Technics 1200MKII or1210M5G? M5G worth it?

I have a modest system but loads of records I'd like to be able to listen to again.

My current system consists of Magnepan MG1.6's with mods. A QSC 4040 amp, a Kenwood preamp with high gain phono, loading, etc built in, and a Marantz SACD player.

My question is this, would the extra $100.00 the M5G be worth it in my situation? I will likely start out using a Goldring Excel VX cartridge I have left over from my glory days in audio that is low hours and sounded sweet in my SOTA Sapphire several years ago.

BTW, I'm leaning toward spending the extra $100.00 at this moment thinking it might be better then regretting it later.

Thanks for your advice
Talk to Kevin at KAB.USA he is an athourity on these tables and will guide you in the right direction. I have the MG5 and am very happy with it. From what I understand the stock tonearm wiring is lacking at best so the Cardas wiring is a must. As soon as you can save the$$ I would highly recommend the tonearm fluid damper, it was the best mod that I have done to my table and you will get a lot of others saying the same here.
Be sure and call Kevin, he will give you all the time you need and is a great guy to do business with.
Thanks for the info Zen. I sent Kevin an email and he thinks the M5G is worth the extra. I'm going to go for the damper, oil, and perhaps a new spindle and clamp after I've had a chance to settle in with the stock sound.

I went for the MKII for a simple reason. The dust cover on the MKII has hinges. I like to keep the cover on. If you like the cover off, go for the M5 (and the better wirign to boot). You can also get a kit to convert the M5 cover to hinges.
I always thought the only real upgrade the MG5 had over the MK II was the better tonearm wiring, which is a moot point if one is going to buy the KAB Cardas tonearm rewire.

Does the MG5 have other upgrades? If so, what are they?
The better wire is worth the price to me since I have no desire to start down the cable of the month road. In the end it might save me countless hundreds of dollars. I've been told the upgraded cable is pretty darn good.
All of the Technics tables from KAB have the hinged dustcover.

TVAD you are correct, the only real upgrade is factory upgraded tonearm wire that is comparable to the Cardas wire. The MG5 also has a blue cuing light, instead of the white, variable pitch control (for dj's) and a spare headshell holder. Most of us will have no interest in any of it.

Boy, I love the table though.
My MK II has variable pitch control, FWIW.
09-22-08: Zenblaster
TVAD you are correct, the only real upgrade is factory upgraded tonearm wire that is comparable to the Cardas wire. The MG5 also has a blue cuing light, instead of the white, variable pitch control (for dj's) and a spare headshell holder. Most of us will have no interest in any of it.
The cueing light isn't just blue, it's an LED. The cueing light in the MK II is incandescent. The LED on the M5G lasts a lot longer.

All SL12x0's have variable range pitch control, but the M5G has a dual range pitch control. Instead of the standard +/- 8%, the M5G can do +/-16%, which is A LOT (if you're interested in that sort of thing).

I also use the spare headshell socket and wouldn't mind if it had one or two more. I have a Technics shell, a Sumiko, and an LP Gear Zupreme. I have an AT150MLX mounted in the Zupreme on the tonearm and a DL-160 on the Sumiko in the storage socket.

And let's not forget the badass looking metallic black/anthracite plinth!

Boy, I love the table though.
No argument there! I've had mine over 1-1/2 years and in that time I've upgraded everything in the signal chain BUT the table. I love its pace and honest presentation.
Looking at the MG5's added features and how they apply to audiophile use:

1) Pitch Control - does not apply (on either table)

2) LED Cue Light - does not apply (does any audiophile use the cue light?)

3) Upgraded wiring - applies only if a future KAB wiring mod is not being

4) Spare Headshell Socket - you got me there

5) Metallic Black Plinth - well...

IMO, the only feature that would favor the MG5 is the upgraded wire, and
only if a KAB Cardas rewire was definitely never going to be considered.

