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Technics SL1210 as a hi-fi TT?

Discussion in 'Hi-Fi Stereo Systems & Separates' started by daveb975, Jan 31, 2005.

  1. daveb975

    daveb975
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    I recently got back into vinyl and bought a Pro-Ject Debut III TT. Once I had got it set up properly I have been very pleased with the sound, albeit with quite a lot of surface noise.

    Last week I tried a friend's Technics SL1210 TT on my system. The quality was much better - less surface noise, and a more powerful sound.

    Is this to be expected? I had always considered the Technics to be a DJ deck as opposed to a good domestic TT.

    I realise it is a lot more expensive than the Project Debut, but would it hold its own against £350 TTs such as the Project RPM4 etc?
     
  2. nwgarratt

    nwgarratt
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    I have had a 1210 as a HiFi deck for quite some time. It is fantastic. I use Shure M97 and a AT 110 cartridges with it.

    I have had a relative say it is better sound that his Project RPM9 (£1,000) on some music.

    Some pics in my link below.
     
  3. alexs2

    alexs2
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    The Technics and to an extent many of the other Japanese direct drives have always been very well made,and often under-rated,in particular the Trio LO-7D,which is now sought after but virtually unobtainable.

    The 1210 though is still available obviously,and given it's history as a DJ deck,very robust,and also capable of good sound quality,given a decent cartridge...as to the sound differences between the Technics and the Project....difficult to judge fully if the cartridges weren't the same,as some are very good at emphasizing surface noise,as compared to others,and this may well have something to do with the changes you noted.
     
  4. nwgarratt

    nwgarratt
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    Totally agree with that. I have recently picked up a SL 1700 mk I in perfect condition to complement my 1210. I got a Shure M75ED cartridge with it. It was only £39.
     
  5. McGraw

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    Don't the captive phono leads let them down though?
     
  6. nwgarratt

    nwgarratt
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    No they don't.
     
  7. Andy_t

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    I've been planning on selling my Technics 1210s for some time but have never got round to it. Just out of interest would anyone be interested if I were to put them up for sale in the classifieds (as a pair or individually).

    The reason I'm asking provisionally is that I'll need to collect them from my parent's house and I want to find out postage costs, take photos etc before I put them up for sale officially.

    (Mods: Please remove this post if it infringes the rules. I was unsure)
     
  8. alexs2

    alexs2
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    Ideally you should post them in the classifieds if you do want to sell them....as for getting an idea of any interest,I'd imagine that should be OK for now.
     
  9. overkill

    overkill
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    I wouldn't class the 1200/1210 as a "hifi" deck in all honesty. We used to sell them at work, and while a good, strong deck with excellent versatility, it wasn't up to (in direct demos) the quality of other standard TTs in that price bracket. For example it didn't outpace the similairly priced Manticore Mantra or Linn Axis. At least not in the punters opinions anyway................

    That's not to say we didn't sell any. Far from it. They were always on back order as Technics limited the number released to keep them competitive and in demand. However, these were all sales "across the counter" as the buyers all wanted them for DJ'ing, not domestic use.
     
  10. alexs2

    alexs2
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    Indeed it does depend on the definition of hifi... the strict interpretation would be high fidelity(to the original of course),but overkill was giving was his opinion related to other similarly priced decks.

    Similarly,your opinion is no less valid.....there were lots of Japanese direct-drive decks in that era which measured very well,but did sound fairly poor by comparison with some of the belt-driven competition,although no-one disputed the sound quality of the L07D for instance,against most conventional decks.

    The other issue is the cartridges that many of the "DJ" market decks were,and are still saddled with....usually very robust,but not always of very high quality,and very capable of strangling a deck's capabilities.
     
  11. overkill

    overkill
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    I wasn't looking for a row, hence I was reluctant to post at all (so I left it a few days) as many 1210/1200 users are quite partisan. However, the guy did ask and it was his definition not mine. I gave my opinion based on hearing the 1200 in direct comparison with other decks and customer feedback. I quite like the TT in question. However, that's irrelevant to what was asked.

    Thanks Alex. Defining Hi-fidelity is problematic. As I understood it, and the daft "campaign for real hifi" gave it, it was down to the quality of the component meeting a certain standard of construction and sound quality. One of which is fairly objective, but the other is highly subjective.

