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Technics SL1200 turntable upgrades

Discussion in 'audio' started by tedmanzie, Apr 11, 2014.

  1. twotone

    twotone pfm Member

    A decent arm and arm board lifts the SL-1200 into another world IMO.

    That Fidelity Research tonearm and headshell currently in the classifieds would be fantastic on a Technics deck.

    I know when I fitted the Micro Seiki arm on my deck the sound from the cart was just fantastic compared to the stock arm which is pretty good too BTW.

    I'm not sure that I could afford or want to spend over £1K on a platter and bearing though.

  2. mikemusic

    mikemusic pfm Member

    There are many albums I love.
    After system mods some of them reveal such magic it takes the breath away.
    At the other end we have the wonderful Kokomo, self titled, just nothing else revealed at all, apart from the question "what did they think they were doing, why is it so flat and lifeless ?!" (Saw them live a few times so I know of what I speak)

    I listen on 4 different systems, 5 including the car.
    Yes, the great album is great on all systems but I often yearn for System 1 when listening on the lesser systems.

    Part way through my last set of mods, in the past year or so I find myself really liking music I don't like - as it is so well made
  3. mikemusic

    mikemusic pfm Member


    How do you think it would get on with an Ortofon SPU ?
    What migh it be like compared to a Jelco SA750D ?
  4. twotone

    twotone pfm Member

    I've no idea.

  5. mikemusic

    mikemusic pfm Member

  6. MartinT

    MartinT Active Member

    Thanks, Alan. The absolute core of why the Technics SL-1210 is worth all the effort of pursuit is that fabulous direct drive motor and drive circuit, followed by the extremely dead sandwich plinth.

    There has never been a modding race in my mind and I certainly haven't bothered with bling; however, I have done my utmost to take that motor, drive it with the lowest noise highest current power supply and add the best arm I could find to make it a lot more than its constituent parts. It has reached a level of performance now where I am very careful not to make further changes without losing the essence of what I have. There is still improvement to be had, though; my most recent upgrade was the Thomas Schick graphite headshell, and that gave a significant step up all round. I get a great deal of pleasure listening to records on it.
  7. Greg

    Greg 2t5b

    Some of the bearing alternatives do seem pricey, but on the other hand the standard bearing (and the quite audible rumble) does feel like the main obstacle to spending big money on tonearm, PSU, etc, so in some ways the bearing seems pivotal (<- arf).
  8. Greg

    Greg 2t5b

  9. Tony L

    Tony L Administrator

    The bearing looks to be one part that may have been changed for the worse or even cost-cut between the Mk I and Mk II. The one on the Mk I looks far more conventional, solid and seems very nicely engineered. It has a fairly long shaft which is attached to the sub-platter, so pulls out of the well rather like a LP12 or Rega subplatter once one releases the little catch at the rear. I assume there is a captive ball or something similar at the base of the well. I was pleased to see that mine had retained it's oil and was in absolutely beautiful condition with no scoring or rub-marks on the shaft at all. It looks up to the job to me.
  10. MartinT

    MartinT Active Member

    The bearing in the Mk. 2 is definitely the weak point and holds back the performance of the rest of the deck.
  11. chris@panteg

    chris@panteg pfm Member

    I'm still using a modified OEM bearing and it doesn't seem to hold my deck back at all ?
  12. gary yeowell

    gary yeowell pfm Member

    Not sure how relevant this is, but i used to own an SL1600mk2 back in the late 70's, early 80's, and remember its lovely build quality, however its arse got whooped when i bought my first Rega Planar 3, which then got its arse whooped when i got my first LP12/Basik. The Technics was in stock form, and i'm no Technics expert so no idea if a 1200 was any better. I doubt it was much better mind you as the build on the 1600 was superb.
  13. Greg

    Greg 2t5b

    The RP3 most definitely doesn't out perform a 1200mk2 IME.
  14. Peter Stockwell

    Peter Stockwell deep fried and gone

    SL1600 cut from the same ilk as the sl2000, I think ? I had an SL2000 which was definitely bested by a thorens TD160 derivative (165, 166, I can't remember).
  15. twotone

    twotone pfm Member

    I've had a RP3 & RB300 arm and I would agree with this.
  16. twotone

    twotone pfm Member

    I'm in the same position, I think my deck sounds superb and can't really see how a £450 bearing could make it sound hugely different or better but from what I've read the MN bearing does makes a difference but that the difference isn't night and day.
  17. chris@panteg

    chris@panteg pfm Member

    I've listened to some rips of the oem vs the MN bearing and the MN sounded worse to me, though it wasn't run in I might add, on listening to further rips after it had run in, it did seem to be an improvement but £450 improvement? Wouldn't like to say.

    Its interesting to point out that inspire use the OEM bearing shaft with brass taper in there Monarch TT, in a bespoke bearing housing but if its so bad why??

    Seems odd to me why two aftermarket bearings use a separate ball in the bearing, yet the OEM doesn't? This can only increase noise! Also I'm told that the brass taper to platter interface is critical!
  18. Stuart Mason

    Stuart Mason .....

    I have the MN bearing and it does make for a noticeable improvement. I've not heard any of the other bearing options (modifications) so can't really comment of the VFM of the MN item.
  19. Elelctrovoice

    Elelctrovoice New Member

    I have got stunning results by following the following cheapish upgrade path.

    Changed the rubber mat to an Acromat

    Took out the power supply and boxed it separately

    Replaced the arm with a Rega RB300 with a structural mod from Origin Live

    Had the arm re-wired

    Removed the spring from the tracking force adjuster

    Swopped the cartridge for an Ortofon 2M Red

    The result is marvellous. Tight bass and a lovely sweet mid.

    I am delighted and all for lemonade money

  20. gx502

    gx502 pfm Member

    Wrt the ergonomics and design of the SL1200, I think Panasonic intended the primary purpose of the deck to be a hifi turntable for domestic use, and secondarily they intended the deck to be used in low-tier or college radio stations. This is reflected in the initial advertising materials that they released at the time of launch.

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