MK2 or MK5?

turning japanese
Ho72
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MK2 or MK5?

Post by Ho72 » 10 Nov 2007 12:19

After much deliberation, I am poised to buy a SL-12xx model from KAB. There is some confusion on my part about the difference between the MK2 and the MK5, however. From looking at the KAB site, it seems that the MK5 (SL-1210M5GSE) has an LED instead of a reagular bulb for illumination and, perhaps more importantly, OFC wiring for the tonearm: "M5G's and GLD's feature improved tonearm wand and interconnect wiring."

The latter seems like it may be reason enough to go for the MK5. Are there any downsides to this model?

Thanks.

Ho72
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Post by Ho72 » 12 Nov 2007 23:03

So did I ask a stupid question or does no one have an opinion?

JaS
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Post by JaS » 12 Nov 2007 23:43

Hi,
I'm no expert but I seem to remember reading somewhere that the mk5 comes as standard with a slipmat instead of a heavy rubber mat, which isn't ideal if absolute sound quality rather than mixing is your goal? It would be worth checking on the price of a genuine rubber mat if this is the case, otherwise the mk5 sounds on paper like the better deck.

Regards,
JaS

Ho72
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Post by Ho72 » 13 Nov 2007 09:37

Thanks for the replies.

My intention originally was to grab the base MK2 and upgrade to the Cadras rewire and arm damper mods. I can get the M5G with the damper and stock OFC wire for less money, so it seemed on the surface like a better deal.

I will call Kevin.

Ho72
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Cart for 1200?

Post by Ho72 » 18 Nov 2007 19:40

Kevin responded to my email quickly and we are now working out the details of my table. I am curious what the prevailing favorite budget cartridge is for the 1200. Most of my money is going to buy the table and I will have $150 or less to spend on a cart when all is said and done.

I listen to rock (mostly) with a sprinkling of classical and big band music. I have a few vocalist albums as well. All used but well cared for, nothing much in the way of audiophile vinyl. My phono stage is the unremarkable but serviceable Arcam Alpha 9 add-in board which can accommodate MM or MC.

Any suggestions will be appreciated.

Ho72
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Post by Ho72 » 18 Nov 2007 21:38

Thanks for the quick reply, John.

The Technics will have the damping mod. Still undecided about whether to spend the extra money for Cardas rewire of the arm, but it's likely I will NOT do that since then I will have NO money left in the budget for a cartridge. Kevin views the M5G as the best base unit, and I feel the standard, upgraded wiring in that unit will suffice for my less than perfect hearing.

I have read good things about the AT as well as the Denon, along with no small smattering of acclaim for Ortofons (the new 2M Blue looks interesting but a bit beyond my reach). Grado seems to inspire either much love or hate in some owners, leaving me wondering where the truth lies. There are also a few of fans of the KAB modded Stanton KAB/STANTON Discmaster V3 A.E.—although at least one reviewer called it a hack and said avoid it like the plague.

Actually, almost any cartridge has proponents and detractors which makes choosing one without first hearing it (on one's own system) pretty much a gamble. I am just trying to tilt the odds in my favor a bit.

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Re: MK2 or MK5?

Post by cport » 19 Nov 2007 01:54

Do yourself a favor: Purchase a Technics SL-1210 Mk II, an ORIGIN-LIVE REGA adapter, a REGA RB-250 and a INCOGNITO REWIRE KIT. The SL-12XX design has not changed significantly in three decades -- I have two of each model ( and an SME 20/2). The Technics with the right cartridge (**fyi** I would not suggest the AT-440ML - too bright - go for it's big brother, the AT-150MLX) is stellar. A really excellent combo is the Dynavector DV-20XH , and a Passdiy PEARL phono stage with this table. It makes me think about selling my SME sometimes.....
Ho72 wrote:After much deliberation, I am poised to buy a SL-12xx model from KAB. There is some confusion on my part about the difference between the MK2 and the MK5, however. From looking at the KAB site, it seems that the MK5 (SL-1210M5GSE) has an LED instead of a reagular bulb for illumination and, perhaps more importantly, OFC wiring for the tonearm: "M5G's and GLD's feature improved tonearm wand and interconnect wiring."

The latter seems like it may be reason enough to go for the MK5. Are there any downsides to this model?

Thanks.

Ho72
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Post by Ho72 » 19 Nov 2007 15:26

All great recommendations I'm sure... if only I had the money to spend on them.

Actually, a cartridge that's considered a bit too bright may no be a bad thing for me. After 30 years in a high-noise environment I have some hearing loss in the upper frequencies (in spite of wearing ear protection).
Remembering that my ears are damaged helps me reign in my enthusiasm for expensive tweaks, not that I can afford many of them anyway.

Thanks for the suggestions.

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Post by cport » 19 Nov 2007 20:20

Hi Ho72:

Depending on where you source your Technics SL-1210 MkII and REGA, this combined option could be cheaper than buying a new KAB MkV.

