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Is this the best tonearm in the world?

Discussion in 'audio' started by G T Audio, Mar 9, 2023.

  1. sonddek

    sonddek Trade: SUPATRAC

    That is definitely the most important question. How much fun am I having? The problem is that I don't have great confidence in my ability to associate that with the right culprit. But I definitely know what you mean about the organic liveliness of a good idler.

    This is one of the things which makes fair and objective deck and arm comparisons so elusive. You really need to remove all other differences as far as possible and often it takes time to settle a preference.
  2. Joe

    Joe pfm Member

    A 7" tonearm must be a cantilever torture test device...I would love to see the arc it transcribes across a 12" album.
  3. nmtjb

    nmtjb pfm Member

  4. Tony L

    Tony L Administrator

    The one thing I think I’ve learned over the past 20 years (the point I felt I fully broke away from dealer/magazine programming and did my own thing) is not to overthink things. If I like something I like it. That is enough, though as a separate subset of that it is interesting to try and understand why. The bottom line is I don’t care if the SL1200G is ‘better’ and the TD-124 ‘worse’. The one that makes me more inclined to believe Miles Davis is in the room, and that he cares about what he is doing, is the one that stays. It really is that simple.

    That said I do think a truly disciplined Linn ‘tune dem’ approach leads to various blind alleys. Some of the worst systems I have ever heard in my life have been built this way and ended up with a truly odd, forward, bleached and lean presentation that sounds absolutely nothing like music to me. I think my having a fair bit of studio experience early on helped a lot here. I’ve always had a good idea what a control room sounds like so I’ve never wanted anything too odd sounding. For me the happy place is mid-way between the two. An involving fun studio rig.
    tpetsch, sonddek and narabdela like this.
  5. Erocka2000

    Erocka2000 pfm Member

    It’s too bad you didn’t try your 1200G with a different tonearm. My 1200G with a Fidelity Research FR-64S made my old TD-124 w/ a 9” Schick tonearm sound broken.
  6. laughingboy

    laughingboy pfm Member

    Ah yes, the Viv Audio Labs 'Rigid Float tonearm' was mentioned alongside the Yamaha GT5000's straight tonearm earlier in the thread. Until I read it, I was unaware that Yamaha had a straight tonearm (YSA-1) back in 1983! And that they sold the subsequent YSA-2 as part of the Yamaha's GT-2000X turntable in 1985.
  7. Tony L

    Tony L Administrator

    Maybe. I figured that I wasn’t giving the 124 any advantage in the dem as its arm is a late ‘60s 3009, which audiophile/hi-fi dealer groupthink is to believed, is crap!

    My aim is not to knock the 1200G, I have a lot of respect for it. It is clearly a really good bit if kit and a lot of turntable for the money. I’d actually highly recommend it. I just ended up liking the idea more than the reality.

    It is arguably impossible to define ‘a TD-124’ well over half a century after they were last sold. These things are moving targets in so many ways. All vintage kit is. I wanted to know how my specific example compared with a SL1200G, so I bought one. That dem cost me about £150, but was worth doing IMO. It gave me a then current bar by which to assess my restoration choices and taste. If the SL1200G had won I’d obviously have kept it. I had no interest in where the SL1200G could be taken by throwing x£ at it. I considered it a state of the art £2.5k deck at the time. One that could very likely compete with my iron platter 124 pitch and timing wise better than most (again I am still largely a ‘flat earther’ at heart).
  8. tpetsch

    tpetsch The Rhythm has Control..

    Now where's that "Love" button? ..For to simply "Like" isn't enough for that post.

    But so true, you can read reviews, forum posts, measurements and manufacturer hype all day long, but it isn't until time alone with only your ears and the gear playing that the honest opinions are formed.
  9. ssimon

    ssimon pfm Member

    I agree, every component has it's own sound signature which you may or may not like.
  10. Erocka2000

    Erocka2000 pfm Member

    That’s fair, but you could have simply bought an Ammonite Audio Technics armboard for your SME 3009 and fitted it to the 1200G to get a much better comparison to your TD-124.

