make that 1500 -2500
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I hate to be the contrarian in the group, but what is it that you don't like about your KAB Technics? Your table is an excellent value turntable that will accommodate a reasonable range of cartridges and is built to last. Perhaps you could get more improvement with a different cartridge, phono preamp, or record cleaning machine.
Just something to think about.
How about a Nottingham Analogue? The Horizon or Interspace or maybe even a Spacedeck should fit your price range. Rock solid built, sweet sound (personally always preferred them to any of the Michells)flexibility and future upgrade ability. You could start of with a Rega variant for now and then even upgrade to one of their own arms later. Truly outstanding stuff IMHO.
Alternatively, how about the baby Kuzma? (no idea how much it costs in the US though).
With kids, best to go for a used Denon 47F with a Denon 160 cartridge. Great sound, great value, fully automatic, which the kids will love since they never have to touch the arm. I have one, and also a VPI high-end table with a Clearaudio $2K cartridge. The Denon gives it a run for the money. Save for when the kids don't have issues with touching the arm. A must is buying where you can pick it up. Cost? About $250.
I really like my Technics and intend to keep it (and probably pass it along to my kids, once they are older). I turned 40 this year and have been thinking about stepping into another turntable for a while and thought that it would be a nice treat.
I found a Nottingham dealer close by, so I will definitely go listen. I'm very curious about the Well Tempered and trying to find a dealer somewhere near where I typically travel (mostly OH and CO, right now). I'm very interested in hearing/seeing the classic. The Scout was the first high end table that I looked at some 16 years ago. I've always been impressed with the VPI decks. However, the only VPI dealer near me seems to have shut down.
Anyone know high end audio folks in Columbus?
09-18-09: SufentanilThat definitely crossed my mind as well.
You can get adapter armboards for the Technics to accommodate Rega (and compatible from Origin Live), Linn, Jelco, and SME tonearms from Sound Hi-Fi. For the money you're talking, you could put a SME 309 or Series V tonearm on your KAB/Technics.
For more information and a review of a Technics/SME 309, go here, download Issue 22, and go to page 15.
And you could add a 1/4" thick Herbie's Way Excellent Mat and--if you haven't already done so--some better feet.
I always appreciate your insights. I have spent a lot of time with my 1200 over the last 48 hours (Grant Green, Idle Moments, right now), and it is pretty solid. A few questions:
1: How big of an impact is the external PSU? ...and which one do you recommend?
2: Have you swapped out a tonearm? The SME certainly looks interesting. I've always like the Rega arms as well.
3: Do you have a favorite cartridge these days? I like my AT 150MLX a lot but maybe having something else to swap in might cure my 'itch' a bit.
1. External PSU: I have no direct experience. There is an A-goner who has the KAB PSU and considers it very worthwhile. Sound HI-Fi also has one which is about twice as much, and which the designer understandably considers superior to the KAB.
2. I have the stock Technics arm with fluid damper and LPGear Zupreme headshell, which I consider as important as the fluid damper. Again, although I have no direct experience, the things I've read indicate that the SME and Jelco arms are a better match than the Regas. The RB250/300/301 arms are undamped. According to Sound Hi-Fi the Technics likes a damped arm, and the SMEs and Jelcos are. I've read that the SL-1200 was actually designed to go with the SME tonearm of the day, the Type III improved. Back then Technics offered two versions--the SL1200 with Technics arm and the SL120 with an SME armboard.
3. I also use an AT150MLX; it's an excellent match with the arm setup I have (fluid damper and 12g rigid headshell). Tone Publications has had an ongoing SL1200 project going for some months. They never tried the fluid damper (for sure) or an upgraded mat (AFAIK), but they tried dozens of cartridges at all price ranges, and two that stood out are the wood-bodied Grado and the Zu-103. I suspect that if you stick with the stock arm, add the fluid damper and the ZuPreme shell, it sets the arm up to work well with the stiff compliance of the Zu-103. Plus, the Zu is so heavy it adds the rest of the effective mass required, pushing it above 30g total (which is what is needed with a 103). The Jelco 750 is also considered a good match for the DL-103 and Zu 103.