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Technics SL-1200/SL-1210... Who uses one (or two?)

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MrJoshua View Drop Down
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    Posted: 19 Jan 2008 at 10:47am
So, I know Graham and John both use these turntables, as do I, but I wanted to know how many other people in the "audiophile" world use them.

In my mind, these are pretty much the pinnacle of turntable design. OK, the tone-arm might not be made from carbon fibre or what-have-you, but the amount of R&D that went into producing these seminal turntables in the 1970s was astronomical! I doubt any company nowadays could even think of spending so much on designing a turntable. The SL-1200 was designed when Vinyl was at its most popular, and the Matsush*ta/Panasonic/Technics company wanted to build the best turntable they could. I think they achieved their goal and more!

What other turntable maintains the exact rotation speed, even with a finger pressing on the side of the record?

What other turntable is so resistance to external vibration?

What other turntable has been produced non-stop since 1978 to date, with only minor revisions, and still sells in pretty high numbers?

Scratch that... Name me any consumer electrical item, hi-fi or not, that has been made for so long!!!

They still look sexy too (especially in black), having most definitely stood the test of time visually.

Oh, and remember, even though they are used in nightclubs and aspiring DJ's bedrooms, don't let that put you off as this deck was designed as an "audiophile" turntable from the outset.

Edited by MrJoshua - 19 Jan 2008 at 10:48am
Cheers!

Josh
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote tg Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 19 Jan 2008 at 11:24pm
"Name me any consumer electrical item, hi-fi or not, that has been made for so long!!!"

Denon DL103 MC the low-output moving coil Denon have been making uninterrupted, and unchanged, for the broadcast markets since 1962.

That aside, it is interesting to note that a certain Danish cartridge manufacturer stopped supplying their "hi-fi" cartridges to kabusa who actively promote the use of the SL1200 as an audiophile TT, presumably afraid that he was "lowering their image".

If I could be sure of getting a good one, I would probably prefer a good second hand SP10 to the SL1200 - I think it would pass your "finger test" Smile - but then I would probably want an SME 3012 to go with it and the whole shebang would be 3 times as dear. :P
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Graham Slee Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 20 Jan 2008 at 8:23am
Who uses one (or two)?
 
I know a reviewer who had 8! Some were standard, some used different arms including one fitted with an Origin Live Silver, some had their adjustable feet replaced with spikes.
 
Having worked in a place that made bespoke broadcast and production studio gear, the SL1200/1210 featured as part of every system where vinyl playback was required.
 
The "stock" fitted cartridge is what IMO lets it down. I forget which cartridge that is, as when buying ours I bought without. Carrying stocks of Audio Technica's AT95E, that's the cartridge that gets fitted by default, and the pairing delivers a very together or cohesive musical performance. But the SL's can do the biz with the more exotic like the Cartridgeman's Music Maker Classic at over a grand! Moving Coils are also tracked with relative ease, but some are prone to pick-up noise from the SL's electronics - hence I guess why it may not be considered Hi-Fi?
 
The arm is virtually identical to the Acos Lustre, so much so that it probably is one although the bearing housing has changed just a bit. The Acos Lustre came as the non-removeable (without destroying it) original arm on the Rega Planar's two and three for quite some time before the RB250 and RB300 were ever thought of. Needless to say, the Rega's didn't include the height adjuster, but would have benefited by it.
 
If only the ADC magnesium headshell was still available. That was the number one hi-fi tweak of the early eighties, and it worked. A number of other manufacturers headshells fit the SL's as they are what is termed "standard parts" - Stanton, Audio Technica, Skytech, etc. But I don't find them as user-friendly as the old ADC. A tuning tip with all of them is to remove the rubber washer, but after a prolonged period of time, the headshell can "weld" itself to the arm tube by electrolytic action - it's the job of the washer to prevent this.
 
The SL's also come with a cartridge alignment tool that removes the need for the long-winded iterative process of cartridge alignment using a protractor.
 
The great thing in my opinion is that the SL's not only sound good - they continue to sound good after severe use, where most hi-fi turntables would lose their edge.
 
The most lucid (but short lived) sound I ever heard from a turntable was the Opus3 Continuo/Hadcock/Music Maker 3. The SL1200/1210 can be coaxed to do almost the same with a bit of a tweak involving sticking bitumous flashing tape under the platter.
 
The Pioneer PL12D was of similar ilk (but belt instead of direct drive) and a hi-fi mag favourite, but the SL never got a look-in - such a shame!


Edited by Graham Slee - 20 Jan 2008 at 8:25am
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote MrJoshua Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 20 Jan 2008 at 6:42pm
Mine have Ortofon Concorde Nightclub S carts (and a "Pro S" spare) as I like to do a little bit of "wikky wikky wah wah" with them as well as listening to music. These sound a shed-load better than the Stanton 500 cart that is the de-facto standard on these decks... I either run mine through a Behringer mixer, or direct into the phono stage on my Cambridge Audio C500 Pre-Amp... I can only imagine how nice it'd sound with a proper cart and one of Graham's Phono Stages!!!

I don't suppose Audio Technica carts like being pulled backwards and forwards though do they? lol

Edited by MrJoshua - 20 Jan 2008 at 6:43pm
Cheers!

Josh
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Graham Slee Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 21 Jan 2008 at 9:32am
The Stanton 890 FS MP4 Cartridge set (2 cartridges, headshells and 2 eliptical styli as well as the fitted spherical styli) sound extremely good and are among my favourites. At two for 130 pounds (GBP) they're a bargain! And I've seen them on offer for 110 pounds! They'll also track backwards with ease and if offset (using the spherical styli), will do the wikki wikki wah wah really well.Clap
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Emmodd Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22 Jan 2008 at 12:47pm
I've also got one. My first and currently only turntable.
 
Bought it 2nd hand last summer. Looked to have been well used but unsurprisingly worked perfectly once I had replaced the (missing) counterweight. Had the arm re-wired by Audio-Origami and have been very pleased with the outcome. Currently run it with the ISOplatmat and a 5mm Funk Achromat. Borrowed Darrens Herbies mat but didn't like it personally, despite all the positive press it seemed to have received.
 
Now in the process of building a vinyl collection and to be honest, enjoying it much more than my CD's.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote MrJoshua Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 23 Jan 2008 at 9:16pm
I think I could do with borrowing a vinyl cleaner from someone... I have a pretty extensive 12" single collection, but years of dragging them round parties has left them in a pretty horrible state.

But WOW, when you find a good one that hasn't been abused - just WOW - it sounds so much more alive than digital recordings (even though the music itself is digital - Figure that out!)
Cheers!

Josh
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