My first table was a new SL-D3 in 1978. Though I passed that one to my younger brother in 1995, I have recently bought and sold a few in the last year. These 35 year-old SL-D3s are great turntables, mechanically and electronically.
I typically buy them from their original owners, who often had them stored away for the past 20 or 30 years. Yet you plug these in and away they go, as if they were just made yesterday! They don't miss a beat! I then proceed to play them for 12 to 16 hours a day and there are no issues! Typically I just shoot a little synthetic oil down the spindle and tonearm shaft and that's it. What more can you ask for?
The memo repeat function typically works well and I don't have any issues with it. The rest of the controls slide easily and operate well without issues. The motors are quiet too! What more can you ask for? 35 year-old cars don't perform that well without a restoration!
OK, the dustcovers break because the hinges get worn or stiff. Something has to give, so the plastic tabs that slide into the hinge breaks. What do you expect? I leave the dustcover off when I play mine any way. I did just sell a nice SL-D3 that had a beautiful working pair of hinges and a fabulously nice dustcover. Just sold it though. Shipped it today!
For the amount of money you will have to spend to get a nice SL-D3 (well under $150 US), not sure why anyone would complain about these wonderful vintage Technics! They were and still are great! The sound is as good as the system and cartridge you have behind them!
As successor of my previously bought Technics SL-B202,which had the problem of ticking motor noise,after investigation it seems that this motor was wornout and not available anymore.So bought now a Technics SL-D3 directdrive,bought this for 25 Euro's in a very dirty state,after some heavy cleaning and putting in a new Audio Technica AT-95E element it turns out I have a very fine TT,everything is working fine,steady RPM,cleaned pitch control and oiled the bearings.This TT has a broken tongue of the dustcover too,but this is quite common by Technics...Not a high-end TT off course,but very satisfactory.
Excellent machine that has held up well over time. Would be a 10/10 but it does suffer from the dreaded Technics dust cover issues (broken tongues and wimpy hinges) and the Memo-Repeat can be a bit finicky. But the sound and the ruggedness of the turntable itself are second to none. Great for anyone getting back into vinyl or to have around as a second or backup machine to a higher-end one. Even without quartz control, it is extremely stable and quiet. Good for anyone who lusts after a 1200, but wants automation and can't handle the hairball of a lot of 1200 prices. It can still be found pretty easily and at good prices. Or like I did, I found mine for parts but all it needed was some oil, replacement hinges, and a bath!