yet another KAB mod question

Is the threaded clamp worth the 100 dollar price increase over the non-threaded model?--Cheers
If you're compelled to spend an additional $100, you're better off putting it toward the tonearm re-wire, or an Isoplatmat.

In fact, the tonearm re-wire would be a better upgrade than a clamp, IMO.
I didn't get the clamp because it looks ugly (in the photos) and it only works with the kab threaded spindle. I would have a hard time believing someone who said that the KAB clamp sounded better than some other clamp or better yet, a heavy record weight which doesn't require pressing down to secure it (unless they really compared the two ...and how many people have two tables, one modded w/ the clamp and one modded but w/o the clamp to do that?) Why get stuck with one clamp when you can try many?

Have you bought your technics yet?
So which of the upgrades are most highly recommended? And while I'm at it, is there any meaningful difference between between the three available models of the SL1200?
Drubin KAB's website has a comparison chart on the differences between the tables. But basically
lamp/standard arm,LED/standard arm,LED/titanium finished arm with OCF wiring, and adjustable braking on the 1210M5G.

Kublakhan: KAB's Clamps are either friction fit or screw on because you shouldn't put a heavy record clamp on a direct drive, the platter is floating on magnets. This thread should have stated Technics SL1200 models to help clear this up.. otherwise you are correct about different clamps.
10-30-07: Drubin
So which of the upgrades are most highly recommended?
Most agree the fluid damper, tonearm re-wire and outboard power supply are the most effective upgrades.

If you're going to do the tonearm re-wire, then there's no reason to buy a Technics with factory upgraded wiring. Some owners are quite happy with the upgraded factory OFC wire, however.

Lack of azimuth adjustment is the only downside of the Technics arm, IMO. I purchased a ZuPreme headshell with azimuth adjustment, but Sumiko also makes a headshell with adjustable azimuth. Each costs about $50.

I also believe the Isoplatmat ($99) is effective. It's made by Sound Dead Steel, which is a company that specializes in industrial vibration control steel and aluminum products. No snake oil here. These products work as advertised. Do a Google search for Sound Dead Steel and watch the demonstration video for the Isoplatmat.
What about the external power supply, fluid damper, and strobe disabler?
Clamp vs. no clamp is not a subtle difference on any table, and IMHO clamps work differently and better than weights.
Get 'em all. Audio Nervosa demands it. ;)
Also don't forget the cardas tone arm re-wire, that is def. worthwhile.

the Cardas head shell leads are available from the needledoctor or
I was thinking I'd skip the tonearm rewire because you end up having to use an addiitonal phono cable. Can the benefits outweigh that disadvantage?

(as if I need to ask...)
10-30-07: Drubin
I was thinking I'd skip the tonearm rewire because you end up having to use an addiitonal phono cable.
You need an additional pair of ICs, but not a phono cable. KAB provides a ground wire, and they sell really excellent, inexpensive Mogami interconnects (as low as $25/2 meters). Don't disregard the Mogami because of the low price. They're excellent. You can always upgrade later if you feel the need.

Also, with the re-wire/RCA jacks, you have the flexibility to run balanced in the future using a RCA>XLR phono cable (it integrates the ground wire). Atma-Sphere sells them for $300.

Frankly, I don't think anything beyond the fluid damper and a moderately good cartridge is required to enjoy vinyl on the SL12XX tables.
Here is what I did.
I just asked Kevin which upgrades HE THOUGHT were worthwhile. I was prepared to do all the mods, he has to offer.
Kevin is a very honest and straightforward
kind of person. I have found him to be a real gentleman, who is as objective, as it is possible to be, with respect to audio.
His answer was:
1. Cardas arm rewire
2. Fluid damper
3. External power supply.
I brought it back home last night, and from the first minute playing music, I should say, I was extremely impressed.
I didn't expect to hear that good of a playback- excellent, explosive dynamics, very tonally accurate, great timbre.
My wife, who is a professional pianist, listened to Berlioz
for a couple minutes, and immediately made a comment, that "it sounds very natural", she immediately noticed very precise soundstaging with exact placement of orchestral instruments (I think she knows, what she's talking about). And she is the farthest thing from an audiophile.
My point is, the price for ANY of the KAB mods is so modest, compared to other companies offerings, that making a decision about what particular options to choose, is an absolute no- brainer to me. I highly doubt, that one can get anywhere close to this level of performance for that little money.
Again, that is just my perspective.
I bought the SL 1210 M5G to get the factory tonearm rewire. I was on a limited budget, so it was less up-front money to haggle an M5G at the local Guitar Center for $500 even. I have not compared it to the KAB Cardas upgrade, but I haven't felt compelled to change out the M5G wiring either, and I have premium (mostly Kimber and AQ) interconnects throughout my systems. I think if it wasn't up to snuff, I'd notice. You get a slight improvement by separating the R & L leads, and a little more quietness by twisting them together.

While we talk about where to put the money in upgrades, let's not forget you have to put this sucker on an isolation platform. So far, the recommendation is to replace the feet with compatibly threaded brass cones, set this on a thick wooden platform, and isolate the platform from the rack shelf with Mapleshade Isoblocks or Vibrapods.

At the cheap end, you can get 1.25"x1.5" Dayton Speaker threaded brass cones from Parts Express for $20/set of 4, set the coned turntable on a butcher block cutting board from Ikea for $25, and set all this on Vibrapods or Isoblocks for $24/set of 4.

