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Vintage DD TTs slightly off the radar...

Discussion in 'classic' started by Alex S, Aug 11, 2022.

  1. Alex S

    Alex S carbon based lifeform

    I use a fairly modded SL-1200. I really like it, enough to convince me I like DD turntables. Cogging, what cogging? Somehow though the Leak and the Technics just look wrong, perhaps in a good way, but I'm thinking of going further back. I know about the old Technics and Luxmans but they're starting to go for serious money. What else is there to look out for. and, given I'm clueless, can it be sorted via PFM? Thanks.
  2. paulfromcamden

    paulfromcamden Baffled

    My understanding is the first direct drive was the SP-10 in 1970. So there won't be any with styling contemporary with the ST20.

    Have you considered an idler?
  3. Simon Dawson

    Simon Dawson Angry, Ill & Ugly

    I've got a Pioneer PL71 (1975 I think) so pretty early in the DD evolution if Paul is correct. Nice arm, sounds pretty good. I have been meaning to get it out of storage and team it up with the Sony VFET amp for some 70/80s Japanese fun. I'll try and do that over the weekend and report back.
    Alex S likes this.
  4. Tony L

    Tony L Administrator

    EMT 950, 948, 938, but they might be a bit spendy. Personally I’d go idler with a 301, 401, 124, but there is something beautifully simple about a DD.
  5. Alex S

    Alex S carbon based lifeform

    Thanks Paul, I hadn’t really thought this through date-wise tbf
  6. Mignun

    Mignun pfm Member

    If you like the SL-1200 then there are a couple of other Technics well worth looking out for that eclipse the 1200 but may not cost that much more; the SL-150 Mk2 and the SL-1700/1800 Mk2. Some may ask why no SL-1300/1400/1500 Mk2? Well, it has a particular design flaw to the tonearm lift that afflicts pretty much all of them by now and there's no easy or effective long-term fix for it (myriad bodges though, most unsuccessful).

    The ~SL-150 Mk2, while looking similar to it's "armed" brothers, is rather different, with a wooden base, extra feet, and the ability to take whatever tonearm you choose to mount (they came with a drilled arm board - usually SME - and one blank). We used a pair of them (with Piezo arms) at my college radio station and they looked fab, were pretty much indestructible, and sounded great too. It's a cracking deck and good step or two up from the SL-1200 in performance and all-round desirability. They do command a fair premium over the 1200 and good ones are a rare find.

    The SL-1700/1800 Mk2 is like a sleeker, smoother, more honed version of the SL-1200. What's best about though is that it sounds much better - probably because it loses the rubberised base that kills the performance of the SL-1200. These can sometimes be found for similar money to a 1200, so if you see one, get it!
    Alex S likes this.
  7. chartz

    chartz If it’s broke fix it!

    I use (among other TTs) an SL-150 with a Mayware unipivot arm. Really nice.
  8. Nagraboy

    Nagraboy Ausculta fili

    What about a Lenco 75? They seem good value. I’ve got one under the sofa here that needs looking at.
  9. Alex S

    Alex S carbon based lifeform

    My dad had a Lenco 75, with Quads and LS3/5As. None of which did I inherit (my step sister's father was well into music so I agreed they be left to him). I know the Lenco really well. Is it better than an Sl-1200?
    Nagraboy likes this.
  10. messengerman

    messengerman pfm Member

    The Dual 701 can be very good value for a decent direct drive. Especially if you can find one in the UK where they seem to be under-appreciated. They have a very cool mid-century teak plinth often with an aluminium waistband. Very G-Plan and nothing like any Japanese decks. A nice one on ebay recently went for about £150. IIRC to a US buyer who probably paid the same again in shipping.
  11. paulfromcamden

    paulfromcamden Baffled

    I think the answer to that is very much 'depends'. A stock Lenco - probably not (and it sounds like your 1200 is fairly modified anyway). But it can be a good base for a really great turntable if fettled and upgraded.

    edit: I have an L78 under the bed I need to get rid of if you want a project ;-)
  12. wd40addict

    wd40addict pfm Member

    Not going to beat a 1200, but the 50s direct drive Thorens E53PA would be more period correct :)

    Note that pre Technics direct drive was mechanical, another example is the Garrard 201.
  13. Big Tabs

    Big Tabs looking backwards, going forwards

  14. Alex S

    Alex S carbon based lifeform

    Nice BT.

    Luxmans and Sp10s are going for silly money now - but is it silly compared to 1200GRs and Gs? I really have no idea.

    I've always been confused by my 1200 MK2, especially the stock arm. I bought it for convenience and thrift but it's always sounded good to me. It has all the usual mods (arm rewire, KAB PSU, KAB damper, fancy mat etc) without turning it into a £2.5K AoS style deck. (It was sold with the Isonoe feet and I've never removed them). Most sensible people tell me something like a Well Tempered Simplex would murder it yet it replaced a Well Tempered Classic with no regrets. And I don't suppose a golf ball is any more in keeping with the Leak than a strobe light. Maybe I'll make a wooden plinth for it.
  15. paulfromcamden

    paulfromcamden Baffled

    I almost suggested just this. I'm kind of curious how a plinth in plain black Japanese lacquer would look. Or would that be massively expensive/impractical?
  16. Alex S

    Alex S carbon based lifeform

    Could definitely be done but I could only really make a surround since I couldn't and wouldn't tamper with the deck itself.
  17. sideshowbob

    sideshowbob Champagne fascia aficionado

    I restored and rebuilt a Lenco 75 during one of the lockdowns and it's the best record player I've ever owned, and I've owned a fair few, including some quite exotic beasts. One of the things I like about vintage idlers is that they're incredibly simple devices, and easy to maintain and work on. DDs are great, I've had a few, but servicing and maintenance is a bigger deal, the electronics can be significantly more complex.
  18. sideshowbob

    sideshowbob Champagne fascia aficionado

  19. divedeepdog

    divedeepdog pfm Member

    Sony TTS 2500 & 3000 are early DD’s. I’ve got TTS8000 and it has more character than the equivalent Technics SP10.

    I’ve resisted the Techy route, for me I may as well play digital, ymmv
    karma67 likes this.
  20. paulfromcamden

    paulfromcamden Baffled

    Very nice Ian. I had an unfinished Lenco project sitting on baked bean tins for a long while! Then I saw this guy, serviced and fitted with an Acos arm, offered on the Lenco forum for less than it would cost me to buy in bits...

    They really are astonishing value for money. People pay more for USB cables!


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