Technics SL1200-improving sound?

R

robotix

Guest
My current turntable setup consists of a standard sl1200 with stanton 680 ELII cart & TCC TC-750LC preamp which I'm using to convert vinyl to wav. I'm no audiophile but was wondering how to further improve the sound without the need to spend ages tweaking it on the computer.

The things I'm considering are:

1) Upgrading the phono lead. This one seems simple to fit & is the cheapest option

http://www.hydrawire.com/technics.htm

2) Upgrading the tonearm to the basic origin live one, but possibly adding some of the upgrades aswell, such as the structural upgrade.

Has anyone done either of these mods & if so how do they compare to the sound/performance of an original technics?

Another option is to try another cart, as the only ones I've used so far are primarily meant for dj use, although I believe the current one is meant to be one of the better sounding ones.

In my quest to find better sound I'm already on to my 2nd preamp, as the first one, a terratec usb one added a whistling noise to the recordings.

Any thoughts?

Cheers

Rob
 

overkill

Distinguished Member
My current turntable setup consists of a standard sl1200 with stanton 680 ELII cart & TCC TC-750LC preamp which I'm using to convert vinyl to wav. I'm no audiophile but was wondering how to further improve the sound without the need to spend ages tweaking it on the computer.

The things I'm considering are:

1) Upgrading the phono lead. This one seems simple to fit & is the cheapest option

http://www.hydrawire.com/technics.htm

2) Upgrading the tonearm to the basic origin live one, but possibly adding some of the upgrades aswell, such as the structural upgrade.

Has anyone done either of these mods & if so how do they compare to the sound/performance of an original technics?

Another option is to try another cart, as the only ones I've used so far are primarily meant for dj use, although I believe the current one is meant to be one of the better sounding ones.

In my quest to find better sound I'm already on to my 2nd preamp, as the first one, a terratec usb one added a whistling noise to the recordings.

Any thoughts?

Cheers

Rob
Tbh I wouldn't bother lashing out if you are just converting to digital in order to get rid of the vinyl. Get a decent software package such as Sonic foundry. SF is easy to use and highly tweakable. I've rescued some pretty duff sounding tapes using it, and they sound about as pristine as some of the CD's I've bought retail. Mind you, that's not saying much as many CD's sound as though the Engineer/Producer had a heavy cold that day, or like the earlier Muse discs, didn't realise what 'clipping' means..........:D

I would recommend hunting down a decent phono cable from the Amp to PC. I use a QED two phono to 3.5 which did bring about a big improvement. On the Cartridge side, yes, a decent hifi cartridge will bring improvements, but again I wouldn't go nuts if you are looking to dump the vinyl. It's just not cost effective. Even a basic Origin Live arm is around £370-450 plus a cartridge, and that would have bought quite a few CD's to replace the old Vinyl.

Don't get me wrong, I use Vinyl as my main source, but I cannot see the point in spending big if the TT is only going to be used in the short term then dumped.
 

Cable Monkey

Novice Member
The Technics decks are not built for out and out fidelity and as such you may find any money spent brings minimal returns though I would imagine any deck with a cult following will have lots of tips on how to trick them out. If you are going to spend cash then buy a budget turntable with better tweakability and an audiophile phono amp.
 

Pat Marcus

Active Member
I dont agree. I have done exactly the kind of upgrade you are considering. The Technics SL1200/1210 is actually a pretty decent deck that is crying out for a better arm and cartridge combo.
As you can see from my sig, Im a vinyl fan and love my Vpi. What isnt included is the fact that Ive also got a pair of Technics SL1210s that Ive modded with the OL arm board and then installed a Michell tecnoarm (a) into each. The tecnoarm A is basically a slightly improved Rega RB250 with internal rewire and counterweight. As such, it fits the OL arm board, perfectly. As a DJing turntable tracking and cueing were much improved but most importantly, it transformed the sound. For a while I was using the deck/arm combo with a £1500 Ortofon jubilee MC cartridge and it sounded stunning.
PM me if youve got any questions.
 

