You are here

Alternatives to the Technics SL1210 turntable?

All about the tools and techniques involved in capturing sound, in the studio or on location.

Re: Alternatives to the Technics SL1210 turntable?

Postby Zukan » Fri Sep 13, 2019 9:11 am

Some of those second hand prices on Ebay are more expensive than the original RRPs I paid for my 1210s.

This one might be worth investigating:
https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Technics-SL- ... SwNjJdeoT1
User avatar
Zukan
Moderator
Posts: 8531
Joined: Fri Sep 12, 2003 12:00 am

Re: Alternatives to the Technics SL1210 turntable?

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Fri Sep 13, 2019 9:34 am

Arpangel wrote:...if you listen to an SL1210 alongside a belt driven turntable the differences are very clear. Enough to make me think wow! Belt drives don't have the attack and solidity...

Well, as always, there are belt drives... and belt drives...

Platter mass, motor torque, belt compliance and tension... these things all make a huge difference. One thing belt drives don't suffer, though, is 'cogging' which can be a problem with direct drives... :-)

Good luck with your 1210 hunt.

H
User avatar
Hugh Robjohns
Moderator
Posts: 26328
Joined: Fri Jul 25, 2003 12:00 am
Location: Worcestershire, UK
Technical Editor, Sound On Sound

Re: Alternatives to the Technics SL1210 turntable?

Postby Arpangel » Fri Sep 13, 2019 7:59 pm

Hugh Robjohns wrote:
Arpangel wrote:...if you listen to an SL1210 alongside a belt driven turntable the differences are very clear. Enough to make me think wow! Belt drives don't have the attack and solidity...

Well, as always, there are belt drives... and belt drives...

Platter mass, motor torque, belt compliance and tension... these things all make a huge difference. One thing belt drives don't suffer, though, is 'cogging' which can be a problem with direct drives... :-)

Good luck with your 1210 hunt.

H

I must admit, I haven't heard any nastys on my friends 1210, and in comparison to my demo at the hi-fi shop, my friends 1210 was a DEFINTE REVELATION in comparison to.....

I know we're supposed to be hearing nirvana, but it's just not happening., with the Linn and Michell.
A decent Linn will set you back the best part, or more, of £7,000, a Michell with a decent arm/cartridge more. An SL1210.....£500
These things are so personal, and I can only speak for my own preferences here.
User avatar
Arpangel
Frequent Poster (Level2)
Posts: 3005
Joined: Sat Jul 12, 2003 12:00 am

Re: Alternatives to the Technics SL1210 turntable?

Postby James Perrett » Fri Sep 13, 2019 11:48 pm

Why not go for the king of the Technics direct drives - the SP10?
User avatar
James Perrett
Moderator
Posts: 8896
Joined: Mon Sep 10, 2001 12:00 am
Location: The wilds of Hampshire
JRP Music - Audio Mastering and Restoration. JRP Music Facebook Page

Re: Alternatives to the Technics SL1210 turntable?

Postby Tim Gillett » Sat Sep 14, 2019 1:52 am

Arpangel wrote:
Hugh Robjohns wrote:
Arpangel wrote:I've always wanted an SL1210 for hi-fi use, and sampling duties.

Do you really need 'instant' start, the ability to reverse-wind, and varispeed?

If not, and you basically just need to play records, then one of the Project turntable/arm/cartridge combos would be cheaper and sound at least as good...

I thought so too, but it's not the case, if you listen to an SL1210 alongside a belt driven turntable the differences are very clear. Enough to make me think wow! Belt drives don't have the attack and solidity that reminds me of CD when it first came out, we all noticed the difference in that respect, even though CD was lacking in other respects at that time!
There are a few well known audiophiles who have noticed the SL1210, and realised that it does have weaknesses, but they can be addressed. A different arm, high end cartridge, and a rebuilt plinth.
I went to a local hi-fI shop with my partner, and we both listened to some turntables, Linn Sondek, Michell Gyrodeck, and a Project Experience. We both preferred the project, it sounded very good indeed, the other two were good, but we couldn't hear another couple of grands worth of difference.
But the SL1210 sounds better than all of those, to me, and even if you payed top dollar for one you'd still be getting something really amazing. The reason people don't talk about them in the context of "real hi-fI" is that they are overlooked, and very underrated.

Testing audio gear with any sort of rigour and objectivity is often not easy. Here's a general article by Ethan Winer on the subject:

https://ethanwiner.com/audio_minutiae.htm

Tim
Tim Gillett
Frequent Poster
Posts: 1985
Joined: Wed Jan 30, 2013 1:00 am
Location: Perth, Western Australia

Re: Alternatives to the Technics SL1210 turntable?

