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New Technics owners - anyone missing the sound from their old belt drive

Discussion in 'audio' started by halvis, Nov 27, 2020.

  1. halvis

    halvis pfm Member

    There seems to be quite a few people who have migrated to direct drive on here recently, particularly thinking of the new Technics models, GR, G etc.

    I had one here briefly, although it had to go back due to warped platter, which all got sorted out nicely by the way.

    Of course, whilst it was here I did give it a quick listen. Totally stock except an ADC magnesium head shell with an AT100E cartridge.

    To be honest, I thought it sounded a bit flat with most music. Dancey stuff with driving beat was a different story, but then I perhaps found it a little too much for a relaxing listen. Great for a party though.

    I put the belt drive Thorens back in and didn't notice any difference with Piano, speed stability none of the usual complaints. There were less gaps in the music also, the music flowed out of the Thorens more naturally.

    Am I missing something, I see lots of reports about how delightful they are to use, but what about the sound?
  2. eevo1969

    eevo1969 pfm Member

    I’m confused, is this with the wobble or without the wobble?
    If it’s with the wobble you’re brave, that was quite a obstacle course going by the video. If it’s post-wobble, do the usual stuff you no doubt have done already.
    I think it’s a great turntable.
  3. halvis

    halvis pfm Member

    The deck I listened to was the one with wobble, but has since gone back to the shop and I have been refunded.

    I am just wondering where to go next - belt or DD.

    I liked that it was so easy to setup and was of generally good build (despite the wobble).
    Torris12 and Tarzan like this.
  4. Woodface

    Woodface pfm Member

    You could go in the other direction & go for something like a Rega P8 or a 2nd hand LP12. People have different tastes.
    Tarzan likes this.
  5. Mr Pig

    Mr Pig ^'- -'^

    I'd be very surprised if a belt drive suspended deck had anything like the speed stability of a modern direct drive. I know that's not everything but there really is a big difference.
    Miss Ariel likes this.
  6. halvis

    halvis pfm Member

    Yes, have an option on a late 80s LP12 (Pre Cirkus , Akito, Valhalla) also considering a Nottingham Analogue Interspace.

    Not sure on the Regas, I like the company but not sure about the decks.
  7. Woodface

    Woodface pfm Member

    Those are two very valid options & will sound very different.
    halvis likes this.
  8. Woodface

    Woodface pfm Member

    I never really notice any speed stability issues with my LP12
  9. sonddek

    sonddek Trade: SUPATRAC

    I use my Technics every day and my Garrards most days. My Sondek has been sitting fallow for ten years.
  10. Joel Burt

    Joel Burt pfm Member

    I used technics 1200s for years and modified several of them with rega and origin live arms. I moved from them to a luxman PD441, which was a modest upgrade and used it for maybe 6 years. Some years ago I bought a RP6 and was absolutely shocked that it sounded so much better. There was so much energy in the music and it was so much fun to listen to.

    I have been thinking about getting 1200s to build a DJ system, but the prices are really insane now for the new ones. Cant even think about $1700 for a new one. 10 years ago, used 1200s sold for $250-$400 each. Used ones are $750+ here in California.
    halvis likes this.
  11. Miss Ariel

    Miss Ariel pfm Member

    Hi halvis,

    I use both in different systems.
    Have a stock SL1210 with a Linn K9 which is 30 years old and a LP12 - Akito - AT 95 ML into a Rega Fono 2 phono stage.The LP12 has been recently reset by my dealer BTW.
    The Technics I find gives a more emotionless sort of sound very pitch stable but lacks the LP12's musicality.The Technics is incredibly pitch stable but slightly sterile sounding.
    Sorry not good at describing sound as not a Hi - FI journalist.
    Technics is so robust build wise but lacks the LP12's musicality as it should at their respective price points.
    Do love the Technics on my house - rave 12" singles from the early 1990's....their spiritual home what they should be played on...:) !
    Maybe listen to an LP12 if your interested.
    Hope this helps you.
    Jason P, halvis and Mr Pig like this.
  12. Tarzan

    Tarzan pfm Member

    The obvious answer is to go out and listen for yourself- do not try to get caught up in what technology the T/T has, as long as you like the sound.:)
    Dozey and halvis like this.
  13. Nic Robinson

    Nic Robinson Moderator

    Former long time LP12 owner here. Since then I've had a slate Lenco and a 301. Now using a 1210GR and it is at least as good as any of the above to my ears. I do listen to majority classical however.

