Technics SL-1200Mk7 Owners... Your Impressions So Far?

Discussion in 'Audio Hardware' started by Cyclone Ranger, Jul 18, 2019.

  1. Bathory

    Bathory 30 yr Single Malt, not just for breakfast anymore

    Location:
    usa
    Maybe I’ll get one, and keep unopened in box til I need one.
    This motor will last for 40 years+
    Might be a good idea......

    Just as a future purchase also for my siblings. He loves my records.
    He first asked me years ago......”DADDY, HOW BIG WERE YOUR CD PLAYERS?”

    The young honesty is great?

    I mentioned this in another thread, about the large CD player discs.

    Being LP’s not a cd.

    Good young honesty, I love it!
     
    Aftermath likes this.
  2. Slick Willie

    Slick Willie Decisively Indecisive

    Location:
    sweet VA.

    I would find it difficult to forget that which I heard before.
     
  3. fmfxray373

    fmfxray373 Forum Resident

    Location:
    san diego
    I left all of the settings on default.
     
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  4. aroney

    aroney Who really gives a...?

    Any sound comparisons between the MK7 and MK2?
     
    Cyclone Ranger likes this.
  5. fmfxray373

    fmfxray373 Forum Resident

    Location:
    san diego
    When I first heard my beat up MK2 for the first time I thought "boy this sounds like a reel to reel deck playing a really nice 7 1/2 isp tape".

    Well when you listen to 1200s long enough you sort of get used to the good sound.
    They sound pretty similar to me.

    I have them on two different systems so it is hard to say if one sounds better than another. My old MK2 is being played with a 60 watt Adcom pushing it through some vintage RSL Elan studio monitors with a Klipsch sub. I have a tube preamp that has no tone controls so I use the sub.
    My MK7 is being pushed by a 16 watt Jolida tube amp through smaller speakers.
     
    aroney likes this.
  6. Cyclone Ranger

    Cyclone Ranger New old stock Thread Starter

    Location:
    Best Coast USA
    Remember that Naga changed the naming convention on their carts a few years back, from two-digit numbers to three-digit.

    So his confusion may be understandable.
    .
     
  7. Slick Willie

    Slick Willie Decisively Indecisive

    Location:
    sweet VA.
    I was speaking on SQ. I should have made that clearer.
     
  8. naru1980

    naru1980 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Los Angeles, CA
    It will be tough to forget how sweet the zephyr/classic combo was. I had nicer speakers then as well (verity audio Finns) that I still have in a closet.
    The current system I'm building is geared towards having a kid and two cats, who weren't around when I was building my previous system. More practical gear that doesn't cost as much and I wouldn't be as heartbroken about breaking.
    Someday when I own a home with a basement or a spare room, I'll splurge on a higher end system again.
     
    Slick Willie likes this.
  9. naru1980

    naru1980 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Los Angeles, CA
    Thanks again for your suggestions and I might end up getting another Nagaoka to test things out, but I ended up getting a new AT-OC9ML/III on eBay for pretty cheap. Always wanted to try a MC cart to see what the fuss is about. Will report back with my findings.
     
    Cyclone Ranger likes this.
  10. Tim1954

    Tim1954 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Cincinnati, OH
    Picked one up.

    So far so good. It sounds a little "tight" to me on some bass notes. Expect it to loosen up.

    Pretty cheap build for a grand, I must say. When you lift the cue it really wants to lift that tonearm very high. The adjustment for the tonearm height is cheap. The start and speed buttons feel cheap. The PLX-1000 feels far more solid for less money!

    I'm checking mine out with a Nagaoka MP-200. Out of the box I want to say I am undecided. I think the PLX-1000 is a better build but its anti-skating is off (yes, I know it's supposedly just double the number to get it right and that works for me but it's wrong) and the tonearm on the PLX isn't as good.

    PLX-1000 is a better value at $700 than this at $1000. That I can say already.
     
    Last edited: Sep 11, 2019 at 9:07 PM
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  11. fmfxray373

    fmfxray373 Forum Resident

    Location:
    san diego
    Why pay $700 if the tonearm is inferior and anti-skate are off? Why is that a good value?
    The Denon V12 is heavy but has a crappy tonearm. To be honest if Denon had used the Technics 1200 tonearm assembly instead of using a Gemini tonearm it would probably have a grand slam on its hands as far as the audiophile community is concerned. I don't know if the same can be said of the Pioneer I don't have one. I would rather pay a grand for a decent table with a good tonearm than a heavier one with a bad one.

    I almost want to take my MK2 tonearm assembly and see if it will fit the VL12.
     
    Aftermath likes this.
  12. Tim1954

    Tim1954 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Cincinnati, OH
    Well, why pay $1,000 for what is easily the cheapest looking and feeling turntable Technics has ever produced?

    Answer: Better tonearm and anti-skate than the PLX-1000. At least to me that’s why I thought I’d try it.