overkill

Distinguished Member
I dont agree. I have done exactly the kind of upgrade you are considering. The Technics SL1200/1210 is actually a pretty decent deck that is crying out for a better arm and cartridge combo.
As you can see from my sig, Im a vinyl fan and love my Vpi. What isnt included is the fact that Ive also got a pair of Technics SL1210s that Ive modded with the OL arm board and then installed a Michell tecnoarm (a) into each. The tecnoarm A is basically a slightly improved Rega RB250 with internal rewire and counterweight. As such, it fits the OL arm board, perfectly. As a DJing turntable tracking and cueing were much improved but most importantly, it transformed the sound. For a while I was using the deck/arm combo with a £1500 Ortofon jubilee MC cartridge and it sounded stunning.
PM me if youve got any questions.
This is all well and good Pat, and I wouldn't argue. However, the OP (apparently) is looking to digitise his vinyl collection, not improve his vinyl playback for future use. If that is the case, and if the OP gets back to us with verification one way of the other that would be useful, then splashing out on a load of gear just for making CD versions is an outlay that should be kept minimal as it's only a short term investment.

If he/she is looking to keep using vinyl replay then that advice is sound, and I would run with it.
 

Cable Monkey

Novice Member
So how much did you spend to achieve that Pat?:)
 
R

robotix

Guest
Thanks for the advice. You've given me a few things to consider.

I don't think I'll be able to justify spending £1,500 on a cart though Pat :D

The purpose of this exercise is indeed to digitise my collection, but I'm doing this primarily to give me a larger catalogue of music on the move, and make the music more accessible (I have around 1,000 12" singles). Definitely not looking to ditch the TT though.

Also I don't think replacing the vinyl with cds is an option since my collection mainly consists of hard to find dance vinyl (unavailable on cd) so it seems digitising is the only option at this moment in time.
 

dingwall

Banned
I have the Technics, it sounds great, and use it all the time for primary listening. Better than almost all my CD players, and I certainly don't need to constantly tweak anything! The question is why doesn't yours sound good?

More to the point why are you worried about digitising something which sounds poor? Or are you saying it only sounds bad after you record it?
 

overkill

Distinguished Member
Thanks for the advice. You've given me a few things to consider.

I don't think I'll be able to justify spending £1,500 on a cart though Pat :D

The purpose of this exercise is indeed to digitise my collection, but I'm doing this primarily to give me a larger catalogue of music on the move, and make the music more accessible (I have around 1,000 12" singles). Definitely not looking to ditch the TT though.

Also I don't think replacing the vinyl with cds is an option since my collection mainly consists of hard to find dance vinyl (unavailable on cd) so it seems digitising is the only option at this moment in time.
That being the case, I would look to change the cartridge for a genuine hifi version. Changing the arm cable might help, but after changing mine (on an RB600) I'm not that convinced. Changing the cart would be the first move, after that the phono stage. Give us an approximate budget, and we can make suggestions for both.

If you want to think about the software (Sonic Foundry) give me a PM and I will got through it with you.
 

nwgarratt

Member
The 1200/1210 sounds fantastic as HiFi. I have had one along with a SL 1700 for years (from 1970's). Technics Direct Drive turntables haven't changed in 30 odd years.

I use Shure cartridges with mine which suited the decks very well. The M75 was just £25 of ebay and is about just as old as the 1700. The other was brand new M97 at £90. I even prefer them to a £1000 deck I had.

I haven't modded them at all and used the supplied arm.
 

dingwall

Banned
As the original poster seems to have disappeared, I think I should make it clear to any passing readers that I also use an unmodded SL1200 as my turntable of choice, as does almost every broadcaster, DJ and nightclub in the land. I think it sounds fantastic.

The assertion (presumption?) that it will be easily beaten or even matched by a cheaper 'hi-fi oriented' table is completely wrong IMO. I have a Planar 3, and it is frankly made a mockery of by the Technics, which remember was designed as an audiophile deck itself anyway.

I use a Stanton Groovemaster, but have used Stanton 500s and similar and though the cartridge upgrade brings a significant improvement in quality, even the cheap cartridges sound great.

Prime candidates for poor sound have to be the rather dodgy looking phono amp being used and the soundcard, contrary to other suggestions given.
 

overkill

Distinguished Member
As the original poster seems to have disappeared, I think I should make it clear to any passing readers that I also use an unmodded SL1200 as my turntable of choice, as does almost every broadcaster, DJ and nightclub in the land. I think it sounds fantastic.

The assertion (presumption?) that it will be easily beaten or even matched by a cheaper 'hi-fi oriented' table is completely wrong IMO. I have a Planar 3, and it is frankly made a mockery of by the Technics, which remember was designed as an audiophile deck itself anyway.
I use a Stanton Groovemaster, but have used Stanton 500s and similar and though the cartridge upgrade brings a significant improvement in quality, even the cheap cartridges sound great.

