1200 turntable (any good?)

I have a couple of these guys laying around from back in the day, which are in pretty good shape. They are currently fitted with ortofon MM needles... what is the general consensus among audiophiles regarding the quality of these turntables? I think it is a very solid and good sounding unit but I haven't heard an "audiophile" turntable before.

I know a MC cartridge will probably sound better, but what about the actual 1200? It seems (and sounds) like a very solid unit. The active feedback speed control is uncommon.. it locks into speed lightning quick.

Does anyone use 1200's in audiophile type setups? What types of needles work best with them in this type of arrangement?
 

Jason

Powder Monkey
Paid Member
2000-10-08 1:19 pm
Melbourne
www.diyaudio.com
Hi Randy,

I'm very sorry to say that I sold my 1200's (with the ortophon concorde needles) and mixer in order to pay for my new amp, so I never got to listen to them through a decent system :(

I have mixed using a few different pitch control turntables (vestax, gemini, old technics SL2?) and I can say without any reservation whatsoever that the 1200 is the cream of the crop. Solid as a rock with a serious grip over the platter and pitch control that stays where you left it.
 
Thanks for the encouragement... I know they are great turntables for mixing and the likes, but I never hear of anyone using them for regular listening. I doubt there are many TT's that come close to the quality for that price so it is wierd I guess.



Jason said:
Hi Randy,

I'm very sorry to say that I sold my 1200's (with the ortophon concorde needles) and mixer in order to pay for my new amp, so I never got to listen to them through a decent system :(

I have mixed using a few different pitch control turntables (vestax, gemini, old technics SL2?) and I can say without any reservation whatsoever that the 1200 is the cream of the crop. Solid as a rock with a serious grip over the platter and pitch control that stays where you left it.
 
I know from a pro point of view these rock. Heavy handed DJ's don't kill them, and from the engineers perspective, that counts more than just about anything. They last forever, and when they do break, getting parts is easy.

Sound? OK until you get to the edge of insanity about this hobby. Given the amount of records playing that most do now days, it is probably fine.
 

Brett

Member
2002-01-07 6:02 pm
Hi Randy,

Good TT for what it was designed for: cueing up records for on air replay in radio stations etc. Tough, reliable, and because of it's popularity with the DJ crowd, it is still manufactured and supported, at least in it's current guise. I beleive there have been several revisions over the years, and an older TT may not have the same componentry as the current ones.

As for sound quality, pretty average IMO, but a lot better than the cheap japanese decks of today or yesteryear. A good Thorens, Rega, MMF, Project etc would be sonically superior to it. The 1200's main problem is it's arm is not very good, and vibration from the motor getting into the cartridge. I heard an SP10 which is an armless version of the same mechanism for console mounting (IIRC), and with a FR64 arm. We had a 1200 beside it and the SP10 was a LOT better.

But,.......how many LPs do you own? If you only have a few which you play periodically, you have a great deck, esp as it will cost you zip, except for a new cartridge, maybe. If ever you need some quick $$$ they are easy to sell.
If you want the best performance out of your LPs, you can do better. But it's your call.

Depending on the age of the Ortofon cartridge, even if the stylus is OK, the suspensions can go with age. If you value your Lps a Shure 97E is about $95 from Garage-a-record or the needle doctor. Very nice sounding, reliable, replaceable stylus cartrige that tracks at low weights. And when you install it, align it correctly, with an accurate guage.

There are lots of people out there who have LPs as their primary source: my LP / CD ratio is about 15:1, 3000+:200, and the CDs are usually only stuff I can't get on LP. I buy lots of LPs in collections, and pay about 50c each for them, throw away the duds, keep some and sell off the valuable ones / duplicates. Probably actually costs me nothing to have HEAPS of music to listen to. And the catalogue of music available on LP is so vastly superior to CD/DVD/SACD that it's a joke. Plus often they sound a lot better, but there is more maintenance and effort involved in getting that performance.

