Jump to content

Turntable suggestions.


Dolph
 Share

Recommended Posts

Hi. I'm a new member but have been following the forum for a little while. I am thinking about upgrading my turntable. My current is a technics SL1800 MK1 that I purchased back in 78. Still running fine. Since I've upgraded the rest of my system I'm thinking it may benefit from a new tt. Started by looking at the technics SL 1200GR. Like the 1800 it appears to be be built like a tank, but I don't think I really need built like a tank. So I'm looking for something that is a sonic improvement ( I don't know if the SL1200GR is going to sound better or not, maybe one of you fine folks can enlighten me). I don't like the looks of the planars or uturns, too minimalist looking to me. I have an Ortofan 2m bronze that I can use on the new tt. I'd like to stay in the price range of the SL1200GR or maybe up to 2 grand. The rest of my kit is, a pair of Forte IVs, Yamaha AS 2200 amp, Yamaha CD S1000, HSU ULS15 MK2 sub and a blue node 2. I like to listen to Seeger, Steely Dan, Chicago, Supertramp, Paul Simon etc. Any sharing of insight or experiences is greatly appreciated.

Edited by Dolph
update
  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

12 hours ago, Dolph said:

Hi. I'm a new member but have been following the forum for a little while. I am thinking about upgrading my turntable. My current is a technics SL1800 MK1 that I purchased back in 78. Still running fine. Since I've upgraded the rest of my system I'm thinking it may benefit from a new tt. Started by looking at the technics SL 1200GR. Like the 1800 it appears to be be built like a tank, but I don't think I really need built like a tank. So I'm looking for something that is a sonic improvement ( I don't know if the SL1200GR is going to sound better or not, maybe one of you fine folks can enlighten me). I don't like the looks of the planars or uturns, too minimalist looking to me. I have an Ortofan 2m bronze that I can use on the new tt. I'd like to stay in the price range of the SL1200GR or maybe up to 2 grand. The rest of my kit is, a pair of Forte IVs, Yamaha AS 2200 amp, Yamaha CD S1000, HSU ULS15 MK2 sub and a blue node 2. I like to listen to Seeger, Steely Dan, Chicago, Supertramp, Paul Simon etc. Any sharing of insight or experiences is greatly appreciated.

 

Welcome to the forum. Upgrade the needle is what I would do. Instant Sq improvement. 

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Upgrade the TT only if you need to.

I do not know if you will hear improvement just upgrading to the SL1200GR, which really is a nice and sturdy piece of machinery. As said above, the cartridge is where improvements can be heard immediately. Ortofon 2M bronze is a nice MM cart. Only thing better than that is of course the black. I haven't heard both although I have the red. But many opinions on the internet that I have seen agree that upgrading to black in their systems not necessarily lead to improvements, maybe more clinical but not so musical as the bronze. If upgrading in that direction, you could try some MC carts that are compatible with your tonearm.

On the other hand and connected to the above, I suppose that you use the built in phono preamp within the Yamaha as2200. The thing is (unless I am mistaking) that this amplifier does not have the possibility for adjusting the gain for MC carts. So if going for the MC cart, you will have to make your choice according to the specification for MC cart that goes within AS2200. Or you could invest in a separate phono amp. Choices ... 😀

 

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

17 hours ago, Dolph said:

Hi. I'm a new member but have been following the forum for a little while. I am thinking about upgrading my turntable. My current is a technics SL1800 MK1 that I purchased back in 78. Still running fine. Since I've upgraded the rest of my system I'm thinking it may benefit from a new tt. Started by looking at the technics SL 1200GR. Like the 1800 it appears to be be built like a tank, but I don't think I really need built like a tank. So I'm looking for something that is a sonic improvement ( I don't know if the SL1200GR is going to sound better or not, maybe one of you fine folks can enlighten me). I don't like the looks of the planars or uturns, too minimalist looking to me. I have an Ortofan 2m bronze that I can use on the new tt. I'd like to stay in the price range of the SL1200GR or maybe up to 2 grand. The rest of my kit is, a pair of Forte IVs, Yamaha AS 2200 amp, Yamaha CD S1000, HSU ULS15 MK2 sub and a blue node 2. I like to listen to Seeger, Steely Dan, Chicago, Supertramp, Paul Simon etc. Any sharing of insight or experiences is greatly appreciated.

