Technics SL-1200GR Turntable Review & Comments

Discussion in 'Hi-Fi Stereo Systems & Separates' started by Ed Selley, Jul 4, 2017.


    1. Ed Selley

      Ed Selley
      AVF Reviewer

      Joined:
      Jun 26, 2003
      Messages:
      11,195
      Products Owned:
      1
      Products Wanted:
      2
      Trophy Points:
      166
      Ratings:
      +3,667
      • Like Like x 4
      • Thanks Thanks x 1
      • List
    2. Roohster

      Roohster
      Distinguished Member

      Joined:
      Jul 1, 2004
      Messages:
      3,873
      Products Owned:
      3
      Products Wanted:
      0
      Trophy Points:
      166
      Location:
      Derbyshire
      Ratings:
      +3,911
      Great to see this icon back, but it's so pricey!

      I still have an old 1210 and it's absolutely bulletproof, great build quality.
      Added an AT cart a couple of years ago and it sounds fine.
       
    3. DT79

      DT79
      Member

      Joined:
      Feb 6, 2008
      Messages:
      236
      Products Owned:
      0
      Products Wanted:
      0
      Trophy Points:
      28
      Ratings:
      +91
      Ed, when you tried the acromat, out of interest, did you replace the supplied rubber mat, or just put it on top?
       
    4. Grumble

      Grumble
      Active Member

      Joined:
      Mar 16, 2005
      Messages:
      221
      Products Owned:
      17
      Products Wanted:
      0
      Trophy Points:
      31
      Location:
      St. Andrews, Fife
      Ratings:
      +83
      My SL-120 with SME arm, purchased in 1974, is still playing my vinyl today.
       
    5. Ed Selley

      Ed Selley
      AVF Reviewer

      Joined:
      Jun 26, 2003
      Messages:
      11,195
      Products Owned:
      1
      Products Wanted:
      2
      Trophy Points:
      166
      Ratings:
      +3,667
      Replaced it. There's a special lipped Achromat for this purpose.
       
    6. DT79

      DT79
      Member

      Joined:
      Feb 6, 2008
      Messages:
      236
      Products Owned:
      0
      Products Wanted:
      0
      Trophy Points:
      28
      Ratings:
      +91
      Thanks - yes I have one on my SL-1210! I was just wondering.

      BTW, I've been using the acromat with an Origin Live mat on top of it recently and I think that sounds even better.
       
    7. pressure

      pressure
      Active Member

      Joined:
      Dec 4, 2006
      Messages:
      880
      Products Owned:
      0
      Products Wanted:
      0
      Trophy Points:
      66
      Location:
      Sheffield
      Ratings:
      +406
      Good to see. I still have a 1200 and a 1210 in the studio, mainly for Serato / digital DJing but the 1200 is increasingly used for ripping rare vinyl.

      Stick a nice Grado cartridge in the Ortofon headshell (as you say, a big improvement over the stock cartridge for home listening) and plug it into a nice phono stage (my SL2 box works well for this, though I have a Graham Slee box for special records) and you get an extremely nice sound.

      There's one feature on these new turntables that would be useful for my classic 'tables but which I suspect will be a PITA for audiophile listeners: no centre detent on the pitch control. Vinyl DJs regularly pitch all records up to avoid the centre detent when mixing, because it gets in the way when beat matching, making fine adjustments problematic. In contrast, at home you'd typically want the exact speed to be instantly available. Not sure that's a good decision.

      On the subject of pricing: lets compare your £1300 pro-level DJ turntable with a pro-level CDJ from Pioneer. You could get a CDJ850 for £839, although the waveform display isn't up to much, so you might want to reach for the 900Nexus at £1239. But the standard in clubs is the CDJ2000-NXS2, which is a whopping £1959.

      Makes the 1200GR look good value doesn't it?
       
      • Like Like x 2
      • Agree Agree x 1
      • List
    8. geogan

      geogan
      Well-known Member

      Joined:
      Nov 28, 2005
      Messages:
      1,272
      Products Owned:
      25
      Products Wanted:
      12
      Trophy Points:
      117
      Location:
      Ireland
      Ratings:
      +589
      Never knew that. Interesting. I always played or ripped my house/dance vinyl at the default speed in centre detent.