Cheers
 
"But,.......how many LPs do you own? If you only have a few which you play periodically, you have a great deck, esp as it will cost you zip, except for a new cartridge, maybe. If ever you need some quick $$$ they are easy to sell.
If you want the best performance out of your LPs, you can do better. But it's your call. "

I own around 300 wreckerds myself... used to dj back in the day, but since most of my stuff is available on CD (or MP3 =) I haven't used them much for normal listening. The concord cart tracks around 3-5 grams so I'm probably better off getting a new one so I don't unneccesarily wear the vinyl out. Don't plan on selling the decks.. anytime soon for that matter.

Thanks for all the info guys!
 

Brett

Member
2002-01-07 6:02 pm
<b>The concord cart tracks around 3-5 grams </b>

<b><i>Yikes!!!!!</b></i>

Most modern hifi carts track much lower than that. The Shure I suggested will do it at 1 - 1.25 grams.

Thats a much better recipe for longer record life. An elliptical stylus also rides on a different part of the groove wall to conicals and sphricals, so a new cart with an E or FL (finle line / Van den Hul / microridge) stylus profile will often help even trashy old records sound good.

Enjoy
 
Hi Brett,

there are even DJ´s who put coins over the cartridge to get more weight on it than the counterweight allows for .:D (It´s not easy scratching with 1.5 gramms)

But seriously, Ortofon´s SPU also needs 4 or 5 gramms and this is not know to wear records quicker as usual. I think this depends very much on the shape of the needle. Most modern MC´s (Lyra, Benz etc.) will play at around 2 grams and I haven´t seen any that go as low as some MM´s.

I´ve got a 1200 here for a repair job, it does a very funny thing:
after playing for a while doing things DJ´s typically do (start, stop, backwards, fast/slow) the platter suddenly starts accelerating and doesn´t stop doing this until you turn of the power. I didn´t wait that long but I suspect the platter would fly if I did.

Any ideas?
William
 
1200's have an "active feedback" speed control system -- here is a speed sensor that sends a negative feedback signal back to the speed control unit. If this connection is broken (or the sensor is bad/intermittent), the controller thinks the platter is stopped, and proceeds to apply full power to get it movin again =). This can be compared to an op-amp circuit where if you disconnect the feedback loop, the output will most likely swing to one rail or the other. Basic feedback theory applies to both systems.

This feature is invaluable for dj's who need fast and consistant starting -- the platter always spins at the correct speed (even when holding the record still with a slipmat). That way when the record is released it almost instantly returns to exactly the speed you have dialed in.

I would look for the sensor or wiring to to/from it and mess with it to see what happens. Since I have never seen this problem before, so I'm afraid I cannot recommend the best way to fix it.. this gives you an idea at least where to start. I would probably dig up a schematic and see how the feedback loop is formed and probe around from there..

maybe the controller is bad.. just another thought. Maybe it needs a real good cleaning too. I've seen all kinds of nasty stuff under and around that platter (record dust, broken needles, dirt, beer, ect... :D )

good luck!


wuffwaff said:
I´ve got a 1200 here for a repair job, it does a very funny thing:
after playing for a while doing things DJ´s typically do (start, stop, backwards, fast/slow) the platter suddenly starts accelerating and doesn´t stop doing this until you turn of the power. I didn´t wait that long but I suspect the platter would fly if I did.
Any ideas?
William
 
Hello Brett and all,





until now I was lurking and learning as I have no experiece with DJ TTs like the Technics 1200.





Most modern hifi carts track much lower than that. The Shure I suggested will do it at 1 - 1.25 grams.







Thats a much better recipe for longer record life.



Here I have to object. There are MM cartridges with superior tracking abilities and some of them have low tracking force.
And there are low-compliant MC cartridges with terrific tracking. From my times as TT technician I remember 3 cases where an MM cartridge had lousy tracking although it was high-compliant and had low TF.





TME, the most important thing for record life (besides the stylus being intact) is that the stylus never looses touch with the groove; how this is achieved is secondary but the tonearm's effective mass and cartridge compliance have to match for that with certain tolerances.





A buddy never used something else than a classic Ortofon SPU which has a recommended tracking force of 4-0 gr but sonics are better between 4.5 and 5. Ask him about record wear, he'll reply "you are kidding!?". My Rohmann runs at 2.5gr. (stylus 4.5x100µm); I can report no problems.





