Technics 1200G - clamp record weight or no record weight?


It seems as though 95% of the time the 1200G sounds better without a clamp or weight.  I use a Boston audio mat and it seems when I add a clamp or weight, it may sound pleasing in some ways for some records but most of the time records seem to sound better without anything...  maybe its just the mat does not like the clamp.  not sure...  How are your experiences?  So far I have used the Project puck, Stillpoints LPI, Orsonic 200 gram clamp.  The Stillpoints may sound the best in some circumstances but it seems that the lighter Orsonic works pretty good. 
tzh21y
Try Micro Seiki ST-10, i don’t think 95% of the records are totally flat, for critical listening there must be some sort of weight on top of them to flatten them and to clamp them to a mat (if someone using metal mats like Micro Seiki CU-180 or Saec SS-300)
Technics doesn’t have an upper thrust bearing, so don’t use a clamp or you will damage the spindle. 
You will not damage anything, Technics supports not only heavy clamps of 1kg, but also heavy mat of 2kg. It’s been said many times on audiogon, no harm for the bearings. The SP-10mk2 and mk3 ownrs use superheavy mats and clamps, the SL1200G series can be used with heavy clamps, absolutely no problem. It’s Technics!
I've tried with and without clamping using a VPI clamp on my 1200GR and can't tell the difference. For this reason I say no clamp. BUT, I also use a Herbies mat that could offset the sonics of the stock rubber mat if used with clamp, which combination I have not yet tried.
tzh21y,

I have addressed this in another Technics SL1200G thread. I did send my SL1200G directly to atmasphere  (Ralph) and had him mod it with a Triplanar Classic SE tonearm. I have had it for some months now. 

I have tried the stock mat and 4 or 5 others. Finally received the Oracle Hard Acrylic platter mat. ( the best of all tried )  I tried my Sota Reflex clamp, the Brass record weight from my Kuzma TT , A MoFi record weight ( much like the HRS 315 gram ) that I finally settled on. (The best of the four) 

I talked with Bill Voss at Axpona 2018. ( he was using one of the MoFi weights that morning ) He told me that the table should be used with 1LB record weight ( Max )

@chakster is a very knowledgeable guy, no doubt. He has his opinions. They are opinions, Not gospel. Think about things and use Your Ears. Do you really want a metal mat? Even if its copper. Some guys swear by VPI aluminum platters, Some Delrin platters. chakster likes copper mats.

I am happy with the Technics 1200G modded with the Triplanar, the Oracle Hard Acrylic mat and the HRS 315 gram record weight. This combo along with the Lyra Kleos cartridge has turned out better than I hoped or imagined it would.

The speed control of the Technics surpasses my LP12 and my Kuzma TTs. This speed control and the Triplanar tonearm allow the Kleos to perform at a level not achieved with either my Ekos tonearm or Kuzma 12" VTA tonearm. Can't say enough about this combination.

What I do agree with chakster and others about, is the record being Flat and making Full contact with whatever mat or platter you decide to use (use your ears). Even though most of my records are relatively flat, I again agree that 95% have some kind of wave, for lack of a better description, that requires some kind of weight or clamp. Excessive weight or clamping has its own problems.

This is why, I am saving my "nickles" for an AFI Flat, made in Germany. A record flattner with difference. It has a RELAX cycle that, anneals the record at lower temps. Relieving the stresses introduced during the pressing process.

No doubt in my mind, that Flat records play and sound Better. Just try an old MoFi  UHQR or one of the new UD1S records or anyone of your really flat records. Watch your tonearm carefully while playing a record that is flat, but has some of these waves.  I think that you will get the point.

The AFI Flat is out in a new improved model. Yes, its Spendy,  2850 euros.

Also, if you want to carry this flattening business further, you can get an outer ring (keep in mind, 1 lb weight limit) Their is a company, again Germany that makes an outer ring specially for the SL1200G.

Hope this helps and Best to All on Your Journey
Chalkser there is a big difference between a clamp and a weight. The clamp pulls the spindle upwards, causing it to not sit properly in its main bearing race, and pulling it off of its only thrust bearing, which is at the bottom of the spindle. This destabilizes the spindle and accelerates wear. For this reason, clamps are not recommended for Technics turntables. 

