the only thing that might obscure the obviousness of the improvement could be the time lag needed to perform the installation and the lack of ability to easily revert to stock operation for comparisons, so making some good before-and-after recordings might be helpful as a reference.
Although I was happy with the table before the p.s. was added, I would now hesitate to call it truly high end without this mod. Not going into flowery descriptives, the outboard p.s. addresses a couple of engineering limitations of the stock table by virtue of being both a stiffer supply and removed from the plinth physically. Providing an across-the-board increase in purity/transparency/resolution, this yields a richer tonality, more detailed harmonic structure, better attack and detail of transients and eludication of decays, an extended bandwidth, wider dynamic envelope both micro and macro, smoother textures, improved clarity, more palpable imaging and deeper and more authoritative soundstaging -- all of which translate into superior musical expression. I assume an improved power supply will do many of these things with any turntable, even belt-drivers not additionally saddled with having their stock p.s. onboard the plinth. The KAB unit is not extravagant, but it's effective and I feel justifies the expense; as the de facto beta-tester, I wouldn't have purchased the mod if I hadn't been able to prove its worth for myself.
Someone above raised the question of platter mats. The 1200's most inherent weakness IMO is that its cast aluminum platter cannot be made to not ring. You can only minimize it. In my tests, all lightweight mats have been shown the door, they can't damp the ring well enough to use. The stock mat on the original 1200 Mk.II is thick, heavy rubber, which is what KAB retrofits to all their 1200's, though Technics has introduced a thinner rubber mat and slipmats for verions other than the Mk.II. The heavy rubber mat does a good job of damping the platter. I prefer the sound of an equivalently-thick Sorbothane-type mat (used with a clamp), which also damps the platter well, but ultimately have combined this with one of the Technics thin rubber mats underneath, and that double-mat arrangement, with different materials doing different jobs (the rubber mat damps the platter with help from the heavy Sorbothane above, the Sorbothane mat damps the vinyl record and is isolated from the platter by the rubber mat in between), works best out of all usable options tried, although the increased thickness can make clamping dicey with 180g or heavier pressings (you can run out of spindle to grip unless the felt clamping washer is removed; KAB's screw-down clamp/spindle may eliminate this difficulty). This is an inelegant and partial solution, and I believe Kevin has investigated various approaches to modifying the platter in order to eliminate the energy store-and-release at its source, but for the time being it's the best method I've found, and might well be no worse or possibly better than a glass-plattered Rega with their felt mat or the punningly-named Ringmat.
About the arm, I feel it's more medium-mass at 12g than low-mass, and have had no problems using medium-compliance MC's from AQ, Benz and van den Hul (with and without the fluid damper, which I reviewed previously), as well as higher-compliance Ortofon and Shure MM's. The bearings have been excellent, with no friction detectable, and zero play apparent until just recently, not bad for over two decades of pretty heavy useage. (The only other items now wanting replacement are the cover hinges whose springs have become a little droopy.) I'll also want to upgrade the lead-out cabling and try KAB's strobe disabler.
*[I'll restate the system context as it applies to vinyl: Benz Glider M2, vdH DDT-II, and Shure V15-III carts, Camelot Lancelot phono, Levinson 380S pre, VTL MB-185 amps, Thiel CS2.2's, ExactPower and Power Wedge Ultra PLC's, vdH carbon IC's, Audience Au24 SC's, Shunyata and HT PC's, Symposium Shelf on FoculPods for TT, Salamander Synergy rack]
This review, and most of the comments, are better than what we (often) get from the professionals writing in the audiophile journals.
Just one remark, that I see often, bugs me, and it is not really part of Ekobesky's observations, but just mentioned in passing.
About direct drive... "the circuit is constantly hunting for the perfect speed without success". Belief that this behavior is inherent in a servo control loop is a myth derived from ignorance about servo design. A servo that acts this way (especially now that the control laws can be implemented by digital algorithms) is just plain designed wrong. Perhaps some particular DD turntables had lousy servos, but that proves nothing about DD turntables in general.
Eldartford, regarding your comments.
