The Technics SL-1200 GAE/G/GR general questions thread

Discussion in 'Audio Hardware' started by valvehead, Aug 1, 2018.

  1. valvehead

    valvehead Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Hampshire, UK
    Hi folks!

    As more and more people are buying these superb decks now, thought it might be a good time to start a sort of ‘general questions’ thread.

    To get the ball rolling, I recently bought a SL1200G. Initially got the GR model, but almost immediately kept wondering if I should have gone for the more pricier unit (I intend this to be my last deck), so a week later I exchanged it for the G! To be frank, I’m honestly not 100% sure I could tell any huge audible difference between the two if I didn’t know which was playing (though the bass on the GR I recall was a tad exuberant compared to the G) but definitely love the 10mm thick aluminium top-plate and that brass topped platter of the G. The build quality on both is truly superb!

    I’ve very pleased with the deck, but not quite sure if my tonearm has been factory adjusted correctly or not. I was surprised to find that on the arm height adjustment ring, one can turn it below 0 to approximately what would be -1, if the ring showed a negative scale too. Shouldn’t 0 mean absolute zero? i.e. the lowest point? I’d be much obliged if anyone else with a 1200G could check this at some point. It would be a PITA if I had to send it back to get that recalibrated.

    I did purchase an Ammonite-Audio (beautifully) CNC machined SME arm-plate, as I have an SME 309 arm here I was using on a Garrard 301. However the stock arm performs so well I’m now questioning whether I really want to risk voiding the guarantee by opening the deck up and fitting the SME arm. Would it be a definate improvement, or merely a change? Has anyone else changed the arm already?

    Cheers,

    John :)
     
    Last edited: Aug 1, 2018
  2. Erocka2000

    Erocka2000 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Brooklyn, NY, USA
    I've changed the arm on my 1200G to a Jelco TK-850S. The 850S works amazingly well with my Koetsu. Whereas, the Koetsu did not work with the stock arm. I don't believe changing the arm voids any warranty, as you're not altering the product in anyway, other than unscrewing and re-screwing.

    [​IMG]
     
  3. Classicrock

    Classicrock Forum Resident

    Location:
    South West, UK.
    There is one member who has changed the arm I believe ('Backtovinyl' I think). The SME was always a very tight fit on the old 1200II and many prefered it with Jelco/Ortofon arms. Timestep who pushed the SME conversion have their own now rather different European manufactured arm. Frankly for the likely difference in presentation I would not risk changing the present arm (while under warranty) which seems very capable. You might be better looking at a Timestep offboard linear power supply. If I wanted to use the best arms I would be waiting for the new SP10R. Try a better headshell and experiment with mats before doing anything. As a spare part the Technics arm is not a lot cheaper than an SME 309 apparently.
     
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  4. valvehead

    valvehead Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Hampshire, UK
    VERY nice looking arm! Suits the 1200G a treat.

    I was under the impression opening up a component always invalidates the warranty, unless specified otherwise in the manual?
     
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  5. Erocka2000

    Erocka2000 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Brooklyn, NY, USA
    It's easy to just put everything back the way it was and no one would know the difference. You don't have to break any seals or tear any labels.
     
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  6. valvehead

    valvehead Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Hampshire, UK
    The only problem with fitting SMEs along with the appropriate mounting plates on all 1200s, and something irritatingly never mentioned in the advertising for these arm-plates, is that the standard SME adjustment tools will not fit. There’s no room. Swivelling the series 309/IV/V arm mounting base around 180 degrees can help a little, so adjustments are made from the opposite side of the base instead. One also has to buy short right-angled allen and torq keys, and even then it’s quite cramped, but it can be done easily enough.

    To be honest, the psu on the 1200G is the last thing I’d change. Modern SMPSs can be superb, and I trust Technics and their decades of accumulated knowledge, rather than a tiny company making money from selling mods, to not skimp on that part of the design for their 1200 flagship. The situation is different with the original 1200s whose vibrations from the transformer could & did muddy the sound. Just externalising them made a difference. But on these new decks I honestly think it’d be making a change for the sake of making a change, rather than it being needed.