The weight simply exerts downward force, while the spindle is sitting in the correct position in its bearings, there is added load on the thrust bearing, so make sure you regularly clean and lubricate it to maximize lifespan. 
I have the Technics SL1200G and I tried it with the VPI record weight.  I was using it on my previous VPI Prime.  I didn't care for the sound with the weight, the Technics sounded a little muddy and the PRAT seemed off.  In the end, I prefer the Technics weightless.
@sleepwalker65 You're right, there is a difference between clamp and weight, but i have no idea how the chuck lock like this can pull up the spindle? When we apply a little force to lock the clamp arround the spindle there is no resistance coming from the vinyl, it's flexible material, it can not pull up the clamp locked arround the spindle, it's just vinyl that taking force on itself and that's how we're trying to flatten it on the platter. I've tried that Orsonic clamp on my Technics along with many other so called Disc Stabilizers (Weight) on various metal mats and i love it. 

Do you own Technics turntables ?   
@nkonor

... Think about things and use Your Ears. Do you really want a metal mat? Even if its copper. Some guys swear by VPI aluminum platters, Some Delrin platters. chakster likes copper mats

Absolutely. This is the only way to find out what is the best for our systems. But don't forget that Technics platter on GAE and SP-10R is made of brass metal. Brass is an alloy of Copper and Zinc.  

Micro Seiki platter mats (CU-180 and CU-500) are made of Gunmetal.

Gunmetal, also known as Red Brass in the United States, is a type of Bronce - and alloy of Copper, Tin, and Zinc. 


Top of the line Micro Seiki platters are made of gunmetal. Same about their Record Weight like the ST-10 and clamps like the ST-20. I think gunmetal is much more expensive than brass. 

I missed the point that OP has "G" model, but "GR" model does not have a brass platter (this is where technics cut the price) and adding a Micro Seiki CU-180 is reasonable. The cheaper alternative is SAEC SS-300 mat. As for the record weight the Micro ST-10 (gunmetal disc stabilizer is perfect for Technics SL1200G). 

Micro Seiki mat is not only a huge upgrade for powerfull direct drives, but it make any DD turntable looks like a luxury unit. I just love it on my PD-444 







I stand corrected; I was experimenting with the VPI weight.
@chakster 

Thank You for the clarification on the Micro Seiki platter mats and record weights. Much appreciated. Will investigate.
Dear @nkonor: Flat records makes a difference for the better that's why MS, Yamaha, Luxman and many other TT manufacturers came/comes with a vaccum record hold down mechanism.

Try to find out the after market the vintage Audio Technica  AT665BX or the AT666, these ones comes with vacuum hold down  mechanism and works really fine. You don't have to spend 2.850K Euros .

In the other side the best mats are not metal ones, normally metal goes against quality levels.
The Acrilic that you are using confirm it and the best to have is the original SOTA Supermat in combination with the reflex Basis Audio clamp that's better than the Sota reflex. Of course that exist other non-metal mats as other gentlemans shared here and even there are Technics owners that prefers no clamp.

Regards and enjoy the MUSIC NOT DISTORTIONS,
R.
Yeah, you can always cut your carpet to put it on the disc as an alternative to beautiful Micro Seiki Gunmetal mats.

This is from Denon engineers:

"Low frequency limit rof the cutting on the disc is approximately 20 Hz, therefore, the signal at lower frequencies than that is not supposed to come out. However, subsonic noise under 4-5 Hz tends to be reproduced larger due to the warpage of the record disc. For the audio instruments which originally deal with the audible range signal, signal close to DC is not a close friend. Such evil effect as modulation distortion is caused on the signal in the audible range due to the undesirable low frequency range signal being sent to the amplifier or the speaker."

