Technics SL1200/1210 debate

Discussion in 'Hi-Fi and General Audio' started by Steven Toy, Sep 8, 2009.

  1. Steven Toy

    Steven Toy

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    In times of economic uncertainty people are perhaps rightfully more careful with their money and are more open-minded to the prospect of something less expensive still performing better.

    In these times, badge snobbery for its own sake is rather vulgar. The Technics SL1200/1210 with the Timestep PSU is certainly better than any Fruitbox I've ever heard and a lot more neutral too.

    Glenn Croft is now making preamps for as little as £350. I guess that could be classed as "budget." You are right, it is all relative. What is important is ensuring that every pound spent actually counts towards the performance.
     
    Steven Toy, Sep 8, 2009
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  2. Steven Toy

    RobHolt Moderator

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    lost on most of the critics....

    So, back in the day when the audio press, almost to man, told us that Technics DDs were several light years behind our Linn, Roksan, Pink, SME decks etc, and that a humble Planar 2 was superior, we were being told porkies?

    Then there were the dealers who'd never stock them or recommend them.

    If the press and dealers were wrong back then, why should we believe anything we are told now?

    With all the modification it may well be a fantastic thing, but can you see the problem we have when we reference all of this to a little recent history?
     
    RobHolt, Sep 11, 2009
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  3. Steven Toy

    Setting Son

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    David,

    Best edit your earlier post in the meantime though, huh?

    ps Have you considered applying for a post as speech author for Mandelson?
     
    Setting Son, Sep 11, 2009
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  4. Steven Toy

    Setting Son

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    Yeah, James; sit up and be humble - An S Toy endorsed Hifi Mag Writer has bestowed his knowledge on yo' unworthy ass.
     
    Setting Son, Sep 11, 2009
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  5. Steven Toy

    David Price

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    Well Bottleneck, you're the kind of guy I'd like to buy stuff off!

    Let's remember that DD turntables have bearings that go dry (if their old type) or need regreasing, or reprofiling. They also have motors that can burn out, and more likely control circuitry that fails. Usually it's electrolytic caps, which die eventually regardless of how good an owner you are. And also transistors go pop, and often these are no longer available. An then there are op-amps/ICs that can die (also sometimes obsolete), and PCB tracks that can crack, etc. Lots to go wrong, even on the best deck in the world, thanks to age. Think of it like a car; even a mint concours car will need new suspension bushes, dampers, brake calipers, etc. after 20 years. Anything with moving parts and/or electronics is the same. Some decks are worse than others, of course. Once again, the SL1200 has proven to be particularly hardy. If DJs like it, it's got to be tough...
     
    David Price, Sep 11, 2009
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  6. Steven Toy

    David Price

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    Hi Rob - well, I don't expect you to believe me. I'm not claiming any unique insight. Why don't you buy an old one and pull it apart, then tell me what you think? The only reason I'm posting here is I wanted to add 'my two cents', as I'm passionately into vinyl and I feel the SL1200 is a very cheap way into very good vinyl replay. And no, I have no commercial interests; Technics don't advertise with HFW (not in a month of Sundays); just saying this 'cos it's what I've found.

    Setting Son - I don't know why you think I'm going to edit my post, 'cos I'm not! I haven't changed my mind in the last half and hour.
     
    David Price, Sep 11, 2009
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  7. Steven Toy

    The Devil IHTFP

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    I'm paying attention, but I still think it's all BS. The "argument from authority" obviously cuts no ice at all.

    Real bass from real musical instruments doesn't actually "go on and off like an LED" in real life, so there seems to be a problem with the deck missing the decay of bass notes.

    At least it is inexpensive, though, which is a plus.
     
    The Devil, Sep 11, 2009
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  8. Steven Toy

    Steven Toy

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    Clutching at straws again I see. Why not unlock that closed mind of yours for a change and let some sense in? :rolleyes:
     
    Steven Toy, Sep 11, 2009
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  9. Steven Toy

    murray johnson

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    I read the audio press a fair bit in the early to mid 80's. I can't recall the 1210 even being mentioned. There were occasionally reviews of the SP10 ie in the Gramophone (1976) and in one of the small HiFi Choice books. However, direct comparisons with the favoured decks of that time seemed to be avoided. There weren't often reviews of the other more ambitious direct drives such as the Trio either. I did see a test of the JBE series 3 which came out ahead of an LP12 in one test but that 'error' was soon put right. On another occasion, HiFi Choice made the mistake of including a Goldmund Studio in a TT group test which promptly embarassed the belt drive competition it was up against.

    I think the press at that time were rather careful about what they were seen to like & dislike. That's entirely understandable. They did have to keep the stronger, more vociferous & influential retailers onside.
     
    murray johnson, Sep 11, 2009
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  10. Steven Toy

    Setting Son

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    I'm sure you haven't. You obviously haven't found the gumption to back it up either.

    This isn't print. There's no letter from Disgruntled of Peterborough to ignore two weeks after publishing here.

    Let me make it easier for you - just tell me one '5k Brit belt drive' that is less well engineered? Just one.
     
    Setting Son, Sep 11, 2009
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  11. Steven Toy

    The Devil IHTFP

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    What are you talking about? Do you seriously believe a bass guitar, for instance, should "go on and off like an LED"?

    [Once again closed mind = doesn't agree with me.]
     
    The Devil, Sep 11, 2009
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  12. Steven Toy

    Steven Toy

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    James, I'm talking about you having the gumption (good word SS!) to acknowledge that the modified Technics is quite obviously a serious turntable instead of focussing on whatever 'negatives' your narrow-mindedness and ignorance chooses to see.

