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user510 13th June 2011 02:45 AM

SP-10 mkII, the next project

I just took delivery of this SP-10 mkII. To be fair to the unit I want to insure that all essential restoration steps are taken. In that regard I am posting this to invite any and all commentary relevant to this model.

Plans are:
1) fabricate a suitable plinth from Baltic Birch ply (working on that drawing now)
2) replace electrolytic caps in the SH-10E with new
3) disassemble and examine mechanical parts, main bearing in particular, renew worn parts as may be needed
4) mount a high quality tonearm and cartridge.

OK item 4 may be debatable. I plan on using my Zeta and a wood bodied DL-103R with SS FL re-tip. The Zeta is a very dynamic and lively sounding tonearm with excellent detail retrieval capability. Having heard this arm and cartridge on my TD124 mk1, I am familiar with its sound. Now to hear the same arm/cartridge on the SP-10 mkII should make for an interesting comparison.

I will document my progress with lots of photos and text detail at my website on a page dedicated to the project.

user510 sp10_mkII

Additionally, and if it is ok with the moderators here, I'd like to make regular posts to this thread as the project progresses.

To begin with, I have been searching the web for bits and pieces of information regarding the model. I've found The Vinyl Engine to be a valuable resource for service manuals and service bulletins. However I don't really see much SP-10 mkII/III project activity happening over there.

Other links:
SoundFountain has a useful page specific to the SP-10 mkII and mkIII. There are also some comments about plinth building for the deck. Among the commentary there it suggests to avoid use of MDF and Corian. I wasn't planning on using either. Just noting. On that note, I presume there is likely some good discussion potential related to material choices for this deck. I'd like to invite that. Why one material and not another. Should we use metal? Should the plinth be massive or light? What are the effects of either?

I also have a 2 inch thick slab of slate which I could cut to suit this deck, but first I'll try something in a multi-layered Baltic Birch build-up because I don't hear too many, if any, negatives about using this material for this application.

Some observations. At this point I just have the deck sitting on the table as pictured. Except that I have removed the diy shipping bracket (piece of plywood over the motor) and installed the platter. After hooking up the SH-10E and powering it up, I have observed that I have three speeds and a strobe that lights steady and strong.

The unit starts and stops its platter quickly and silently. Smooth. I'm Impressed by its on/off action.
I guess that means that the mechanical brake is still inside and in good adjustment. And I suppose it means that the overall health of the motor and electronics isn't bad.

In fact I'm sure I could simply drop this unit into a suitable plinth, mount and align a tonearm/cartridge and begin playing records. However I think I want to make sure the unit is in good calibration before doing so.

etc, etc.



SY 13th June 2011 03:02 AM


Additionally, and if it is ok with the moderators here, I'd like to make regular posts to this thread as the project progresses.
Somewhat more than "OK." :D

user510 13th June 2011 03:20 AM

Thanks Sy. :) I'll continue to post.

I guess I have one more observation about the SP10-II that is remarkable at the outset. Whilst playing with the motor unit and its ability to turn on and off in an unruffled manner, I have noticed that I can place my hand on the spinning platter and apply considerable down force against it but the platter tends to not slow down as a matter of this intended interruption. Instead, it seems to immediately compensate with additional torque and maintain speed. This can be seen by observing the strobe while holding my hand against the spinning platter. Without getting overtly violent, this platter maintains speed even with an unreasonable load on it.

That suggests that this will be one deck which is not likely to be affected by highly modulated grooves and the associated additional stylus drag that comes from it. I'd expect this deck to have an excellent dynamic component to its performance. Musical energy should be abundant. At least I anticipate that much.

Just noting


jlsem 13th June 2011 05:21 AM

Yeah, the great thing about the SP-10 is that you can brush the record off while it is playing and it doesn't miss a beat. It's the most under-rated turntable in the world. In the proper plinth it will better any turntable currently made. Even better is the Mark III.


analog_sa 13th June 2011 07:25 AM


Originally Posted by jlsem (
In the proper plinth it will better any turntable currently made.

No doubt. If only one knew what a "proper plinth" was :)

At the time when i had an L07 and hated it, a friend with an SP10 compared the two and pronounced the SP10 the undisputed winner. Slightly more surprising was that before long he replaced his SP10 with an LP12 :bigeyes:

anilva 13th June 2011 08:28 AM

I will be watching this with interest. I bought a similar item in very good condition few years back with an original obsidian plinth. Did not need to do anything more, other than few drops of oil and replacing the tonearm with a Jelco 750D and a DL-103 cartridge. Very impressive performance and like it is expected very strong dynamics.

I have a problem with the stobelight bulb and needs to be replaced.


maxw 13th June 2011 09:59 AM

Just a curious question: Is the direct drive and servo control system in the SP-10 vastly different to what is the SL-(<1800)s non-MKIIs?

jlsem 13th June 2011 02:18 PM


Originally Posted by analog_sa (
No doubt. If only one knew what a "proper plinth" was :)

A PLINTH - TURNTABLE BASE for TECHNICS SP-10 mk2/MkIII Direct Drive -SL-1000 DD Professional Studio Turntable

Scroll down to Albert Porter's plinths. That combination smoked the Walker Proscenium Super Duper. The latest iteration can be seen here:

AudiogoN Forums: Albert Porter's System


analog_sa 13th June 2011 03:52 PM

These plinths appear really great and i agree with his design philosophy. Only the claim that high mass turntables are somehow less sensitive to tonearm quality is a bit baffling and against my experience.

Helmuth 13th June 2011 05:37 PM

Great chassis User510,

Technics have great specifications I curious how the outcome will look with the zeta.

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