If it were me, I'd pay less for a matte black MK II and apply the remaining
funds toward KAB upgrades, or a better cartridge, or good isolation
I have found the posts in this thread to be very interesting. Thanks. For me, the decision was simple. The additional cost of the M5G is less than the MKII plus arm rewire. The general concensus is that the M5G wire is "almost" as good as the Cardas and for me, that will be good enough. I understand those wanting to get the last bit of performance not being satisfied with the M5G wiring and opting for the Cardas.

One thing that seems to remain constant is that a lot of folks really seem to enjoy ther 12x0 tables. That is a good sign.
and don't forget to buy the cardas headshell leads. Those make a big improvement too.
LED Cue Light Is very GOOD in blue because you automatically see all the white lint and dust on the album surface so using a carbon fiber brush you can make sure to get it all off.. Think of a Black light in a college dorm room and seeing all the fuzz on somebodys black shirt it works very well honestly..

And yes for 50 bucks more on an ebay or even new in many cases at a guitar center etc... The M5G is the superior table in my opinion, the finish is much nicer in the paint on the black, and the wire is far better sounding and equal already to the Cardas or better honestly, I have tried both in the past. Again the price differential is so small, the gloss finish on the M5G is a little better for cleaning the table, and the cue light, along with wiring is the better buy in my opinion, and yes it has pitch control but has a switch that just shuts it off and auto sets it to zero anyway...

This is my 2 cents if your buying from scratch on a technics table unless you find one for about 200 bucks used with none of the extras go for it, but for the prices I am seeing between 400 and 575 for any of them including the Grandmaster M5G get the top one if you can. Also they are coming out with a new M6 version or something, but it will be 100% DJ toys with probably only the gold color tone arm or something from what I hear.

Best upgrade champion still on the technics is however the KAB fluid damper.
Do the captive factory Technics tonearm interconnects have a separate
ground wire?

I'm asking because I never saw my MK II in stock form since I shipped it
directly to KAB, so I don't know if it had a ground wire.

The KAB rewire comes with an RCA (or DIN) junction box with a ground post.
Kevin grounds the tonearm wire at junction box.

This became important for me when I purchased an Atma-Sphere preamp
that is fully balanced with XLR inputs. Since the KAB rewire included the
grounded junction box, it was a simple matter for Ralph Karsten to make a
set of balanced phono interconnects that had RCA connectors plus a ground
wire at one end and XLR connectors on the other.

Without the KAB grounded junction box, the fully balanced design of a phono
cartridge would have been wasted.
John, I just bought an M5G from Kevin with the fluid damper. I first played a few records without the fluid (which sounded amazing by itself) then I added the fluid and wow! The bass was very clear, better than my old deck (a vintage Sansui) using the same cart. (original Shure V15 III). I listen to a lot of electronic music and the bass was very tight and not as muddy as it use to be. I put on NIN "Pretty Hate Machine" and it has never sounded so good, and it is not what I would call a high quality pressing, but it is a recording that I own on both formats and very familiar with. I am still putting it through the tests but so far it has passed with flying colors.

I originally thought about doing the tonearm re-wire but decided to give the Technics wiring a chance. I will probably have this done at some point but I doubt I will see the improvement I have seen with the fluid damper. If money is not an issue then just go ahead and get the works and be done with it.
Thanks Jlc, I like you already ... money not an issue ha ha! When has money NOT been an issue for me? Sure, the full blown KAB table would be my first choice but I have resigned myself to being happy with the M5G unless I hit the lottery. I do plan to get the arm damping and the bearing oil as soon as possible but even that will probably wait until after Christmas since I have gifts to buy for other people and not myself. I'm sure I'll be able to muddle through with just the M5G and the Excel VX cart.

As a point of curiosity, the last several tables I've owned have employed a record clamping system which is making me feel that I "need" a record clamp. However, I have noticed that very few actual 12x0 users speak of the record clamp as a "major" improvement to the table. It sure seems the favorite upgrades are the rewire, damping, and power supply upgrades. Pretty much in that order.

Anyhow all this talk of the table has me filled with anticipation. It will probably be a couple of weeks before I have the table spinning records but once I do I'll try to post some initial impressions for those interested.