    I do think the stock arm on the 1200G is decent, but easily improved upon.
  11. Tony L

    Tony L Administrator

    I’d argue the whole point of the SL1200 in any of its forms is as a very good complete record deck. I see it as the same as say a Rega P10 - a highly cohesive and complete thing. It always baffled me when I saw all the endless upgrades for the MkII and others, e.g. armboards, mats, feet, external PSUs etc. Why bother? Just buy an SP10! I really had zero interest in taking it any further. I saw it as an established bar against which to compare my TD-124 against. The only faffing about thing I did was to use my SME’s vdH 501 armlead on the Technics in case I was hearing adverse effects of capacitance (I used an Ortofon 2M Black and a 540/II which are both sensitive here).

    PS I also knew I’d be moving the 1200G on pretty fast so wanted to be able to sell it as a barely touched example. I only put a hour or two on the clock. At the end of the evening it was back in its box.
    tpetsch and myles like this.
  12. sonddek

    sonddek Trade: SUPATRAC

    The logic of modifying a 1200 is that the deck/motor itself is absolutely superb and capable of challenging many of the very best turntables out there, whereas the arm is very good, but not a giant-killer. In my case I was on the cusp of spending serious money on very expensive upgrades for my beloved Sondek, but fortunately I gave a 1200 a listen and came to the conclusion that it could match £17K of Klimax Sondek provided it was given a chance with a top level arm. Subsequently I was very happy with my Ekos 2 on a 1200 for a decade and it saved me a lot of money.

    If your goal is top turntable performance with minimum outlay and hassle/maintenance, then upgrading the arm on a 1200 makes a lot of sense. That's why there are quite a few 1200s out there sporting SME V, Jelco and what-have-you. It's a recognition that the 1200 is held back by its arm.

    The 1200G is worthy of a better arm, whatever your favourite. The next step up in Technics world is the SP-10R at over ten grand, so there is something to be said for a £3-4K deck and a fancy arm if your budget won't stretch to the 'broadcast' deck. I spent a little time listening to a customer's SL-1000R and decided that I was not sure that I could hear a significant advantage over my souped up 1210. I don't like to presume that something is better just because it's expensive. A 1200 variant is certainly good enough for me, but the arm holds it back. My room at Bristol attempted to show that an old 1200 with a fancy arm was more satisfying than a stock 1200G, and I think many listeners agreed. In that context I think an old DJ deck variant with a fancy arm at £3K all-in may be regarded as 'end-game' for many listeners whereas a stock 1200 wouldn't fully cure upgraditis, in my case, at least. IMO there's no virtue in keeping a stock arm on a 1200. The deck is worthy of being taken to the next level.
  13. Beobloke

    Beobloke pfm Member

    Actually, that’s a bit muddled but it’s Yamaha’s fault, as the arm they show on their own website’s GT-2000X page is actually a YSA-1 but it has a YSA-2 headshell, which is wrong!

    The YSA-1 was a straight arm but it has a conventional length and a conventionally offset headshell. it was indeed standard on the GT-2000X and you can see it with its correct headshell here:

    The YSA-2 was the short, straight, underhung arm with no offset and was optional on all the GT-2000 models. It’s shown slightly further down that same page.
    nmtjb likes this.
  14. laughingboy

    laughingboy pfm Member

    The muddle was my fault, I assure you.:confused: So the YSA-1 was introduced in 1983 - a conventional straight tonearm, with overhang, offset and anti-skate that came as standard on the GT-2000X. The YSA-2 was introduced in 1985, and was optional for the GT-2000 tables. It was this arm that was the novelty: underhung, no offset, no antiskate. Thanks for clearing that up.
    Beobloke and nmtjb like this.

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