    As by Technics own definition the 1200 was designed as a professional deck not a domestic one, and wasn't designed for "subtlety" (a Technics reps words not mine), I'll stick with the idea that it isn't really up to the standard of dedicated domestic decks - on sound quality grounds alone.

    Hell, with their construction they'll still be going when most other decks are long forgotten........ ;)
     
  12. superpixel

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    I have the technics. It is excellent as a hifi turntable.

    Check out the following:

    http://www.kabusa.com/sl1200mk5.htm

    He does a modified Stanton Groovemaster (I think it is) cartridge designed especially for using the deck as an audiophile turntable. A quality budget phono amp makes all the difference too (think Slee & Creek, probably).

    But even a £20 Stanton 500 ALII and budget DJ mixer will still produce surprisingly good sound. Go for it.
     
  13. Beobloke

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    Yep, have to agree - the SL1200 really is pretty good as a hi-fi deck - just make sure you junk the Stanton 500 that will undoubtedly be fitted to it if you want the best out of it! I don't want to delve into the turntable tweak black hole too deeply, but i also find that getting rid of the thick rubber mat on it and using a felt one opens the sound up nicely as well.

    The "powerful sound" you mention is most likely a result of the motor. Having listened to many, many, many, many turntables (and owned far too many according to SWMBO :D ), I would say you can't beat a good direct drive or idler drive for bass grunt. That's not to say there aren't any good "weighty" belt drives out there, as there are. Just as there are quite a few cheapo direct drives with wobbly motors!

    Adam.

    P.S. - oh yes, and you don't have to fart around moving a belt to get it to play 45's like certain other turntables we all know and love! :thumbsup:
     
  14. alexs2

    alexs2
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    Good point about the Stanton.....very robust,and ideal for Dj use,but it's certainly not a subtle transducer,and won't do hifi aspirations any favours.

    Still requires a robust cartridge given the arm's effective mass,but there are plenty of better alternatives.
     
  15. daveb975

    daveb975
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    Guys,

    Thanks very much for all of the advice. I am going to see if I can change the Pro-Ject for an SL1210.

    Just a couple more questions:

    1. What cart would you recommend to replace the Stanton 500? Superpixel mentions the Groovemaster, but I was hoping to keep to around £50 is possible.

    2. I think I will need to get a phono stage as the one on my current amp is pathetic. My Pro-Ject has one built in, but the SL1210 doesn't. Again, I would like something reasonably cheap - would the standard Pro-ject one do the job?

    3. Is there much difference between the Mk2 and Mk5 1210s?
     
  16. nwgarratt

    nwgarratt
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    I haven't used a Stanton 500 but can reconmend Audio Technica, Ortofon and Shure cartridges.

    I use http://www.mantra-audio.co.uk/

    AT 110E £28
    Ortofon 520mkII £63

    Shure cartriudges are £100 +

    The project phono stage is fine for the money. It should be around £40.

    The mk V deck just has a few extra buttons for DJ use. The technical spec is pretty much the same as the mk II.
     
  17. Subwoofer70

    Subwoofer70
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    Hi Daveb.
    I got a 1210 about three months ago but have only got around to putting it together last week. I bought a Numark Groovetool cartridge for it and it sounds really good. I freely admit to not being an audiophile and knowing nothing about TT's. I connected my up to my Pioneer VSX-AX3 amp which does not have a dedicated phono input and wondered why I really had to crank up the volume. Now with the pre-amp installed it sounds really good. I listen to anything from classical to rock on this TT and they all sound great. Purists would probably say that I am doing everything wrong. I listen via Mission 773e's and a Mission 7AS2 sub.
     
  18. alexs2

    alexs2
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    The problem that you've run across is that when you try to input from a cartridge to an auxiliary input on an amplifier,not only is the input sensitivity insufficient(leading to you having to run the volume very high to hear anything)but also there is no RIAA equalisation applied to the signal,resulting in the frequency response being totally skewed.

    A dedicated phono preamp(although you didnt say which one you use) will as you have found,resolve this for you.

    As for the purists.....as long as the sound suits your ears,then fine,whatever others will tell you isn't especially relevant,as long as you're getting the best out of your system,and it suits you.
     
  19. Leeno

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    Best turntable ever made!

    Mine must be over 15 years old and stil going strong and I used them EVERYDAY!
     
  20. Subwoofer70

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    A dedicated phono preamp(although you didnt say which one you use) will as you have found,resolve this for you.