An elliptical stylus also rides on a different part of the groove wall to conicals and sphricals, so a new cart with an E or FL (finle line / Van den Hul / microridge) stylus profile will often help even trashy old records sound good.







Agreed, a record looking like used for plastering walls can play like never used and a pristine looking record can be a concerto for string quartet and open fire :)
 

Brett

Member
2002-01-07 6:02 pm
Hi Bernard,

Glad to see you here too. It's good to have another vinyl head here. I was beginning to feel lonely.

I agree totally about the stylus never losing touch with the groove being the prime factor in record wear, assuming good styli.
However, my comments were made in the context of the original question being about DJ tt's, from a person who had done some DJing in the past, and who had an Ortofon concorde. Screamed DJ setup to me.

DJ carts are built to be rugged. Their suspensions are hard and the cantilevers heavy, to take all the abuse they do, and the stylii are <i>usually</i> spherical or conical. A cart such as, say, a Shure 97 or a Grado 'colour' would be a huge improvement in both sound quality, and the ability to track well at lower weights. But not scratched. All things being equal I would prefer a cart to track at 1 gram than 3.

That being said I love my Garrott Decca (2.2g tracking). I also have Denon 103D and DL160, Rega Super Elys, Win Labs, Shure 97 and a Grado Black. I would love an SPU, but I'm, not sure I can get a third arm on the Gyro! :D

Take care.
'Till next time

Brett
 
very fast

Hello Randy,

thanks for the reply. I´ve got the repair manual for the 1200 and checked the controller, cleaned everything etc. Next thing I´ll do is to change two transistors for the speed control wich are not standard.
The problem with this turntable is that you can´t do anything to the board (knocking, ice spray) when the platters on.

william
 
Re: very fast

Sometimes when boards become sensitive to jarring it might be a bad capacitor...



wuffwaff said:
Hello Randy,

thanks for the reply. I´ve got the repair manual for the 1200 and checked the controller, cleaned everything etc. Next thing I´ll do is to change two transistors for the speed control wich are not standard.
The problem with this turntable is that you can´t do anything to the board (knocking, ice spray) when the platters on.

william
 
C'mon, let's pester Jason to open a vinyl board :)

Hi Brett,



Originally posted by Brett




Hi Bernard,





Glad to see you here too. It's good to have another vinyl head here. I was beginning to feel lonely.










see topic, maybe I manage to manouver some hardcore DIY TT guys to stop by :cool:, then It would not be a ghost town. Jeremy Epstein, Thom Mackris, Peter Clark, Hartmut Quaschik, Manfred Huber, you are reading this?




A vinyl forum and a music forum is the only thing missing on this gorgeous site.









Jason wrote that he would not mind having a vinyl board but would loathe to see it as a ghost town. So it is up to use to generate some vinyl traffic :) and to earn our forum.









I agree totally about the stylus never losing touch with the groove being the prime factor in record wear, assuming good styli.





However, my comments were made in the context of the original question being about DJ tt's, from a person who had done some DJing in the past, and who had an Ortofon concorde. Screamed DJ setup to me.











DJ carts are built to be rugged. Their suspensions are hard and the cantilevers heavy, to take all the abuse they do, and the stylii are <i>usually</i> spherical or conical.










I see. As I wrote, no experience in the DJ world.









However, one of the best cartridges I ever heard was an Ortofon SPU rebuilt by Reto Luigi Andreoli from Switzerland and this cart had a spherical, highly polished stylus. Intentionally! This cart would be my choice to play pre-1956 vinyl (of which I have a lot). Although ... could Koetsu be convinced to build a mono/spherical cartridge based on the Koetsu Urushi ... this could tempt me hard :) . Sugano-san is a master like his father.






A cart such as, say, a Shure 97 or a Grado 'colour' would be a huge improvement in both sound quality, and the ability to track well at lower weights. But not scratched. All things being equal I would prefer a cart to track at 1 gram than 3.












