It must be "10.5 or "12 inch tonearm to mount it, it will be impossible to mount ’9 inch tonearm, so first check pivot to spindle distance.
Under 3k you can get Technics EPA-100 mkII rarity or short version of brand new Reed 3P. I assume you can’t believe that classic inexpensive tonearm can be really good, so i will not recommend nice arms under 1k.
On www.Reed.lt you will find various options, different models with different armwands of different mass. Up to you, i can only prove that Reed is outstanding tonearms, i’ve been using my 3P Cocobolo "12 on my ex SP-10mkII and it was huge upgrade over the EPA-100 (but not mkII).
With Reed 3p you can adjust not only VTA on the fly (super smooth and precisely), but also cartridge azymuth on the fly! Imagine this (very important for carts with advanced styli). I don’t know any other tonearm with azymuth on the fly! Reed is a top class high-end tonearm, i think "12 inch version is under 5k Euro new.
Not the Jelco, it would be too simple to advice it. In my opinion the best buy would be Victor UA-7045 ( pivot to spinde distance is 230mm) or longer 7082. No problem to mount both models on your Technics SP15
Some of the a'gon long time members putting those Victor on the same level as Lustre GST-801, the onyl difference is the lower price for Victor which is great for the buyers. It is so nice when top quality products are underrated on the market, this is the reason the price is under $750 max. This tonearm deserve much higher price! It's a very user friendly design.
For very high compliance cartridges (30-50cu) i would also recommend low mass Luxman TA-1 (pivot to spindle distance is about 225mm and it will be very close to the ende of the SP15). The top of the line version of TA-1 has removable armwand and toneam stabilizer from beneath. It was made by Micro Seiki for Luxman (Micro also made direct drive motors for Luxman). I think the price is the same as Victor (under $750). You can see both LUX TA-1 and Victor on my turntable.
Luxman TA-1 looks like the high-end version of Infinity Black Widow, the quality of TA-1 is much much better. It is hard to find light mass tonearm nowadays for the vintage high compliance MM cartridges. This Luxman TA-1 is a good one for them.
P.S. I saw removed post in your thread, but i want to let you know that it will be impossible to mount new Technics stock toneam from SL1200G to your SP15, there is no room to accomodate the big base in appropriate pivot to spinge distance, and it's "9 inch tonearm.
For ultra high-end my advice is Reed 3P or related
Thanks @chackster i was going mention sony pua models. Would you say your above choices are superior to anything sony made armwise? I may sell my technics 1200mk2 after i get the sp15..the sp15 come in a huge plinth
Sony PUA-7 is nice one, probably the best Sony tonearm, i have no idea who designed them, but as you can see my PUA-7 is on the right turntable. With a closer look it's easy to see the armlift, the arms without the armlift are not the PUA-7. The PS-X range of Sony decks may have tonearms which share design-attributes with the PUA-7 but none of them is the one. Released after the PUA-1600L and PUA-1600S, the july 1978 standalone PUA-7 is an extremely rare unit in the history of Sony Corporation.
However, you will not be abple to mount PUA-7 or PUA1600S on SP15, you need an arms with much longer pivot to spindle distance! If you're looking for SONY make sure it's long version of these models. It must be PUA-9 if you want the best SONY tonearm (because PUA-7 is too short for SP15).
It is not worth spending $5k on this turntable. For that money I would recommend buying a better turntable and spend less on the arm. On this forum alone you could buy a refurbished Garrard 301, PBN Groovemaster or VPI Super Scoutmaster Reference, any of which would leave the SP15 for dust. There are many other options. Yes I've heard the SP15 - anything from a Rega P6 up would show the SP15 up to be lacking transparency and grainy.
Maybe withing 5k budget new Technics SL1200G is a better choice to play 33/45 or 78, but not the belt or idler drive turntables! If you don’t have Sp15 yet, the SP-10mkII would be much better. I just sold my SP-10mkII in mint- condition few days ago to local friend for $2600 including mega rare Micro Seiki CU-500 copper mat (2.7kg alone), this mat alone cost as much as the SP-10mkII (unfortunately can’t use it on my Luxman PD-444, the mat is too heavy for them). I don’t think any top idler or belt drive can beat an SP-10mkII which can be found for $1200-1400 in perfect condition. Add Victor UA-7045 tonearm and you’re done.
P.S. I also think that my pair of fully upgraded SL1200mkII must go, before it’s too late. When new SL1200GR will be on the used market the value of the old Technics should be dropped down, those new GR models are reasonably priced even new (under $2k).
