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Rega P3/P6 vs Technics SL1200/1210

Discussion in 'audio' started by gerlando, May 11, 2022.

  1. John

    John Rack’em Up!

    There’s a thread on the Lejonklou forum that’s titled “Playground for practical listening exercises”. Would love to hear iPhone recordings of each of those decks!
    tpetsch likes this.
  2. Seanm

    Seanm pfm Member

    I think the Art9 is pretty compliant, it shouldn’t need a high effective mass.
  3. paulfromcamden

    paulfromcamden Baffled

    Call me weird but I rather like both of those decks!
    Tim Jones likes this.
  4. Tim Jones

    Tim Jones pfm Member

    I think it looks great with the Blackbird, certainly.

    Worth mentioning that the 1210GR is currently listed at £1299 at Richers, which is more than a P6 (£1049?) and quite a lot more than a 3.

    The first reason I've resisted the Technics in the past is the arm. The thing has more joints than a hippy's ashtray (as they used to say of the Ittok), and its compromises are reflected by the fact that good MCs don't seem to work out for everyone on them, as opposed to a decent MM.

    The second is that many who buy them end up moving on quite quickly, and this is probably related to the criticism that the deck (once the "precision timing and bass" attributes have been enjoyed) sounds a little flat and two dimensional compared to some of its rivals.
    Last edited: May 14, 2022
    Mr Pig and Darren like this.
  5. John

    John Rack’em Up!

    I tried a Linn Klyde and it seemed to work fine on my stock, other than old Ekos arm cable, 1988 Mk2. Maybe someday I will put out a comparison between it and the AT VM95 that’s on their now. The arm appears to be built quite well and is rugged. I’ve had the deck flipped over on a pillow a couple times to work on it and it seems non-plussed. When I put a new cartridge on it, balanced the arm and set the tracking force using the gauge on the arm, it matched with my stylus gauge which I wasn’t expecting.
    Mr Pig likes this.
  6. Tim Jones

    Tim Jones pfm Member

    All these factors can be true - I'm sure it is well-made, rugged, and has an accurate tracking force dial - but not really deal with the point that good MCs prefer arms which are as rigid as possible and which don't have ringing modes - which I'm willing to bet the jointed aluminium arm of the GR has in spades.
  7. Timcat

    Timcat pfm Member


    I took a quick look over there, but couldn't find that thread. Anyway, "needle drops" are not allowed on this site (see the sticky at the top of this section owing to copyright issues. As Tony explains, even quite short extracts from a recording potentially infringe the copyright in the original, so they are not allowed here.
  8. Timcat

    Timcat pfm Member

    The tone arm on my SL 1200G is magnesium and less resonant than the aluminium arm used on the GR. Even so, my MM AT VM540ML sounds better than my AT Art 9 in the SL 1200 G. The Art 9 is way better in my Rega P10, which has a very rigid one piece tone arm (RB3000) with a low effective mass (11g v. 12g for the Technics). Now, the thing is I don't yet understand why this should be so. As mentioned above, the Art 9 is pretty compliant (and certainly more so than many other MC carts), its static compliance is lower than the 540's and its dynamic compliance is higher (!); it also worked well in the hippy's ashtray (Ittok) when I owned one. Also, all other things being equal, I don't see how the type of generator within the cart matters.

    On the subject of ringing, I would have thought that a jointed arm would suffer less from this issue than a rigid one piece design because the joints should dampen out any resonance within the arm. However, rigidity might be the key. Rega are at pains to explain that this is essential in a tone arm and my experience to date suggests that they have a point, but this still doesn't explain why MCs seem more affected by this than MMs!
    Mr Pig and Miss Ariel like this.
  9. freefallrob

    freefallrob pfm Member

    MC's put more energy into the arm, perhaps it has to do with how this energy is transfered or converted rather than the arms own resonance?
  10. Timcat

    Timcat pfm Member

    This is something I have read before, but my question is, how so, given that both an MM and an MC cart must follow the same groove trajectory when playing the same piece of music. The only thought I've had on this issue is that, I have also read that the coils in a typical MC cart are heavier than the magnet in a typical MM cart. If this is true, the MC will put more energy into the arm as its more massive moving components will have more momentum at any given point when tracking a groove. However, both the magnets and coils in question are both very light and I can't see how the small difference in mass between them can have much effect on something as comparatively massive as a tone arm, but I suppose it might.
  11. torstoi

    torstoi pfm Member

    It could be that, or the energy could be reflected back to the cartridge if it cannot flow off through the barrier of the joint.
    In that case the cartridge could suffer a mild version
    of a worker trying to drink a can of beer while working with a jackhammer.