This review, and most of the comments, are better than what we (often) get from the professionals writing in the audiophile journals.
Please see my post of 5-27-05.
Great review Ed, you could write for Positive Feedback.
Ed is a reviewer for Positive Feedback and in my opinion, writes balanced reviews based on good common sense.
Regarding the arm...It appears that VTF is provided by adjustment of the balance weight. A similar vintage TT that I once owned (Empire) generated VTF using a clock balance wheel spring. This meant that the arm was mass-balanced around all axes so that vibration, or even thumps, had little or no effect on cartridge forces, and therefore on the sound. I found that this simple feature was very valuable in minimizing vibration problems.
Dear Ed i must complement you on your review of the sl1200
Turntable and has kept me coming back to this site and reading more reviews. i service turntables only sl's in Australia for DJ's and hire companies, it would make you cry the way they treat them, I have change close to 300 arms in 4 years, mostly due to bearing problems as they transport them in road cases with the counter weight on. i was asked around 2years ago to change a arm on a sl1200 due to problems scratching and that his friends were laughing at him with this skinny looking arm so today I went to my work shop a dug it out and after some research from this site I found it to be a Audio Technica AT1100 with a Stanton 681eee cartridge. It just shows you today it’s not what it sounds like it’s what it looks like.
Concerning modification and/or ideas on this turnatble, I made two 3/8'' acrylic platters and stacked them together instead of the rubber mat....
Also, the table was and is set up on 3 inverted metal cones pointed into pennies. (I removed the 4 fat feet. The table is on an MDF 5/8'' board resting on an old TARGET wall turntable stand that holds the board from under, using 4 spikes...The board replaces the flimsy original one. Soon I want to play with the idea of making a more massive base under the turntable & see what I hear...I am also using a GRADO red as cartridge.
Now, back to the sound effect of using 2 X 3/8'' acrylic platters....
When I first made the one 3/8 platter the sound opened up considerably. On the Pie Jesus of Fauré's requiem, I now could hear the air around the voice and the subtle details of the echo and her voice reverberation. All in all, much more detail & clarity.
So this morning, since I had enough Plexiglas left for 3 more platters, I made a second platter....( you need a router and some jig to make a circle)
2 platters still leaves just enough spindle space & I was able to adjust the 1210 VTA of the tone arm in no time.
The result of using 2 acrylic platters was staggering...
The voice was so, so smooth, the details more pronounced and the soundstage even better. I really got the impression that the person ''was just over there''. Everything but everything just sounded better and so much more detailed....
I did make an acrylic platter years ago (read in the Absolute Sound about that idea) on a custom made Oracle I put together with an SME V. That table used the original AC oracle cogging motor and the speed had always to be monitored via a strobe I glued to the bottom of the table and verified with a flat mirror.
But, with the Technic sl-1210, the speed is so perfect; I simply hear things I never heard before using the double acrylic platters...
I spent some $22 Can or $20 US on the piece of acrylic at the local hardware store.
The rest of the system is made of 3 Citations 16 amps. Two amps are bridged mono to drive the base part of the AR9 speaker towers. The third Citation 16 drives the mid’s and the highs of the speakers. I boosted the main capacitors of the amps from 10,000 mf per channel to an extra 72,000 mf/channel. Each amp has thus 4 capacitors on top and big as beer cans…Doubled monster cables are hard wired into the amps and connected to large custom (read from hardware store...) brass binding posts. As for the Audio Research SP-7, I also boosted the capacitance by 10 times or so and re-wired with silver wire.
Now, I would appreciate getting info on a DIY method to further making the speed more stable & accurate on the SL-1210. Mind you, I read about the KAB modification & may just buy it. The KAB mod uses bigger capacitors and a bigger power supply& that is just what I have been doing all along (as far as the capacitors go)….so I would really like to have another DIY project….
For me, most of the fun is making something and trying things out....
Does anybody have ny ideas on further enhancement of the speed regulation on this already great Technic 1210 turntable??
Kab regulated power supply PS-1200 (or DIY unit.)
Any comments on the sound effect or enhancements of using a regulated power supply on the Technics?
