Marantz TT-15S1 as complement to SL1200-GR? Or redundant?

Discussion in 'Audio Hardware' started by wbass, Feb 12, 2019 at 12:55 AM.

  1. wbass

    wbass Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    Chicago, IL
    In a fit of some madness, I purchased--as an upgrade to an entry-level Pro-Ject TT--both a Technics SL1200-GR and a Marantz TT-15s1. The Technics is staying. It's beautifully made, and I have it set up nicely with an Ortofon 2m Bronze. A few little kinks I'm working on, but I'm pretty happy with it. A lot of great posts on this site guided me to it. Thanks, y'all! (And Hifiheaven... great service there. Highly recommended.)

    So... now the Marantz sits in its box, unopened, asking whether I ought to crack it open and try it out, too. I got a solid deal on it ($1179 refurb, but appears to be like new), and I've read a lot of great things about this table and how great a value it is with its high quality (and relatively pricey) ClearAudio components. And, frankly, I like the looks of it a lot.

    So, I'm tempted to keep both, under the principle that 1) a belt-drive offers a different flavor than a direct-drive 2) that ClearAudio Virtuoso cart ($800 on its own) might be a decent upgrade to the 2m Bronze, and, knowing my habits, I'm likely to get a better cart (MM preferred, see system below) at some point anyway, and 3) the Marantz is just a cool-looking table.

    The arguments against keeping the Marantz 1) I can return it and get a full refund and $1200 ain't nothing 2) perhaps it's redundant given the quality of the Technics 3) do I really want the hassle of running two turntables at once or swapping them out? 4) the ClearAudio Virtuoso cart gets generally positive reviews but is not recommended as frequently as other carts 5) in a couple years, knowing my habits, I might go for a really hi-fi turntable, i.e. a true upgrade rather than side-grade from the Technics....

    So, soliciting opinions from the wise folks here. Would these tables/carts be nice complements? Or does the Technics make the Marantaz basically redundant? With sincere apologies for one of those "What should I do?" first posts. Thanks much for your thoughts/guidance. I'm not a complete noob with vinyl, but I'm still learning.

    Rest of my system: Graham Slee Era Gold V phono pre --> AES (Cary) AE3 DJH preamp --> Quicksilver SET Monoblock Power Amps --> Klipsch Forte III speakers.

    Music preferences: mostly 60s-70s Blue Note/Columbia/Atlantic/Impulse small group jazz, with a bit of folk, 70s rock, Gillian Welch, Neil Young, Wilco, etc. etc.
     
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  2. Cyclone Ranger

    Cyclone Ranger New old stock

    Location:
    Best Coast USA
    Hmm. Well, I don't quite get why you spent $3000 on two good turntables when you could've gotten one really fantastic TT instead.

    #confused
     
    Last edited: Feb 12, 2019 at 5:08 AM
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  3. G B Kuipers

    G B Kuipers Forum Resident

    Location:
    Netherlands
    I would tend to agree. These two tables/carts are different but they play on a similar level.

    One thing that counts for the Marantz: you can use cheap AT styli when the stock stylus is worn, without loss of quality (lots of info can be found on this forum and others). So it's a very cheap table per playing hour.
     
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  4. displayname

    displayname Forum Resident

    Location:
    Dallas
    I think it all comes down to your habits and wants. Personally I would only keep 2 tables if I had two systems. But I've seen plenty of people who keep two tables that produce a different sound and they'll use both to test various other equipment or to suit a mood. But if I was in your shoes I'd have gone for a single higher end table, or maybe one of those tables with a higher end cart and phono stage.

    However, I always think nothing beats an in home audition, and you currently have both tables in your home. You might as well try them both. I believe you have two fairly different flavors of sound between those two, so just knowing which sound you prefer will help with this decision, and so many other decisions down the line.

    Ultimately though, if I was in your shoes I would probably sell/return one table and upgrade my phonostage. If you figure the money from one of the tables + $500-600 for your current phono you should have a pretty sizable budget for a new phono. You could go further up the Graham Slee range or explore other options too. Plus this could open up more cartridge options down the line.
     
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  5. Bob_in_OKC

    Bob_in_OKC Forum Resident

    Location:
    Dallas, Texas
    If the decision to keep the Technics is made, returning the Marantz is the best plan. That money is better spent on practically anything else, such as the next cartridge for the Technics.
     
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  6. McLover

    McLover Forum Resident

    Location:
    East TN
    For my needs, the Marantz can't be my main turntable. Technics does all I need in a main daily driver turntable. The Marantz has advantages in some areas to a degree, but also has disadvantages too. As does Technics. For me, some compromise is necessary in the name of operational needs, and isolation from gimpy feet, and my needs for record playback from all eras, and all common speeds then and now. Your mileage may vary. Technics works for me, Marantz doesn't so well. Marantz may do better for your wants and needs. I respect that also. I've heard both at length, like things about both. Dislike things about both. The Marantz is a superb turntable for those who want that design.
     
