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    Which turntable and cartridge would you keep?

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    Dogstar

    Posts : 264
    Join date : 2014-06-23

    Re: Which turntable and cartridge would you keep?

    Post by Dogstar on Wed Aug 30, 2017 11:37 am

    My comparison testing may not be fair but so far I am leaning towards the SL1200MkII. It already has the Denon DL110 mounted and the LP's I've chosen for testing purposes are new Blue Note 180 gram pressings. One of the albums I'm listening to right now is the 'Flight to Jordan' with Duke Jordan, Dizzy Reese, Stanley Turrentine, Reginald Workman and Art Taylor. I haven't checked to see if this pressing started out with an analog or digital master. I installed the cartridge myself and I must say I think I did a great job. No signs of tracking or alignment issues. One thing I just realized as I'm writing this. The DL110 is a LOMC if I remember correctly and I have the turntable plugged into the phono input section of my McIntosh C36 preamp. I do have a moving coil preamp but I'm thinking if it works fine without it why add another box of electronics into the circuit?

    I'm going to give the Thorens another try in a day or two but so far I am quite happy with the 1200.
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    slate1

    Posts : 34
    Join date : 2017-07-26

    Re: Which turntable and cartridge would you keep?

    Post by slate1 on Wed Aug 30, 2017 11:44 am

    Dogstar wrote:My comparison testing may not be fair but so far I am leaning towards the SL1200MkII. It already has the Denon DL110 mounted and the LP's I've chosen for testing purposes are new Blue Note 180 gram pressings. One of the albums I'm listening to right now is the 'Flight to Jordan' with Duke Jordan, Dizzy Reese, Stanley Turrentine, Reginald Workman and Art Taylor. I haven't checked to see if this pressing started out with an analog or digital master. I installed the cartridge myself and I must say I think I did a great job. No signs of tracking or alignment issues. One thing I just realized as I'm writing this. The DL110 is a LOMC if I remember correctly and I have the turntable plugged into the phono input section of my McIntosh C36 preamp. I do have a moving coil preamp but I'm thinking if it works fine without it why add another box of electronics into the circuit?

    I'm going to give the Thorens another try in a day or two but so far I am quite happy with the 1200.

    Just a clarification - the DL110 is a HOMC and should be plugged directly into a MM phono stage. Glad you're enjoying testing out all the tables!

    Dogstar

    Posts : 264
    Join date : 2014-06-23

    Re: Which turntable and cartridge would you keep?

    Post by Dogstar on Thu Aug 31, 2017 4:38 am

    slate1 wrote:
    Dogstar wrote:My comparison testing may not be fair but so far I am leaning towards the SL1200MkII. It already has the Denon DL110 mounted and the LP's I've chosen for testing purposes are new Blue Note 180 gram pressings. One of the albums I'm listening to right now is the 'Flight to Jordan' with Duke Jordan, Dizzy Reese, Stanley Turrentine, Reginald Workman and Art Taylor. I haven't checked to see if this pressing started out with an analog or digital master. I installed the cartridge myself and I must say I think I did a great job. No signs of tracking or alignment issues. One thing I just realized as I'm writing this. The DL110 is a LOMC if I remember correctly and I have the turntable plugged into the phono input section of my McIntosh C36 preamp. I do have a moving coil preamp but I'm thinking if it works fine without it why add another box of electronics into the circuit?

    I'm going to give the Thorens another try in a day or two but so far I am quite happy with the 1200.

    Just a clarification - the DL110 is a HOMC and should be plugged directly into a MM phono stage.  Glad you're enjoying testing out all the tables!  

    Thanks for clarifying the mistake I made on the spec. Not needing a moving coil preamp makes sense now.
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    tubes4hifi
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    Join date : 2008-11-30

    Re: Which turntable and cartridge would you keep?

    Post by tubes4hifi on Thu Sep 07, 2017 7:01 pm

    a super great thread of info, however, for use who haven't priced used turntables upgrades and mods,
    can someone give an estimate of an older refurbished SL1200 vs the $4000 for the new version?
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    vtshopdog

    Posts : 100
    Join date : 2015-07-11
    Location : UT, USA

    Re: Which turntable and cartridge would you keep?

    Post by vtshopdog on Fri Sep 08, 2017 12:42 am

    tubes4hifi wrote:a super great thread of info, however, for use who haven't priced used turntables upgrades and mods,
    can someone give an estimate of an older refurbished SL1200 vs the $4000 for the new version?

    Roy, KAB USA is the place for Technics.

    Long story, but I got burned on a used deck from a guy that claimed he worked for Matsushita as a service tech when he really was just a pathological lying DJ. Seriously bad transaction and he almost kept my money without giving me the TT. (FWW - PayPal friends and family payments are NOT refundable)

    The deck I bought was shiny outside but beat inside, so I did a full rebuild: stripped to bare metal, repaint, wood plinth with sorbothane feet. Replaced spindle + tonearm and some internal PCBs, added fancy wires and the KAB oil damper thingie, just about everything one can do to one of these. Ended up quite a bit upgraded from a new stock unit for the cost of the used deck plus about $600-700 for parts and a fair bit of labor on my part. (I see beat up DJ decks locally come up for $300 to $500 so maybe you could build something pretty sweet for about $1-1.5k?? Plus cartridge ...)