Welcome to the forum , I think that you do not have to change the TT , you have to upgrate the Pick-Up and the phono pre amplifier.

 

If you want to get an overview about TT´s Pick-Ups and Phono Pres , have a look there , you´ll find a lot of information about the whole TT technology

 

 

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

17 hours ago, Dolph said:

Hi. I'm a new member but have been following the forum for a little while. I am thinking about upgrading my turntable. My current is a technics SL1800 MK1 that I purchased back in 78. Still running fine. Since I've upgraded the rest of my system I'm thinking it may benefit from a new tt. Started by looking at the technics SL 1200GR. Like the 1800 it appears to be be built like a tank, but I don't think I really need built like a tank. So I'm looking for something that is a sonic improvement ( I don't know if the SL1200GR is going to sound better or not, maybe one of you fine folks can enlighten me). I don't like the looks of the planars or uturns, too minimalist looking to me. I have an Ortofan 2m bronze that I can use on the new tt. I'd like to stay in the price range of the SL1200GR or maybe up to 2 grand. The rest of my kit is, a pair of Forte IVs, Yamaha AS 2200 amp, Yamaha CD S1000, HSU ULS15 MK2 sub and a blue node 2. I like to listen to Seeger, Steely Dan, Chicago, Supertramp, Paul Simon etc. Any sharing of insight or experiences is greatly appreciated.

 

https://www.ortofon.com/ortofon-2m-black-p-329

 

Phono stage: iFi Zen Phono

https://www.whathifi.com/reviews/ifi-zen-phono

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hi Dolph,

 

My thoughts..

 

As others have said, the first thing is to make sure your stylus isn't worn, and that you have an excellent cartridge that is properly mounted.  My cartridge is the Audio Technica VM760SLC  Here:  https://www.audio-technica.com/en-us/cartridges/type/moving-magnet/vm760slc  And it works very very well w/ my Technics SL1210GAE.

 

If you MUST upgrade your table simply b/c you have the itch (no shame in this, we've all made upgrades for the same reason) I'll point out that if you switch to any but the very best belt-driven tables, you're apt to be disappointed with the speed stability.  Your table is a quartz-controlled direct-drive design which means it turns the table at a precise 33 1/3 rpm AND (perhaps more importantly) does not perceptibly drift from the that speed.  ..If you switch to a belt-drive table that is in the same price range as the 1200GR you will likely find sustained notes on piano, guitar, violin, etc . are audibly drifting in/out of pitch.  To me this is quite frustrating.  To others, not so much.

 

I owned a Technics GR for 6 months before upgrading to a Technics SL-1210GAE.  These tables are fantastic.  And, to be honest, I'm not sure the GAE offers much improvement over the GR other than a more luxurious feel when handling & operating the table.  If it does sound better, it certainly doesn't sound 2 1/2 times better.  The $1600 1200GR is better built and sounds better than ANY $4k belt-driven table I have heard.  And like you, I simply don't like the plank plinth designs that dominate the market these days, especially in the same price range as the GR.

 

Here's another thought.  ..If you love your vinyl but have grown tired of all the pops & clicks consider one of these devices.  ..For the same price (or less) as a 1200GR you can listen to your vinyl with your current table but with nearly ALL of the pops and clicks removed - with a simple push of a button as you listen.   ..And it does it without audibly damaging the vinyl sound you love (you can check this yourself as you listen).  Yes, some vinyl purists will object to the idea of digitizing the vinyl signal but that doesn't bother me at all.  I love vinyl, but primarily b/c the format encourages the listener to listen to an album side from beginning to end (it's a pain skipping songs!) and b/c I love the physical album cover, it's artwork and liner-notes, etc.

