Tonearm for Technics 1200GR


I’m looking for a medium mass arm to replace the stock arm. Whatever arm is suggested it should have an armboard that can be bought for it as well. I run a Soundsmith Carmen MkII. 

Id like to keep the new arm under $1500. 

I found a Jelco TK 850s, but it appears to be a high mass arm. I also found a Timestep T-609, but it appears to be a high mass arm as well. 
last_lemming
You have to measure pivot to spindle distance and think about new custom armboard for any toneam you wish to mount instead of the stock arm. Not every arm can be mounted on this turntable. 
This SME M2-9 would fit the bill.
http://smetonearms.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&products_id=79
There is a seller on Ebay that sells SME armboard plates for Technics tables!
Forgive my ignorance here but the SME has a pivot to stylus dimension of 233.2 mm and the techniques has an effective length of 230 mm.   Are these names of these dimensions the same thing or do they represent two different dimensions?  If they are the same thing I’m assuming the arm board will compensate for this difference. 

Im I correct?
No, if you're lookimg at pivot to stylus distance then you have to deduct the overhang. You need pivot to spindle distance. 
Well, per the manual the overhang is 15mm. So does that make the p/s distance 215 mm?
YES.

I think 225-230mm P/S distance is the limited factor in choosing new arm for Technics SL1200GR 

Technics stock arm has 225mm P/S distance. 
So, when looking for a new arm, the p/s should be less than or equal to 225mm. So if the SME is 233.2 mm the the new armboard would need to adjust, is some direction away from the spindle, 8.2mm. 

Is is this generally correct?


You can look at the arm from the top to figure out how much the new arm can be moved within the armboard area. If it’s too far then maybe it will be impossible to use dust cover, counterweight can be out of the Technics plinth. So it depends on each particular arm. Some of them are way different with armtower like Reed or TriPlanar. You can look for the Reed 9’5 (used/demo) maybe ? Great new arm!

Some nice vintage 9’5 arms can be mounted easily, like SONY PUA-7 stand alone version (very nice tonearm). Not cheaper version from Sony turntable, but a version that was sold separately, compare two different version of SONY PUA-7. This arm is fully adjustable, top quality, with the best armlift ever, VTA on the fly. Highly recommended! The price is lower than your limit.
You should first look at adding isolation to the turntable before anything else. That’s the weakness in the SL-1200 series. Your arm is more than up to task. Second area of improvement is in the cartridge. 
I do have an isolation base. And I’m on concrete so that typically helps too. 
I am just curious why you feel the need to replace the stock tonearm, insofar as the ones you are considering are not obviously superior to the original. Also, you say you must have an armboard available for purchase. Lots of luck with finding a ready-made product to suit.

If you choose a tonearm with a similar pivot to spindle distance to the OEM tonearm, and if the diameter of the vertical shaft that must mate with the armboard is in the same ballpark and can fit through the existing hole, then you may not need an armboard. But these requirements will dramatically limit your choices, if you feel you must go ahead with the replacement process. Instead, you can buy a slab of brass or aluminum (two materials I recommend for the job), have it cut to size by a machinist (just remove the OEM armboard and measure it, to determine the needed length and width and where screw holes need to go, etc.), and then have it drilled exactly where you want to locate the pivot with a hole that is exactly the proper size (by the same machinist) to suit your new tonearm. That way you can have nearly whatever you want in the way of a new tonearm, so long as the P2S fits the available distance. "On-line Metals" is one company that sells what you need; they'll even cut it to your required size. Colby Lamb, in Oregon, is an audiophile/machinist who would probably be happy to do the work for you. The onus is on you to make the needed measurements. I’ve done this sort of thing at least 3-4 times, painlessly.
With all due respect to Sleepwalker, he does not seem to get the fact that the new line of SL1200 turntables (the G, GR, and GAE) are miles ahead of the original SL1200 series in terms of isolation and footing.  This I think is why he recommends the footers.  On the other hand, one might say that any turntable can benefit from thoughtful attention to isolation.  But in my opinion, your GR "needs" it much less than Sleepwalker's much older SL1200 (or SL1700, which is what I think he uses).  Sorry, sw.
The stock Technics arm is just fine! Leave it alone!
Ive been reading from various sites that the arm is one of the weaker links of the 1200gr.

here is one such site:

https://ammonite-audio.co.uk/is-it-worth-upgrading-the-new-technics-sl-1200gr-turntable/

They also make armboards for SME and Jelco arms, and even blank plates.

