What is the best cartridge you can put on a Technics SL-1200

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abee973
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What is the best cartridge you can put on a Technics SL-1200

Post by abee973 » 09 Jan 2014 20:46

What is the best cartridge you can put on a Technics SL-1200mk2 to where the table can bring out the best in it and the cartridge can perform at its best? Trying to find out the the limits for the technics and possible cartridge upgrades I can make in the future.

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Re: What is the best cartridge you can put on a Technics SL-

Post by w_axlrose1 » 09 Jan 2014 21:29

I've said it before and I'll say it again... Try the AT440MLa. ;)

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Re: What is the best cartridge you can put on a Technics SL-

Post by JoeE SP9 » 09 Jan 2014 22:10

How much money are you prepared to spend for a cartridge? I must admit up front that I'm no fan of the SL-1200. However, there are those who believe that there are few if any TTs that are as good. That could be construed as indicating an SL1200 deserves the best cartridge you can afford.

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Re: What is the best cartridge you can put on a Technics SL-

Post by abee973 » 09 Jan 2014 22:41

I dont really know how much i am going to be willing to spend. I am more curious about what the 1200 can handle. Can it handle carts like the benz micro glider and denon dl-s1? Just trying to find out its limits really.

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Re: What is the best cartridge you can put on a Technics SL-

Post by KentT » 09 Jan 2014 23:35

I had a borrowed Koetsu Black and even a Ortofon SPU in one. And think a Denon DL-103 is an excellent partner.

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Re: What is the best cartridge you can put on a Technics SL-

Post by dlaloum » 10 Jan 2014 00:50

There are no limits - just make sure that the cartridge compliance is a good match for the arm mass...

Limitations of the arm are in terms of colourations introduced due to internal resonances primarily - so the sound will be less neutral than with "better" arms - you may like the particular colourations involved.

Adding the fluid damper will remove a whole category of distortions due to the arm/cartridge resonance (which generates the low frequency resonance, and also associated harmonics of it, and intermodulations with the main signal ranging up into the midrange)

The resonances of the armtube can be mitigated by various mods - plug in the end at the CW end, heatshrink, and other mid to high frequency resonance dampers can be added to the arm...

With all mods applied will it compete with an SME-V (retail $5500)- probably not, but it might get closer than one might suspect....

abee973
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Re: What is the best cartridge you can put on a Technics SL-

Post by abee973 » 10 Jan 2014 00:58

Okay cool. Is the benz micro glider sl a good match for the technics arm? Anyone using this combo?

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Re: What is the best cartridge you can put on a Technics SL-

Post by Jhayman » 15 Jan 2014 23:40

Well I just went from a 2M Blue and a AT440MLa to a 2M Black and never looked back the Black is exquisite in everyway IMO..

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Re: What is the best cartridge you can put on a Technics SL-

Post by nabil » 16 Jan 2014 18:31

abee973 wrote:I dont really know how much i am going to be willing to spend. I am more curious about what the 1200 can handle. Can it handle carts like the benz micro glider and denon dl-s1? Just trying to find out its limits really.
I know that John Ellison, a member of a different site, uses the Denon DL-S1 on a SL-1200 to good effect. I do think that he has modded the tonearm but not really sure how.

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Re: What is the best cartridge you can put on a Technics SL-

Post by capriolo » 18 Jan 2014 20:28

I think you will find that the AT440MLA is the most popular cartridge for the SL-1200. Very good match for the money. IMHO

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Re: What is the best cartridge you can put on a Technics SL-

Post by rewfew » 18 Jan 2014 21:50

Okay cool. Is the benz micro glider sl a good match for the technics arm? Anyone using this combo?
I'm sure some one is. Try the Tools section and check to see if it's applicable with the Technics arm. It probably is. The 1200 is very versatile, one of the best. Just like JoeE says.

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Re: What is the best cartridge you can put on a Technics SL-

Post by cafe latte » 20 Jan 2014 00:14

abee973 wrote:Okay cool. Is the benz micro glider sl a good match for the technics arm? Anyone using this combo?
I currently have my Benz micro glider on my Technics and it sounds great. It also sounds great with my Decca super gold, my Nagaoka mp-500, my stanton 881 and all my other Mc's actually. It really depends what your budget is IMO. What I will say it that I think there is a bit of a sonic wall for carts much over a grand as my dynavector 17d3 sounds better on a better arm than it does on my Technics. It does sound very good indeed on the Technics but I think the arm might be limiting it. Saying that it is a 1200 dollar cart.
Regards
Chris

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Re: What is the best cartridge you can put on a Technics SL-1200

Post by tazdevl35 » 24 May 2019 00:36

I've had a Blackbird HO on my SL1210 M5G since receiving it as a Christmas gift in 2008. I've also tried a Shure M91Ed with SAS stylus, as well as an Audio Technica AT125LC, AT500LC, and Goldring Eroica HO. Each of these carts are set up on their own headshells with adjustments noted for a quick swap anytime I wish to. Of these all, the Blackbird HO leaves them in the dust. The Goldring Eroica HO and AT125LC sounded about the best of the remaining group aside from the Sumiko.