I have never but never heard such amount of detail by the mere fact of the speed being dead on and stable....and using 2 layer of 3/8 '' acrylic platters...
What more can the regulated power supply do?
A DIY idea would be nice.
However, I may jut go for KAB's unit but really would like to hear comments on anybody who is using a regulated power supply mod on the Technics.
The acrylic platters I made for the 1210 are really 4.5mm each. Both come to 9MM or 3/8 '' for BOTH platters.
"Any comments on the sound effect or enhancements of using a regulated power supply on the Technics?"
Did you see my post of 3/26 above? In my experience this was a more important improvement than my playing around with various platter mat arrangements. BTW, the cast aluminum platter of a 1200 has a slight, straight 'dish' to its profile (lowest toward the center, higher toward the perimeter -- this can be seen with the mat removed by laying a straight edge across its diameter), which works out well when a clamp is used. Mats (as well as LP's) are flexible and can follow this contour, but I'd imagine that a 3/8" acrylic flat, not machined to account for this deviation, would result in a loss of solid contact with the platter away from the edge and the formation of a resonant cavity in between.
I just read your post and find it very helpfull.
I will likely get the KAB power supply, as Kevin has already provided positive and helfull feedback on my previous questions.
As for the acrylic mats I made, actually totalling 3/8 '' for both, the sound difference is really worth a listen.
In my mind, the acrylic mat opens up the sound while the rubber mat closes it or restrains it, once you make a comparison. Even my wife, who is quite into music, hear the difference. The differenc is quite noticable...
Any event, I will possibly get the super mat, as it will not bankrupt me. I will then compare but hold little hope.
But my previous Oracle turn table had a screw clamp and rubber mat. Then again the acrylic mat made a better open and airy detailed sound.
As for the record not being flat, I also worried about the same thing Zaikesman mentions. It turn out,the record was mostly flat. One 4.5mm acrylic mat made a big difference, but the second mat on top made it even better. I possibly will try later a weight clamp, as I have not much left to clamp on...
As for the ring of the platter mentionned, I just wonder if those dots (used by another member on the tone arm & that I will try...) would do the tric...?
Also, an aggressive thing to do would be to spray the inside of the platter with foam in a can...When the whole mess would dry and look really ugly, I would simply carefully cut off the excess foam with a fine tooth saw to that you cannot see it when put back into place...
Replacing the platter is not a king's ransom but the foam thing should not damage the platter & magnet I presume...
But I will try the dots first on the aluminium platter and see what the company who sells them recommend as placement...
"In my mind, the acrylic mat opens up the sound while the rubber mat closes it or restrains it"
That is quite possible -- I have not found that use of a damping soft-type mat in conjunction with a clamp makes the sound 'airier', but rather better focused and more solid. The "Ringmat" is often noted for producing an 'airy' sound, and by design it leaves most of the record's underside unsupported, and therefore undamped, with a cavity in between. My own suspicion (based not on auditioning the Ringmat, which isn't suitable for use with the 1200's platter, but various solid mats with and without clamping) is that this result, while maybe pleasing to some, is spurious and caused by undamped HF resonances. To get some idea of what contributes to the sound in this situation, you could experiment with turning off the volume and listening to the unamplified acoustic response of the stylus tracing the grooves on the acrylic vs. a mat -- the less 'needle-talk' you hear throught the air, the less resonance is developing.
"I possibly will try later a weight clamp, as I have not much left to clamp on..."
KAB's screw-clamp may be the best thing for this problem. At any rate, I'd be wary of adding too much weight to the platter with the acrylic plus a heavy clamp, because that could change the speed-control dynamics. (My own solution employs the thin Technics rubber mat under the Spectra Dynamics soft mat, which together weigh roughly in the same vicinity as the stock Technics heavy mat, plus the lightweight Michell clamp.)
"As for the ring of the platter mentionned, I just wonder if those dots (used by another member on the tone arm & that I will try...) would do the tric...?"
Marigo-type dots aren't enough to perceptibly damp the platter resonance, I wouldn't bother with this.