At the higher end of the spectrum, use Mapleshade Threaded Heavyfeet ($160/set of 4) on his 4" maple platform ($250) set on his Isoblocks ($24/set of 4).

I have direct experience with different mats, the platforming as described, Sumiko headshell and azimuth alignment, and fluid damper. They're all worthwhile.

Based on posts here, Zaikesman in particular, the KAB outboard power supply should probably be the starting point. He got the fluid damper first and the outboard PSU later. He felt that the PSU had the most profound effect.

For a crash course in SL1200 performance and various A-goners upgrades, read the SL1200 thread in the Analog Reviews section.

Oh, yeah: I also highly recommend that any SL12x0 owner pony up the $4.95 and squirt a few drops of oil into the bearing. I noticed a significant improvement in quietness, smoothness, and speed consistency after I did that with a nearly new (7-mo-old) SL1210. You can't be sure that all shippers and handlers observed "This Side Up" throughout the shipping, storing, and schlepping stages. It's probably a good idea to dose it with fresh oil when you set it up in your home.
One of the coolest KAB offerings is the drop in cabinet. Makes the table look serious.
All of this certainly sounds tempting, just to have a Table to monkey with 9Gos I wish I had some mad money to play with!)

As for the threaded Spindle, and Clamp? What's the thread size, does anybody know? One could perhaps go ala VPI, thus alleviating those nasty warped vintage (and not so vintage) records in your collection.

I had a machinist friend make a massive Alu Clamp for my VPI (Using the BDR Coaster), for very low $$$, and of course as we all know, you don't want to place a heavy clamp on these DD Tables, just one that does it's job, lessening warpage, and perhaps better coupling LP to Platter is all that's maybe needed?

I figure like this, for the average user, get mods that would be difficult to iplement by the end user done by KAB. Then one can add the simpler mods by themselves at a later date, and eventually have them all!

I agree, the "drop in" Wood Cabinet looks sweet for these, and would be an eventual consideration had I gone the Technics route. Maybe I'll eventually dump my spare mint vintage Denon DP-2550, and join the crowd? I've got two NOS AT Cartridges, and a Vintage Shure Type III, with Jico SAS just begging for play time. Mark
Another question for all you Technics experts: are there any cartridges you would NOT recommend for use with the SL1200 tonearm? For example, I have a Benz L2, a Denon 103R, and a Koetsu Black. Will I get good performance from each of those on a KAB SL1200?
On the one hand, I can't exactly say because I've only tried 3 carts on my Technics and they all worked well. On the other hand, I now have the KAB fluid damper and have played around with the compliance/effective mass equation to see what theoretically will work.

First, the fluid damper lowers the resonant hump of cartridge/arm interaction considerably.

Secondly, with the removable headshell, headshell weights, and the additional counterbalance weight, you can play with the Technics tonearm's effective mass to get a better match with a given cartridge's weight and compliance.

For example, I went from a Shure M97xe (6g, compliance of 30) to a Denon DL-160 (4g, compliance around 10-15). But I put it on a Sumiko headshell, which weighs 3.5g more than the stock headshell. It's an excellent match, and the fluid damper seems to help.

I would love to try out an Ortofon Contrapunkt, but that would have to drop into my lap from the sky right now. With the Sumiko shell and fluid damper, I bet it would sound great.
Is anyone bothered by the fact that the fluid damper blocks the indicator for the VTA?
Is anyone bothered by the fact that the fluid damper blocks the indicator for the VTA?
Perfectionist (System | Threads | Answers)
I am, but I've compensated.

I wish the indicator was not blocked, and I wish the fact that it was blocked had been mentioned somewhere before I bought it so I could have made the decision with all the facts on the table.

However, in retrospect I'd probably buy the damper again despite the design problem.
I typically set the VTA by sight (tone arm parallel to the record) and by sound, so the I don't really need the indicator. I agree with Tvad that the benefit is worth the minor inconvenience.
If you look - you'll find that the VTA reading on the collar at the arm lift lever is exactly 2.5mm (I think... I'm not at home to check the exact amount) higher than the actual VTA setting.

In other words - if you align 4.5 with the leading edge of the opening the silver arm lift lever comes through on the arm, the VTA will be set at 2mm.

I'll double check the numbers when I get home tonight - but I'm pretty sure it's a difference of 2.5mm.
11-16-07: Vinyladdict
If you look - you'll find that the VTA reading on the collar at the arm lift lever is exactly 2.5mm (I think... I'm not at home to check the exact amount) higher than the actual VTA setting.
I use a similar system in which I set the VTA to where the tonearm is level and then use the left edge of the fluid damper trough as the marker for the VTA numerical reading. From there, VTA can be adjusted up or down and you have a physical indicator for the reading. Essentially, it's the same as reading the VTA according to the original Technics hash mark, but the value is higher. I've never bothered figuring the numerical offset because I dial in VTA according to ear anyway.

Vinyladdict's solution seems very good, and a more precise version of my method.
I installed the silicone damper (blue) on my Tech deck in my main rig. Also picked up that ugly-ass KAB rubber record clamp, but it works. Kevin, if you read this, you need to upgrade that syringe, it is a POS. And please put a note on the install instructions to let the silicone acclimate to room temperature before installing. It will help the cause with that useless syringe. Also, I was storing the clamp on my BB slab, it stained the damn finish, and it won't come out.

Here is a link to my system...