Are you serious when you say the stock arm is just as good as these “upgraded” arms?

thats fine by me since I want to upgrade to a Soundsmith Zephyr. I just thought upgrading the arm wouuld benefits all future carts and isn’t a wearable item.
Jeez.That’s amazing. A website that is run by a commercial entity that makes arm boards for the SL 1200 G series and sells SME and Jelco tonearms, advises that either of these arms is a good upgrade replacement for the stock tonearm. Isn’t it possible that they have some bias?

 In my opinion, to upgrade the tonearm in a significant way, you would have to go to something like the Triplanar. Apparently several SL 1200 G users who post on this forum have done that. But I think it is at best a sideways move to change your tone arm for a Jelco 750. There are even better Jelco’s that you could use. As always, this is only my opinion. But I have examined the stock tonearm very closely, and it seems to be extremely well-designed  and executed. I do not own an SL 1200 of any kind.
Actually, Reed would be nice, this is the most versatile tonearm for the most critical setup, but it's expensive.

The benefit of the Reed is that you don't need a hole in the armboard, except for the 3 short mouting screws from the top. 

  https://www.reed.lt/tonearm/
Dear @last_lemming  : I don'tknow what you don't like on the Technics tonearm. Why are you non satisfied?

That Technics tonearm comes with extremely good bearings that's not the the " soul " of any tonearm but its heart/core.

The bearing friction of the Technics is lower than 5mg where no one of the tonearms named here has.

Now, you can improve your listening experiences with that tonearm changing its headshell wires and even testing your cartridges with other headshells that can comes with different build materials, different weigths or different shapes.

Headshell is the first " contact " between the tonearm and the cartridge other than the LP surface grooves. It makes a difference in the quality performance levels with any cartridge.

Before I spend my money in a new arm I will try those headshells and headshell wires.

Other up grade for the Technics is to change its internal wires.

Maybe you already did it but room treatment makes a difference too that can help to improve your listening MUSIC experiences.

Anyway, that's me but the " ball " is at your side.


Regards and enjoy the MUSIC NOT DISTORTIONS,
R.
Chak, the Triplanar mounts in much the same way as a Reed.  I own one of each.  I do like the Reed, too.  But Raul and I agree that the base SL1200G tonearm is very nicely designed and manufactured.  I had a very close look at it in May when I was in Tokyo.
No problem, but i understand why someone willing to change the arm, even in terms of design i can understand that (not only sound quality). The Reed is so much better than any Technics arms including the EPA-100 which was my main arm before i replaced it with Reed 3p "12. I am not familiar with TriPlanar. But any arm with fluid damper collect dust in that fluid bath (for this reason i don't like KAB fluid dampers for technics tonearms, i don't use dust covers on my turntables). 

 
Nothing wrong with the arm on the GR.  The Triplanar and the Reed both cost considerably more than the table so would be a big investment.  I'd live with the arm for awhile until you get a better sense of its qualities.
Thanks for everyone’s comments. I have decided to keep the tonearm. 
Currently I use an LP Zupreme head shell, a KAB fluid damper, and a Funk firm mat with a deer hide mat on top of that. My Phono cables are Purist Audio Design Venustas Praesto Revision and an old Audio Research PH3SE Phono pre. This all gets fed to my BAT VK3ix preamp and eventually makes its way to my Thiel CS2.4 speakers. It all sound really good for older gear but I guess I like fiddling with stuff and that’s why I was thinking about improving my tonearm. But I think my money will be better spent on the cart after reading your comments. I also thought about a copper mat to add mass but I’m not sure how much more weight the bearing can take. 
The bearing friction of the Technics is lower than 5mg where no one of the tonearms named here has.

All Jelco have friction between 20 and 30 mg. and the manufacturer does not want or do not want to apply better bearings.
It is not possible to use a Jelco on the GR, it means taking steps backwards not upgrading!
@chakster    , like SONY PUA-7 stand alone version (very nice tonearm).

It is a pity not to be able to know the mass of the arm to correctly interface the cartridge;  are you able to know this?


It is a pity not to be able to know the mass of the arm to correctly interface the cartridge; are you able to know this?