    The problem is that I hadn’t considered the ways in which the PLX-1000 might be better. Didn’t expect it but the Pioneer is just a far better build in most ways. Feels more like a Technics than the MK7 feels like a Technics in some ways.

    Tomorrow I will try to do some sound comparisons. So far they are VERY close. So close I’m not sure which one I favor. The MK7 seems to get just a little deeper into the sound but is a bit more tightly wound. Almost a little stiff. Very much just initial thoughts but it seems as if pops and clicks on vinyl sound less intrusive than the PLX-1000. I guess this is part of the static balance in the MK 7 tonearm? Anyway....will try to do some more work tomorrow but this is not the slam dunk I expected.
     
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  13. RPM

    RPM Forum Resident

    Location:
    Easter Island
    It's adjustable.

    So where's the better build?
     
  14. fmfxray373

    fmfxray373 Forum Resident

    Location:
    san diego
    It sounds like a 1200 and the anti-skate actually works.
    I guess if you are a DJ maybe it may be light but for home listening it is excellent.
    I am not lifting it up and down very much lol.
     
  15. Tim1954

    Tim1954 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Cincinnati, OH
    It’s a lot of little things. The cue lever, the arm height adjustment wheel, the start/stop button, the speed button, the power dial.... all of these things are so cheaply made on the MK7 that I am surprised Panasonic would have the gall to sell this for $300 more than Pioneer sells the PLX-1000 for, where all of these components are significantly better. The Technics name alone is one thing, but in my view if the PLX-1000 is a $699 turntable this is a $799 turntable. No way in the current market is this a thousand dollar piece of work, IMO.

    I have a Mk5 available in my main room and I just need this for a small room I have. Jury is still out.
     
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  16. fmfxray373

    fmfxray373 Forum Resident

    Location:
    san diego
    Is the PLX known for quality control issues ?
     
  17. profholt82

    profholt82 Resident Blowhard

    Location:
    West Michigan
    The mk7 is definitley not nearly as heavy as previous 1200 models, but it's still a very solid feeling deck. It's a different type of metal with a textured surface. The criticisms about the buttons feeling cheap compared to older models is valid as some of the buttons on it are plastic. However, they are a matte finish and have a nice feel to them. And pressing each of them gives you that click feedback, so they do their job just fine. I will say that the tonearm lever doesn't move up and down as smoothly as previous models. It does its job, but in previous 1200s you could drop the lever straight down, and watch the arm slowly lower to the platter. The mk7 still does that, but it's just not quite as nice and smooth as it used to be. I feel like these are petty gripes though.

    The criticisms of hearing more bass and some louder pops and clicks is basically complaining that the tonearm is revealing. And isn't that what we want in a tonearm? Play cleaner records. Hahahaha
    Anyway, I would think if that is an issue for someone, it could be alleviated with a different cartridge or preamp/stage. There's more to that than just a tonearm.

    I've only had my mk7 up and going for about 4 days now, but I have probably spun 20 different records on it in that time. The bass is much more pronounced than on my previous table (SL-Q3, an 80s consumer level deck from Technics, very decent, but not high end), and the music on the whole is just fuller sounding. I've noticed on certain songs that sounds in the background of the mix are now much more audible. This was the case on Joy Division's "She's Lost Control." And I've noticed a lot more clarity in vocal-centric records. In particular, I immediately heard noticed hearing the breath, the sound of lips separating and pronunciation of consonants on Alison Krauss's "Paper Planes."

    I should note that I just swapped out the decks. I kept the same cartridge and equipment in my main rig, so these improvements in the sound quality are strictly from the mk7.

    All of that said, I'm sure you could probably find a belt drive deck in the same price range that would sound as good or possibly better. But for my purposes, the ease of use and durability of the 1200 outweighed my inklings towards the MMF5.3 and Planar 3 which were at the same price point. I like the stability of the direct drive motor, the big heavy platter, and the ease of cart swapping and setting the tonearm that comes with Technics decks. Now, down the road when I have a bigger budget, there are some belt drive decks that I'd love to get my hands on, but at the 1k price point, I dont think I'm losing much, if anything, in the sound department (take these reviews with a grain of salt, but Ian on hivinyws on youtube preferred the mk5 to the Planar 3 by a wide margin), and the ease of use of the 1200 is a major plus. Also, a nice perk that Technics owners have is that KAB produces a number of components which will upgrade the sound quality should they choose. I'm quite pleased with how it sounds stock, but the idea of upgrading the tonearm damper down the road is an appealing one.

    For comparison to the 1200 mkII, it's hard for me to compare the sound quality. I had a mkII in the 90s, but it was hooked up to an old 70s Pioneer amp and I was using an old Shure cart with it. I loved the sound, but as I have completely different components now (my gear is listed in my profile), any comparison would be silly. What I can tell you is that the mkII was much heavier, it was smooth, so likely a different type of metal, and the buttons and lever had a higher quality feel to them. Again, not that I would go so far as to call the buttons on the new mk7 cheap, as while they are plastic, they still have a nice matte feel and click to them, but the mkII definitley had better quality there. And without hearing them side by side, I would bet that they would be pretty close.