    My thoughts or theorys I'm posting in that regard are not knowledge,
    I make certain observations and try to find plausible explaints.
    If my theory of energy reflected back at less optimal joints is correct,
    it could be that the smaller mass of a moving coil in MC is more affected by said reflected energy than the bigger
    mass of a moving magnet in an MM.

    I'm not claiming it's the joint that's the issue btw, there's a lot of arms with removable HS that work phantastic with any MC you care to throw at them.
    It might be the energy transfer as a whole that's less than optimal, be it the material, thickness, surface treatment, mass of the bearing housing or whatever.
    For some reason some arms seem to cope really well with MCs, others not so much.

    Generally and perhaps a little prejudiced spoken in the past Rega decks were good-great arms with some deck under it, whereas Technics were great decks with some arm on it.

    Especially when on a budget and buying s/h, combing the strengths of both is probably not the worst idea.
    Or to fit any better arm to a Technics for that matter, as Sonddek did.
    Last edited: May 15, 2022
    Miss Ariel and Timcat like this.
  12. tpetsch

    tpetsch pfm Member

    One also needs to consider the dynamic interplay and continued forces at work of the stylus and what it must continually endure while in the act of extracting information from the record groove when actually playing a record, you can't think of the phono cartridge alone in static terms.. These forces are enough to cause easily measured stylus drag on very heavy spinning platters, enough to physically change the speed of the platter differently depending on the passages played. Not to mention constant and always changing torquing motions that want to twist the stylus/cantilever during playback too.

    Now with these factors in mind consider that MM cartridges are usually made with less care -as they are generally less expensive- going into their body structures overall rigidity, some bodies even being constructed with hollow plastic or poly bodies & some with replaceable cantilever/stylus that you simply pull out, not fixed therefore inducing the real possibility of unwanted movement between stylus and body, many of these MM cartriges also use inferior cantilevers and the way the stylus is attached to the cantilever, some just simply glued on, and the glue too can have movement. So, consider the overall compromised rigidity of many types of MM assembly's and how the forces I mentioned above can take advantage of such a lower tolerance overall cartridge structure.

    Now consider the construction of many types of MC cartridges, they tend to be more expensive with more thought going into their overall structure to make them more rigid as a complete assembly. Many are made from exacting high tolerance milled metal one piece bodies, some using 3 mounting points. Many use non-replaceable & fixed higher quality more rigid cantilevers, with stylus pressed thru the cantilever tip and then epoxied. Etc, etc..

    So you mentioned the RB3000 too and all the painstaking measures Rega took to make it as rigid and low mass as possible, well ultimately that same thought should also go into a cartridges overall construction too if you want to get the most out of the Tonearm/cartridge combination.
    Tim Jones, Subito and torstoi like this.
  13. Timcat

    Timcat pfm Member

    I agree with all that you have posted, but it does not fully explain why a better constructed MC cart performs less well in the Technics arm than a MM that is more cheaply (although still well) constructed. Could it be that any lack of rigidity in an arm compromises the performance of certain MC carts because they are designed to be used in a very rigid arm, whereas it has little effect on an already less rigid MM cart?
  14. tpetsch

    tpetsch pfm Member

    Yea, perhaps a better constructed cartridge reviles more of the flaws of a lesser tonearm and further proves the Turntable hierarchy of Deck, Tonearm & then cartridge. The foundation of the turntable being most important followed by the tonarm then cartradge, phono stage, pre-amp, amp and finally speakers. Nothing changed down the line from the source component can improve upon the musical performance tune wize.
  15. Timcat