      One thing is for sure - if this new one is built better than the originals, then it will be rock solid playing without skipping while loud speakers vibrate it nearby. I have used them in clubs with giant floor to ceiling subwoofers at huge volume within 6" away from decks and they still damped the vibration and didn't skip or affect sound.

      Some of the very cheap and lightly built rivals that were around a few years ago, and being flogged now to the young hipsters, would skip and jump if a fly landed on a table near them.
       
      • Like Like x 1
      • Agree Agree x 1
      • List
      Last edited: Jul 4, 2017
    9. LicensedTaximan

      LicensedTaximan
      Well-known Member

      Joined:
      Jul 6, 2004
      Messages:
      2,563
      Products Owned:
      0
      Products Wanted:
      1
      Trophy Points:
      136
      Location:
      London....City of contrast.
      Ratings:
      +653
      I still have my (fully working and as new) Thorens TD125 Mk 2 belt driven turntable with the ubiquitous SME 3009 series two improved nine inch fixed head arm and the Shure V15 Mk3 cartridge. Some years ago I was fortunate to purchased a couple of new genuine Thorens 125 turntable belts as spares from an address given in Hi-Fi News.

      I originaly bought the turntable (without the plinth) from a trade outlet in Tottenham Ct Road called (I think) Lugtons in and around the mid seventies. I also bought the "SME" arm and "Shure" cartridge from the same outlet. I can't remember how much I paid for the turntable now but it wasn't that much compared to the retail price. But I remember that the cartridge cost me around twenty five pounds and the arm was just under thirty. :rolleyes:

      I was working in a music instrument shop at the time as a salesman next to a building called "Centre Point" which still very much exists (in fact it's where there is major roadworks going on for the new "Crossrail" line now renamed the "Elizabeth Line") hence the reason that I was able to buy it from a trade outlet with a legitimate shop headed order request even though we didn't sell Hi-Fi equipment, and therefore obviously before I went on "The Knowledge" to become a licensed London taxi driver. I bought the plinth separately directly from Thorens by the way. In those far off days I was earning a very, very small amount of money (sales persons did in those days) but I was living at home with my parents and therefore had no outgoings to speak of so I was able to afford (at trade price I might add again) a reasonably high-ish end turntable arm and cartridge. It will probably outlast me. :cool:

      Below is a picture of the aformentioned turntable, arm and cartridge although this image is not actually my one as I have the non shiny platter and black feet underneath the plinth as opposed to the brass looking ones. I also replaced the "Thorens" mat with an "Audio Ref" one and fitted a black metal "Michell" record clamp and opposite the the "SME" arm a "Bib" record cleaner which resembles a small version of a turntable arm.



      [​IMG]
       
      Last edited: Jul 5, 2017
    10. Ed Selley

      Ed Selley
      AVF Reviewer

      Joined:
      Jun 26, 2003
      Messages:
      11,195
      Products Owned:
      1
      Products Wanted:
      2
      Trophy Points:
      166
      Ratings:
      +3,667
      Hit the Reset button and regardless of what you've done with the pitch control, the GR will return to the posted speed.
       
    11. gringottsdirect

      gringottsdirect
      Active Member

      Joined:
      Jan 11, 2002
      Messages:
      2,906
      Products Owned:
      0
      Products Wanted:
      0
      Trophy Points:
      71
      Location:
      50 Rue St Georges, Paris.
      Ratings:
      +32
      Had one of these but with a Cecil E. Watts Dustbug rather than a BIB. Went through a phase of using a Pixall Roller but that abruptly stopped when it removed a slither of label from my Tubular Bells.

      Have a few Technics, from the SL-7, SL-10 jacket models through SL-1200/1210. The SL-7 was quite amusing back then being able to play on its side or even upside down. Like many I replaced the fitted Technics EPCP202C with the Shure V15LT, a cartridge which cost more than half as much as the turntable - but was worth it.