Do you want to continue without record weight or clamp ?
I have a GAE and a Prime and use an LP1, a VPI and a KAB from time to time, but also use nothing a lot of times.  Can't say it makes a huge difference if the records if flat.  If the record is warped then one of the above will sound better than the others, but can't say which.  It varies with the record.  Crazy I know, but I make a note so the next time around I know what setup works best for any given records.  Also, the same is true on the Prime with the periphery ring, sometimes it is better to leave it off.
@chakster I see what you mean. The clamp you are using would reduce slipping of the record by coupling it laterally to the spindle.  Neat idea. 
I noticed in Youtube videos that technics themselves are using the project puck which is pretty heavy.  are they using the rubber mat or something else?
Gunmetal mat user (Tenuto) on TT-101 here.  I prefer the sound without weight so don't use one.  I have tried and have a couple but unless warped badly, I leave them sit.

Most records pretty darned flt in my experience. 

I recommend the Technics 1200/1210 extra thick mat sold by KAB USA. It sounds the best on the previous generation Techie 1200 /1210 up to the Mk7 model. I personally own a M5G and use the extra thick OEM mat and a 3/4 pound (approx 360 gram) pound spindle weight. My spindle has the upgraded KAB wax material under the spindle bearing housing, coupling it to the base plate. This directs platter and other acoustic noise down the spingle to the base not so much up the cart and tonearm.

With the wax "spacer" mod, additional weight of the spindle bearing and housing is better supported when coupled to the baseplate. I oil my spindle bearing using KAB's recommended oil  approx every 100 hours of play time. In the decade plus of ownership, I've had no issues with my spindle bearing getting noisy or wearing out.

Using a clamp would worry me as noted above it pulls the spindle upward where there is minimal support, logically chance of damage exists if excessive force is used. Platter mat and spindle weight use is system and listener and system subjective, perceived audio benefits change with different LP's being played. Obviously, anything that flattens excess warpage, better coupling a warped LP to the platter is preferrable.

Keeping the tonearm playing with minimal horizontal and vertical runout allows the cartridge and styli to better trace the grooves, resulting in a more positive listening experience no matter what combination of turntable or upgrades being used. This minimises cartridge/cantilever suspension wear and/or suspension damage, resulting in decreased cartridge wear and higher play hours on the cart itself.

Periphery rings are also subjective, having their time and place for use. I've yet to see a ring being sold which correctly the Technics 1200/1210 due to their design and layout.  An LP with excessive vertical runout will benefit from ring and weight use when it comes to playback quality. A flat record may or may not benefit from added spindle weight or periphery ring, the same as it may or may not benefit from thicker or different platter mat composition.

A thicker mat decreases VTA and changes VTF slightly as the arm is raised. This is often perceived as a sonic improvement, and may be not from the mat construction itself but a change of VTA VTF or SRA  by raising or lowering arm height. A minimal change in SRA/VTF/VTA can often place the stylus in that optimal operating corridor and stylus angle, resulting in superior sonics overall.

Ideally adjustable VTA 'on the fly' allows the listener to make incremental adjustments to SRA when using  thicker/thinner LP's and platter mat changes in height. The perceived positive change is not so much from the mat material/ weight or album thickness itself. Obviously, those changes are a more complicated subject for a different thread. Remember, the sum total of the turntable components and its adjustments within the system itself are typically more important than just any one component or change.

This can be complicated subject, frustrating many because they don't understand the supposed dark arts of turntable setup No matter what the overall component combination is made of everyone makes mistakes along the way. Keep learning from them and your experiences until you get it right. Once you do, you will have repeatable success that no matter what cart, arm, mat, table combination you choose, the audible results will be overwhelmingly positive.

"It seems as though 95% of the time the 1200G sounds better without a clamp or weight. "

Try cleaver clamp sold by ClearAudio , only $35.00 and weights less than an 1 oz yet it works better than the original 3/4 lb. weight that came with my TT ( not a Technics ) .


Although I don't have a Tehnics I use a Herbie's Excellent mat on my Dual table. I don't use a clamp with it because it's squishy.  I feel using a clamp would just squash the mat and maybe defeat the purpose.  The stock mat is pretty firm and a weight or clamp can be used without squashing the mat. 
once in a while I use my old Orsonic clamp