@vinny55 No worries. I had a Platine Verdier for 78's - but it got left for dead by both my Garrard 301 & an ancient Pioneer Broadcast Idler. The 301 has easy to use pitch control which is vital for 78's.
IMO, there are a LOT of table / arm combos for less than $5000 NEW, much less on the used market.
@chakster Your suggestions are performance / quality mismatches. On that particular table, a better Jelco arm would be most satisfactory and perform up to, and likely beyond the capabilities of the table.
@bpoletti the OP actually asked for tonearm under 5k, not a turntable, but you’re all talking about turntables now. Technics Sp-15 or SP-20 are not bad at all, the SP-10mkII is much better.
Reed and Sp-10mkII is a perfect combination Vicor UA-7045 and SP-15 or SP-20 is a perfect combination
I think tonearm and cartridge is much more important than a difference between Technics Direct Drive models, they are all stable and very good.
Victor UA-7045 is much better than Jelco, especially for high compliance cartridges. Don’t forget that UA-7045 was top Victor’s arm for TT-101 turntable. I would like to add that Victor cartridges are oustanding too compared to any modern cars MM or MC.
People always advice Jelco because they know nothing about Victor or most of the vintage tonearms. "A better Jelco arm" is a myth, bacause it’s not better arm at all. It’s just an affordable good modern tonearm, Jeclo making arm for Ortofon as well.
Another beautiful modern tonearm is Thomas Schick "12 for low compliance cartridges, affordable price, why everyone should stick with that Jelco ???
Our Don Griffith compared UA-7045 to Lustre GST-801, everyone can find his posts on audiogon. Victor 7045 or 7082 are the most underrated tonearms ever, very cheap to buy, pure gems! Easy to adjust, brilliant, ellegant, top quality, i’m not sure you have ever touched it, because once you do you can understand how good it is. I’m not trying to say it will compete with 5 000 Euro Reed tonearm, but compared to Jelco the Victor is amazing.
not sure what do you mean @bpoletti , but i’m talking about the goods i own or owned before in my system. I’m tying to advice something original, not a mainstream items, but always according to the price point and top quality performance of the goods (imo).
Anyway for lazy users i will put Don Griffith’s quote right here about his JVC/Victor 7045, Lustre 801 and Graham 2.2 tonearms. The JVC/Victor UA-7045 dusted his Graham 2.2, see below:
I must admit, I was also surprised at just how good the JVC is. In many regards, it is quite similar to the Lustre. Both have VTF adjustment on the fly. Both, removal head shells. Both have exceptional bearings.....
I did a search to determine what others were using with that table and to see what was recommended by JVC. That 7045 was/is JVC’s top arm and considering it was ’the’ arm during the legendary production run of both the TT-81 and the TT-101, I went looking for one. Just so happens that ’Foxtan’ had a good one available so I bought it. I now consider that an even better decision than the actual purchase of the TT-81. Lewm, you are wondering how much do I really like the JVC 7045. Let me put it to you this way. And I am being quite honest when I state this. I am considering selling my Graham 2.2 and mounting the JVC 7045 in its place on the VPI Aries table. Those two tables (the VPI Aries and the JVC TT-81) would have excellent arms on each of them with removable head shells. This would allow the mounting of low compliant cartridges to high complaint cartridges when ever I wanted. No arm changing required. No ’wondering’ if a higher mass or lower mass arm would be a better match. Performance wise, I would loose nothing. All three of the mentioned arms are 5 star arms in my opinion. But I gain in versatility. The biggest problem in all of this is the selling of the Graham. to do this is to me like selling my beloved dog to a stranger! It is going to be a tough thing to do. I’m the original owner and have had that arm for many years. The selling of the dog I couldn’t do. But selling the Graham? I definitely leaning that way!
Im surprised your keeping your luxmans in place of your top technics.
I prefer sp15 over 10mk2 because of the pitch control. Dont get why technics engineers couldnt add that basic feature in that special table. Yet sp10 and the mk3 had it. Baffles me. Pitch control is essential on any table i dont care what anyone says
@chakster im going to start looking for a victor 7045. Have you ever critically listened to 7045 and directly assessed it against a Sme 3009/3012, Ortofon, Saecs, Technics 100, 250, 500, Stax, Jelcos, Regas, Ats, Fidelity Research, etc? What were your sonic conclusions?
Luxman PD-444 is better than Technics Sp-10mkII, main reason is the aluminum plinth which is not removable. Those Luxmans cost is at least 2-3 times higher than SP10mkII. As you can see i use two tonearms on each of my PD-444, it’s important for me as i’m still searching for "my sound". Some short 9 inch arms are impossible to mount on Technics because it has square metal cabinet. Luxman is like Victor TTs, there is more room around the platter.
