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Where does the Technics SL-Q3 rank amongst turntables?

Discussion in 'Audio Hardware' started by Alter3go, Jan 8, 2021.

  1. Alter3go

    Alter3go New Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    San Diego
    I recently got this used without the counterweight for $60 (might have been less), so I simply ordered the counterweight on ebay for $30. Works great except for the broken stop/play button. How solid is this baby? One person has told me that he loves old-school technics TTs and doesn't see much improvement upgrading beyond something like this. Opinions?
     
  2. Wayne Nielson

    Wayne Nielson Forum Resident

    Location:
    My House
    I got an SL-Q2 for free in working condition. Its a nice automatic, but does not have VTA adjustment. I also loaded the insides with a few pounds of Plasticlay (non-hardening modeling clay) to damped it down a bit. While its a nice machine, it is not the "cat's meow".
     
  3. action pact

    action pact Music Omnivore

    For $90 with a broken switch, it’s a fine starter table, but far from the last word in performance.

    remember, you’re posting on a forum with people owning 4- and 5-figure turntables!
     
    Last edited: Jan 8, 2021
  4. vinylontubes

    vinylontubes Forum Resident

    Location:
    Katy, TX
    As far as automatic turntables it's a really good unit with it's strength being the Direct Drive's consistent speed. But anytime you add automation to the tonearm you're introducing things that can go wrong. The more complicated design also introduces slop into the design. Looser tolerances have to be incorporated to keep manufacturing costs down. And more slop means more noise. If you look at the higher end units, automation is dropped and costs are redistributed to tighter tolerance parts. Tighter tolerance parts both cost more to fabricate and usually special tooling to assemble.

    There are different ways to design a turntable. And there isn't really a best way to do this. Anytime you use a radial pivot, there will be errors in the tracking angle. One solution to reduce the errors is incorporate a longer tonearm. As far as platter speed, a Direct Drive is continuously correcting the speed errors, which means it's never actually precise. So a really heavy platter with a belt drive can be as precise but probably not as accurate. The point I'm trying to make is that there isn't a perfect turntable. What you view as more important depends on your perspective. You should buy the turntable that better corrects problem you hold as more problematic.

    The key thing you have to keep in mind is the concept of signal to noise ratio. The higher the better, but a turntable has a very high correlation to this spec. The cartridge used is both indicative of both signal strength and the quality characteristics extracted from the groove. And the rest of the deck represents nothing but noise. Slop in tolerances reduces the precision of the cartridges tracking and the speed of the platter. The design of the plinth is indicative of the how well the cartridge is isolated from the vibrations both from the platter motor and the environment. If we look at television as metaphor, the best TV's currently available are OLED. These have deep blacks which strengthen the contrast and vibrancy to the colors. The same thing is going on with S/N on a turntable.

    With something like the SL-Q3 with all it's automation, you're introducing additional vibrations from the motors and servos that can transfer directly through the tonearm to the cartridge. So, it's even more flawed. But all in life isn't about perfection. It has additional functionality over a manual turntable. Again perspective matters. If you're a bigger fan of the automation, then taking a slight hit on performance is something you're sacrifice. As far as your friend's opinion goes. It's like any opinion, it's based on their preferences and perspectives. While I respect most people's opinions, I don't really accept them as my own unless my own preferences and perspectives align with theirs.
     
    drh likes this.
  5. Alter3go

    Alter3go New Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    San Diego
    How does it compare to the Pioneer PL-518?
     
  6. Dr. J.

    Dr. J. Music is in my soul

    Location:
    Memphis, TN
    I've heard and used both machines and would take the PL-518 over it in a heart beat, tho it's kind of fugly.
     
  7. Uglyversal

    Uglyversal Forum Resident

    Location:
    Sydney
    The Q3 is a very likeable TT, there is always room for improvement but that is something only you can decide whether is needed or not. For the price you've paid sounds like a bargain.
     
    Dale A B likes this.
  8. harby

    harby Forum Resident

    Location:
    Portland, OR, USA
    The SL-Q2 and SL-Q3 use the same motor as even the late SL-1200MK5.

    The only game changer will be a linear tracker that eliminates tracking angle error and skate force.
     
  9. Uglyversal

    Uglyversal Forum Resident

    Location:
    Sydney
    Is that so? I've never worked on a q2 or3 but I thought they were more likely to have the same motor as the sld2 and 3 which has a lot less torque.
     