    That’s very true about the new Technics’ arm cost:

    Complete Tone Arm Base Assembly SL-1200G

    The SME 309 change is simply because I have the arm already, and bought the mounting plate before I’d thought through the possible voided guarantee issue (very stupid of me!).

    If I ever won the lottery, the SP10R would definitely be on the list ;)
     
    Last edited: Aug 1, 2018
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  7. valvehead

    valvehead Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Hampshire, UK
    True, though sometimes there are crafety little tricks manufacturers use to indicate whether a deck has been ‘got at’ or not.

    I just really need to decide if I need to make this change, or just leave the deck as-is. I just like the engineering and looks of my 309 to be honest :)
     
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  8. Erocka2000

    Erocka2000 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Brooklyn, NY, USA
    I really don't think there were any tricks. And trust me, the secondary cover that you have to remove after removing the rubber base is not super pristine. Mine had some minor scratches on it from the factory. I think you're overthinking this. The only thing is, there are quite a lot of screws, so just make sure you keep them in order while removing them.
     
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  9. Ralph Karsten

    Ralph Karsten Active Member

    Location:
    St. Paul MN
    The SL1200G has to have a lot of high end turntable manufacturers shaking in their boots. It is one of the most speed stable turntables made anywhere and has a very dead and rigid plinth that is damped by several damping techniques.A dead and rigid plinth is a key ingredient of a neutral uncolored turntable.

    This machine is from the ground up a new design, and nothing like the old SL1200s you see on craigslist except for the appearance. It is literally better in every way.

    IMO the weak points are the platter pad and tonearm. The platter pad really is nothing special and does not do the 'table justice, since a platter pad is supposed to control resonance in the vinyl caused by the tracking of the stylus. The arm OTOH isn't bad at all and is better than many high end arms. But I was curious what would happen if you put a state of the art arm on the table. The 12" Triplanar comes to mind, but I was told over and over again that a 12" arm was impossible on the machine.

    I guess 'impossible' means it might take a little bit longer :)

    It appears that you can't upload images to this site, but if you google 'Technics Triplanar' the first hit is a photo of the machine on which I installed the arm. Audioasylum seems to no longer have the image on their site though, so you'll have to make do with the google image.

    Anyway, the result was spectacular- very locked in imaging, like you get with a master tape. One of the most neutral (and thus musical) turntables I've heard.
     
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  10. Davey

    Davey define a transparent dream

    Location:
    SF Bay Area, USA
    Here ya go ... Technics SL-1200MK2 Upgrades (Pictoral)


    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Aug 1, 2018
  11. riverrat

    riverrat Forum Resident

    Location:
    Oregon
    You can upload images to SH, but not from your own computer. The image needs to be uploaded first to an online hosting site. I use postimage.org
     
  12. Erocka2000

    Erocka2000 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Brooklyn, NY, USA
    Which other mats have others tried on their 1200G? I'm curious to try a Herbies. I'd also want to try the Auditorium 23 Hommage mat, but's it's only in 12" diameter, which is too big for the 1200G.
     
  13. 4011021

    4011021 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Brazil
    Humble GR owner here interested in the thread. I was discussing the torque adjustment in other thread.

    I found out something.

    The SL-1200G has an "auto" mode in which torque is automatically adjusted. The guy in the video above claims that the auto mode uses higher torque in the beginning of the operation than lowers it. This "auto" mode is the one that Fremer says measures better. The "lower" "not auto" "manual setting" Fremer used in the G measures worse. Probably, I suppose, the "higher" "not auto" "manual setting" would also measure worse. The "auto" mode is there to make it the best torque the technology can deliver.

    Apparently, the SL-1210GR doesn't have an "auto" mode, only manual settings. This is what I conclude comparing the operator's manuals of both tables (page 19 for the G, page 21 for the GR). This means that the Fremer's measurements say nothing about the GR, because he is comparing two features (auto and mode) and one is exclusive of the G (auto).

    You can manually set the GR it to position 3 (higher torque), 2 (mid torque) and 1 (lower torque) but in none of them you have auto correction of torque like you have in the G. This would be one of the differences between a 4,000 dollars turntable (G) and a 1,700 dollars turntable (GR).