      The concept of using {I refuse to say running as it brings back memories of buffs asking what speakers am I running, to be horrified when told Mission 770} a Technics SL-1210 or any other Technics back then, with the possible exception of the SL-10 which had a following would be seriously challenged or outright dismissed by any Naim evangelist.
      To read a review 30 or so years on wherein a Technics turntable is tested with a Cyrus Phono Signature phono stage, Naim Supernait2 integrated amplifier and Neat Momentum 4i floorstanders is quite startling.
      I have quite a few of all sorts of turntables, pretty much all working perfectly, some of the motorised linear tracking motors are a bit weary but other than that fine. My SL-1210 has probably turned more miles than my car.

      Have our ears changed, or is there just refreshingly less BS nowadays. Next thing we'll be told Technics amplifiers were actually pretty good too.
       
    12. Deleted member 598831

      Deleted member 598831
      Guest

      Products Owned:
      0
      Products Wanted:
      0
      Ratings:
      +0
      Nice read Ed Selley. So for a lot more money its a very good turntable. I wonder how a highly modded 1210 would compete.

      But thanks for the review, its good they brought the legend back.
       
    13. LicensedTaximan

      LicensedTaximan
      Well-known Member

      Joined:
      Jul 6, 2004
      Messages:
      2,563
      Products Owned:
      0
      Products Wanted:
      1
      Trophy Points:
      136
      Location:
      London....City of contrast.
      Ratings:
      +653
      I also used to use a Pixall Roller (i've still got it with complete with the sticky rollers) but I don't anymore. Instead when playing an LP (oops vinyl :rolleyes:) I use a Cecil Watts Preener, a type of brush in the middle with soft outer edges on both sides of the brush. As one cannot buy the proper CW fluid anymore (as far as I know) I use other cleaning agents with just as much success and it's a darn site cheaper than purchasing an electric vinyl cleaning machine at a couple of hundred quid or (much) more.

      As regards "have our ears changed".... hmm it's a moot point just as with one's eyes as we get older, but having listened to a crackle and pop free LP recently, well imo I don't think so. Of course the saving grace of CD is no "flip over" especially on classical music, e.g symphonies, and no warps, pops or the dreaded "click". But would I ever replace my turntable setup, apart from maybe when the stylus in the cartridge wears out (and even then one can get styli replacements from the likes of "Ed Saunders" and "Jico").... never. ;)
       
      Last edited: Jul 5, 2017
    14. pressure

      pressure
      Active Member

      Joined:
      Dec 4, 2006
      Messages:
      880
      Products Owned:
      0
      Products Wanted:
      0
      Trophy Points:
      66
      Location:
      Sheffield
      Ratings:
      +406
      Yes @geogan, no doubt that 1210s can take a lot of vibration that other decks cannot.

      Not so good when the crowd in a full club pushes right up to the booth cos it's turned into a mosh pit and the whole stage rocks! One reason i tend to play off USB these days...

      I like vinyl and still do releases on wax but I'm not wedded to it. I think @Ed Selley put it well on the last podcast, "it may not measure as well as other formats but it can sound ridiculously good".
       
      • Like Like x 2
      • Agree Agree x 1
      • List
    15. gringottsdirect

      gringottsdirect
      Active Member

      Joined:
      Jan 11, 2002
      Messages:
      2,906
      Products Owned:
      0
      Products Wanted:
      0
      Trophy Points:
      71
      Location:
      50 Rue St Georges, Paris.
      Ratings:
      +32
      Some were convinced CEW fluid had mysteriously magical properties, isopropyl alcohol which I'd never heard of, colourless meths said some, whilst a good few argued it was distilled water. I've seen dustbugs on gumtree selling with empty bottles. Had a Zerostat gun too, which I didn't believe actually worked until I fired it at Captain Fantastic & The Brown Dirt Cowboy which the inner sleeve always stuck to the gatefold sleeve, but stopped after being shot.
      I've never used Preeners but I can clearly remember the smell of a black velvet cylinder, kept in a clear plastic tube, which I really can't remember the name of.
      Quite surreal some of the record player rituals. I remember a double-page feature in Popular Hi-Fi about an old guy, must have been in his 30s (!), his hi-fi was in his shed at the bottom of the garden, Garrard 401 turntable, concrete plinth, Decca London cartridge, Sugden A48 amplifier, Tannoy horn speakers the size of a washing machine. Spent a fortune but worth it to escape from the wife.
      Strange thing was, nobody thought it at all strange he only had ONE recording - a Deutsche Grammophon 60's Karajan Der Ring des Nibelungen.
      His belief was he shouldn't waste time listening to anything else.
       