"Also, an aggressive thing to do would be to spray the inside of the platter with foam in a can"
I doubt this would do much either. The underside of the platter is already encased with 1/4" heavy rubber. As an experiment I once covered about 2/3 of this surface with strips of a proven effective, adhesive-backed triple-constrained-layer damping material about 1/8" thick and quite dense, but it did so little to change the platter ring I later removed it (so it couldn't disrupt the platter's rotational balance). My observations indicate the only way to further damp the platter is to address its undamped surfaces, meaning of course the playing surface through choice of mat. In another experiment I once treated the platter's undamped outer periphery-weight/strobe-area by wrapping it in a couple layers of duct tape, which although it did slightly (very slightly) decrease the ring, couldn't work in use due to lack of clearance with the plinth around the edge (and besides looked ugly as hell ;^) If you remove the mat and platter, and lightly hold the platter flat against your abdomen, you'll find it basically doesn't ring at all anymore; effective damping of the top surface is what's needed to kill the resonance.
I first verified Zaikesman assertion that the acrylic mats I made were in fact floating on the outer rim of the platter. This is not the case, since the acrylic mats I made just barely touch the outer & higher rim of the platter. When I remove the mats, their is a definite suction of the platter separating from the acrylic mats.
I did notice some faint shrill in the high notes of voices from one acrylic mat, but when I made a second and put both on top, that was gone & I got even more sonic information similar to the clever and erudite terminology you use to describe the sonic benefits of the KAB power supply. I specially like the term:…elucidation of decay….
I did not weight the double acrylic mats but doubt they are more than the super matt.
The screw clamp would have to have a longer spindle for me to use with the acrylic mat. When I used the Oracle clamp and platter, I did crack a few records...! Now I realise that most records are quite flat anyways....will have to play/experiment more with this idea...
Quote ''the less 'needle-talk' you hear through the air, the less resonance is developing.'' this I seem to hear when the volume knob on the AR SP-& goes past 10:30 or 11 o’clock mark. I would term this more as hearing the motor or god knows what, but will have to install the KAB PS to hear the difference. Also, I am told or read that the Grado cartridge does have a tendency to pick up noises more readily...There is a motor turning under the platter, and this, is my mind, is what I hear. I have never heard anything like it with the other turntables I had.
The benefits of the 3/8 inches of acrylic renders so much more information, clarity and detail, that one must really try it to really decide for one self…
Also, I took off the large feet and put 3 inverted metal cones on pennies AND the whole table on a TARGET wall mounted turntable stand. This in itself also opens up the sound and gives cleaner bass, just as numerous other audio gear & speakers benefit from this treatment.
But there is no doubt that the precise speed of the Technic 1200/1210 makes a world of sonic difference; puts my old Oracle to shame…
Please keep the comments and ideas on the SL-1210 coming.
I now have mine mounted on 4 Mapleshade 2 inch high Heavyfeet with M6 threads screwed tight into the four corners. I could not find 3 flat places on the bottom of the table to do the 3 point mounting thing. The Heavyfeet are sitting on a 2 inch thick custom size maple base from Mapleshade that is on four Isoblocks. The change was very noticable. More defined bass. Fuller midrange. Less distortion up high. And the dynamic contrast is much greater. And I am using the ever modest Shure M97xE.
Next may be the KAB fluid damper. And I have traded messages with Kevin about having him mod my table with his power supply, strobe off switch, and interconnect cable adapter. He told me a new mod is on the way that will lead the tonearm wires overboard to direct connections to the interconnects.
Here is a free idea I may try. Pierre of Mapleshape recommends that interconnects that are moulded together should be separated. I tried this with a cheap Monster mini to RCA I use and it seemed to improve the sound. The stock connecting cables on the 1210 are moulded together, and could easily be cut apart. Get out the Exacto knife.
Very interesting Blmcycle,...What does the M before the 6 stand for?
Is that the right size thread? and does it harm the thread?
I would be curious to try them.
I put my inverted metal cones in the cavities where the feet used to be. In the front, I just put one in the middle. But it’s a bit cumbersome to set up since they fall easily. I may just try the hardware store & find the matching thread to make spiked feet....into the original treaded feet cavities of the table.