    Overall, I'm happy with the mk7. It has a solid build, the motor keeps effortless, perfect speed, and can start and stop on a dime. While some of the buttons are plastic, and the tonearm lever doesn't work quite as smoothly as older Technics decks, it's got it where it counts, the sound department. It has pronounced, well-defined bass and digs out subtleties in the music that lesser decks aspire to. And the set it and go, ease of use that is one of the cornerstones of the 1200 legacy is still going strong with this one.
     
    Last edited: Sep 12, 2019 at 2:28 PM
  18. Tim1954

    Tim1954 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Cincinnati, OH
    Did some shootouts today.

    The PLX is just a better table, IMO.

    Somehow in direct comparisons of the exact same vinyl it manages to be a touch more open and airy, yet at the same time a touch more soft and less hard around the edges.

    I even recorded the quiet part of Yes’s Close To The Edge from a UK pressing I have which is not perfect, and the pops and clicks were somehow just a little less significant on the PLX, and yet it really loses nothing in overall sonic depth. It reaches a bit deeper into the midrange. The MK7 sounds tighter and a touch more clinical. But the differences are VERY minor.

    I am lucky in that my PLX had no issues with loose bearings, so the only real issue is having to double up the anti-skate. 2 on the MK7 is 4 on the PLX.

    The “slip sheet” concept on the MK7 is a little odd, IMO. I assume this is supposed to make up for the lighter weight and help with damping, but if anything I find this table sounds almost over-damped. I found the same thing on the GR. They are getting this super tight sound, but it is almost as if they are trying to improve on something that didn’t need improvement. Even the “cogging” thing is pure hype and people probably forget but Sony solved this and advertised it in the early ‘80s. It’s as if somebody at Panasonic found an old audio rag and saw those old ads and a light bulb went off. “Hey, we can solve cogging again!”

    So it’s a really good table but overpriced, IMO. And the irony is that all Pioneer did is basically copy the MK5. I think Panasonic is trying to reinvent their own wheel and what they are producing is fine and all, but this table has no business costing $300 more than the PLX. It’s really the Technics “name” you are paying for, IMO.
     
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  19. 4011021

    4011021 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Brazil
    And for the confidence and expectations of durability that come with the name.
     
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  20. Tim1954

    Tim1954 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Cincinnati, OH
    No question. Very good point.

    The jury’s is still out on the PLX-1000 in this regard.

    I’ve had a PLX-1000 for 18 months and so far it has been a real tank, but it has a long way to go before being able to compete with Technics in this respect.

    There are things I like about the MK7 more than the PLX-1000, but I really don’t quite get what they were going for here. Many DJs apparently have issues with it handling bass at loud volumes, so I think amongst that crowd it might struggle just a bit. And for audiophiles, it is just too cheaply built for the price, IMO.

    Now if it were like $749 or even $799 I think they would have a long term winner, but I also don’t think it has any business being part of the SL-1200 history. It just feels like a poor man’s poor cousin’s MK5. For audiophiles the GR is worth the extra money without question!
     
    Last edited: Sep 12, 2019 at 5:11 PM
  21. 4011021

    4011021 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Brazil
    I like my own PLX-1000 too. Haven't had any issues except for the loose tonearm bearings that I fixed myself. I believe it's gonna last but I get it when people are not so sure.
     
    Tim1954 likes this.
  22. brimuchmuze

    brimuchmuze Forum Resident

    Hey Tim1954,

    Any chance of uploading some high res needledrops of the PLX-1000 / SL-1200Mk7 for comparison?

    One of the Tone Poets would be interesting to hear on the two tables :)
     
  23. Tim1954

    Tim1954 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Cincinnati, OH
    Yeah, I could do it. I recorded Shorter’s Etc. on both as a matter of fact. Maybe tomorrow....
     
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  24. Classicrock

    Classicrock Forum Resident

    Location:
    South West, UK.
    How can you think the Technics may be more durable? Not heard any issues about Pioneers failing or breaking. The PLX 1000 is a truly heavy lump. On my example the antiscate appears to be fairly accurate, maybe a bit higher value than the VTF (usually less than VTF is better on other arms). Also no bearing issues. Unfortunately the Mk7 appears to be minus improvements to motor on the GR and G and made lighter than the Mk 2 for which it appears to be a direct replacement. I have heard more complaints about Technics QC than Pioneer (mainly wonky platters).
     
  25. Tim1954

    Tim1954 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Cincinnati, OH
    I was talking about Technics in general when I said their reputation for durability is obvious.

    The MK7 may drag that reputation down a notch. Way too early to say.
     

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