    16. LicensedTaximan

      LicensedTaximan
      Well-known Member

      Joined:
      Jul 6, 2004
      Messages:
      2,563
      Products Owned:
      0
      Products Wanted:
      1
      Trophy Points:
      136
      Location:
      London....City of contrast.
      Ratings:
      +653
      I also had one of those untill it stopped working. But I found it of very limited use for me so when it packed up I didn't bother replacing it. ;)
       
    17. series1boy

      series1boy
      Active Member

      Joined:
      Apr 15, 2011
      Messages:
      176
      Products Owned:
      0
      Products Wanted:
      0
      Trophy Points:
      31
      Location:
      Sheffield
      Ratings:
      +48
      For the DJ, these won't make any difference to the original 1210s.. it's all about technical ability. Although, pioneer have the lead in clubs and they play traktor, CDs and USB sticks with the odd technics for some DJ's to play their vinyl..

      I'm not sure if the sound is any better on these new decks, but I'm glad Panasonic have decided to bring these back out again.


      Long live Vinyl :)
       
    18. Lamberto22

      Lamberto22
      Banned

      Joined:
      Jul 21, 2017
      Messages:
      24
      Products Owned:
      0
      Products Wanted:
      0
      Trophy Points:
      3
      Location:
      Canada
      Ratings:
      +18
      I'd love this table:)
       
    19. samd1980

      samd1980
      Standard Member

      Joined:
      Mar 14, 2007
      Messages:
      18
      Products Owned:
      0
      Products Wanted:
      0
      Trophy Points:
      1
      Ratings:
      +0
      The issue with the notch for 0% pitch adjust on the older model was that although you might assume that pulling the slider down would reduce speed and pushing it up would increase it, there was often another 0% point on this sliding scale. So, from the notch (at 0%) you could push up and the record would slow momentarily (maybe to -0.5%) until you got high enough to reach the other 0% and then you could get into positive +% speeds! I never looked into whether this was something that could be fixed, but I'm pretty sure I experienced it on quite a few sets of decks.

      Also regarding the point about 1200 (silver) or 1210 (black), within DJing I always heard that silver was favoured by hip-hop DJs and black by house/techno DJs. Anyone else heard this?
       
    20. southleft

      southleft
      Member

      Joined:
      Aug 5, 2015
      Messages:
      25
      Products Owned:
      0
      Products Wanted:
      0
      Trophy Points:
      3
      Location:
      earth
      Ratings:
      +22
      In those days I was working in a Hi-Fi store (in W. Yorks. and later Oxford) where the debate about Direct Drive vs. Belt Drive was an ongoing topic. Many of us who had the opportunity to listen at length to various components and systems felt strongly that belt-driven turntables with precision machined heavy platters and center bearings sounded better than their direct-drive counterparts. You can hear deeper into the soundstage, more fine detail, better instrument placement and, dare I mention it, more foot-tapping rhythm. Thorens TD-150 was the moderately priced option and Thorens TD-125 was the heavier, premium version of that coil spring suspended sub-platter assembly and plinth. These two models consistently provided more toe-tapping enjoyment than Technics SL-120 or SL1200Mk.II. King of the castle was the even more costly Linn Sondek LP12. It was so good that Thorens even modified their own coil spring design later on to lower its resonant frequency further. (We used to mod TD150s for friends with a bit of foam rubber to clean up the mid-bass.) Provided the center bearing lubricant oil is replaced once every few thousand hours of play, there's a lifetime of enjoyment to be had from them.
       