 

I own the Sugar Cube SC-1 Mini and absolutely love it.  It's so transparent I leave it engaged at all times. 

 

https://sweetvinyl.com

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

If it's sound upgrade you seek a cartridge upgrade is a logical step with predictable results. If you just want a new deck another Technics won't be a misstep.

 

Were it my SL1800 I'd have it serviced if it hasn't seen one in awhile. Purchase a good MC compatible pre amp for use with a Denon DL-103R. But that's just me. I like to keep things I've enjoyed and try to make them better. The Denon will definitely be an improvement over the already good Ortofon.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hi. Thanks for all the input. My current TT, the Sl1800 is the Mk1 so no quartz drive. I am running the 2m bronze on it and as the cartridge is fairly new I plan on using it on the next turntable. The as2200 has a good mm phono stage and a mc phono stage that I haven't heard yet. I think there may be some issue with the anti-skating on my 1800 since when the tonearm is free floating with or without the headshell with or without tracking force applied the arm hangs out in the middle of the platter and doesn't drift towards the rest no matter where I set the anti-skate. Also since I have the 2m bronze, I would like to be able to adjust the VTA which you can't do on the 1800 unless you do the mat changing thing and all that. But the 1800 still plays well and sounds good. Guess I'm just wondering if going to the 1200GR using the 2m bronze and the existing MM phono stage on the as2200 (which I think is an excellent phono stage) and gaining ability to adjust VTA, newer circuitry ( rather than taking the 1800 to the shop for a tune up) and having an anti-skate that I know is working would this improve the sound? Maybe this is a case of you won't know unless you try. Probably still having upgradeitis.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Remember, that when the arm is free floating there are ZERO skating forces applied. You can only measure this with the needle in the groove. As per Peter Ledermann (Soundsmith) the arm should gently pull towards the spindle in the lead out groove. Too erratic or no pull at all means your anti-skate is incorrect.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

1 hour ago, Dolph said:

Hi. Thanks for all the input. My current TT, the Sl1800 is the Mk1 so no quartz drive....

 

Maybe this is a case of you won't know unless you try. Probably still having upgradeitis.

 

What is clear from your post is that you obviously cherish your vinyl collection and seem devoted to playing it for some time to come.  ..Also, it would appear your Technics 1800 is quite long in the tooth.  Lastly, it seems you have the means to buy the 1210GR if only you can justify the cost.  

 

It it were me, I'd buy the 1210gr and be done with ever upgrading my turntable; it will truly be all the TT you will ever need.  Your current table is old enough that it's likely you'll experience some issues in the not too distant future.  And when you do, there's no guarantee you'll be able to find a tech and or parts for the repair.  And at that point, the 1210GR may either be more expensive or out-of-production.

 

You've waited this long to upgrade, no one could accuse you of being frivolous w/ your $$  

 

Just my $.02 (which may have an actual cash value of closer to $.01)  :)

  • Like 3
Link to comment
Share on other sites

1 hour ago, Dolph said:

 I would like to be able to adjust the VTA which you can't do on the 1800 unless you do the mat changing thing and all that.

You are mistaking  VTA with SRA = Stylus Rack Angle

 

 

The Tonearm Height (VTA = Vertical Tracking Angle) and the Stylus Rake Angle (SRA)

The  "big" control variable and hopefully also -screw on the tonearm is the height adjustment, the adjustment of the so-called "Vertical Tracking Angle .

What the height adjustment of the tonearm is actually about, is to trim the angle of the needle's insertion into the record to the angle specified during vinyl cutting. This way you can correct the SRA (the Stylus Rake Angle). The standard for this (exceptions confirm the rule) is around 92 degrees when the needle is dipped with the correct weight. Why not 90 degrees? Because the cutting graver scratches out material when cutting vinyl, and to prevent the material from accumulating in front of the graver, you admit a few degrees, i.e. you cut at a slight angle. 92 degrees.