They also offer heavy hats. I did try that idea with the old Oracle turntable using a diving lead belt weight - not nice looking, but effective.
On the Technics, I see I have no space to put such a big lead thing...on the top of the table.
It would be nice if they made an after market solid plinth to support and house the Technic 1200/1210 turntable mechanism (with the outboard KAB power supply) and tone arm! This would really be fantastic and could be made of layers of MDF and other heavy stuff....
This way we could get rid of all the extra plastic and go back to some expensive models they use to make that way...
"It would be nice if they made an after market solid plinth to support and house the Technic 1200/1210 turntable mechanism (with the outboard KAB power supply) and tone arm! This would really be fantastic and could be made of layers of MDF and other heavy stuff....
This way we could get rid of all the extra plastic and go back to some expensive models they use to make that way..."
Not sure what you mean by "get rid of all the extra plastic"? The 1200 is made almost entirely of cast aluminum, internally encased with heavy rubber -- the only plastic (other than the removable dustcover of course) is a few small trim bits and the cover for the electronics (hidden under the platter). Much better construction than any amount of MDF.
Citation16: The M6 thread is a metric size thread that is the same as the threads on the stock 1210 footers. I just took one of the stock footers to a hardware store to make sure of the thread size. Mapleshade sells the Heavyfeet with M6 threaded mounts as one of their standard sizes, although they say they can do any size thread, I think.
Quote :''I now have mine mounted on 4 Mapleshade 2 inch high Heavyfeet with M6 threads screwed tight into the four corners.''
-----thanks Blmcycle, I just ordered 4 of the same from Mapleshade....
Curiosity got the better part of me & the 3 metal cone feet I use are not that heavy and a bit of a pain to set up.
Should sound as good as they look...
But I will put a penny or quarters under the each feet in an effort to get more of the effect since I will see if its better than just pointing into wood!?
Here is another question for you 1200/1210 folks. What cartridges do you like with this table and why do you like them? It will help if you tell us (me) what type music you listen to and what qualities you like about the cartridges you recommend.
Reading about sound dots applied to the tone arm counter weight and other people coating the arm with liquid latex to absorb the vibration, I tried something possibly similar yesterday.
I went to the hardware store in the section that sells various types of feet to protect objects and furniture....
I bought, 3 various sizes (from 9.5 up) soft polyurethane transparent dots. The name on the package is Pro-Tec-Tors and its made by Faultless/Madico in the US.
The dots are cut outs on a rectangular piece of flat sticky poly. So, for the tone arm and counterweight, I simply cut a 1.5 inch long strip by 3 or 4 millimeters wide. One I applied to the tone arm length wise and the other partly around the counterweight. Then I took 6 large soft transparent dots and stuck them near the front and back corners of the SL-1210.
At first listen, the soundstage was more definite. The solo voice was much more palpable and real. And there is less of a shrill to the high notes… I will have to play with the dots & strips over the week end, when I have more time but initial results seem similar to other comments about similar treatment of the tone arm.
Apparently every component from the preamp, the amp, the speakers, the windows could benefit. The next on my list would be the pre-amp; we will see/hear…....
I spent $6 Can or some $5 US. A cheap experiment and mod to have fun with and make the table/arm sound better….
If any of you try this very expensive esoteric mod I would like to hear your comments and perceptions.
I still want to get some of the KAB modifications ; the PS looks very promising.
I treated my 1200 'arm with the Music Direct tonearm wrap, a very thin, lightweight, elastic, self-adhering (without glue -- an advantage, to me) black polymer tape that's wound spiral-fashion to give complete, intimate-contact damping coverage for almost the entire length of the armtube. I've had mine on for so long now, and never attempted to take it off again for comparisons, that I can't tell you exactly how it affects the sound, but the 'arm certainly seems non-resonant with it on when tapped with a finger, and it's stayed in place beautifully and doesn't look too funky. MD seems not to show this item in their catalogs recently, but it is still available for $20 online
I finally also got the Mapleshade brass heavyfeet with M6 thread. This replaces the 3 inverted metal cones I was using in lieu of feet. I also use the acrylic platter I made & vibration absorbing cheap silicone buds& strips I bought at the hardware store.