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  7. Strat-Mangler

    Strat-Mangler Forum Resident

    Location:
    Toronto
    Most people seem to do this. No idea why. Sure, some will argue they want to have a system in every room but I just don't understand the concept of diluting the quality instead of buying one fantastic system instead. The listening experience is so much better!
     
  8. carbonti

    carbonti Forum Resident

    Location:
    NYC
    Good on you for two turntables. Why not? But whether you want to go straight away with these two depends on how driven you are in the chase as far as upgrades for your next move. If so, one of those decks gets rapidly outclassed as the odd turntable out: the Marantz.

    The Technics makes for a fine component that if even defined as a baseline turntable in your system is still a pretty high level - that Technics will not be outclassed by many existing available turntables at comparable price levels. The Technics has product endowments by virtue of Japanese electronics global giant R+D & manufacturing economies of scale. But you may find yourself interested in a higher level deck in the future. Or a different sounding deck. Either way, the Technics is still worth keeping.

    If vinyl is your source of choice, then more than one turntable in a system is a nice thing to have.
     
  9. JackG

    JackG Forum Resident

    Location:
    NJ
    Funny, I'm in a similar boat. Been running a KAB SL-1200 MkII for 10 years and last spring got a deal on a new TT-15S1 which I'd been researching forever. Life events, and lack of a dustcover (cat), have kept it in its box since then during which time my attention has been drawn to the 1200GR. Sound aside, the general solidity, usability, use of headshells, and repeatable adjustability (VTF knob is spot-on) of the Technics make me reticent to move away from the 1200 family. I've also become pretty competent/comfortable at its setup, and setup can make or break the sound.

    What would you suggest as a clear step up from either?

    Yes!


    Wow, I've listened to all of that (save for folk) over the past 2 days. Maybe I'll just wait to see what you do. ;)
     
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  10. wbass

    wbass Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    Chicago, IL
    Thanks, all! Very helpful feedback and thoughts. Yes, I ordered both at the same time, thinking I would audition both and get a good sense of both cartridges and belt vs DD, etc. Then, as JackG says, life happened, and I didn't have time to unbox/set up the Marantz, as well, before the return window started to close. (The Technics took all of 20 min. to set up.)

    Also, I had *initially* gotten a Music Hall Ikura from Hifiheaven--$600, quite a deal--but it arrived with a non-functioning tonearm lifter, and I hate cuing by hand. I did like some elements of the Ikura. It's stylish, heavier than it looks, and has a clever two-part plinth design. And the 2M Blue was a nice step up from the Sumiko Oyster on my old Pro-Ject TT. But the broken tonearm lift meant it had to go back. I could either do an exchange or a refund, and... I started thinking I should *really* upgrade from the Pro-Ject, rather than treading water on the low/mid end. Also, speed stability seemed important for me. I listen to a lot of piano trios, and hearing slightly warbly piano is annoying.

    Hifiheaven got in a few of the SL1200-GRs, and they seem overwhelmingly recommended, so I went for one. The 2m Bronze also seems like a can't-miss cart in the $500 price range. As others here have said, my thinking was that, while I might go for a higher end TT in the next few years, the Technics will stay relevant as among the best DD options out there. It seems like one to keep around, no matter where one goes in the future. I also like the speed stability, easy speed change, easy headshell change, easy VTA change.

    I think the consensus here is send back the Marantz, which is where I'm leaning, too. I *do* have two systems, but maybe not an overwhelming need for two tables at the moment. The Marantz is a relative bargain, but only if I get a ton of use out of it, which is uncertain. It sure is cool-looking though.
     
  11. wbass

    wbass Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    Chicago, IL
    Would also be curious to hear thoughts on the Graham Slee Era Gold V.... It seemed like a good match with the 2m Bronze, has great reviews, etc. I'm also auditioning the iFi Phono2 at the moment. (Much less time-consuming to A-B phono pre's than TT's.)

    The differences I hear between the two:

    --Era Gold V: nicely solid sound, nicely balanced tonality, a touch more forward. Seems to be higher gain, and a touch noisier, but not so noisy I can hear it from a few feet from the speakers.
    --iFi iPhono2: perhaps a touch more transparent/laid back, maybe a bit better bass, mids not as forward as the Era Gold, quieter but lower gain.

    I suppose one bit advantage of the iPhono2 is that it can do MC carts as well as MM. The Era Gold is MM only. But I got the Era Gold for $500 (used), and I like the idea of a dedicated MM pre that gets all it can out of the 2m Bronze. Also, the ergonomics on the iPhono2 are a little annoying. You have connects coming out of both sides rather than simply from the back. It's trickier to position.

