technics sl1200 mk5 audiophile

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Re: technics sl1200 mk5 audiophile

Post by Tonybro » 09 Jul 2019 12:20

Thanks Japi but there's a subtle difference here...

"Designed for" and "marketed at" are two different things. ;-)

It was designed to be a hi-fi turntable but (quite rightly) Technics spotted where it was being used and marketed at them. At then end of the day, even for a DJ, the aim is get the information from the groove and out to the speakers well. The 1200 just happened to be good at doing that in a harsh environment! :-)

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Re: technics sl1200 mk5 audiophile

Post by chiz » 09 Jul 2019 12:42

Tonybro wrote:
09 Jul 2019 12:20
"Designed for" and "marketed at" are two different things. ;-)

It was designed to be a hi-fi turntable but (quite rightly) Technics spotted where it was being used and marketed at them. At then end of the day, even for a DJ, the aim is get the information from the groove and out to the speakers well. The 1200 just happened to be good at doing that in a harsh environment! :-)
If we are talking about the MK2 then it was designed for DJ use or at least that's what Technics have said on the subject.

I already posted these in another thread but here is some of the press from the time:

Billboard, 3rd March 1979
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Billboard, 24th March 1979
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(26.82 KiB) Downloaded 131 times

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Re: technics sl1200 mk5 audiophile

Post by Hijikata » 09 Jul 2019 19:13

Fascinating stuff - would have been nice to have that bpm counter!

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Re: technics sl1200 mk5 audiophile

Post by jvcforce » 09 Jul 2019 21:24

I think SL-1200 MK2 (I think SL-1200 MK5 is basically the same turntable) is very good sounding turntable.
I believe thet their Lenco and other turntables that they own must be great,
but SL-1200s are so easy to set up and don't give us troubles. It can sound really great even without modifications!

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Re: technics sl1200 mk5 audiophile

Post by johnnywalker » 10 Jul 2019 15:19

My VPI against an SL1200.
I was basically no contest. The owner of the SL sold it the next week. He bought an Oracle and still has it.
Hey, Joe! What was that model VPI, and what model Oracle? With the same cartridge? As a SL-1200 owner, I'm interested.

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Re: technics sl1200 mk5 audiophile

Post by golgi » 19 Jul 2019 17:07

For what it's worth, here are my thoughts on the matter that were formed based on a comparison.

I bought my Technics SL1210Mk2 brand new many years ago when they could be purchased for around $450. It’s been a fantastic turntable and I bought it on the advice that it can be upgraded as funds allow. So I’ve done exactly that with it. My first mod was putting heat shrink on the tonearm which yielded very noticeable sonic improvements. Next I bought the Resomat acrylic platter which also was a significant upgrade. Then came the IanMac bearing and KAB thrust plate wax which elevated the sound further. And most recently I’ve gotten the KAB damper added to my turntable which also was a significant improvement. I love the looks of my turntable but also like how classic turntables have wooden plinths so I got a wood enclosure for my Technics and that really added to the aesthetic. All in, I’ve got around $850 in my turntable. I’m very satisfied with the sound and have felt that I would need to spend multiples of this amount to get an improvement.

How much of an improvement is something that has been a curiosity for me. And therefore, I’ve always wondered how my setup would compare to a high end turntable. It just so happens that a friend of mine owns a gorgeous belt drive Micro Seiki BL-91 turntable. We also happen to have the same phono stage in the iFi iPhono. He has a DL103 and I have an aluminum bodied DL103R so not an exact match but relatively close. I requested that I be able to do a comparison using his setup. So first, I listened to a couple very familiar and high quality recordings on my turntable using my headphone amp (Little Dot MK3 with Amperex bugle boy tubes) and Sennheiser HD580 headphones:

Duke Ellington: Blues in Orbit
Mussorgsky: Pictures at an Exhibition - Telarc

Then I went over to my friend’s house with the above two albums and my headphone amp and headphones. We hooked up the same setup on his turntable and listened. At first I was relieved that his high end turntable didn’t blow mine out of the water. However, as I listened more closely, I had to admit the soundstage was wider and a little more holographic and transparent. Also, the sound seemed to have an ease to it and float on a cloud with the Micro. While my Technics produces a sound more grounded. Both turntables easily reproduce details in the sonics.

I will say that Technics fans seem to blow things out of proportion about belt drives having pitch variations. My friend’s Micro does not have any electronic speed control and yet it was rock solid like my Technics. If there were any pitch variations, then they were so minute that they weren’t noticeable.

So, it was the first time I’ve ever been able to compare my Technics to a classic top end turntable. The Micro certainly blows my humble Technics out of the water when it comes to aesthetics! And I have to admit that the Micro was a little better/different in the sound department. But that is to be expected considering it has an SME arm that cost more than my turntable! At the same time, the Technics holding its own against such a top range classic turntable is a testament to it’s quality and upgradeability for very reasonable costs. Knowing this, I feel satisfied in my Technics and that the money spent on the mods I’ve done so far were very worthwhile.

I would love to find someone local that has a VPI Scout or better so I can do a similar comparison.

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Re: technics sl1200 mk5 audiophile

Post by Shadowman82 » 20 Jul 2019 19:15

I think you are right that in a good quality belt drive table speed variations are small enough so that you would not hear any speed fluctuations in real world listening . At the same time I also believe that the cogging the original SL-1200 series were supposedly subject to can't be heard in real world listening either .

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Re: technics sl1200 mk5 audiophile

Post by lbls1 » 20 Jul 2019 23:04

Wrong. The 1200 is definitely audiophile in its consistency (without mods). The problem with the 1200s are their ruggedness; They were so good as dj platters that they got a bad rap. a 1200 will perform as well or better than most mass market platters (especially today) without the function of automatic arm movement and auto shut-off.

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Post by KentT » 06 Aug 2019 03:47

WmAx wrote:
04 Jul 2009 17:10
While the stock tone arm is no great thing, the table itself is excellent, objectively. Place a high quality arm on the unit and it will perform superbly.

I have yet to understand what people mean by 'overdamped'. To me, this is great! This to me means it has no coloration imposed by a resonant chassis or platter; virtually no undesired oscillation(s). Which is to be expected; the chassis and platter are very well damped on the SL-1200MKII. Combined with the superb speed stability that most high end tables aspire to achieve and this is one excellent table for neutral playback.

The only limits to performance(assuming a premium performance arm is installed) that I can discern are (1) the occasional cartridge that might succumb to picking up electrical noise from the PS on board [and] (2) the user's imagination.
-Chris :( :) :o :D
I want the music, accurate, uncolored. I want to hear the music, only the music. I don't want the turntable, the tonearm, the cartridge to have a sound of their own. If they do, then they are not accurately giving me the one reason why I own audio gear. The music. Which is what matters. If I hear micro wavering, I hear the turntable, and it editorializing the music. It distracts, it annoys. Everyone here. Attend live music concerts of the acoustic, less amplified electric kind in small venues. Learn what real music in real rooms sounds like, which is your reference to expect. My reference is acoustic pianos, guitars, mandolins, violins, drums, and other acoustic and electric instruments. If I hear them distorted and colored unacceptably to distract my trained ear from the music being played, it is not acceptable. If I must spend 2x or more the original purchase price in upgrades, it is not fit for purpose.