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    tubes4hifi
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    Re: Which turntable and cartridge would you keep?

    Post by tubes4hifi on Fri Sep 08, 2017 1:33 am

    thanks VT, looks like $1.5K beats $4K new pricewise . . .
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    deepee99

    Posts : 1693
    Join date : 2012-05-23
    Location : Wallace, Idaho

    Re: Which turntable and cartridge would you keep?

    Post by deepee99 on Fri Sep 08, 2017 12:11 pm

    tubes4hifi wrote:thanks VT, looks like $1.5K beats $4K new pricewise . . .

    Roy, Kevin at KABUSA has no inventory of rebuilt Technics tables anymore. You've got to find a used one and send it to him.
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    slate1

    Posts : 34
    Join date : 2017-07-26

    Re: Which turntable and cartridge would you keep?

    Post by slate1 on Fri Sep 08, 2017 12:47 pm

    tubes4hifi wrote:a super great thread of info, however, for use who haven't priced used turntables upgrades and mods,
    can someone give an estimate of an older refurbished SL1200 vs the $4000 for the new version?

    Great info provided so far.  As has been stated, there is no KAB inventory of new SL1200's available and hasn't been for quite some time.

    You would need to CAREFULLY acquire a used deck in great condition.  Expect to pay around $500-$900 depending on the model for one in the condition you would want - they are out there, you just have to ask a lot of questions and make sure you are getting exactly what you are expecting.  Additionally, used KAB mod'd tables do show up on Audiogon upon occasion that have only been used in audiophile systems.

    Personally, I would never buy one that has been used in DJ service of any kind.  They are usually beat to hell and every example I have ever seen has moderate to significant arm bearing issues.  

    For reference, I have been running a 1210M5G with the Fluid Damper, Power System, Isonoe Footers, and RC1200 Clamp for around 8 years and have never looked back.  I previously owned a 1200MK2 with the Fluid Damper and arm rewire.  I have owned a variety of other tables from VPI, Sota, JA Michell, Rega, Music Hall, Pro-Ject, etc.

    Once you find one that has been exclusively used for home use, here is my advice from personal experience with the KAB models over the years:

    1) No matter which model you find, do not be tempted to replace the tonearm.  I played this game about 10 years ago with Rega and Jelco arms and came back to the stock arm - it's killer, period.

    2) If you find a 1210M5G, there is no reason at all to have the arm rewired, it already has very nice low capacitance wire.

    3) If you find a 1200MK2 or MK5, the rewire is a good value at $169.  You don't have to ship the whole table to Kevin, it's fairly simple to remove the arm and carefully pack it.  I would recommend either a complete continuous rewire from the headshell to the RCA's, bypassing the phono PCB in the base of the arm or simply rewiring the arm from the headshell to the PCB and then using the M5G cable from the PCB to the RCA's.

    4) The fluid damper ($150) is a must have.

    5) The power system ($289 including the strobe disabler and internal voltage regulator), strobe disabler ($49), and internal voltage regulator ($49) are nice additions but by no means necessary.

    6) The Isonoe footers ($175) I would rank right behind the fluid damper as providing a nice noticeable improvement.

    7) One interesting model note: the 1200MK2 has what I would consider a more "audiophile" ready arm other than the wire. The antiskate on it has finer control than the MK5 or M5G and it lacks the lateral tonearm damper of the M5G that only has use for DJ purposes (and is easily removed...)

    Cool MOST IMPORTANT - Talk to Kevin!!!  He will not sell you anything he doesn't think you need - one of the most stand up people I've met in the industry.  I get the same vibe off Roy, Bill, and Bob that I've dealt with via the VTA purchases I've made.

    So, all that said, let's say you find a nice home used 1200MK2 table for $750, and decide to go all out.  $150 for the fluid damper, $169 for the rewire, $289 for the power system, and $175 for the Isonoe footers.  You're still only sitting at $1,533 for a table that will absolutely last a lifetime and will, in my experience, outperform anything at double the price.
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    deepee99

    Posts : 1693
    Join date : 2012-05-23
    Location : Wallace, Idaho

    If you're not absolutely stuck on the Technics

    Post by deepee99 on Fri Sep 08, 2017 1:34 pm

    . . . which I would never turn down. They are beautiful machines. But you might consider a re-habbed Thorens or AR from Vinyl Nirvana.com.
    http://vinylnirvana.com/vintage-turntables-for-sale/
    Dave is also, like Kevin, a great guy to deal with, really cares about what he does.
    Downside of the ARs and Thorens is that they are fully manual. No tone-arm lift or return. Kevin sells a tone-arm lifter you can set up in five minutes.
    The Thorens I got from Dave is dead quiet; he beefs up the suspensions so there's no need for after-market footers. Mine sits on an MDF shelf bolted to a bearing wall independent of the rest of the floor supported gear (except for the Technics RS 1700 tape deck which shelf it shares) and you can't make it rumble no matter how loud things are cranked up.
    Good advice on the DJ thing. Those tend to be full of beer and tobacco stains. And usually are pretty beat up, as slate1 has said.
    Again, without knocking the Technics, there are options . . .
    Cheers,
    Dave



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    jfine

    Posts : 82
    Join date : 2017-06-19

    Re: Which turntable and cartridge would you keep?