    Thanks again for any thoughts/advice. I look forward to contributing more substantive posts in the future, rather than simply is A better than B, etc. stuff. Thanks for your patience.
     
  12. Classicrock

    Classicrock Forum Resident

    Location:
    South West, UK.
    Well I think the OP needs to find out which is best and make a choice. It would have been better to buy a 1200G rather than 2 turntables.
     
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  13. delmonaco

    delmonaco Forum Resident

    Location:
    Sofia, Bulgaria
    I'm in a similar situation (except my Technics isn't GR, but M5G - still a great turntable) and I keep and enjoy them both. I don't compare them, it's just a different experience (in my head at least). So if you can afford it and have enough space - keep both of them, it's fun (and the Marantz is sooo beautiful to look at.. :)
     
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  14. wbass

    wbass Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    Chicago, IL
    Thanks, y'all! This is all very helpful. Probably I will send back the Marantz, but, yeah, delmonaco, it's a hell of a nice visual design. (And likely a great technical one, too.)

    In the meantime, would welcome any thoughts on the Graham Slee and iPhono2 phono pre's (see above). Thanks.
     
  15. Strat-Mangler

    Strat-Mangler Forum Resident

    Location:
    Toronto
    Why keep the iPhono 2? It's a piece of junk that constantly breaks. There's a huge thread filled with members who've experience this. Return it at once and get yourself a reliable phono stage.

    Heads up!........ifi Phono 2

    16 pages of members having problems with their iPhono 2 units. Latest victim posted 2 weeks ago!
     
    Last edited: Feb 12, 2019 at 3:09 PM
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  16. Cyclone Ranger

    Cyclone Ranger New old stock

    Location:
    Best Coast USA
    For me, I'd be looking at the Michell Gyro SE or Technics 1200G.
    .
     
  17. wbass

    wbass Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    Chicago, IL
    Yes, right, I remember seeing complaints. Thanks for the reminder.

     
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  18. avanti1960

    avanti1960 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Chicago metro, USA
    the 2m bronze does not do your table or system justice. unfortunately your phono pre is MM only. i would recommend trading it for an MC capable phono stage or add on a step up transformer and purchase a good LOMC cartridge. really no substitute for the refinement and dynamics you will achieve with this move.
    ps. how do you like the forte iii s?
     
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  19. avanti1960

    avanti1960 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Chicago metro, USA
    get a sutherland insight and audiotechnica art 9, both avl at music direct. two giant killers that will sound incredible with your GR .
     
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  20. wbass

    wbass Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    Chicago, IL
    Well, for better or worse, the Marantz went back, unopened. I would like to have had some time to set up and play with it, but it ended up being a busy few weeks. And I feel pretty good about the Technics GR, so, what the heck, I'll roll with that for a while. The GR head shell came slightly out of alignment, so I might have to get a replacement head shell or something else that allows for adjustable azimuth. But that's small and, hopefully, can be fixed easily.
     
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  21. wbass

    wbass Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    Chicago, IL
    I'll roll with the 2m Bronze for a while--I can't and won't try to return a cart--but thanks for the recs. The Graham Slee is sounding pretty good at the moment, and perhaps I can add a step-up transformer later if I go LOMC. Unless anyone thinks I can do better now? Sort of had my eyes on the also often-recommended Lehmann Black Cube SE, but not sure I want to get too many variables at play here!

    Avanti, I like the Forte's quite a bit! I auditioned them next to some Paradigm Persona stand mounts, KEF R towers, KEF LS50, and a few other things, and thought the Klipsch best represented what I'm digging at the moment. They are not neutral, and perhaps they can be a little bright, but the dynamics really pop and many instruments sound surprisingly lifelike. They seem great for horns, upright, drums--jazz in other words--and vocals sound very nuanced--everything else I like. I don't know, they sort of hit a 60s/70s vibe, both visually and aurally. They're maybe not strictly accurate, but they are soulful, for lack of a better word. So far, three months in, I'm digging them.
     
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  22. You can adjust the azimuth on that headshell. There’s a little set screw on the underside.
     
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  23. wbass

    wbass Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    Chicago, IL
    Yeah, I've tried that. But, at least with my set of precision screwdrivers, I can't get the darn screw to budge. Maybe I'll take another shot at it, but I'm a little shy about wrecking anything. Any tips?

    This is the screw toward the back of the black plastic frame correct, just where it meets the steel cylinder (which I don't know the name of)?
     
  24. Yes. I have not tried that myself, but I know someone else on this forum successfully adjusted azimuth that way.

    How far off is it? You can get a little movement before locking the collar down on the tonearm , which has always been enough to get correct azimuth for me.
     
  25. ClausH

    ClausH Forum Resident

    Location:
    Horsens, Denmark
    This is Graham Slee's SUT. Elevator EXP - MC Step-up Amplifier
    I have not heard it so I can't comment on how it sounds.
     
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