The effect of the 4 heavy feet is that it increases the mass of the turntable by 8 pounds. Using still the Grado Red, the soundstage was bigger, more definite and seemed very real and stable. Yes, fuller midrange; more presence. A definite wortwhile upgrade and a stunning visual enhancement to the look of the black Sl1210 MKV.
I am seriously thinking now about the KAB power supply.
Their seems to be a very slight trembling on some notes & the KAB power supply should do wonders in addressing this....!?
In the distant future, possibly a fully modified RB250 or silver tonearm from Origin Live.? But will it be worth it?
The table sounds great as is now...
I think the power supply will be worth it to you, judging from the other tweaking you've been undertaking. However, your description of a "trembling" symptom on some notes sounds like a much grosser effect than what the PS addresses in my experience. This wasn't something I heard either before the addition of my PS, or became aware of in retrospect afterward. I suppose it's possible that the on-board transformer in your example could be a worse vibrational contaminator than the one in mine, or maybe we just have a different conception of what the word "trembling" signifies. But as I heard it, shortcomings of the stock 1200 which the outboard PS reveals and remedies aren't nearly as blatant as quavering of pitches.
Thank you for your comments,
Possibly this ''quavering'' needs another listening session... listening to other quality recordings.
As far as the Maplewood 2 inch brass heavy feet, the effect is very noticable as I have previously written...
Will definitly get the power supply some time in the next month or so, (while I sell a bunch of nearly new motorcycling riding gear).
Not to disparage any of the respondents of this thread. But for all the time,expense and grief of dealing with this aging design, one could be in a Rega P5, VPI Scout or a entry Sota turntable. In my view of 48 years in this hobby/business I cannot see any justification for this,in light of what is readily available. Just a thought.
Possibly, but what is the price of a P5, the VPI scout or an entry level VPI ? I suspect at least double or more than the sl1200/10. The scout goes for $900 dollars or $1600 with the arm. Now the Rega P5 is some $2,000 and has a glass platter and plastic part underneath the platter....Something you would want to modify right away...
As for the expense of the SL1200 at some $425/450 US. You can add a cheap acrylic platter, put some metal coned feet and some cheap silicone dots and you have a fantastic value and sound. I actually get a beleivable and solid soundstage, depth and acuracy. Will a $1000. Rega or Project get this kind of sound? The Technics speed is dead on; can we say the same for the Rega table and the others for double or triple the money...?
True, a Rega silver arm would be nice at $900 or so, a proper turntable would be nice at $1,000 and a proper motor and speed power supply would also be nice at some $1500. from OL. So lets cap it off at $3,000 without the cartridge.
Well, I just ordered a fully modified RB250 for the SL1200.
Its not that it really needs it - but half the fun is for some changing things and to see how it sounds.
For sure its not a $2,000 turntable. It cost only 25% or $500 but its by far a superior made table that has plenty to offer.
Definitely worth alisten & look !
One can get a Rega P 5 or VPI Scout in the secondary market for $900.00 to $1,100.00. The Sota Sapphire for $400.00 to $600.00 depending on tone arm provided.
Case in point I recently upgraded a Rega P 3 to achieve Rega P 5 performance. The Rega P 3 was acquired new for $500.00. Add to that the upgrades that ran 704.00. So for $1,204.00 I achieved performance level of the Rega P5. In retrospect, would have been better off just to buy the P5 and be done with it. It has near VPI Scout performance, but falls a little short and for the $400.00 difference, the VPI Scout should have been way to go. Hindsight is always 20/20. For me at the time, was a test on cost effective upgrades. Performance vs dollars. Few upgrades in audio will ever have the full benefit, as opposed to buying in at a higher level. Plus the ever present future re-sale is always higher on products that are upstream.
Next year sell the Rega P 3 and invest in the VPI Scout. At 63 now, should be my last turntable.