The Blackbird brings a whole other level of audio performance to the table. I can only say that the overwhelming positive reviews that have been noted since it came on the scene in 2003 just begin to describe how good this cart sounds on the 1210. If you like deep accurate but not bloated bass response, with inky black noise floor, to where you don't hear the surface noise turning the volume up till it begins playing, it's your cart. Detail, resolution and separation are beyond impressive. Midrange response is delicate and exciting. Separation is a mile wide with seamless soundstaging, while maintaining impeccable channel balance. This is a well behaved cartridge that tracks deep below wear points left from other carts, digging out every last bit of audio detail from deep within the grooves.

The Blackbird is extremely tolerant of music styles, it's not strictly for Rock, Jazz, Classical etc. For those tough to track Lp's the 'Bird leaves nothing on the table. It made a believer out of me when it successfully tracked Rock Lp's that are known to be problematical to play back. Specifically Classic Records 200 gram Quiex Led Zeppelin II and Led Zeppelin The Song Remains The Same play perfect. While other carts fell on their faces trying to trace the information in the grooves, with sibilance and distortion as the results, the Blackbird played these albums without fault. The music is reproduced with a degree of perfection on par with what I can only describe as playing the analog master tapes for these releases and not an LP. Not to say Bernie Grundman did a bad job with these releases, far from it. However they are not for the average turntable and cartridge combo if you want that analog tape performance from playback.

I find similar experiences with numerous LP remasters, many claim them poor quality overall, when what's really going on is the cartridge is simply not up to the task of digging high resolution information out of the groove and reproducing it faithfully for the phono stage. The 9.6 gram Blackbird HO is a excellent match with the Technics tonearms relatively high effective mass. The Auxiliary Tonearm counterweight is essential for properly matching the tonearm with the Blackbird. I did not need the auxiliary headshell weight. Some claim it enhances the sound quality, but the M5G's tonearm is different from older 1200 and 1210 tonearms. A KAB Fluid damper is recommended for best effect on this combination. I can tell you that damping tonearm motion mechanically effects a positively influence in overall sonic stability. Preventing woofer pump and resonance without electrical filtering is a superior approach to those issues. You will have to remove the Lateral Weight Adjustment on newer tables featuring it recommended either way for this cart and arm combo.

About the biggest add-ons I employ are a thicker Technics platter mat available from KAB audio, the Viborg spindle weight with bubble level, and a Orsonic adjustable headshell with upgraded wires. At 10 ounces, the Viborg spindle weight won't damage the Technics bearing the way excessive weight can. Many feel comfortable with a clamp, but I prefer the extra mass added to the platter. A cheap upgrade often missed out on is the wax material KAB sells that fills the void between the spindle thrust plate assembly and the base. A Maple block beneath the turntable helps filter out room resonance or footfalls when played at higher levels. Going a step further in isolation, Isonoe screw in feet are an excellent addition to the Technics tables. Remember we're trying to eliminate outside audible influences and forces so that the cartridge and album are all we hear. The turntable should be worthy of using a cartridge that costs as much or more than it does. Making the turntable sonically invisible, whatever turntable used is essential for optimal quality playback. A suitable phono stage should also be used, but the discussion of multiple choices goes beyond the scope of this post.

Based on my experiences the Blackbird is an excellent match to the 1200 and 1210 turntables. Just take the time to do it right.

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Re: What is the best cartridge you can put on a Technics SL-1200

Post by lbls1 » 24 May 2019 02:24

You can mount almost any cartridge to the excellent MK2. My vote would go to the Shure v15 vmr or later series. This is a very dynamic cartridge that is very precise (well mated to Technics precision).

Edit: I forgot that Shures are out of production. I would shop around and look at other names with very a good reputation. Ortofon, AT, Grado cartridges come to mind if you are purchasing a new one.

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Re: What is the best cartridge you can put on a Technics SL-1200

Post by tcolegrove » 28 May 2019 15:13

For what it's worth - I use the following in regular rotation on my SL-1210 mkII:
- Shure V15 II
- Ortofon 2M Red
- Grado (who the hell knows what the model number is... :) )
- Adcom MC

I'm happy with any one of these.

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