Noob lost in the replacement (upgrade) of the tonearm of the technics sl-1200 - diyAudio
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Old 11th June 2011, 06:29 AM   #1
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Default Noob lost in the replacement (upgrade) of the tonearm of the technics sl-1200

Hi, I finally decided to get a technics sl-1200 on ebay and upgrade it as my first table.

First thing I need (seem) to do is replace the bad and cheap tonearm of the sl-1200, right?

I'm willing to put up to 300$ on a tonearm, any suggestions? Would it even be worth it to put so much on a tonearm?

thanks
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Old 13th June 2011, 05:55 AM   #2
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Default Wait, don't change the arm yet.

The arm on the Technics if not damaged (from shipping or from mobile DJ use) is actually not bad at all. Also, it lets you experiment with cartridges because of the detachable headshell. Certain aspects of it can also be upgraded if you feel the need to. Much is explained on the KAB website. Heres a link debunking some of the myths about the 1200.

KAB Electro Acoustics http://www.kabusa.com

Regards, Carlos
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Old 13th June 2011, 07:24 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by carlosga View Post
The arm on the Technics if not damaged s actually not bad at all.
I tossed the table and kept the arm...

dave
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Old 13th June 2011, 06:53 PM   #4
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I was planning to replace the arm on the SL1700 for the RB301. But the arm of the technics works very good has very good adjustment possibilities.

As for VTA. The bearings are operating at very low force feel it. And the change the head-shell for a other is great for comparing cartridges.

If you want to do a mod try to change the copper tone arm wiring for silver (van den Hul mcs150) this will increase the soundstage experience.

You bought a technics sl1200 to improve that one will be hard, but you can change it . Maybe a heavier platter is a improvement to make it more immune for surrounding noise of the music you are playing.
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Last edited by Helmuth; 13th June 2011 at 07:16 PM.
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Old 16th June 2011, 04:36 AM   #5
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You need an armboard plate to bolt a different arm, check here

I suggest these arms:
Rega RB250/251/300/301
Jelco SA-250ST/SA-750D/

More improvements:
herbiesaudiolab Turntable Mat Way Excellent II-3.7mm thick, 285mm diameter
4 Sorbothane feet, External PSU, Main Bearing.

check here also: sl-1200-mk2.com

I have a 1200 with Jelco SA-750D, Benz Ace H, Timestep bearing, external diy psu, herbiesaudiolab mat and sorbothane feet.
I'm very pleased with the sound, better than my previous Michell GyroDec.
I also have another pair(1200)with Rega RB250, Grado DJ200! and sound much better than stock arm.
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Old 16th June 2011, 05:41 AM   #6
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Did this mod 33 years ago; basically you need to replace the round mount for the Technics arm with a fabbed unit; we machined one out of aluminum but today I might go with a dense wood. The rest is easy; we mounted a SME III.

Not really worth it unless you want a high compliance cartridge; before I tried it I would suggest a Denon MC and the Technics arm to set a baseline performance level. You might find it surprisingly good. Bonus is you can swap back to the Technics arm if you use the SME style mount which is adjustable and fits most arms.

I would agree that the weak point (and the strong point) of the table is the DC direct drive motor itself plus Technics' integration of the floating suspension with that system. They have to be taken as a whole to realize the full potential of the table.

One major caution with this mod is the floating suspension expects a certain mass at the tonearm mount point. You need to be able to have your new arm/mount the same mass as the Technics arm/mount or the suspension won't work well (at best) and will be a feedback generator (at worst, ie if it binds the floating suspension most likely from being too light rather than too heavy).

The question then becomes is that motor/suspension system what you want to build a table around. For ultimate fidelity I'd say no to DC DD but for a sub-$1000 table it's competitive. If I were forced to use DD I'd personally go with Denon's AC DD system, but no floating suspension option is really available there. In the end I'm a belt drive fan, but again value-for-dollar issues make it much closer sub $1K.

I would think about how serious you are about the mod; a stock SL 1200 will resale better since your modded table will be selling into a different market where the SL 1200 isn't as popular. No traditional SL 1200 user will want a HiFi arm on it, and few HiFi nuts would prefer the SL 1200 motor/suspension to a similar belt drive unit. This has got to be for you and you alone to make it worthwhile, so do it only if you intend to keep the table.
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Last edited by Johnny2Bad; 16th June 2011 at 06:11 AM.
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Old 16th June 2011, 08:20 PM   #7
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okay thanks so far.

I cant use the kab upgrade because I have a sl-1200 mk1.

I decided to keep the arm for now. The table comes with a stanton 680, so I got a new stylus at lp gear for it.

I will rewire the arm most probably.

Then I want to know if it would be worth it to upgrade the interconnect (rca) and the PSU?
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Old 16th June 2011, 08:34 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bozakdla View Post
You need an armboard plate to bolt a different arm, check here

I suggest these arms:
Rega RB250/251/300/301
Jelco SA-250ST/SA-750D/

More improvements:
herbiesaudiolab Turntable Mat Way Excellent II-3.7mm thick, 285mm diameter
4 Sorbothane feet, External PSU, Main Bearing.

check here also: sl-1200-mk2.com

I have a 1200 with Jelco SA-750D, Benz Ace H, Timestep bearing, external diy psu, herbiesaudiolab mat and sorbothane feet.
I'm very pleased with the sound, better than my previous Michell GyroDec.
I also have another pair(1200)with Rega RB250, Grado DJ200! and sound much better than stock arm.
I wont change the arm for now (dont have the funds), but what about the diy psu? Have you heard a worth it difference? if so, what is the one you build?

What other upgrade do you feel is critically worth it?

thanks

I'm a bit perplexe about the feet though, and I need the level adjustment of the feet.
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Old 16th June 2011, 11:47 PM   #9
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External psu does make a small difference.
I suspect that the removal of transformer that is under the platter is the reason.
DC supply is 21V and current demand is 170mA rotating and 400mA peak on start/stop.
I use this LM317 board with 2200uf caps and a 20V toroid transformer.
You can read all here and how to connect it.
vinylengine has the schematics for sl1200
There is also another mod which haven't try yet, Motor Dynamic Mod
I think the main bearing mod is critically worth it, was my last mod.
It cost 225 but the sound is now hi-end.
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Old 17th June 2011, 05:49 AM   #10
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seems I can't upgrade the bearing with a sl-1200 mk1, what I have.

I'll probably upgrade the tonearm when I have the doubt, and rca cables and a clamp and thats it.

thanks for your help
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