Postby Arpangel » Sat Sep 14, 2019 8:33 am

Tim Gillett wrote:Testing audio gear with any sort of rigour and objectivity is often not easy. Here's a general article by Ethan Winer on the subject:

https://ethanwiner.com/audio_minutiae.htm

Tim

You're right Tim, and it helps, like a lot of recording equipment, to test it in your own place with your own gear. But even that falls down if what your testing wasn't designed to work with your gear in the first place. And in hi-fI, this isn't always made apparently obvious, you really do have to go through time and money to find out the systems that work well together. Also in the strange world of hi-fI, there are lots of different "camps" and god forbid if you mention Linn in the Michell camp for instance, or Naim in the Macintosh camp.
You could find yourself being burnt at the stake...

:D
User avatar
Arpangel
Frequent Poster (Level2)
Posts: 3005
Joined: Sat Jul 12, 2003 12:00 am

Re: Alternatives to the Technics SL1210 turntable?

Postby Tim Gillett » Sat Sep 14, 2019 10:31 am

I guess I was hoping you might have picked up on Ethan's and James Johnson's words on the limitations of human hearing, perception and memory. They might help encourage us to question a little our own certainties about what we thought we heard.
Tim Gillett
Frequent Poster
Posts: 1985
Joined: Wed Jan 30, 2013 1:00 am
Location: Perth, Western Australia

Re: Alternatives to the Technics SL1210 turntable?

Postby Arpangel » Sun Sep 15, 2019 8:27 am

Tim Gillett wrote:I guess I was hoping you might have picked up on Ethan's and James Johnson's words on the limitations of human hearing, perception and memory. They might help encourage us to question a little our own certainties about what we thought we heard.

I did read that article, it's interesting, but some of it is a bit inconclusive and vague, along with some very sound facts though.
I have been caught out by the blind test, I went to buy a Michell Gyrodeck because It's my favourite turntable, it was pitched against a Linn Sondek LP12, in a blind test I preferred the Linn, thinking I was hearing the Michell.
But things aren't that simple or conclusive again, I had in my mind as you say, a memory of what I think the Gyrodeck should sound like, and what the Linn should sound like, and it's a long time since I have heard both, and both designs have changed considerably over the years, so that adds complications.
But we have to make a judgement at some point, and of course it is possible, items of equipment in the same room, with the same material is about as reasonable as we can get, and conclusions are made. Otherwise what are we supposed to do? Be told by some zealous salesman that we aern't hearing what we're hearing and we are obviously wrong, and we should buy what he thinks sounds good?
We have to use our ears, and if it sounds good to you that's all that matters.
User avatar
Arpangel
Frequent Poster (Level2)
Posts: 3005
Joined: Sat Jul 12, 2003 12:00 am

Re: Alternatives to the Technics SL1210 turntable?

Postby cyrano.mac » Sun Sep 15, 2019 11:10 am

Years ago, we did some blind testing on turntables. While most could easily hear the difference between cartridges, and even phono preamp/cartridge combo's, nobody could reliably tell the difference between turntables.

Mind you, we didn't make it easy because we never compared with low end and high end players. Just between "average" and "expensive". And I think an SL1200 was part of it, many, many others were too.

I think current prices for the SL1200 and 1210 are crazy. You can get a 1500 or 1800 for about one fifth. That is if you have time looking for a specific one.

Some years ago, the old Lenco L78's were going crazy prices too. It was made out to be an audiophile's nirvana. Of course, you needed to mod those. Another arm, an audio amp to drive the motor, a stone base, a "special" rubber mat. In the end, the heavy platter and the bearing were all that was left...

I think we all can agree idler wheel drives aren't exactly a good starting point if you want to keep it simple. Simple, as in, buy and use. Not starting a build that'll take four years or so.
cyrano.mac
Regular
Posts: 96
Joined: Sun Jun 02, 2019 5:00 pm

Re: Alternatives to the Technics SL1210 turntable?

Postby Arpangel » Mon Sep 16, 2019 10:22 am

cyrano.mac wrote:Years ago, we did some blind testing on turntables. While most could easily hear the difference between cartridges, and even phono preamp/cartridge combo's, nobody could reliably tell the difference between turntables.

Mind you, we didn't make it easy because we never compared with low end and high end players. Just between "average" and "expensive". And I think an SL1200 was part of it, many, many others were too.

I think current prices for the SL1200 and 1210 are crazy. You can get a 1500 or 1800 for about one fifth. That is if you have time looking for a specific one.

Some years ago, the old Lenco L78's were going crazy prices too. It was made out to be an audiophile's nirvana. Of course, you needed to mod those. Another arm, an audio amp to drive the motor, a stone base, a "special" rubber mat. In the end, the heavy platter and the bearing were all that was left...

I think we all can agree idler wheel drives aren't exactly a good starting point if you want to keep it simple. Simple, as in, buy and use. Not starting a build that'll take four years or so.