I’m sure the price for Sp-10mkII will drop sooner or later, new Technics turntable will change the market for used old Technics. I think i made a smart move by selling it before it’s too late.
I don’t need the arms with knife edge bearings, so i never tried SME or Saec, and to be honest i don’t even want to try them. They are available everyday everywere.
I replaced my Lustre GST-901 with Fidelity-Research FR-64fx for FR-7f cartridge and i love it, absolutely amazing combination. My Lustre has been rewired with Discovery wire, but i like FR better with stock wire. I’m not crazy about the wires as many older guys on this forum and i don’t care about silver "bullets". I’m trying to be more practical. I’m sure the good tonearm must be good in stock condition, of course i use new external wires.
I prefer Victor over the Lustre for practical reason, it’s pretty easy to swap cartridges and set up everything quickly. But My Grace F14, Victor X-1, X-1II, Audio-Technics AT-ML170 impressed me pretty much on Victor UA-7045 tonearm. The armrest on Victor is the best which is helping to keep the cart safe. Really nice arm, designed by smart people, and you don’t loose much cash with it. I like SONY PUA-7 for the same reasons, also very well designed arm.
I like EPA-100 and EPA-100 mkII, but they are much more expensive tonearms. Having EPA-100 mkII i don’t need Rega, Stax, Micro Seiki or AT arms, i’m sure they are not in the same category, but this is my intuitive feelings only (except Micro MAX237 which is just too expensive).
Schick tonearm is like the old Ortofon, but with better german bearings, all new Ortofon made by Jelco. I’ve seen/heard Jelco on Technics SL1210mk2, but for MM cartridges i don’t think Jelco is better, the effective mass is heavier. I don’t like the mainstream products, i don’t believe in today’s mainstream, all my cartridges are from the 70s and 80s (different era). New tonearms mostly designed for modern cartridges, high compliance carts are out fashioned today, so why do i need a modern arm, i can’t buy many of them as the good ones cost many thousands. I bought Reed 3p "12 as a demo much cheaper, it’s innovative design, the price for new one is about 5k Euro.
I will not give you a sonic conclusions, sorry, i’m not reviewer and it is very subjective, also system (cartridge) dependant.
And BTW you can not ask about every tonearm on the forum, just buy some of them, try them, make your own conclusions. For the same reason i ended up with 5 tonearms, sold some, bought some, always like that.
I had an SP15 for emergency use, and paired it with a very good tonearm and cartridge - quite disappointing. With an upgraded Rega RB300 it was fine, perhaps because expectations were lower. But it was no SP10.
The New Jelco TK950L could be fitted to this table - you’d need a special cartridge for 78Rpm - the Jelco has removable head shell making the cartridge swap easy - it even comes with a digital cartridge scale.
Ive been playing the Jelco TK950L the past week or so - it’s a completely new game for Jelco - unbeatable at its asking price.
Do you just need pitch control on 78RPM if so that could possibly be added.
The New Jelco TK arms are very easy to listen to - currently I have it on a GrooveMaster Vintage Direct DN308 Professional with a Highphonic MC-D15 Cartridge a very good sounding combination. The TK arms have like other dynamically balanced arms a great flow to it - the music just flow. Think SME 5 / V12 and the Ortofon 309D (made by Jelco for Ortofon)
downunder 1,264 posts 05-29-2018 11:31pm @vinny55 what do you use the pitch control for?
To listen to music. Most of us like to listen to music in time - so we can tap our feet along with the music. Some folk even enjoy having the pitch of notes reasonably accurate as well. Most 78's are not recorded at 78rpm and need on the fly adjustment to obtain the correct timing, pitch etc on playback.
It's a tough question, because i haven't tried all tonearms i'm willing to try (yet). Also, as i said in another topic, it is all depends on the cartridge. Different arms for different cartridges.
I will name a few that i really like and the price difference between them is huge:
1) Reed 3p "12 Cocobolo 2) Victor UA-7082 (this is also long type)
In terms of usability Technics EPA-100 mkII is a keeper for any MM/MI cartridges.
I even bought (again) EPA-100 which i sold long time ago, this time it was in original box and it was hard to resist. I like the arms which i can quickly adjust when i swap MM cartridges/headshells. SONY PUA-7 is one of the arms i like, it is also super easy to adjust very quick. I can do that with closed eyes like i did with Kalashnikov AK47 in highschool.
Fidelity-Research 64s (with b-60 base) and 64fx (with n-60 nut) tonearms is what we need for low compliance cartridges (imo). Or Lustre GST-801
And different super-lightweight arms like Denon DA-401 for high compliance cartridges.