Prime candidates for poor sound have to be the rather dodgy looking phono amp being used and the soundcard, contrary to other suggestions given.
Sorry, that's not what the Panasonic rep told us when we asked him what the spec of the SL1200 was. It is, and was always a DJ deck, with the emphasis on toughness, accurate speed control and flexibility - not 'audiophile' sound quality. His words. Having sold many SL1200's I do not agree that it is a poor deck fidelity wise, or that can be beaten easily by other similarly priced decks.

However, by the same token, having side by side demonstrated it, the notion that it is a full on audiophile TT is down to personal taste more than accuracy. Many customers chose decks like the Manticore Mantra (same price) over it on pure sonic qualities, and I have never sold one that a customer chose in preference to a true audiophile deck.

In my first post I pointed that out. ;) :D
 

nwgarratt

Member
That sales rep is talking rubbish. I have been using these decks for years so I should know something like how they sound.

The 1200/1210 is not a DJ deck. As I said, he technology was around for years before even the first 1200/1210 came out. They are Hi Fi Decks used by DJ's thanks to the excellent direct driuve and headshell system. It is however, the 1210/1200 has been tweaked for use by DJ's over the last couple of versions. This is just features such as improved pitch control and headshell storage (for switching headshells over quickly).

The mk II I have can compete very well against a Project RPM 9 which costs £1000 when I had it.

Have a look at the DD turntables here. They are all very similar (and some came out before the famous 1210/200 mkII). My SL 1700 mkI is also there.

http://www.vintagetechnics.com/turntables.htm
 

overkill

Distinguished Member
That sales rep is talking rubbish. I have been using these decks for years so I should know something like how they sound.

The 1200/1210 is not a DJ deck. As I said, he technology was around for years before even the first 1200/1210 came out. They are Hi Fi Decks used by DJ's thanks to the excellent direct driuve and headshell system. It is however, the 1210/1200 has been tweaked for use by DJ's over the last couple of versions. This is just features such as improved pitch control and headshell storage (for switching headshells over quickly).

The mk II I have can compete very well against a Project RPM 9 which costs £1000 when I had it.

Have a look at the DD turntables here. They are all very similar (and some came out before the famous 1210/200 mkII). My SL 1700 mkI is also there.

http://www.vintagetechnics.com/turntables.htm
I'm not going to get into a 'fanboy' flame war. If you know better than the company who manufacture the TT in question then good luck to you.

The SL1200 was built on existing technology - but it was built to specs for use as a DJ deck. If you think that's wrong well, good luck to you.

Me? That's quite enough after that post. :rolleyes:
 

nwgarratt

Member
I'm not going to get into a 'fanboy' flame war. If you know better than the company who manufacture the TT in question then good luck to you.
Did you even read my post?

I don't believe most of the crap coming out of sales reps.

Sometime in the early 70's Technics released the original SL-1200 as a hi-fi turntable. Then sometime around 1978-79 they did some work improving the motor, redesigning the casing, adding a separate ground wire, etc. and released the SL-1200Mark2. This is what the majority of DJ's have and this design still endures today
DJ's saw how good the mkII was so, they started using it after it came out. It wasn't designed for DJ's.

SL1200 FAQ
 

overkill

Distinguished Member
Did you even read my post?

I don't believe most of the crap coming out of sales reps.



DJ's saw how good the mkII was so, they started using it after it came out. It wasn't designed for DJ's.

SL1200 FAQ
Yes, and please stop posting aggressively. Other people are entitled to views contrary to yours.

Why would the rep lie? In particular as the rep in question was the senior rep for the SE of England and you are the first person, and someone who doesn't even know him, to tell me he was 'talking crap'. This is marvelous logic. He states the companies reasoning and purpose for the SL1200, it doesn't chime with your view so he is talking rubbish. Excuse me for accepting his somewhat more informed statement.

The extra features incorporated into the SL1200/10 are useless for someone who is merely using it as a hi-fi deck. Hence yes, it was designed for DJ's.

Panasonic say it was, so sorry that's good enough for me.

The sort of attitude you are taking is the one that gets threads closed.
 

dingwall

Banned
Calm down guys, you're arguing when you are in fact agreeing.