 

221260013_SRA.jpg.42a811914d576850d155dff20f440429.jpg

 

 

At this point I would like to emphasize once again that the described settings can be made by ear and taste, as always. Those who have practiced ears can and should use them. The bottom line is the same as with frequency response perception: what you really hear can also be measured. What cannot be measured is often only anchored in the human psyche.

 

Further some facts you should think about

 

The issue here is the compliance of the needle carrier. The compliance indicates how hard or soft the suspension of the needle carrier is, which in turn carries the scanning diamond. The unit of measurement of compliance is µm/mN. It is measured at 10 Hz.Some of them measure at 100 Hz. There is also a distinction between dynamic and static compliance. The dynamic one counts; and it is obtained by dividing the static value by two.

 

MM and MI cartridges have a higher needle compliance than MC cartridges, these have a more stiffer needle compliance

 

Low compliance = hard suspended systems = values between 6 and 12 µm/mN
Medium compliance = medium hard/medium soft suspended systems = values between 11 and 22 µm/mN

High compliance = soft suspended systems = 22 to 30 µm/mN

Very high compliance = very soft suspended systems = 30 to > 40 µm/mN

 

Tonearms can be roughly classified according to the following scale

 

Ultra light tonearm: 4 to 5 grams

Lightweight tonearm: 6 to 9 grams
Medium-weight tonearm: 9 to 15 grams (most of the arms used today)
Heavy tonearm: 19 to 24 grams
Very heavy tonearm: 25 grams and more

 

For tonearms with exchangeable headshells this must always be included.

 

Tonearm and cartridge as spring-mass system

The mentioned values/classifications are important because the combination of tonearm and cartridge represents a spring-mass system. Like all classic spring pendulums, such a combination has a natural frequency that depends on the hardness of the spring and the mass of the whole system. This is the famous "moving mass", and only this is decisive: If the hardness of the spring increases (i.e. with lower compliance), the resonant frequency increases. If, in turn, more mass is added, the resonant frequency decreases.

 

The excitation of the mass-spring-system and the consequences

Now what happens if you excite this mass-spring-system with its natural frequency? Logically: it resonates, so that the oscillation becomes extremely upsetting. These oscillations in turn superimpose other frequencies. They lead to disturbances or booming and color the sound image or restrict the exact reproduction of the music. For example, if the resonance frequency was 40 Hz and you were playing a nice bass tune, the needle could perform a dance and jump out of the groove.

 

 

Tonearm adjustment: many settings - lots of sound

 

When you start with the vinyl hobby, you think in a naive way: screw on the pickups, swing them out, roughly adjust the counterweight, and off you go. Unfortunately a wrong way - at least if you want to listen to music with high standards. Which pickup is already perfectly produced? Which needle is mounted exactly straight? Which needle carrier is at the exact angle in the generator?

 

Azimuth: mandatory setting of a good tonearm

 

The most obvious production errors can usually be detected with a sharp look at the needle carrier and needle. A magnifying glass or USB microscope can help enormously. If the needle or the needle carrier is obviously mounted crooked, you should complain about the pickup at the dealer. Slight misalignments can be compensated by using the mounting bracket in the headshell.

 

How to correct skewed needle carriers and diamonds

What can only be compensated for by adjusting the azimuth on the tonearm is a diamond inserted at a slight lateral angle, as unfortunately occurs in 80% of all cases with MC pickups. If you want an exact position of the needle in the groove and thus a perfect result, you have to measure and correct the azimuth. Many do this by ear. Respect, who can do that! The goal of an azimuth measurement is always to create a channel separation that is as equal as possible by using different angular positions of the headshell. With well produced pickups, the corrections are +/- 0.5 degrees or less to achieve the desired position. This sounds like little at first, but at one degree you can see the "skew" more than clearly.

 

Hope you can use these infos.

 

 

 

 

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

50 minutes ago, ODS123 said:

 

What is clear from your post is that you obviously cherish your vinyl collection and seem devoted to playing it for some time to come.  ..Also, it would appear your Technics 1800 is quite long in the tooth.  Lastly, it seems you have the means to buy the 1210GR if only you can justify the cost.  