Just your paranoia, engineering testbooks concerns :D









That being said I love my Garrott Decca (2.2g tracking). I also have Denon 103D and DL160, Rega Super Elys, Win Labs, Shure 97 and a Grado Black. I would love an SPU, but I'm, not sure I can get a third arm on the Gyro! :D










Gasp, to mention a Garrot Decca and Grado "colour" in one sentence!




And the Denon103 certainly does not get alive below 2.5gr.




AS far as the arm is concerned, well, my own tonearm design has tonearm wands and counterweight wands interchangable within 120 seconds. See my website for a 1st impression.
 
vinyl forum

Hi,

I would welcome a vinyl forum. I still listen a lot more to LP than CD and would be interested to hear other opinions on cartridges, new lp releases, etc. My diy activities concerning turntables and arms are minimal (new wiring in an SME IV) but I´m planning to rebuild an old TD160 with SME 3009 (new plinth, armboard, motor control). My current turntable is an Oracle Delphi MK III/SME IV/Benz L04. For this I would like to make a new power supply/motor steering but I haven´t found anything on this topic yet. I tried a few different transformers and they made big changes (for better and for worse) so there has to be some potential here.

cheers,

william
 
Re: vinyl forum

Originally posted by wuffwaff

Hi,





I would welcome a vinyl forum. I still listen a lot more to LP than CD ....




Hello William,



well, maybe a vinyl forum is not so unprobable. I have advertised among my buddies for this forum and there are quite some hardcore DIY TT nuts among them. Maybe they like the spirit here as much as I do and they stick with us. A vinyl forum would have enough traffic to make Jason smile to it.



I already intended to start a new thread asking for a vinyl forum but desided to wait a bit until one or the other of my buddies is showing his nose in the diyaudio door gap (one of them I spotted already; hifidaddy, you hear me?) or until enough response arises from forum members.

Let's see how it works out!
 

roddyama

Ex-Moderator
2002-01-19 9:25 am
Michigan
I'm not a TT DIY'er, but I've always been proud of my Technics 1700 and more then 400 analog discs. I've used Grado's for more then 20 years. I had my G2+ fitted with a new stylus in the 80's, and it's what I'm using today (tho there was length of time that the SAF got the best of my record collection and was put in storage - stituation rectified).:(

I would keep track of the goings-on at a TT forum. So if it's votes that count, here's one.;)

Rodd Yamashita
 
In the last 3 days I collected a Technics SL120 from a friend. This is my first TT since my parents crappy 3 in 1. I think the 120 is pretty much a 1200 but with a circular cutout for a removable armboard. At present it's only running an 80 pound ADC AL-1 arm and an old Shure VST cart.

This ones gonna be a keeper :-D

The arm may eventually go for an OL modded RB250 when I get the spare dollars and a Shure M97E would improve things.

At present it's feeding my Denon AVR1800 5 channel syst which I doubt has the best phono stage on the planet and even as is, on the music where I've got both CD and vinyl, there aint no comparison. Terrified as I am of Linn dealership style behaviour, I find my foot tapping! Doesn't happen with CD.

Soon, (once the rest of the building work is finished) it'll go into my Turner valve pre, Passalbs zen revisited, Fostex 168 horn system, then I'll really get to see what all the fuss is about.

The SL1200 arm is considered by many I've read/spoken to to be its achilles heel. I'm not saying that the ADC I'm using is a super arm, I seriously doubt it. The arm upgradeability of the 120 is something definitely in its favour though.

Oh dear, looks like I've succumbed to the evil black disc. What a way to go huh?

Drew
 
SL-1200 as OEM product?

DrewP said:
The SL1200 arm is considered by many I've read/spoken to to be its achilles heel. I'm not saying that the ADC I'm using is a super arm, I seriously doubt it. The arm upgradeability of the 120 is something definitely in its favour though.

The arm looks cheap, I agree. I always thought that, never matched the price, 1200 USD in the good old days.

Now, does Technics sell this SL-1200 as an OEM product? I have seen at least 3 TT which look very much alike SL-1200. Stanton, Numark and ??? (forgot the name)

Picture from http://www.ljudia.com
 

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