    Timcat pfm Member

    The interesting thing about the P10's design is that that Rega have deliberately designed out any play between the cart and the platter. In my opinion it is this combination of table and tone arm that allows the maximise the amount of information to be extracted from the groove. Yet the 1200G has something that draws me into the music. I think it's the torque, speed stability and consequential pitch and timing accuracy of the drive system that does this. As they stand, the P10 is the better TT but I love listening to the 1200 as well.
    Mr Pig, freefallrob and tpetsch like this.
  16. tpetsch

    tpetsch pfm Member

    Interesting, what phonostage are you using? ...I'm wondering what you would think if you slotted in an Aura if you would still think the same, would be an interesting A/B FWIW. ...Also, maybe there is an artificial weight. bigness, fullness, on the music you play on the 1200 that you're attracted to? This especially if your using smaller speakers that inherently have less bottom. ...But like you mention, at the end of the day I'd be surprised if the 1200G is more In-Tune than the P10, that being the fundamental thing -for me- concerning TT playback. Thing about the P10 is it has no inherent Big sound to it, it's completely neutral -for the most part-, but if bigness is in the track than bigness is what you will hear, it won't add bigness to every track though if it's not in the groove to begin with..
  17. Timcat

    Timcat pfm Member

    For the P10 and MC carts in the 1200, I'm using one of Jez Arkless's GTi Turbo MC stages (his MC only "Dr T mode" stage). For the MM cart I'm using the optional phono board in my Mytek Manhattan II. I also have an old Linn Linto plus the Manhattan II's MC input (both are reasonable but not as good as the Arkless). The Aura would be interesting, yes, but my existing stage allows the P10 to sound great, and better than the LP12 that preceded it, with my preferred MC carts. given the Aura's reputation, I would expect it to better mine though.

    I use quite large floor standers (B&W 804D3) and would not say that the 1200 adds any artificial weight. It is not as transparent or revealing as the P10 which, as you say, simply reveals what's in the groove in great detail; it is the better deck. The 1200 sounds smoother and less detailed and dynamic with its preferred MM cart, but it also has great timing and pitch control, which I think is what leads me to like it as an alternative to the P10. I said earlier that the P10 puts you in the front row (or actually on stage), whereas the 1200 places the listener further back in the audience.
    Mr Pig, tpetsch and torstoi like this.
  18. audiopile

    audiopile pfm Member

    I've installed RB-250 (original model) onto one of my SL-1200's (and more controversially -run one for years on my LP-12 :) , and frankly have a lot of respect for the Rega arms -but at least IME /to my ears- it wasn't a really dramatic improvement over the stock Technics arm ? Please understand that decades of servicing SL-1200 's has led me to several conclusions : a.) The spindle bottom bearing thrust plate will wear out -used to just replace the entire assembly (cheap OEM replacement part) -nowdays I just replace them with the KAB replacement thrust plate. b.) All my 1200/10's except the GAE have had their arms replaced -simply because I am not competent to adjust arm bearings and for some reason/defect within audiophile wetware there is confusion between "I can adjust the bearings " and "I should adjust the bearings" on 1200 series arms. I bought arms in quantity as OEM parts and just replaced them as a matter of course. So -what I like about the Techinics 1200 series is they are boringly consistently on pitch -dead nutz on pitch. Piano notes for instance simply hang in space on a well recorded solo piano work - I have NO experience with anything except stock Rega tables -but the many hours I have spent with them have left me less than impressed with their long term pitch accuracy (AND -I have no long term experience with Rega's past their roughly middle range models ). The OEM 1200/10 original arm-unmolested - is better than almost anyone gives it credit for being and adds the really great head shell swapping/arm height adjusting functionality to good sound. Yah -and the GAE arm (I think same as the G arm ?) is a couple of steps better -at least as dead as any of my Rega or SME arms -and a ton easier to swap carts onto. So- my personal choice would be a original 1200/10 over a Rega. The GAE is the only new model Ive heard -so would be curious about how some of the less expensive new models compare.
    Simon s, Mr Pig, John and 1 other person like this.
  19. Timcat

    Timcat pfm Member

    The 1200 G and GAE are technically identical throughout - the arms are the same.
    Amber Audio likes this.
  20. Amber Audio

    Amber Audio This is the Day

    I believe the original plan was only the GAE would have the full bhuna Mag arm but they decided to use it on the G as well, imho I see no need to change the arm on my G, the GR if it was my main deck I would change, probably to a Jelco or OEM GAE.
    Timcat likes this.

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