Technics SP-10 MKIIA tonearms

What tonearms will fit onto a Technics SP-10 MKIIA with the original Obsidian plinth, other than the EPA-100? Thanks.
Contact Vetterone to find out... I have one but it's not the original plinth. With the plinth I have I think it's one of the best tables in the world...
Thanks Nrchy. I have sent an email to him.

What tonearm and plinth are you using?
An SME 3009 will fit (I have two of those on Obsidian bases, as the SME was popular in professional use, if you could not afford the EPA 100.) I don't see any reason why any 9 inch arm would not work. Longer arms might fit, if they don't have a large mounting base or plate. Anything longer than 10 inches probably won't make it. At least with the original armboard, as it has a metal rim, which takes up real estate.
The EPA 100 is still the best arm you could put on that combo given the price. If you want to use 12 inch arms, OMA make slate plinths all the time for the SP10 that can accommodate any arm.

The EPA -500 was the better arm according to contemporary tests, especially with the "H" arm tube. One was on here recently for under $1K.
Thanks Stanwal. I am told that to use the EPA-500 tonearms, I will need to have an armboard different from the original armboard, which accommodates EPA-100. And there is also the aspect of the "G" tonearm being superior to the "H" version in accommodating moving-coil cartridges.

I am not sure if I will go the EPA-500 route and I am keeping my options open. Does anyone know of any other tonearm as being wonderful fit with the SP-10 MKIIA when using moving-coil cartridges?

Hi Fine,

If you have one of the original Obsidian models, it seems you can answer this for yourself. Find the effective length for any arm you are considering (the EPA-100 is 250mm), then measure that radius from the center of the spindle to see where an arc of that length will cross your armboard, allowing enough distance from the edge for mounting. If it fits within your armboard and there is sufficient clearance underneath for mounting hardware, it should work. As Jonathan said, most any 9" or 10" arm should fit.

Now, not to begin a debate with Stanwal but not everyone believes the EPA-500 arms were a sonic improvement over the EPA-100. I have not heard a comparison so can't offer a personal opinion but will only say that some prefer the 100.

The only reason for a different armboard would be a different size or shape for the mounting hole as the 100 and 500 have the same effective length. See this -

The match of a MC cartridge with any arm begins with the compliance/mass match. The dynamic damping system on the EPA-100 makes it more flexible than most other arms in this match, meaning it can be adjusted for a wider range of cartridges than many other arms.
I think it would depend on the type cartridge one is useing.The EPA 100 would be a better match for the high end MC's that most people seem to use.The EPA 500G is rare and may perform as good or better than the EPA 100 with the low compliance MC's.Also the A250 armwand that can be used with the EPA 500 base is the same setup as the EPA 100.I own the EPA 500 with 501H and 501M armwands and use it for MM carts and think it performs well.Rewiring the armwands with solid core silver give it a nice boost in performance.I think maybe some prefer the EPA 100 due to its ability to use almost any cart without trying to find the right armwand and the removable headshell is a plus to some.I think it would be hard to say which is better it could all come down to the cart used,if that makes any sense.Anyway,I like my EPA 500 enough I just bought the one for sale here for a spare.It would be interesting to hear from someone who owns both their thoughts.
A.J. Van den Hul uses the EPA 100 everyday on his SP10. We've talked about this combination a number of times over the years. He can have whatever he wants. That's what he uses. And since he builds carts, maybe he knows something?

Hello Weiselk,

My SP-10 MKIIA comes with two original armboards, one for the EPA-100 and the other for an SME. I have an SME/Oracle 345 which is essentially a 309 and it does fit, although the cartridge alignment remains a little off. I think a 10-inch or longer tonearm should fare much better.

Thanks Weisselk for your input and tip on OMA boards.
The original armboard is veneered plywood in a metal frame. If you would like, we can make a slate armboard, or any other material, to replace the original. I would think the slate would be an improvement. It would be a simple matter to make a new wood armboard, and any competent woodworker could do that for you.

I had both the EPA 100 and the 500 arms with H,M&L wands. I found the 100 to be the better arm, more dynamic and the adjustable damping made cartridge compatibility easy. It does not take though very heavy catrs though such as the Kondo IO-j. I suspect rewiring the EPA 500 armwands might have taken them above the 100. The one to get is probably the boron version, I believe that was called the EPA 100 Mk2, or the EPA 250?
Hi Radicalsteve,thanks for your input.I guess that's why the EPA-100 usually sells at a higher price.Was your EPA-100 rewired?The A250 is an S shaped armwand with detachable headshell just like the EPA-100 and is used on the EPA-500 base.I have seen the EPA-100 MKII on ebay a couple times,they seem to be rare and are pretty expensive.I believe Rual owns a EPA-100 MKII.
Dear Radicalsteve: IMHO both tonearms are very good depend the cartridge you mate with. Both are very flexible with different cartridges due to the different arm wans on the 500 and removable headshell on the 100 ( along with its adjustable damping. ).

I love the VTA mechanism on the 500 over the 100 and over many other today tonearms. I agree that both tonearms could improve its quality performance if we make a internal re-wiring, no I don't do it yet.

The EPA 100MK2 that comes with the same EPA-500 VTA mechanism has to me a Reference tonearm standard level and its effective mass is lower than the EPA-100. The bearing friction on the MK2 is almost inexistent and IMHO unique on the subject.

Technics ( a member of Panasonic and Matushita gigant. ) research and development team were second to none even in this days. THose tonearms, phono cartridges and its SP-10s TTs are a vivid " test " of that Technics dedication to the Excellence on the design and build execution of analog audio items that after all those years where were made today are still performing at high quality level.