@best-groove Since it was top of the line SONY tonearm along with PUA-9, you can look at the Sony cartridges specs for compliance. The arm was optimal for them, but it is also flexible, because there is an optional subweight to mount lightweight or even superheavy cartridges.

But again, since the XL-88 and XL-88D cartridges made for use with this arm, i want to remind that dynamic compliance of XL-88 and 88D is 20cu @ 100Hz, we have to convert it to 10Hz for correct measurements, the compliance will be 34cu ! This is relatively high compliance and for SONY PUA-7 it is fine. For lower compliance and heavier cartridges we can add sony subweight. We can also use different (heavy) headshell. I think the arm is perfect for wide range of cartridges from low to mid-high compliance.

The arm is so precisely made and it's a pure pleasure to use compared to many arms i've tried. 

--------------------
More about Sony PUA-7 here:

The tone arm was born from the experience of PS-X9 development under the thought of resonance free.

Long span vertical bearings, precision radial bearings, etc. reduce fulcrum of fulcrum while maintaining high sensitivity.

Unnecessary resonance is reduced by the shell plug of the chucking mechanism.

Parallel wiring of litz wire reduces transmission failure due to inter-line capacitance fluctuation.

The high rigidity aluminum alloy pipe is adopted, and the bending rigidity 8 times that of the conventional one is obtained.

The inside four scan cellar by a special cam is carried.

A carbon clad shell SH-165 is included.

The output code comes with a litz wire using output plug with a gold-plated plug.

--------------------
Universal tone arm SONY PUA-7 specs:

Effective length: 235 mm
Overhang: 14 mm
Full length: 330 mm
Height adjustment range: ± 3 mm
Needle pressure adjustment range: 0 to 2.5 g
Cartridge weight range used (including shell weight):
*11.0 g to 19.5 g
*19.0 g to 27.5 g (when using sub weight)
Attached shell weight: 10.5 g (SH-165)

You could also look at moving to a SP10 Mk2 motor unit and having more flexibility. 
The beauty of the 1200GR is that it is an one stop complete solution.  Add a cartridge and play records.  If you want a more an a la carte approach, I would recommend to look elsewhere.
I turned the torque down to the lowest it will go on the 1200G.  Not sure if you tried that but I found it to be beneficial on my setup.
The Triplanar can be mounted on the Technics. I've done this for a few Triplanar customers to which Lew refers above. To do this I designed an armboard machined of solid aluminum that fit where the original arm mounted, such that the result was a surface at the same level as the rest of the plinth. It was then possible to mount the customer's Triplanar arm. In fact we've even been able to mount the 12" Triplanar.

The original arm is pretty good- I would not bother replacing it unless you get something *significantly* better and most of the arms previously mentioned are not; mostly, they're just different. I am a fan of the Triplanar as its one of the very few arms I've heard that get everything right on LPs that I recorded; IOW it *is* significantly better, but also costs more than the turntable itself. But the 'table is very well designed and does justify this sort of upgrade.
Sorry Lemming:

After all this I demand that you change the frickin arm.

DeKay
@chakster
thank you very much for the information, I have a friend who has different tonearms who no longer uses and owns this, if he sells it I could make an offer having several turntables I am finishing up restoring and that are from the same period at the end of the 70's so it would be the ideal to get a full end front end, but I have to figure out if it’s compatible with some of my cartridges.
@last_lemming - take a look at Audiomods Arms

Contact Jeff at Audiomods and he will tell you if his arms are a good match for your TT

He has an adapter plate for the Technics SL1210
http://www.audiomods.co.uk/technicsarm.html

He will also make small custom mods to accommodate your cartridge compliance if needed.

His arms provide stunning improvements in sound quality.

Here’s my review of the Classic Arm I purchased for my TT
http://image99.net/blog/files/f233eea773cbc47d311b80d32702da48-40.html

Audiomods arms outperform many arms costing 2-3 times their price

And it’s within your budget

Regards - Steve
Dear @best-groove : The beauty of a removable headshell tonearm design is that you can't have almost no single problem to mate it with ny cartridge because you can have different headshells with different weigth. So don't worry to much about.

If you have good tonearm designs and even that the resonance frequency stays out of the frequency range you will listen with very good qulity performance levels, so try not to be " anal " about.