 

It it were me, I'd buy the 1210gr and be done with ever upgrading my turntable; it will truly be all the TT you will ever need.  Your current table is old enough that it's likely you'll experience some issues in the not too distant future.  And when you do, there's no guarantee you'll be able to find a tech and or parts for the repair.  And at that point, the 1210GR may either be more expensive or out-of-production.

 

You've waited this long to upgrade, no one could accuse you of being frivolous w/ your $$  

 

Just my $.02 (which may have an actual cash value of closer to $.01)  :)

Yes, I think you're pickin up what I'm layin down.

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

28 minutes ago, MicroMara said:

You are mistaking  VTA with SRA = Stylus Rack Angle

 

 

The Tonearm Height (VTA = Vertical Tracking Angle) and the Stylus Rake Angle (SRA)

The  "big" control variable and hopefully also -screw on the tonearm is the height adjustment, the adjustment of the so-called "Vertical Tracking Angle .

What the height adjustment of the tonearm is actually about, is to trim the angle of the needle's insertion into the record to the angle specified during vinyl cutting. This way you can correct the SRA (the Stylus Rake Angle). The standard for this (exceptions confirm the rule) is around 92 degrees when the needle is dipped with the correct weight. Why not 90 degrees? Because the cutting graver scratches out material when cutting vinyl, and to prevent the material from accumulating in front of the graver, you admit a few degrees, i.e. you cut at a slight angle. 92 degrees.

 

221260013_SRA.jpg.42a811914d576850d155dff20f440429.jpg

 

 

At this point I would like to emphasize once again that the described settings can be made by ear and taste, as always. Those who have practiced ears can and should use them. The bottom line is the same as with frequency response perception: what you really hear can also be measured. What cannot be measured is often only anchored in the human psyche.

 

Further some facts you should think about

 

The issue here is the compliance of the needle carrier. The compliance indicates how hard or soft the suspension of the needle carrier is, which in turn carries the scanning diamond. The unit of measurement of compliance is µm/mN. It is measured at 10 Hz.Some of them measure at 100 Hz. There is also a distinction between dynamic and static compliance. The dynamic one counts; and it is obtained by dividing the static value by two.

 

MM and MI cartridges have a higher needle compliance than MC cartridges, these have a more stiffer needle compliance

 

Low compliance = hard suspended systems = values between 6 and 12 µm/mN
Medium compliance = medium hard/medium soft suspended systems = values between 11 and 22 µm/mN

High compliance = soft suspended systems = 22 to 30 µm/mN

Very high compliance = very soft suspended systems = 30 to > 40 µm/mN

 

Tonearms can be roughly classified according to the following scale

 

Ultra light tonearm: 4 to 5 grams

Lightweight tonearm: 6 to 9 grams
Medium-weight tonearm: 9 to 15 grams (most of the arms used today)
Heavy tonearm: 19 to 24 grams
Very heavy tonearm: 25 grams and more

 

For tonearms with exchangeable headshells this must always be included.

 

Tonearm and cartridge as spring-mass system

The mentioned values/classifications are important because the combination of tonearm and cartridge represents a spring-mass system. Like all classic spring pendulums, such a combination has a natural frequency that depends on the hardness of the spring and the mass of the whole system. This is the famous "moving mass", and only this is decisive: If the hardness of the spring increases (i.e. with lower compliance), the resonant frequency increases. If, in turn, more mass is added, the resonant frequency decreases.

 

The excitation of the mass-spring-system and the consequences

Now what happens if you excite this mass-spring-system with its natural frequency? Logically: it resonates, so that the oscillation becomes extremely upsetting. These oscillations in turn superimpose other frequencies. They lead to disturbances or booming and color the sound image or restrict the exact reproduction of the music. For example, if the resonance frequency was 40 Hz and you were playing a nice bass tune, the needle could perform a dance and jump out of the groove.