I don't know if Fineaudio has " problems " with his EPA-100 or if he does not likes its performance with the cartridge(s) he own or maybe only want to try something different.
Anyway all of you already give him the precise answers he need it.

Regards and enjoy the music,
I may have got the arm terminology wrong, I was thinking that the "H" was the more massive arm, that was the one I intended to recommend. The tests I referred to were the ones done on both arms in the old "Hi FI Choice" , which remain the best conducted tests I have seen.
IME tonearms were what Technics did best. In terms of quality, I consider the EPA-100MkII to be at the top of the Japanese-made tonearms (or at least very close to it). Even today, the MkII is more than competitive with most tonearms.

cheers, jonathan carr
Hi Gents

Is the EPA 100MK2 still a preferable arm to put on a Technics SL-1000MK3D, or will a Graham Phantom of similar perform better or just different?

I see that the tonearm can only handle up to 10 gm cartridges, and that is with a 9.5 gm headshell. Not so great for today's heavier MC carts.
There is a local guy that makes a heavier counterweight that enables all heavy carts to be used with this arm, so maybe this is not a much of an issue with this.

any thoughts are appreciated.
You can even fit the Jelco SA-750lb 12" onto the SH-B3 "Obsidian" plinth. I had to make a new armboard from aluminum plate though and you need to measure precisely to get the correct spindle/pivot while ensuring you get the arm as far to the right as you can so that the back of the arm does not foul the lid. It's a tight fit but it can be done if you are careful. It's documented with photos on the Hifi Wigwam site.
Downunder, I don't think the mating of a tonearm to a turntable is nearly as critical as mating a tonearm to a cartridge of choice. So, my response to your question would be to choose between the EPA and the Graham based on the cartridge preference. As to a head to head comparison between the EPA 100Mk2 and the Graham Phantom, one's innate bias would lead one to think that the Phantom might be superior in most ways, since it is a modern design beautifully crafted. But at one point in history, the same could be said of the EPA 100Mk2. So you just have to try both and choose, if your cartridge mates equally well with both. One practical point: We know the EPA 100Mk2 will mount on your Technics base; just make sure the Phantom will also fit. There is some space limitation imposed by the square escutcheon that surrounds the platter of the SP10 series. My Triplanar is a poor fit on my SP10 Mk3, for one example, because the Triplanar has the VTA adjust column to the left of its pivot point, and its base conflicts with that escutcheon. I can make it work, but the Triplanar must be mounted far forward on the plinth and at rest it extends over the LP surface. Not good. This is also a problem for the 9-inch Reed and others with similar design.
Dear Downunder: The Technics EPA100MK2 is IMHO even today an " unbeatable " tonearm design, a piece of real art design.

Technics knew very well how fulfil the cartridge needs that unfortunatelly today we can say the same from other tonearm designs.

It is a static balanced design for good reasons that the designers of dynamic balanced tonearms can't understand it even today. Build material is unique: boron as the cartridge cantilever. Comer with a wise dynamic damping mechanism unique in the audio industry. For a gimbal tonearm bearing design its vertical/horizontal friction is lower than 5mg: unbeatable till today. Its VTA adjustement on the fly mechanism is the best ever designed and an " orgasm " to use it.

Been a removable headshell design contribute to its versatility with almost any cartridge. The Technics MK2 headshell was made from boron too.

Could be other tonearms that are better " looking " ones but I think can't beats it.

If the unit you are looking for is in good operation condition and flawless in any way then I think the choose for it is a " close eyes " one.

Btw, your 100MK4 will make you " cry " of hapiness when you hear it mounted in the MK2.

Regards and enjoy the music,
Hi Lencotweaker, Lewm , Raul

There is a guy I know in Australia who has 3 of the SL1000mk3. One is the D version that has the straight arm P mount especially made for the EPC1000mk4. The guy bought a epcmk4, unfortunately the suspension collapsed. He is selling this one. I don't want the P mount arm, even thou it would match my mk4 perfectly, until it wears out.

He was going to sell me one of his mk2 tonearmns and give me another blank arm board, hence the question re the Phantom as I all ready own one. The sp10 has a obvious scratch on it and a few other marks, the plinth looks nice and he said the tonearm is 9/10. All works perfectly. He can only spare a mk1 headshell.

It is a concern that heavy carts can't really be used as the Technics headshell is 9.5 GMs and it can only take 10gm cart on the specs. Of course my mk4 cart would be on it for a while :-)

Still, it is not inexpensive, so at this point will probably pass as I already spend way too much $$ on this hobby of ours.
Also a bit concerned with the potential to have to replace caps etc, etc. Even thou the guy has never had any issues.

Unfortunately, electrolytic capacitors will always fail with age, usually anywhere from 10 to 25 years, depending upon use and abuse. It's "the law". But fortunately, modern electrolytics are superior to the ones that were made when the Mk3 was built, and they are very cheap compared to the value of the turntable. In the US, all the capacitors needed can probably be purchased for around $30, from Digikey or Mouser, good quality ones like Panasonic, Nichicon, ELNA Silmic. Removing the old capacitors and replacing them with new is only a matter of soldering skill. No thought is necessary, since you would simply be replacing like with like. I think you can find a service manual on Vinyl Engine. If not, I may have a copy in pdf format. It contains a parts list which can be used as a guide to ordering replacement capacitors.
If you can get hold of a mk3 at a sensible price then at the very least it's an investment given the way mk3 prices are going. Would make a very lovely table with a bit of TLC.