      • Like Like x 1
      • Agree Agree x 1
      • List
    21. gringottsdirect

      gringottsdirect
      Active Member

      Joined:
      Jan 11, 2002
      Messages:
      2,906
      Products Owned:
      0
      Products Wanted:
      0
      Trophy Points:
      71
      Location:
      50 Rue St Georges, Paris.
      Ratings:
      +32
      Yet...despite offering a supposedly marked shortfall in in foot-tapping rhythm and reduced toe-tapping enjoyment the Technics has been embraced by professionals whose intention is to encourage people to dance. How strange!

      Imagine how full the dance floors would be if they adopted a Thorens instead.

      I'm incredibly sceptical of the foot-tapping theory, especially since I now have these iconic turntables to play with at home. I remember first reading about FTT in Popular Hi-Fi, possibly Jimmy Hughes, definitely not Alvin Gold, suggesting that Randy Crawford's album Secret Combination, had inner subconscious rhythms unlocked by an LP12/Ittok/Asak - You Might Need Somebody revealing hitherto unheard Jeff Porcaro footwork drum patterns.

      Nope - could be just me though...
       
    22. LicensedTaximan

      LicensedTaximan
      Well-known Member

      Joined:
      Jul 6, 2004
      Messages:
      2,563
      Products Owned:
      0
      Products Wanted:
      1
      Trophy Points:
      136
      Location:
      London....City of contrast.
      Ratings:
      +653
      I've got some proper bearing lubricant which I used some time ago and the turntable is still as quite as it was when it was new all those years ago. As I said originally my TD125 MK2 will probably outlast me. In fact it nearly happened last year because on May 1st I suffered a heart attack and had a stent fitted on that date. Then four weeks later I underwent a triple heart bypass at St Barts hospital in central London. At least i'm still here to (amongst other little things like being here for family :love: :rolleyes:) still be able to listen to my luvverlee TD125 mk2 turntable. :thumbsup:
       
      Last edited: Jul 26, 2017
    23. southleft

      southleft
      Member

      Joined:
      Aug 5, 2015
      Messages:
      25
      Products Owned:
      0
      Products Wanted:
      0
      Trophy Points:
      3
      Location:
      earth
      Ratings:
      +22
      Ohh - touchy! Ease up there a moment. Don't know where you get the "marked shortfall ..." from; it certainly wasn't me. Early SL-1200s were very resonant with little resistance to or damping of unwanted acoustic feedback. A simple test was to play an LP, adjust the amplifier or receiver's volume to your desired listening level, then stop the turntable while leaving the stylus in the record groove. Then tap on the SL-1200's plinth and you'd hear that tap loud & clear through the speakers. The same could be said for many, many other turntables. Later versions of the SL-1200 became progressively better damped so that they acted less and less like a sounding board for acoustic feedback. DJs who used the early SL-1200 quickly discovered they needed heavy rubber mats and other tricks to avoid the worst of the feedback. Some even designed their consoles with a sprung suspension shelf or shelves for the turntable to rest on when in use. After the session they would press down on the deck and reach under the console to engage a lock lever to make it rigid and safe for transport. The idea of a shelf which is isolated from vibration is a good one for every type of turntable no matter what kind of suspension or damping it has.
      The big attractions of direct-drive are that it reaches full speed in less than a second, it has variable pitch, and back-cueing is easy and problem free (assuming you're using a cartridge and stylus assembly designed to withstand back-cueing - thank you Stanton). AND, with suitable damping and isolation it could produce really solid, toe-tapping sound! Belt-driven turntables, in contrast, can only lay claim to the sound quality aspect. They lack all those other advantages.
      Obviously, there's no point in arguing whether one design inherently sounds better than another. We each have our favorite which makes it the best for us. Having said that, consider for a moment one aspect of engineering a turntable. The music we hear begins when the compliantly mounted stylus is caused to rapidly move in microscopic amounts by the undulations in the record groove. If anything is added or subtracted from those tiny vibrations the result is distortion. Many turntable plinths (or bases, if you prefer), platters, and even pickup arms are excessively microphonic, i.e. they are susceptible to acoustic feedback in a BIG way and that will add to or cancel out some of the wanted vibrations. Heck, even the vinyl LP itself needs a bit of damping to avoid contributing to distortion. The significance of this may increase with heavier tracking weights and lower compliance stylus assemblies, and the significance of those considerations is greater as pickup arm bearing friction increases, thus increasing the measured moment of inertia which, in turn, measurably reduces accurate groove tracking ... and we're back where we started at the beginning of this excessive run-on sentence! Anyway, it's all about getting the wanted vibrations and rejecting the unwanted vibrations. There's more than one way to get there, and low resonance, sprung suspension turntables with a massive platter weighted at the outer edge for maximum flywheel effect and housed in a rigid plinth begin life with an advantage over most other designs. No ju-ju there, just toe-tapping mechanical engineering.
       