    As for the purists.....as long as the sound suits your ears,then fine,whatever others will tell you isn't especially relevant,as long as you're getting the best out of your system,and it suits you.[/QUOTE]

    I bought a little Skytronics 9V MD pre-amp(about the size of a large box of matches) and it works fine with one of the free Line ins on my amp.Not very high-end I know but there is really a gutsy sound from this TT.
     
  21. alexs2

    alexs2
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    So long as it suits your ears,fine.....you can always upgrade later if you wish,or not!
     
  22. the_third_man

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    Well, I have another question to add, seeing as it's entirely relevant to the original Thread.
    Speaking strictly in Hi-Fidelity terms, what is the optimum Tone Arm and Stylus/Cartridge combination? And will that work in a DJ scenario, ie. cueing records?
    I'm beginning to think that this is their worst area. There's not much wrong with the Industrial Grade drive system, especially if the variable pitch is wanted.
    I currently use a pair of 1210s, with the OEM Tone Arms fitted with ORTOFON's Concorde Night Club S. This produces a good sound, certainly to these ears, but I'm sure there's more to come. Any suggestions or practical experience anyone? (Ignore Phono Pre-Amp Stage.)
     
  23. co55ie

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    most of the cartridges mentioned so far have a spherical stylus tip ( suited to back cueing etc ) but what you want is an eliptical version for sound quality

    Stanton brand their cartridges as AL spherical and EL eliptical , ortofon and shure do the same thing but use their own reference codes etc.

    You can fit virtually any high end cartridge to the deck you like and in most cases it will easily outperform similar costing belt drive decks especially if you want to wind the volume up due to its excellent vibration damping.

    It is also an easy enough task to replace the phono leads with higher quality ones of your choice which can dramatically improve the sound.

    Ortofon cartridges sound great with the SL in my opinion but do bare in mind that if you do go down the Broadcast / DJ cartridge route is that they are primarily designed to play 12" and 7" singles and not albums with shallower grooves.
     
  24. Pat Marcus

    Pat Marcus
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    Great decks hampered by mediocre arm.

    Easy DIY upgrade using Origin Live armboard at £39 plus any Rega type arm from £120 upwards. result - much better sound plus better tracking for Djing.
    Takes about 45 mins per deck.
    Did it to both mine and never looked back
    http://www.tonearm.co.uk/dj-technics-arm.htm

    I ended up going for Michells lovely tecnoarms which look and sound fab but 90% of this performance can be had for much less.

    Re: cartridges. Ortofon Nightclub Es (now in mk2) are the best sounding Dj carts and worth every penny. For more bass but less top end, go for the Stanton Groovemaster 3s. However, if you change the arms, you cant use (and dont need) concorde carts.
    Pm me if you want more advice
     
  25. co55ie

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    the straight arms do track maginally better but they do kill your vinyl faster than a curved arm if you backcue etc etc. Especially if you use an eliptical stylus .

    the nightclub E is a great sounding cartridge and what I use on my deck.

    I may have to look into changing the arm myself
     
  26. Helicon

    Helicon
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    I do remember doing a direct comparison of a 1210 against a Project Xpression, and the Project sounded far better. As Overkill states, it's not a hi-fi deck, it's designed to stand up to a lot of abuse. Technically the Technics is going to be the better deck, but it's just going to lose on quality grounds. I personally wouldn't buy one for a hi-fi system.
     
  27. the_third_man

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    I remember over-hearing or reading somewhere that the E stylus was better sounding than the S, but was more susceptable to back-cue "problems", so glad to see confirmation - co55ie. Although, as I don't back-cue heavily, a simple change to the E stylus may be my next step.

    Actually, I'm very likely to buy a "proper" HiFi turntable/arm/cartridge for serious listening and keep my longstanding 1210s/Concordes and FORMULA SOUND PM90 mixer purely for DJing. Of course, this will probably "kill it" for them, so I may end up buying replacement ToneArms and Cartridges all 'round after all!

    Thanks all.
     
  28. rp.

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    This comment has really intrigued me.

    Do you really find that a felt mat produces a better sound?

    I have found that felt mats just produce more static.

    I would be very grateful if you would expand on this point. Thanks
     
  29. Helicon

    Helicon
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    I agree with Beobloke about the felt mats.
     
  30. bigbadmuller

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    what about shure M44-7s as cartridges?

    Lots of dj's and producers i know swear by them. But i can afford about a 100 quid for a good cart so i don;t mind spending more if it helps...... :thumbsup:
     

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