    What measures better in the GR, torque 1,2 or 3? I don't have this information. But the difference among these settings will not necessarily be the same as the difference between "auto" and "manual" torque in the G. Most likely will not be the same. I would agree that to let the auto mode do its job in the G would be the best choice, but I'm not sure we can say which of the three settings in the GR is technically the best without seeing the measurements.
     
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  14. clercqie

    clercqie Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Belgium
    It would be nice if Technics comes out with an updated 120G or something. The original SL-120 predates the 1200, and was basically the same drive system, but without the arm -- similar to the SP10-R vs. the SL1000-R.

    I don't doubt the 12000G magnesium arm is a terrific performer. However, it does not win on style points as some other, more esoteric, arms do. :)
     
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  15. 5-String

    5-String Forum Resident

    Location:
    Sunshine State
    This is a serious question...where can I buy the SL1200G? Is it anywhere available online?
     
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  16. Erocka2000

    Erocka2000 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Brooklyn, NY, USA
    I bought mine from HiFi Heaven.
     
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  17. 5-String

    5-String Forum Resident

    Location:
    Sunshine State
    Thanks!
     
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  18. Drewan77

    Drewan77 Forum Resident

    Location:
    UK/USA
    Maybe better to listen than torque.





    (sorry!)
     
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  19. H8SLKC

    H8SLKC Forum Resident

    Location:
    Boston, MA
    Beautiful machine. I cannot answer your questions except to say that if I spent $4,000 on a G model, I would be very, very unlikely to change anything on it for many years to come.


     
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  20. TarnishedEars

    TarnishedEars Forum Resident

    Location:
    Seattle, WA
    Where would one obtain a "better" headshell?

    And I agree with you that experimenting with mats is probably where the some of the largest gains are to be made. I'd be willing to bet that a putting a really good mat on a GR would easily subjectively outperform a G without the stock mat. The big question then becomes which mats to try...
     
  21. Drewan77

    Drewan77 Forum Resident

    Location:
    UK/USA
    If it helps - on my 1200G (Jan 2018) the adjustment ring will also turn below zero to almost -1. I guess if this was used with a wafer thin mat rather than the Technics one then it may be of use - assuming zero is referenced to the standard Technics mat and a 'typical' cartridge? (for example most Rega MMs are shallow, only ~13.5mm depth whereas Ortofons go up to 18-19mm so maybe this could be useful if something like a Rega is used with a very thin mat)
     
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  22. H8SLKC

    H8SLKC Forum Resident

    Location:
    Boston, MA
    I wasn't sure about posting in the thread since I don't own a Technics. However, I want to reinforce your point below about the engineering and construction of these machines. I recently sold a Marantz TT-15, a very well made but dead simple turntable that costs $1500 new. At the same time I bought a Pioneer PLX-1000, a modest but well-reviewed "everyman" DD Hanpin machine. I've loved the Pioneer and have had the bottom plinth off of it to poke around inside the shell.

    The level of engineering and manufacturing that goes into the Super OEMs is astounding for their price. Now, take that to an entirely higher level in considering the engineering and manufacturing that goes into the new Technics machines, and then remember that the GR is selling for $1700. This may seem provocative, but simple slab plinth and belt drive machines cannot hold a candle to these DD units, IMO. I previously appreciated the simplicity and "essence" of belt drives but think I'm over it, at least at higher price levels.

    If I were looking to drop more than $1,000 on a turntable, I would no longer consider other than one of these new Technics machines.


     
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  23. Drewan77

    Drewan77 Forum Resident

    Location:
    UK/USA
    I tried numerous mats on the 1200G & the differences were quite subtle.
     
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  24. Classicrock

    Classicrock Forum Resident

    Location:
    South West, UK.
    There are many headshells available including various Ortofon, Jelco/Sumiko, Oyaide and Yamamoto. Various alternative materials including wood and carbon. I doubt a change of mat would make a GR better than a G. There are big differences in the basic platter design and motor. Platters are well damped sans mat on these. I have seen vast differences of opinion on various mats so can't say if any are a vast improvement or just sound different.
     
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  25. valvehead

    valvehead Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Hampshire, UK
    Thanks for commenting - looks like this is normal then :)
     
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