    24. southleft

      southleft
      Member

      Joined:
      Aug 5, 2015
      Messages:
      25
      Products Owned:
      0
      Products Wanted:
      0
      Trophy Points:
      3
      Location:
      earth
      Ratings:
      +22
      Maybe a little bearing lubricant in the arteries would help?
       
    25. gringottsdirect

      gringottsdirect
      Active Member

      Joined:
      Jan 11, 2002
      Messages:
      2,906
      Products Owned:
      0
      Products Wanted:
      0
      Trophy Points:
      71
      Location:
      50 Rue St Georges, Paris.
      Ratings:
      +32
      Golly not at all, just the foot tap had me thinking back to the magazine philosophers and some of the dealer evangelists. I'm not saying it isn't a thing but I can't pick it up.
      I know sticking Blu-Tac underneath the platter of 1200s to reduce their ringing was suggested, can remember lengthy articles about why direct-drive meant the turntable was incapable of running at the right speed, and demonstrations of why the acrylic lid should be detached. There was a very good demo in a Harrogate hotel room one year of how turntable sound varies. When the lid was attached to a turntable a very loud bass feedback loop was formed that boomed through the speakers - but only when the hotel room door was opened, with the door shut it went away - removing the lid stopped it happening. This was described as an eigentone, the suggestion was that in the future electronics and computers will be used to optimise hi-fi to work better by tuning out room resonances.

      My favourite turntable at the moment is a JVC QL-Y66F, a very nicely finished direct drive model. I am interested in all aspects of hi-fi and pick up second-hand turntables and bits and bobs, amps, speakers etc wherever they pop up. With turntables I appreciate the designs of course, but don't really feel they sound better one way or the other much but as I say that's just me.

      Was only being playful about Technics etc being used for vinyl replay in clubs. Many years ago Radio 1/Radio Caroline icon Emperor Rosko advocated vinyl being obsolete and that cassettes were so much better - which is why he surprised many by using them at his gigs because they were immune to vibrations and feedback.
      Never really thought so many years later bands would be releasing cassettes or that vinyl would be so popular again.
      Jvc QLY66F Direct Drive.mov
       
    26. southleft

      southleft
      Member

      Joined:
      Aug 5, 2015
      Messages:
      25
      Products Owned:
      0
      Products Wanted:
      0
      Trophy Points:
      3
      Location:
      earth
      Ratings:
      +22
      That JVC deck is a beautiful piece of engineering! Love the motorised lateral movement. Speaking of which, did you ever see the Bang & Olufsen Beogram 4000 (and later models) with the parallel tracking magnesium alloy arm?
       
    27. gringottsdirect

      gringottsdirect
      Active Member

      Joined:
      Jan 11, 2002
      Messages:
      2,906
      Products Owned:
      0
      Products Wanted:
      0
      Trophy Points:
      71
      Location:
      50 Rue St Georges, Paris.
      Ratings:
      +32
      Yes my friend had a full B&O system including fairly unusual metal tower speakers around 5ft high - four of them - can't remember him playing anything except Dark Side Of The Moon or Peter Gabriel - ever. Seem to recall him having a major whinge at the cost of a replacement stylus. I really like the similar era B&O music centres, so slim, but really weighty, and touch controls from the future!
       

    Share This Page

    Loading...
  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.
    Dismiss Notice