The Lenco is amazing, even in standard trim. It's got a very solid, well controlled sound.
I blow hot and cold regards turntables, I want one, then when I get one, I realise what a total pain they are, and as for records.....
User avatar
Arpangel
Frequent Poster (Level2)
Posts: 3005
Joined: Sat Jul 12, 2003 12:00 am

Re: Alternatives to the Technics SL1210 turntable?

Postby ef37a » Mon Sep 16, 2019 10:50 am

Hah! Interesting that the CD is held up as the Gold Standard for its "attack"!

I cannot see that finger amputating torque is needed for a hi fi turn table? So long as there is enough to maintain speed against the microscopic drag of a stylus exerting around 1.5 grams?

I was following the fortunes of the hi fi world until it got too silly for words and nobody ever came out with a cartridge with what we would now call a decently flat frequency response. I would also say you would struggle to get two cartridge samples sufficiently similar to be valid for A/B tests on two different turn tables, not to mention the arm setup hassles.

Then, you cannot test vinyl playback systems if the speakers are in the same room. The setup is mildly microphonic and even different mats can colour the sound in such cases.

I have a Rega Planar tt with an Empire cartridge and it'll do me for dubbing my disc collection to hard drive, if I ever get around to it. Then I shall let it gather dust as the finniky, noisy, distorting medium it always was!

Dave.
ef37a
Jedi Poster
Posts: 11287
Joined: Mon May 29, 2006 12:00 am
Location: northampton uk

Re: Alternatives to the Technics SL1210 turntable?

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Mon Sep 16, 2019 11:22 am

I love tinkering with vinyl, but it is far and way the least accurate musical medium ever invented! Everything you do changes the sound, often quite dramatically.

You've got the physical construction and supporting method of the plinth, the mass and material of the platter, the bearing design and its lubrication, the 'slip mat', and any centre clamp arrangement.

Then there's the drive mechanism -- rim, belt, direct or whatever, and the type of motor and method of control.

And then the cartridge type and design, the stylus shape, the alignment in the head-shell, the tracking weight, the anti-skating bias, the vertical tracking angle, the geometry and length of the arm itself, it's construction materials and its bearing designs, and the cartridge wiring.

The there's the preamp design and the RIAA correction EQ, and all the variations thereof...

It's no wonder no two record players ever sound even remotely alike... and that's why there will always be the tedious hi-fi 'mine's better than yours' arguments ... sorry, 'informed debates'... when the reality is that none of them are 'accurate' in the technical sense.

But that doesn't mean the format can't sound deliciously musical and enjoyable. :lol: :D

H
User avatar
Hugh Robjohns
Moderator
Posts: 26328
Joined: Fri Jul 25, 2003 12:00 am
Location: Worcestershire, UK
Technical Editor, Sound On Sound

Re: Alternatives to the Technics SL1210 turntable?

Postby Arpangel » Mon Sep 16, 2019 11:55 am

User avatar
Arpangel
Frequent Poster (Level2)
Posts: 3005
Joined: Sat Jul 12, 2003 12:00 am

Re: Alternatives to the Technics SL1210 turntable?

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Mon Sep 16, 2019 12:30 pm

And they sound quite different to each other... :headbang:
User avatar
Hugh Robjohns
Moderator
Posts: 26328
Joined: Fri Jul 25, 2003 12:00 am
Location: Worcestershire, UK
Technical Editor, Sound On Sound

Re: Alternatives to the Technics SL1210 turntable?

Postby FrankF » Mon Sep 16, 2019 8:57 pm

Tim Gillett wrote:I guess I was hoping you might have picked up on Ethan's and James Johnson's words on the limitations of human hearing, perception and memory. They might help encourage us to question a little our own certainties about what we thought we heard.
I like the bit about our audio memory being roughly 1 second. We're all Epsilon minus goldfish, I tell ya!
There's a well-known ABX test from the 80s involving a certain Ivor Tiefenbrun (AKA Mr Linn Electronics), and it has to be said, he doesn't come out of it covered in glory.

https://www.bostonaudiosociety.org/bas_ ... sting2.htm

There's also the test, conducted about 15 years ago, where several world-class violinists couldn't distinguish between the sound of a Strad and a modern violin...
However, my all-time favourite is the test, conducted in the late 70s, where a group of French wine critics and top sommeliers took part in a blind wine-tasting at the invitation of a similar group of American experts. The test was to see whether the French "experts" could identify French wines vs. US plonk in a series of blind tests.
And guess what? The French unanimously preferred the American wines, waxing all Jilly-Goolden-like in the process . Oh, to have been a fly on the wall when they were told the bad news. :D
FrankF
Regular
Posts: 85
Joined: Fri Sep 13, 2002 12:00 am
Location: La Vendée, France

PreviousNext