    Post by jfine on Fri Sep 08, 2017 2:25 pm

    I dunno, IME, the 1200 motor is the true gem. I find a bearing upgrade and external power supply helps a lot. And a good mat of choice. The Isonoe footers I didn't care for, looks funny too, (well the feet on a 1200 all look funny to me), went with low rider herbies feet.

    The arm, well, yes the KAB fluid damper/rewire helps, and yes you can upgrade to an SME (never owned one but heard it), or a Jelco (wasn't worth it to me, ended up hating it), but upgrading to a transfi terminator arm will take this table to another level, one of the reasons is the amount of adjustability for azimuth, VTA/SRA on the fly (!), overhang, etc., I mean you can really dial a cartridge *in* which alone makes this arm worth it, not to mention no more need for antiskate, tracking is even across the entire LP (no more inner groove weirdness), top to bottom evenness with even more dynamics, you get the picture. And if I decide on another table, the arm stays with me.
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    slate1

    Posts : 34
    Join date : 2017-07-26

    Re: Which turntable and cartridge would you keep?

    Post by slate1 on Fri Sep 08, 2017 2:41 pm

    jfine wrote:I dunno, IME, the 1200 motor is the true gem. I find a bearing upgrade and external power supply helps a lot. And a good mat of choice. The Isonoe footers I didn't care for, looks funny too, (well the feet on a 1200 all look funny to me), went with low rider herbies feet.

    The arm, well, yes the KAB fluid damper/rewire helps, and yes you can upgrade to an SME (never owned one but heard it), or a Jelco (wasn't worth it to me, ended up hating it), but upgrading to a transfi terminator arm will take this table to another level, one of the reasons is the amount of adjustability for azimuth, VTA/SRA on the fly (!), overhang, etc., I mean you can really dial a cartridge *in* which alone makes this arm worth it, not to mention no more need for antiskate, tracking is even across the entire LP (no more inner groove weirdness), top to bottom evenness with even more dynamics, you get the picture. And if I decide on another table, the arm stays with me.

    Interesting that you had a different experience with the Isonoe footers, shows that this is such a personal decision and that what works in one system may not work in another!  Synergy is king!

    As for the arm - for me, there was no comparison ultimately between the Jelco (750D) and Rega (RB600) vs the stock rewired and damped Technics.  The Technics clearly outperformed them and provided much more flexibility.  I have never tried a SME or Transfi on the table, but would imagine the Transfi would be extremely nice on it.  I've just never been compelled to plop down the money for it given the level of performance I get out of the KAB mod'd arm, especially with my preferred microline equipped carts.  All that said, I'd love to hear it some time and am sure I'd be impressed!

    Oh, and I should have mentioned the mat in my prior post as well.  The 1/4" "supermat" is good, but the Herbies mat I currently use was a very nice and affordable upgrade.

    Dogstar

    Posts : 264
    Join date : 2014-06-23

    Re: Which turntable and cartridge would you keep?

    Post by Dogstar on Fri Sep 08, 2017 10:26 pm

    I was very lucky to have aquired my SL1200MkII for what I paid for it and the condition it was in. The AudioKarma.org seller listed it for $575 with a description that stated that the turntable was reconditioned by KABUSA and it also included the following: which included an IsoPlat Mat which us the round plate that dampens resonance, a new plastic dust cover from KABUSA, a walnut plinth, a brand new Shure M97xE plus 2 Technics head shells and 2 sets of wire leads. Because of the price I was super critical of the performance as well as cosmetics. For the most part the turntable sounds fantastic with the DL110 cartridge I purchased from another AudioKarma.org member for the price before the big increase which was $110. The seller bought it, opened the packaging yo make sure there was no damage and then decided he wanted a more expensive cartridge. By the way. I found a few scratches on the turntable along with a ding on the IsoPlat Mat. The seller didn't want to deal with the hassle of having be pack it back and potentially having it get damaged in return shipping. He told me to just pay him what I felt it was worth. I gave him $275. I felt maybe I was being too critical so I sent him another $75. I bet that's more than what they sold new back in 80's but it's a lot more turntable than the new ones that cost $350.

    I paid $250 for the SL1100 with a V15 Type III cartridge. Everything on the TT is original and functioning perfectly a looking great cosmetically. Even the feet. And the funky space age tonearm. I almost considering putting a new Jelco arm on it but I've grown to like the original. The only thing it needed was a lot of elbow grease polishing the huge scratch out of the original dustcover. I tested everything else on the TT to be good so once again I think it's a lot more TT than the ones costing that much new. I wish I could find the strobe which was an accessory you could buy that plugs right into the AC outlet underneath the 45RPM adapter pocket.

    I'm considering selling the Thorens TD-160 and Technics SL1100.

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