 

 

Tonearm adjustment: many settings - lots of sound

 

When you start with the vinyl hobby, you think in a naive way: screw on the pickups, swing them out, roughly adjust the counterweight, and off you go. Unfortunately a wrong way - at least if you want to listen to music with high standards. Which pickup is already perfectly produced? Which needle is mounted exactly straight? Which needle carrier is at the exact angle in the generator?

 

Azimuth: mandatory setting of a good tonearm

 

The most obvious production errors can usually be detected with a sharp look at the needle carrier and needle. A magnifying glass or USB microscope can help enormously. If the needle or the needle carrier is obviously mounted crooked, you should complain about the pickup at the dealer. Slight misalignments can be compensated by using the mounting bracket in the headshell.

 

How to correct skewed needle carriers and diamonds

What can only be compensated for by adjusting the azimuth on the tonearm is a diamond inserted at a slight lateral angle, as unfortunately occurs in 80% of all cases with MC pickups. If you want an exact position of the needle in the groove and thus a perfect result, you have to measure and correct the azimuth. Many do this by ear. Respect, who can do that! The goal of an azimuth measurement is always to create a channel separation that is as equal as possible by using different angular positions of the headshell. With well produced pickups, the corrections are +/- 0.5 degrees or less to achieve the desired position. This sounds like little at first, but at one degree you can see the "skew" more than clearly.

 

Hope you can use these infos.

 

 

 

 

 

Thank you for the detailed info.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 1/11/2022 at 12:12 PM, Dolph said:

Hi. I'm a new member but have been following the forum for a little while. I am thinking about upgrading my turntable. My current is a technics SL1800 MK1 that I purchased back in 78. Still running fine. Since I've upgraded the rest of my system I'm thinking it may benefit from a new tt.

The New SL1200MK7 carries a lot of newer improvements ,  the  Coreless Direct Drive motor is  used in Higher end Technics TT's .

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Back in 2010, I was using an SL-1400 Mk.2, probably from 1978.  It seemed okay, but the controls were getting sticky and there was a ticking sound as the platter rotated, so I decided to get an SL-1210M5G while they were still available.  I got one of the last ones.

 

Naturally, it came without a cartridge, so I took the headshell from the 1400, with its Shure M97xE cartridge, and popped it onto the new M5G.  As well, I installed the thick Sorbothane Platter Matter mat that had been on the 1400, reasoning that it would perform better than the thin rubber Technics mat.  I adjusted the VTA to correct for the thicker mat, with the tonearm raised at the pivot end just slightly, as I found that improved the treble response a bit.  That’s something that you can easily and repeatably adjust, until it sounds perfect to your ears.

 

So there it was.  Everything that contacted the record surfaces was exactly the same with the new M5G as it had been with the 1400, so I wasn’t expecting to hear any difference.  WRONG!  The new turntable sounded much better, with more clarity and more authority in the bass notes.  I was surprised and impressed.  Later, I went to Sound Hounds, where I had bought the cartridge, and had them swap the cartridge onto the new silver headshell of the M5G and carefully align it, as they had done when I bought the cartridge a few years earlier.

 

There was no audible difference going from the old black headshell to the new silver one, but it did look better/correct, and its contact surfaces would have been cleaner.

 

I’m still happily listening to the SL-1210M5G, and it still looks and operates like it was brand new.  If I were in your place, I’d buy the SL-1200GR without hesitation.  Get your Ortofon cart checked for good stylus condition and carefully mounted and aligned on the new headshell, and you’ll be set for life, unless you want to upgrade your cartridge at some point in the future.

 

Part of the pleasure of owning something is the experience of using it, and for that reason I’d advise against getting a Mk. 7, since you’ll be reminded of its lower cost every time you use it.   Get the GR, and every time you use it, you’ll have a smile on your face.

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks to all for your insight. I've ordered the SL1210GR. I decided to go with black since I've been looking at the silver for over 40 yrs. I'm hoping to replicate Islander's experience, we'll see how it goes. It's hard to find them so I have it on backorder, hope it doesn't take too long. I'll let you folks know how it goes, thanks again for all your help.

  • Like 3
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

 Share

×
×
  • Create New...