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Technics SL-23 Reviews

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Technics SL-23

Technics SL-23

10/10 by Lendov_x

Is it the greatest turntable ever made? Yes

6/10 by David A Young

I sold a pile of the SL-23's in the mid-late 70's. Then it was a decent turntable with very good speed stability and sounded good with an Ortofon FF15E MkII cartridge. About 2 years ago, I embarked on a project to design a better sounding turntable mat. The SL-23 mat was one of the comparison samples. I am sorry to say it didn't fair well. One of the worst of the lot. On fast piano passages, the notes mushed together. With a cork-mineral-closed cell foam mat, all the notes could be heard distinctly. If you own an SL-23, upgrade the mat and use a decent cartridge. Ever thing else about the turntable is good and as noted in other reviews, easy to maintain. If the arm is not parallel to the record, balsa wood makes a good shim between the cartridge and headshell.

10/10 by fender56

I've just inherited mine in pristine condition after it had been left in it's box for many years. Fitted a new belt, some electrical contact cleaner on the pots and it plays perfectly. It was made in 1976 and has an Ortofon VMS20E MkII cartridge, I'm assuming from new.

I'm playing it through a Marantz PM5005 Integrated amplifier and into a pair of TDL Studio 10 speakers. Great sound and I love being able to play my vinyl collection again after all these years.

9/10 by Green Dwarf

Bought one new in 1976, just replaced the belt for the 2nd since new, running an Ortofon VMS30 Mk II and still just as pleased with the sound as when it was new. Great turntable, thoroughly recommended combination.

9/10 by Labby

How does something so old works so well? Amazing!

8/10 by Electone

This is Technics' finest belt-drive turntable, period. MDF plinth, timeless styling, great sound and legendary reliability. The only issue with these tables is that the speed pots and the selector switch need a shot of De-Oxit every few years. Other than that, it will last a lifetime.

10/10 by MoPho

Got one in late 2015 for $30. Had a Grado GF3, put a 8MZ and loaded it. New belt, deox and some machine oil, lots of help from this forum (thanks). Nothing but fun and joy from this table.

9/10 by almabes

You can't beat one of these for a great budget turntable. They're very well made, and easy to resurrect from what appears to be the dead. A little DeOxit, a new belt, and a nice cartridge and you have a darn decent turntable. The medium mass arm works great with almost any cartridge you throw on there. I have run A-Ts, Ortofons, Grado, Shures, and they all sounded great. The auto return functionality is nice, too. If you find one for a good price, pick it up. Much better than any of the crap made these days.

9/10 by EvilTiger

I bought it secondhand 10 years ago, still use it every single day.
It was mounted with Ortofon Om5E, upgraded now to Ortofon 20E.
Never been disapointed with what it produces, sounds amazing.
The only thing that´s been a problem is like almost every one of these TT.
Speed issue and such, but after a little bit of cleaning, It´s doing It´s job.
Mine is the Black facia version, very handsome I must say.

8/10 by AcesGarrard

I bought mine in 2004 from Cash Converters for $12. It had a broken belt but had the original cartridge and what looked like the original stylus too. It was in really good condition. Lid and all. I bought a belt for $6 and off she went. Still going til this day (2016), though be it packed away these days. I did replace the cartridge and stylus back in 2006 with an aftermarket Orofon. Sounds pretty good! I use a Pioneer PL 666 as my main player now, but the SL23 has always been my favourite. I had no idea it was as old as 1976 though! looks more modern than that. If you find one, you'll enjoy it. Good luck!

10/10 by mdaggett

I have the pleasure of inheriting the SL-23 I helped my father buy back in the '70's. Is it the greatest turntable ever made? No, but after 40 years the only maintenance mine has ever had was two belt replacements and the trim pots cleaned. It works well with the rest of my mid-range system and as stated before, it will run forever. Would I love a classic Nakamichi Dragon? Sure, but my budget has other priorities. Would I sell you my SL-23 for more then what they are going for on e-bay? Nope!

10/10 by kenny500c

Just picked one up at the 'bay listed as for parts or repair. Thorough cleaning, de-oxited all switches and pots, lubed, cleaned with isoproplyl polished the cover and installed a new belt. I now have a museum quality SL-23. Sounds awesome, speed is rock steady. Technics' best belt-driver hands down.

9/10 by Paulcastro

I bought mine new around 1976 or 77. It's now 2015. I have a few turntables now, but this is a favourite. The strobe light and adjustment knobs are a great feature. I like the operation of the cueing lever, and when you move the tone arm across, a switch inside starts the motor. At the end of the record, the tone arm lifts and returns to the cradle. The cueing lever and auto shut-off have never given any problems.
However, the one problem I have from time to time is the speed adjustment doesn't work. Typically the problem is that there isn't enough range in the speed adjust knobs to bring the strobe light back into adjustment.
The first time this happened, I was able to fix the problem by taking the masonite cover off the bottom of the base, and adjusting the the 2 variable resistors on the small printed circuit board (VR1 and VR2). (There are 2 small holes in the pcb so you can reach them, but I find it easier to remove the 2 screws holding the pcb and get at them from the component side.) I noted where they were set, then just moved them around, then set them back to where they originally were.
From experience with old electronics, these variable resistors are items that commonly play up... the movable metal contact stops making good contact with the carbon track.
I've since had the same problem every few years, and the fix is always the same. I've just finished fixing it again today. The trim pots used on the pcb are a fairly cheap type, and I figure one day I'll replace them with a good quality type.
The trimpots on the pcb are 20k ohms, and they are in series with 5k (B) ohm pots that you adjust using knobs near the tone arm. I don't usually have problems with the 5k pots, they're bigger and better quality, but this time I did with the 45 knob, so I gave it a squirt with some contact cleaner, and it came good.
The upside of all this is that the motor and belt mechanism is very simple and reliable. Because the frequency servo generator circuit controls the motor speed, there is no mechanism to move the belt up and down on the motor shaft to get different speeds.
The original cartridge is an EPS 270 or 271. Nothing to write home about. Stylus is easy to get. But I'd recommend upgrading the cartridge.
If you get the chance to buy one of these, go ahead. You'll be happy with it, even if you have to fiddle around with the trim pots every so often.

10/10 by brutus_gat

Bought this new in 1976 sold it around 2000..I just picked one up on ebay in very good shape for a good price.I can't wait to use it and i may need a new stylus we will see.Anyone else like this model?

7/10 by souto


8/10 by 1Cheesestkman

I have very limited experience with TT but this one seems to be rather good. With a basic cartridge it sounds very nice. I purchase this unit new in 1976, first year of manufacturing. Great design and operation. Good looking and came with hinged
clear lid. Automatic return and precision operation. Can't wait to put a better stylus on it.


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