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Troughline, Stereo 20, Technics 1200.Unhappy!

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OK,I have a Technics 1200 with an Ortofon red cart, Homemade valve Riaa Preamp, Digital Ipod source and a leak Troughline iii. Through a Leak Stereo 20 with ALL new high end components and KEF speakers (the race track woofer ones)
My problem, the sources sound good in the reverse order i have listed them.
The Radio sounds awesome. full, rich warm and well balanced
The IPOD isnt to bad either, bit "plastic" but nice
The turntable sounds like there is a bit missing. Especially in the bottom end. I cant explain it better than it doesnt sound "Live" like the others do.Especially the radio,which is baffling as its pretty old school.
Whats the deal? It should be the other way round!
Before you reply. I have accurate RIAA. I have even tried compensating for my taste
My wife has good ears (much better than mine). She agrees
Please dont just knock the 1200, its well set up.
I wish i could listen to something to compare my vinyl setup. I really love the vinyl "Thing" and have huge collection, but reality can only be ignored for so long
about to cry......
unplug the ortofon cartridge, lick the gold pins on the cart connector and install on tonearm. (I know it seems silly, but it works)

this is common for ortofons and SL1200's.

As it was common for the noob DJs to ask me this issue. ( I used to rent 20KW systems to these people)
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only in certain raves.

but this has always been the ritual for DJs with SL1200's and Ortofon intergrated cartridges (djs use the blue ones moslty and I've seen them use the black ones too and a couple use the pink ones as well). It has to do with the tone arm pins not seating correctly.
Do we know that the cartridge is good? Damaged maybe?

I have an SL1200 with a Denon DL110 on it, and it sounds really good. Not super high end (if compared to my friend's 301 w/ Schroeder tonearm and multi-thousand dollar cartridge), but really good, lively, full bass, etc.

It sounds like something's wrong somewhere. The trick is to find out where...
Another way to cure your problem is to fit a better arm. I fitted a Rega RB 250 to this deck 20 yrs ago and wasn't disappointed. Lots of firms sell adapter boards to fit the arm. Or if you are handy with a lathe you can make one, which is how I did mine.

The Rega sells very cheaply and if you get bored of it there are lots of RB250 clones out there.

no, this is a common thing with technics turn tables and ortofon integrated cartridges.

lick the pins and be done. if you leave it connected, it stays connected that for 4-6 months.

and neither tonearm or cart is bad.

The problem is ortofons didn’t mfg the connection correctly on their integrated carts. they are .001mm too short.

if you like the sound of your cart and you don't wan to lick it every 4-6 months, ortofon sells the same cart that mounts on the technics head shell.

If you want a different cart, try a sure white label.
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About four years ago I almost gave up on vinyl, at the time I had a Thorens TD-125 with an SME 3009 Series II and a variety of MM cartridges - in particular a Grado Platinum, like you I was finding that just about everything else sounded better. A Zu/Denon DL-103 was a first tentative step in a new direction, later a TD-124, Schick arm and Ortofon SPU resolved the issue, today vinyl is by far the best sounding source in my system with my media server / dac combo coming in a somewhat distant second.. Incidentally the SME arm was not the source of the problems, I still have one and a 3012 clone both serve well..

There are a lot of very mediocre tables and cartridges out there, and you may simply have reached a level of sophistication where your expectations cannot be met by the table, arm and cartridge you now own.

I would start with a better arm, but also consider the possibility of other tables, arms and cartridges as you stumble across them. A cheap vintage idler drive table might be worth playing with.

This topic might get more input from the vinylphiles here in the analog source forum - if you'd like me to move it let me know here or by PM.
Cartridge choice

my readings on various cartridges indicates that the ortofon red is bright in nature. I read this as recently as yesterday in HiFi world. They were testing a nagaoka cart which was warm and bassy by comparison.
I dont know if going the way of moving coil will help either as I found all mc carts irritated me severely (they ring) I have a Audio technika at 440ml and 150 mlx which i both like.
I do believe carts/amp matching is a bit of a black art and more good luck than management.Its about capacitance of the cartridge/lead and your choice of input valve as well as resistor loading of the 1st tube. You could mess with input bleed resistor (put a t adaptor on your pre amp phono input and then get a rca plug and solder a resistor varying from 47k to 20k between pos and earth on plug.. That way you dont have to pull amp apart.The 2 way rca adaptor will take your tt input and this resistor)
remember you will need to know what bleed resistor is on the input of the first tube in your pre amp and then you will need to do reistors in parallel to calculate what the actual resistance is.
By my readings the sl1200 is a highly regarded deck which may well benefit from a better tonearm.
To Kevin.
I would be interested in hearing your 'journey" from td125 to td124
I have several 125's one with an rb 300 and one with a 3009 but both with mmagnet carts.
I have contemplated buying a td 124 but they are exe.
If you read this kevin either make a new thread so we dont hijack this one or pm me. I regard you as one of the stalwarts of this site and would value your opinions.
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