    There's so much listening (and viewing) choice these days that vinyl is no longer as important to me as it once was so having a deck which just does the job with minimal/no servicing is now what I need.
  14. halvis

    halvis pfm Member

    Some good info and points made, much appreciated.

    I would like an LP12 again in a way, unfortunately the one locally is a bit more of a do-er upper than i had hoped for. Good price, but not where i want it to be.

    I liked the idea of the Technics especially after reading on here how people just now play records instead of thinking of whether it is setup right or what to upgrade next. I fear that will come back if I get the LP12, but the Technics sound didnt do it for me either.

    Perhaps a non suspended belt drive is the answer, Notts Analogue or Rega perhaps, even a P9.
  15. Woodface

    Woodface pfm Member

    I think vinyl is less important to me than it’s ever been, was toying with making some changes but probably won’t. I am rather attached to my LP12 though & let’s not forget that most of us have enviable systems compared to the norm.
  16. Mr Pig

    Mr Pig ^'- -'^

    A non-suspended belt drive does not sound like a suspended deck. Each have their pros and cons but if like the LP12 sound you may not like a Rega, even a top one.
  17. Seanm

    Seanm pfm Member

    We got a 1200GR recently for a second (work) system and I briefly swapped it for the Orbe in the main system. It sounded very good to me but I sort of get the “flat” epithet. From memory, the RP6 I had for a couple of years sounded faster, more forward and with more obvious separation of instruments, but drier than both the Technics and the suspended decks I’ve had. If you’re looking for a bit more oomph then worth having a go with a Rega P6 or P8, I’d have thought. If you had your doubts about the Technics then it makes sense to listen to some different options, they do all sound different and it’s not like the Technics is the last word in anything, good as it is.
    Mr Pig likes this.
  18. Tony L

    Tony L Administrator

    As stated elsewhere I lasted literally one evening with an SL1200G (the £2.5k one). I just had that sinking feeling as soon as I stuck it in as whilst it was objectively superb (silent, great pitch etc) it just sounded totally dead in the water. It just didn’t sing/communicate. I stuck the TD-124 back in and Dexter Gordon was alive again. I can’t explain it beyond having a feeling it is far more to do with mass and damping than drive mechanism. The 124 has a laughably poor noise floor compared to the Technics, and whilst I never notice any pitch instability at all (mine has the vastly superior iron sub-platter, I never got on with the light alloy one, it just sounds ‘vague’ by comparison), I’m sure the Technics would murder it on specification as it is basically perfect, or as close as one can achieve with vinyl replay.

    The 124 has obvious flaws; it rumbles a little (I have very full-range speakers, so can hear just a hint between tracks) and as with all ancient machinery takes a little time to warm up to speed and needs ongoing servicing (I hate modern 124 drive belts with a passion, they are all wrong in some way). As such it becomes a hobby in itself, but the thing sounds bloody great! It really communicates. Put a really well recorded similar vintage jazz album on and it is clear we have learned next to nothing in the past 50 years. The 124 just sounded so much better to my taste/priorities I just boxed the 1200 up and accepted I’d made a mistake that would cost me some real money. Even so it was a useful evening as it gave me a highly respected modern benchmark to compare my ongoing 124 restoration against. I’m now far more confident with my choices.

    I’m sure the 1200 could be improved with mats, feet and countless other tweaks, maybe significantly, but we are talking a close to 1966 spec 124/3009 here! Carts were a 2M Black and 540/II. I even used the same arm lead once I realised the extent to which I preferred the 124 to rule that out (my 3009 has been modded with the later SME RCA armbase, my arm lead is vdH 501).