  10. harby

    harby Forum Resident

    Location:
    Portland, OR, USA
    That is so. They use stator frame SFMG520-31A and motor drive IC AN6675. Shaft and spindle sfmzq20-01a.

    Stator cross:
    PS-4500, SL-10, SL-1025, SL-1200, SL-1200M3, SL-1200MK2, SL-1200MK5, SL-120MK2, SL-1210M3, SL-1210M5 , SL-1210MK2, SL-1210MK5, SL-15, SL-1600MK2, SL-1610MK2, SL-1700MK2, SL-1710MK2, SL-1800MK2, L-1810MK2 , SL-DZ1200, SL-M1, SL-M2, SL-M3, SL-Q2, SL-Q3, SL-Q33, SP-25, XQ-2400

    (think the SL10/15 are in error as their service manual has only a complete assembly part#)

    Spindle cross:
    LAB-390, PS-3500, PS-4500, SL-1025, SL-1200, SL-1200LTDE, SL-1200M3, SL-1200MK2, SL-120MK2, SL-1210MK2, SL-1600MK2, SL-1610MK2, SL-1700MK2, SL-1710MK2, SL-1800MK2, SL-1810MK2, SL-D1, SL-D2, SL-D3, SL-D33, SL-H401, SL-Q2, SL-Q3, SP-25, XQ-2400

    You might see an interesting one there, the SL-DZ1200 DJ CD player. With the right parts it can be turned into a turntable that plays an LP to "scratch" CD audio, or add a tonearm to that.

    The Realistic LAB-390 is basically a D2.

    Another member on here now owns my SL-Q2.

    The SL-M3 stands out, a linear tracker, and it adds 4dB lower rumble with the motor.
     
    Last edited: Jan 9, 2021
    nosliw and Uglyversal like this.
  11. Uglyversal

    Uglyversal Forum Resident

    Location:
    Sydney
    If you didn't mention it I wouldn't have spotted the CD player, I've seen photos of it but never realized it could actually be turned into a TT.
    I've owned and still own several Technics but the Q was never one of them, my uncle had the Q2 I used to love the look but not having the ability to control the speed somehow always felt like a downside.
    It's quite interesting to learn the Q2,3 and the SL10 shared the same motor with the 1200's I was expecting something lesser for those models.
    with the ps4500 which I am not familiar with I keep getting photos of a Grundig so I presume it must have been a specially made unit just for them. Very informative, thanks!
     
  12. harby

    harby Forum Resident

    Location:
    Portland, OR, USA
    The Grundig PS-4500 service manual reveals the direct-drive brains and familiar motor:

    [​IMG]

    A real rare one is the Blaupunkt XQ:
    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Jan 9, 2021
    Uglyversal likes this.
  13. Uglyversal

    Uglyversal Forum Resident

    Location:
    Sydney
    Yes indeed, these German companies have some unusual products, I recognize the back of the arm but the wand and headshell I don't, the rubber mat looks kind of nicked from a Sony and I presume the cartridge would have been rebranded to Blaupunkt.
     
  14. Francois1968

    Francois1968 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Netherlands
    Like most, maybe even all Technics, it doesn't do anything wrong. I just don't think Technics is all that special, apart from the old 1200 series that set the benchmark for DJ use.
    I've heard many, many Technics tables with all sort of carts (even had 2 Technics tables myself) and I really never thought it did sound that great.
    In fact, I think there are quite some vintage tables that offer at least the same, if not more for the same or less money.

    Hope you enjoy your current table once you have it restored completely. Whenever you think of an upgrade here are some suggestions of great vintage tables;
    -Sansui SR 525 (direct drive)
    -Toshiba SR 370 (direct drive)
    -Dual 704 (direct drive)
    -Dual 601 (belt drive)
     
  15. James H.

    James H. Forum Resident

    Location:
    Runnemede, NJ
    I own an SL QD33 that I have had since the early 90’s. I use it as a second TT for needle dropping my vinyl. I have no issues with it except for getting a new stylus/cartridge when needed. I guess the only downfall is I can only use a p-mount cartridge. In conclusion, I still enjoy this turntable.
     
  16. patient_ot

    patient_ot Senior Member

    Location:
    USA
    Get it set up properly, serviced if needed. Worry about other stuff later.
     

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