I would not make this assumption about your hearing -- there is evidence to show that even hearing impared individuals can detect an unbalaced frequency spectrum -- it is really how your brain processes the spectral clues, which (even though attenutaed -- if you are not deaf) are still recieved and processed.

The AT-440Mla is not my first choice, and I have this cartridge. The AT-150MLX tracks better [100u on my DENON test record] and the sine waves all the way to 30KHz are to die for (Cardas frequency sweep record) and it sounds better to me.

--Charles
Ho72 wrote:All great recommendations I'm sure... if only I had the money to spend on them.

Actually, a cartridge that's considered a bit too bright may no be a bad thing for me. After 30 years in a high-noise environment I have some hearing loss in the upper frequencies (in spite of wearing ear protection).
Remembering that my ears are damaged helps me reign in my enthusiasm for expensive tweaks, not that I can afford many of them anyway.

Thanks for the suggestions.

Ho72
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Post by Ho72 » 09 Dec 2008 18:23

Well, here it is, over 1 year later, and I just got my table.

When I wrote the original post in 2007, the Technics was to be a Christmas present to me (courtesy of my wife, mother-in-law, and everyone else who kicked in some cash). However, over the holidays that year, we suffered a plumbing disaster that forced us out of our house from Dec. 26, 2007 until April 9, 2008. So, obviously the TT got pushed way back on the priority list.

NOW, I just took delivery of a 1210 MK2 I found on ebay, 5 mos. old with KAB mods, including: fluid damper, cardas rewire, RCA jacks, and outboard PS wiring, but still using original PS. With the ebay 10% coupon and Live.com 30% off, I think I got a steal.

I bought it without a cart, so I slapped an old Grado budget model that I retired in the 80s on it just to check it out. Happily, all systems are go, but the old Grado sounds flat and muddy, with suppressed midrange. Could be my alignment since, aside from the Technics overhang jig, I did it all by eye.

Locally, about all that's available in my budget range is Grado Pretige in Blue, Green, or Gold. Setup is included in the price of the cart. My intention is to follow John's advice and go for the Gold. Any tweaks to make a Grado track better? I am advised that they sometimes reach their limits on loud passages.

I plan on buying a spare headshell and another cart at some point, but I want to get this thing up to speed ASAP. Delayed gratification sucks.

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Post by Ho72 » 11 Dec 2008 01:09

Ok, after searching through numerous posts, I finally tracked down the pdf for the Longhorn mod--looks simple enough. In some of the threads I read through, it seemed that some folks alluded to other secret/cat-out-of-the-bag info or tips that might make this more successful. Or am I reading too much into it? At any rate, I never found anything concrete save for the original instructions for mounting the U-channel.

Is there anything else I should know before I hack my new Grado?

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Post by Ho72 » 11 Dec 2008 18:59

Thanks. Time to go to work. :P

tonfan
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Post by tonfan » 17 Dec 2008 18:03

Hi there.

I have the SL-1200 Limited with better cartridge leads, a MYSTIC MAT from Living Voice with carbon fiber and two cartridges. The Goldring 1042 and the Shure V15 III retipped from Expert Stylus. It is driven by a Clearaudio Basic phono stage ending to my Arcam a6 amplifier.

It just sounds great no matter the cartridge.

If I were you, I would buy the MK5, change the mat, buy a good quality cartridge and enjoy ! In the future, go on with an arm change from Origin Live.

doc brown
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Post by doc brown » 21 Dec 2008 18:02

Hi !

seems that technics a good choice for my budget !

Everybody advice the MKII. In fact I was looking after a M5G because of the hifi wiring (OFC tone arm cable and high-grade stereo PHONO cables).

Is this feature deserve the $150 it costs ?

futurproof
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Post by futurproof » 22 Dec 2008 02:23

For hifi use the MKII is a much better deal.
It is cheaper and comes with the original platter mat which is made of heavy rubber and dampens the platter resonance.

The MK5 and variants come with a cheap 'slipmat' for DJ use. This is useless at damping the platter.
They also come with a LED pop-up light. This lasts longer and is brighter than the one on the MKII, but unless you play records in a dark nightclub, it is of no benefit.
The MK5 and variants come with a digital pitch control. This is better for DJs because the MKIIs pitch control can over time lose accuracy.

BUT ! the MKIIs pitch is locked when the slider is at zero and the light is on. This is set by a quartz crystal, so 33 & 45 will ALWAYS be accurate.

MKII slider clicks into place at zero, MK5 the click has been removed.
Again MK5 is better for DJs who constantly change pitch whilst playing records.
MKII has anti-skate adjustment 0-3g, MK5 has 0-6g.
MK5 has a mechanism on the arm to help it track better when back-cueing and 'scratching' MKII does not.
The wiring in the MK5 arm will be a negligible improvement at best.

That is where your extra money goes when buying a MK5. Upgrades to make the turntable more DJ friendly.

The short answer is BUY A MKII.

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