The Mk1 was only ever a hifi turntable. The improved Mk2 added professional features and casing. It is now marketed as a professional turntable, but is still better than many hifi designs (I'd say all its typical price of £300).

My comments about bad advice/budget turntables were directed at the moderator's contribution (not yours at all Overkill)...conspicious by his absence, so perhaps carry on with the war if only to tempt him out and defend himself :D
 

overkill

Distinguished Member
Calm down guys, you're arguing when you are in fact agreeing.

The Mk1 was only ever a hifi turntable. The improved Mk2 added professional features and casing. It is now marketed as a professional turntable, but is still better than many hifi designs (I'd say all its typical price of £300).

My comments about bad advice/budget turntables were directed at the moderator's contribution (not yours at all Overkill)...conspicious by his absence, so perhaps carry on with the war if only to tempt him out and defend himself :D
Thank you Dingwall for clearing that up. :)

Yes, the MK1 was not aimed at the DJ market, it did pick up a good following in clubs, but Panasonic did not aim it at them. However, as the MKII's advertising blurb states it was 'a professional' TT and with 'specific features for DJ's' the rep was correct in his comments. Technics were careful not to alienate the home user, but the glossy shows the market the MKII was clearly aimed at. The new features were of no, or limited use to the home buyer, and that really stamped where the TT was going. Now it's pretty much exclusively seen at DJ dealerships.

As I said before, it is a good TT and in some households, (mine for example!) with kids thundering around it's quite fantastic isolation (again designed with the clubs in mind - it's overkill for the domestic situation) would be ideal!:D However, my Xerxes is totally isolated on a wall stand so even my daughters seismic 'emo' blasts from upstairs cannot upset it!
 
R

robotix

Guest
As the original poster seems to have disappeared, I think I should make it clear to any passing readers that I also use an unmodded SL1200 as my turntable of choice, as does almost every broadcaster, DJ and nightclub in the land. I think it sounds fantastic.

The assertion (presumption?) that it will be easily beaten or even matched by a cheaper 'hi-fi oriented' table is completely wrong IMO. I have a Planar 3, and it is frankly made a mockery of by the Technics, which remember was designed as an audiophile deck itself anyway.

I use a Stanton Groovemaster, but have used Stanton 500s and similar and though the cartridge upgrade brings a significant improvement in quality, even the cheap cartridges sound great.

Prime candidates for poor sound have to be the rather dodgy looking phono amp being used and the soundcard, contrary to other suggestions given.

Just to clarify I never actually said the technics sounded bad. I've had mine for 12 years & the sales speak for themselves. However I no longer use them for mixing so was interested to know how they compare to hifi TTs on sound alone (I have nothing to compare them to). From your responses there seems to be more than one view on this. However, in my particular experience I have found that tracks on cd sound a lot better than the technics, so it's really a case of trying to bridge the gap. To do this I decided to seek the advice of this forum which has produced a number of interesting answers, including lots of support for the unmodded technics deck. It's good to know that people consider this TT as good as ones 3 times the price. As you state my problem could be related to the other hardware so the leads/preamp/cart are a good place to start.
 

overkill

Distinguished Member
Just to clarify I never actually said the technics sounded bad. I've had mine for 12 years & the sales speak for themselves. However I no longer use them for mixing so was interested to know how they compare to hifi TTs on sound alone (I have nothing to compare them to). From your responses there seems to be more than one view on this. However, in my particular experience I have found that tracks on cd sound a lot better than the technics, so it's really a case of trying to bridge the gap. To do this I decided to seek the advice of this forum which has produced a number of interesting answers, including lots of support for the unmodded technics deck. It's good to know that people consider this TT as good as ones 3 times the price. As you state my problem could be related to the other hardware so the leads/preamp/cart are a good place to start.
I don't recall anyone saying that!:D I certainly would be very uncomfortable making that claim about my own TT, and I rate that very highly.

Tbh if you think CD sounds a lot better than the TT there is a clear problem. Despite having good quality (and wallet molesting! :rolleyes: ) CD and Hi-Res players I get the complete opposite result to that in a straight comparison. Anyone who sits and listens properly to my system agrees. Even, die-hard 'the Digital media is God' merchants.;) :D

The cartridge is probably at the root of it, as is the phono stage, as said before. Try getting the software sorted as well.
 

The latest video from AVForums

Podcast: CES 2021 Special - Sony, LG, Panasonic, Samsung, TCL and Hisense TV news and more...
Top Bottom