Technics 1200 MKII Quartz Speed Strobe Issue Video

Ok, this is my first post, so be nice. I am a hardcore record collector and I am slowly trying to step up in the world of sound. I don't plan to go all the way into full on "audiophillia" and funds are limited. I am just working at creating a nice solid good sounding system.

I have a Marantz 2552b and some vintage Technics SB-6060 speakers. Nothing "special" but I'm happy with them for now.

Anyhow, I recently got a pretty good deal on a used Technics 1200 MK2 Quartz and brought it in to a local hi fi repair shop. Essentially what I got back is kind of a "Frakenstein" between parts of my original TT and parts of one the shop had that had many parts in better shape. Now, I am OK with this because It looks much better and didn't have a dust cover before. Now it looks good and has a dust cover and a much nicer face plate etc...

Now, I don't know if my mind is playing tricks on me but it appears to me that the strobe dots slightly wobble back and forth slowly. I am including a link to a video that shows this. I don't seem to notice it on playback but every once in a while I think I hear fluctuations and quite frankly I'm just paranoid now that something is wrong. Below is a link to a video of the strobe. It is locked into the 0 position. This TT does have quartz lock. I am sorry for the bad video but I'd like to have other eyes inspect this and let me know what they think. I am going to bring it back to the shop and ask for a proper zero point calibration.

I am also considering changing the tone arm. Does anyone besides KAB do this and what kind of price range am I looking at? I'm already like $300 into this TT! My budget is limited but I'd like this TT to be "pimped out" to some degree...


DivShare File - Strobe1200.avi
Mine does that too. I bought it new from KAB a couple of months ago. My guess is that it's just a defect in the way the dots were placed on the platter or something like that, and that the table runs at a constant speed. I can't hear any pitch wobbling, but I keep meaning to email KAB about it just to make sure.

When you think you're hearing pitch wobbling, are you sure it isn't because the spindle hole of the record is off-center?
That's the problem, I realize not every record is perfect etc. And it is only occasionally that I hear something funky. but now it's like I'm listening and waiting for it. I have always been told that these 1200's are "dead on" and when I look online at other strobe videos I see that mine isn't as steady and and I'd like to know why. I'm gonna bring the TT back to the place that did the work on it. My tonearm is pulling right way to much and I'm pretty certain it has messed up bearings, regardless it's old and I don't mind getting a new tonearm. the question is do i spend the extra scratch for this Cardas re-wire or not??

When I got the TT back the tonearm was stiff to the right so I probably foolishly slightly loosened the tiny screw on top and managed to get it to track better but my gut says that there is something funky with the tonearm too... great!

I don't mind putting some more into this table as they seem to be "worth it".

I suppose it could be a platter defect but I'd like to know for sure that the speed is as close as it's supposed to be.
While I am on the subject maybe I should just send it to KAB? Anyone have experience sending their 1200 in and getting it modded etc?? General price tag for such an adventure?? How much do they charge to install the mods?
Have you tried oiling the spindle?

The oil doesn't last forever in there and can probably drain out during shipping. I bought a brand new SL210M5G; soon after I bought a little tube of the Technics spindle oil from KAB and used up half the tube putting oil into the bearing reservoir. I noticed the sound became smoother and subtle speed variations disappeared. Technics recommends re-oiling the spindle for every 1000 hours of play anyway. For $4.95 I'd try that first.
Sounds like a good idea JohnnyB. I decided to send the 1200 off the Kab for the Cardas re-wire & the tonearm dampener as well as have a look over. Look forward to hearing the results.
I have had my 1200s for nearly twenty years, and I was not the first owner. I have never oiled my bearings and do not plan on doing so.

One caveat with used 1200s, these tables are the skratch djs table of choice. It goes without saying that skratching is hard on a TT, especially when you don't know how to skratch. As a result there are many used 1200s that have been abused to the point of no return.

If the big dots on the platter do not remain perfectly still with the pitch set to 0 there is a problem with the table. If the dots move slowly but at constant speed then there maybe a problem with the pitch adjustment, this should be easily repairable.

The problem you are describing sounds worse, if the dots are still for a while and then suddenly begin to move then either the servo motor is shot or the strob is. In either case it is not good.

Contrary to belt drive table where wobble is common and usually can be repaired by instaling a new belt, with a Technics 1200 the problem means replacing a motor.

As for the Cardas litz wire upgrade, it is good. I upgrade one of my table myself. But before spending anymore on upgrades I would sell the table you have a buy a new straight out of the box. I personally would not bother with the KAB upgrades, rather spend a little more a decent cartridge.

Finally, do not give in to all the hoopla about belt vs direct drive, the 1200 are an amazing bargain. IMHO You would have to spend in the thousands to find an equivalent table. Unfortunately you were simply unlucky with the you got.

I appreciate the insight but I actually sent the table off to KAB today. If there is a deeper problem I'm assuming he will find it before adding any upgrades etc. I would think the first shop would have noticed a bad motor as well?? Let's hope that's not the case!

I am wondering , did you watch the strobe video I posted? It played fine and I wasn't hearing any fluctuations. It was just the dots that concerned me. The DJ that I bought it from was definitely not a scratch dj. He played more dance and house stuff in the 90's.

I'm willing to put some more into this table. I also think that if there are deeper issues that KAB will certainly notice them and alert before moving on.

I sure hope it's not a motor issue!
05-03-10: Greenfuzz
I decided to send the 1200 off the Kab for the Cardas re-wire & the tonearm dampener as well as have a look over. Look forward to hearing the results.
Good show! The SL12x0 series has lots of potential but you have to start with the tonearm rewire and tonearm damping. The other things are to get better feet and wrap the tonearm in plumber's thread sealing Teflon tape. The fluid damper helps a lot, but the arm wand still rings and the tonearm wrap fixes it for next to nothing.

Currently I have low cost threaded brass cones to replace the feet, sitting on large diameter floor savers, sitting on a set of Vibrapod Isolators. I suspect you'd get as good or better results by using vibrapod cones siting on top of the Vibrapod Isolators, with the turntable base's foot threads resting on the metal balls of the Vibrapod cones.

Review and pictures here.
I asked Kevin at KAB. He confirmed that it is only a defect in the casting of the platter, and that the speed is fine.
I figured as much, but it never hurts to ask.
I'm hoping to get that same news! He should have my table now. I'm pretty excited to have him work on it. I gather this has been talked about to death but since I'm new to the board... How many people have had the Cardas re-wire and Tonearm Dampening done and what are your thoughts as far as before and after??