Additional you can " tame " the kind of " color " you like with any cartridge when those headshells comes with different build material and even its design shape.

Btw, for all of us with removable headshell tonearms (  @last_lemming ) a change in the headshell wires makes a big differences if we change for silver wires that we cn choose from different sources s: Ortofon, Oyaide, Furukawa, Clearaudio.
Here  great alterntive that I know very well:

https://www.zavfino1877.com/analogue-accessories

@last_lemming  in 1877 you have silver tonearm internal wire that's  great up-grade for any tonearm.

Regards and enjot the MUSIC NOT DISTORTIONS,
R.
Dear @dekay  :  " the frickin arm " . Could you explain the foundation you have to post that?

R.
Dear friends: From 1877 this headshell wires/leads are new for me and I will buy a set. Price 130.00 and could be worth to test it:

https://www.zavfino1877.com/cryogoldheads

Btw, I have no relationship with 1877 other that what I bougth from it in the past.


R.
@rauliruegas   well, I've understood. :)
Raul:

After 20 some helpful posts...

"Thanks for everyone’s comments. I have decided to keep the tonearm. "

It was a joke.


It was a joke.


What?!!!!!   :( :( :( 
I got the joke Dekay;)  

made me chuckle


There’s nothing wrong with the stock tonearm. It’s actually a very well designed arm and was made specifically for that deck.

You’d be better off and notice a much larger difference by rewiring the tonearm with a higher grade of wire like Cardas, Audio Note, etc.

Also look into a fluid damper from KAB.
There’s even a review of it on Audiogon.

Raul, I like those tonearm leads. What is the cost?
@lewm 

BTW its a Canadian company so the exchange is advantageous"
for those in the USA.
Dear @lewm  : 130.00

R.
@technick

There’s nothing wrong with the stock tonearm. It’s actually a very well designed arm and was made specifically for that deck.

Nothing wrong until you want to upgrade it

You’d be better off and notice a much larger difference by rewiring the tonearm with a higher grade of wire like Cardas, Audio Note, etc.

Some vintage tonearm are superior even with old stock internal wiring for some reason.

Do you think the new tonearm wires are not good even in GR or G series ?

Also look into a fluid damper from KAB.
There’s even a review of it on Audiogon.

The new arm designed for use without fluid damper, actually i have those dampers on my old technics along with cardas wiring. I prefer the arms without fluid dampers designed like KAB (with open "bath" to collect dust). I think the fluid damper is not necessary, at least some of my favorite tonearms does not have fluid dampers at all and sound fantastic, Reed 3p is one of them (completely different design philosophy).

@chakster 

Right, nothing wrong until you want to upgrade to a new arm, but there’s nothing wrong with the stock tonearm to begin with. 
I was just providing a few options to upgrade the stock arm. 
Obviously, the 2 options I thought of are upgrading the tonearm wires, which I’ve done to my 1200 with great results, and a KAB fluid damper, which I have used and very much enjoyed the results of also for years now. 
I just put the dust cover on when not in use and have had no problems with dust. 
You prefer no fluid damping, I prefer fluid damping. 
No big deal. 

@technick I think you're talking about old 1200 series, not a brand new GR the OP asking for. I've done all the upgrades for the old 1210 mkII before i bought SP-10mkII, but i hope a brand new Technics does not require any of them, because it's a different beast and i believe stock wiring must be good as much as the new tonearm. It's not necessary to call KAB for his mods if you own G or GR which must be a huge upgrade comparing to the old 1200 series. Well, just my thought.   
@chakster 

I was referring to the new GR series of turntable. 
I’ve also done all the upgrades to my Mk5, and I still really dig it.
I have looked a lot into the possibility of a GR also though. 

I would hope the tonearm wires in the GR wouldn’t need to be changed, but changing the tonearm wires is a possible “upgrade” nonetheless and will change the sound of the deck. It will certainly sound different depending on the type of wire, but not necessarily better. 

Another possible “upgrade” for the GR is to add a fluid damper. I personally wouldn’t use one with a GR, but it’s still an option regardless. 

So, it sounds like we’re pretty much on the same page. 

Have a a great weekend! 
Dear @technick : "  but not necessarily better. ", sometimes that could be true but the wire that comes in the link I posted with out doubt is way better. Just give a try.

R.