    Instead of arguing with me, why not take the opportunity to learn something from David, or is that not part of the equation as far as this discussion is concerned? ;)
     
    Steven Toy, Sep 11, 2009
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  13. Steven Toy

    David Price

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    Hi Devil - I'm not (quite) big headed enough to nominate myself as "an authority", but I'm posting as a person who's done lots of relevant comparisons, and who's sincere, and who has no commercial interests (I don't sell Technics, my mag has never got a penny from them, and I suspect some of our advertisers wish they'd never been invented). I simply invite the unbelievers to lay down £150 or so and buy one s/h and try one, and then tweak it, and see what you think. That's all. My message is simply that's it's far better that you'd possibly imagine. I say this from someone who was also a total 'poo-poo' merchant against the things about ten years ago...

    Murray, your comments are very perceptive. But I really think the journos of the time were a little too beguiled by the Linn. It was a very good deck, but not the only one. I've asked some influential journos of the day why they "ignored" Japanese DDs (and EMTs for that matter) and have got answers along the lines of "I don't really know"...

    In fairness to my more senior colleagues, however, about 98% of Jap DDs were total rubbish; it's only a select band of DD decks that I'd ever have in my house. The criticisms made at the time of many were perfectly valid, and actually some were very well reviewed. I remember David Prakel reviewing the Lo-7D and saying it was considerably better than his LP12 in 'Practical Hi-Fi', circa 1980. It's just that the Haymarket mags ('What', 'Popular Hi-Fi' and 'Hi-Fi Answers') seemed to have lined up behind the LP12.
     
    David Price, Sep 11, 2009
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  14. Steven Toy

    Tenson Moderator

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    Oh how easy it makes life to be happily listening to high-bitrate Spotify :)

    Nice to see you here David!
     
    Tenson, Sep 11, 2009
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  15. Steven Toy

    The Devil IHTFP

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    Would you recommend I chop in the SME 20?

    Seriously, I like realism, and on/off bass doesn't really sound like it's realistic.

    Try promoting "inward singing" next.
     
    The Devil, Sep 11, 2009
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  16. Steven Toy

    Steven Toy

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    Still at it, I see. Don't you realise how stupid you're making yourself look? At least you've stopped mentioning the old fruitbox now in comparison ;)

    Keep the SME 20. You deserve it.
     
    Steven Toy, Sep 12, 2009
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  17. Steven Toy

    Setting Son

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    Steven, your guru won't back up his nonsense.
     
    Setting Son, Sep 12, 2009
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  18. Steven Toy

    David Price

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    Hi Devil - no, I wouldn't recommend you chop the '20; it's one of the best decks around. You'd need a LOT of work to get an SL1200 up to that level!

    Let me explain about the bass. If you think about the 'envelope' of any note; attack - decay; belt drive sounds like you're switching your lights on and off with a dimmer switch. So you don't get an 'instant on', rather it's like it starts dim and gets bright. LEDs of course switch on and off in thousandths of seconds, which is why I used them as an analogy. Direct drives (and indeed idler drives like the 301) are much more LED-like. Obviously if you've got a gently plucked bass note (as in Kate Bush's 'Moving'), a DD won't make it sound like Mark King slapping his Fender Jazz bass on a Level 42 song; it will sound just as it should be. But the difference is that a BD will slur it slightly, even when it shouldn't. You can really hear this with kick drums, for example, which have a very recognisable on-off 'thunk'...

    Now, why this happens is a matter of much debate; I subscribe to the school of thought that says DDs respond much better to dynamic wow (when the stylus excerpts a sudden 'drag' on the record due to higher groove modulations). Basically, as soon as there's a tug on the platter by the stylus tracking heavy groove modulation, the DD servo pumps some more juice into the motor, so the platter doesn't slow down. What happens on a BD is of course as soon as they're a tug, the weakest link in the drive system 'gives' a bit - which is to say the belt stretches. This results in a slight speed instability.

    One way of getting around this on a BD is to have a massive platter, like the EAT Forte (around 25kg IIRC) which is driven by twin belts. But still, my listen test show, it's not quite as tight in the bass. Much better than an Avid Acutus though, which is already excellent as belt drives go.

    The downside is that DDs are constantly feeding in more, then less, power, into the motor. This caused the '70s hi-fi hacks to accuse DDs of 'hunting' for the right speed. This is absolutely correct, but what they failed to point out is that on the same track, BDs would be constantly slipping their belts, the turntable equivalent of (motor pulley) wheelspin, as the high torque pulley struggled to get traction with the belt, which itself stretches in and out all the time! So the point is that both systems aren't quite right; the point is that to my ears a well executed quartz-locked DD is a better working compromise. A high torque idler like a 301 is better still, but it has its own new problems of throwing lots of noise into the system.

    As an aside, I think a stepped belt would solve a lot of belt drive problems, kind of like the transmission on a 1983 Kawasaki GPz305 (anyone remember them?). Why no one does this is beyond me, although I'd guess it's something to do with cost. Most belt drives use those nasty cheapo Philips Impex/Airpax AC motors, which I'm not a big fan of... (the new Linn LP12 Radikal uses a new, stronger DC motor and sounds way better, but it will cost you a pretty pennny!)

    Better stop rambling - reached the bottom of the Jacobs' Creek bottle...

    David
     
    David Price, Sep 12, 2009
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  19. Steven Toy

    Setting Son

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    Been reading too much Roy Gregory.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 12, 2009
    Setting Son, Sep 12, 2009
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  20. Steven Toy

    The Devil IHTFP

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    You haven't even bothered to compare the LP12 with the Technics, Steven, so how can you say one or the other is better? The answer is that you can't.

    I don't think I look "stupid", but that's perhaps a matter of opinion.

    My question about trading in the SME was actually a sarcastic joke, but never mind. I know I deserve it - I have worked hard.
     
    The Devil, Sep 12, 2009
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