    PS FWIW I still love the idea of direct drive as it is just the most logical way to drive a turntable by far, so I’d be curious to try something like a Trio L07D, Micro Seiki DDX, Pioneer Exclusive or whatever. I’d actually like to hear an old JBE slate as that looks like quite a sensible way to make a record deck. They are one of those quirky outsiders that if a mint boxed SME cut one landed on eBay for £200 or so I’d likely take a punt!
    notevenclose, Miss Ariel and Mr Pig like this.
  19. sonddek

    sonddek Trade: SUPATRAC

    I investigated trying to improve what was lacking in my 1210. I came to the conclusion that the single most important upgrade is to take out the power supply and put it in a separate box. This can be done for about a tenner.

    While you're doing that, if you forget to screw on the rubber base, I think you have discovered the second biggest upgrade. Mine just sits in the rubber base, largely uncoupled, on top of a semi-inflated 12" inner tube.

    I bolted on my Ekos and threw in a Mike New bearing. Considering the deck had cost me £200 with a Rega RB300, I did not think spending £500 on a beautifully made bearing was going overboard.

    At that point I compared it to a Klimax Sondek and felt that its noticeably better speed stability edged it ahead. My Technics was sporting a Dynavector XX-2 into Uphorik. Arguably the Sondek retrieved an iota more detail via Kandid/Urika but it was barely noticeable whereas the way the Technics delivered tunes and beats and sustained notes was well ahead, to my ears.

    Considering the price difference, ~£5300 (SL-1210, MN bearing, power supply, Ekos II, DV XX-2, Uphorik) compared to £18,000 for a Klimax Sondek, I gave up upgrading my Sondek.

    The irony for me was that for years I had accepted the Sondek reputation for 'playing the tunes' other decks could not, but when I finally put this to the test, my impression was the opposite - the Technics had a clear advantage in pitch stability and tunefulness.

    While some report similar findings, I know that many say they do not hear the consistent pitch that I think I hear. I conclude that the accurate pitch which is clearly audible in sustained notes and tunes on the Technics is more important to some people's ears than others.

    A few years ago I heard there was advice that 'tune dem' could involve listening to short snatches of music for a few seconds, but it seems to me that this removes precisely the context required for appreciating tunes. During a composition, whether by Boyce or the Beach Boys, the melody and harmonies are perceived in relation to what went before, hence the jarring effect of a key change. I suspect that some people are comparing systems using 'timbre dem' or how life-like a system sounds over a period of a second or two, rather than tune dem, which requires a longer contemplation of whether you are enjoying the music, not just the sound.

    I think it is worthwhile listening to whole tracks, at least, and consider how strong is the urge to hum along. I think this is more likely to lead you to the long term satisfaction of a music reproduction system rather than the frustrating quixotic quest for an accurate sound reproduction system.

    It can be tricky to do a tune dem rather than a timbre dem. You have to set your mind to just enjoying the music rather than listening out for differences in the treble or bass, or some other metric, and then trying to quantify and compare the pleasure of each rendition. The second never feels the same as the first even when equipment is unchanged. This is why I think the most effective way to compare kit is to live with it and switch competing boxes in and out over a period of months. After a while you learn which you enjoy more. This has brought me to some surprising decisions, for example preferring Uphorik over Esoteric E03 and Brinkmann Fein, or selling Klimax Kontrol /1D in favour of Creek OBH-22, but living with kit and choosing in this way does give confidence that you are doing the right thing.

    Flame-retardant suit on. Light me up.
    w00fer, Joel Burt, Miss Ariel and 5 others like this.
  20. Mr Pig

    Mr Pig ^'- -'^

    I think that we all listen to music in different ways and hear different things. I can hear pitch instability or out of tune notes other people seem oblivious to. I'm missing the full, realism on the LP12 but I'm also finding it hard to commit to going back to the Linn because I know how tragic its pitch stability is.

    The difficulty is that I've yet to hear a turntable that connects you to the emotion of the artists in the way the LP12 does, while also getting the other technicalities right. I think that with vinyl, more than any other format, it's maybe not possible to have everything.

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