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Sound Image
03-08-2008, 12:12
A lot of us worship the good old Ortofon SPU. It comes in many disguises but it is still the good old SPU in some way.

I had the fortune wisiting Robert Gudmandsen - the inventor of SPU - almost 15 years ago. It was at his home with his wife. An old man, but still eager to tell about his life with cartridges and music. I still remember when he pulled out one drawer after another and they all were filled with old SPU's and cartridges I have never even seen or heard about before.

It was after that experience I bough my SPU Gold, but since then I have listened to many of them. I have often felt tempted to buy one more - maybe the Meister or the Royal N so that it can be used with more "normal" arms.

http://www.soundimage.dk/images/Thorens%20faerdig%20-1.jpg

http://www.soundimage.dk/images/SP10%20first%20setup.jpg

Anyway this thread is also to answer Marco, who asked about my experience with SPU Gold with Fidelity Research FR64s on my Technics SP10 mkII.

Generally I would say that the deck and the cartridge are two opposites. The SPU is a bit bloated and lacks resolution in the low end. The same can be said about the top (sompared to top cartridges of the day), but at the same time it is soft, gentle and pure analogue. Where the SPU really sings is in the midrange. Playing opera or jazz is a pleasure beyound description. You quickly forget anything about the bottom and the top, and just enjoy!

Here comes the Technics SP10 mkII as a sort of "tank" - it has the force, the power and timing. In a way it is like a CD-player (positive). Nothing can disturb it and it gives the right conditions for the arm and the cartridge. But then again the SP10 is NOT a Garrard 301 or a Thorens TD 124. They are both very different "animals", with a much more gentle and holistic approach.

The the Fidelity Resarch FR64s. I have had a SME 3012, but find the FR64 better in many ways. Again we have some of the control and firmness. The FR64 was the only arm that I could use with my Decca Van den Hul cartridge. Its a bit the same with the SPU. When I said the SPU lacks a bit of resultion and firmness in the woofer-range the FR64 helps in this regard. I have also tried the new 12" Ortofon arm - a good arm - but not the same control and firmnes.

All in all I think the combination of SPU/FR/SP10 is very good. Anyway it is a different musical experience compared to what what I get playing with my other decks.

What are your experiences with the SPU?

SPS
04-08-2008, 15:14
very nice set up, and nice to see another fr64,
I have the silver wired version
mine is sat upon a orical delphi with a kieski blue screwed to it
i have been thinking of transfering the arm and cartridge onto one of my idler drives... maybe the 301 or the thorens124
so much to do... so little time

steve

pure sound
04-08-2008, 19:19
Excellent write up Jan. I've always been fond of the SPU aswell despite its slight limitations at the frequency extremes. I once visited H Kondo at Audio Note who started in cartridges rebuilding tired SPU's for friends. I think some of what is in it inspired his Io design although there are also some significant differences too. But the SPU is really the grandfather and inspiration for almost all MC cartridges. I like your description of the SP10 too. Correctly mounted it just provides the perfect platform upon which an arm and cartridge can work optimally. I must admit that I'd also like to try one of the 12" FR's or an Ikeda. As SPS says, its finding the time to do it all.

Did you ever try the SL15? They seem to appear for sale occasionally too.

speedy.steve
05-06-2010, 12:43
I had not read this thread - I had the Royal N (for sale incidentally with very low miles on it) on my SL-1210 first. Then got a SP-10 in slate plinth.
Tried a SME V 12 on it but it did not do it for me. Too calm and emotionless somehow.
On both these decks I have been using a PL-71 (Acos) arm. This is a cheap looking little arm but it punches amazing well above it weight and has bags of grip and emotion in the music.

I finally came across a SPU Silver Meister and that was love at first hear.
I built my own 12" which is good but the other evening I heard a FR64s on a Voyd with my Silver Meister - boy was that good. I know exactly what you were talking about - I am looking for the arm now.
Nice to read your SPU works well with the SP-10 too. As you say it is about balance - I find the Silver Meister smooth, deep and yet detailed - a neat trick to pull of. Can't keep both hence the Royal N sale...

John
05-06-2010, 13:55
Anyone hears a SPU against a Decca Jubilee
Sounds like from what you described I will still head for a Decca

hifi_dave
05-06-2010, 18:51
I think you will find the Jubilee is faster, cleaner and more extended top and bottom than the SPU which is warmer and more romantic.

John
05-06-2010, 18:55
Yes I thought so I go for the Aliveness of the Jubilee for myself
Cheers Dave

DSJR
05-06-2010, 19:04
Glad to read that the SPU has enjoyed some development over the decades. I'm still a Decca fan and owner though :)

My one shameful legacy was not liking the FR64 series because it is too heavy for the LP12 suspension (later springs may help here).. Hifi dave has one though and my opinion has very much changed now - they're too expensive now though :(

Don't care about a fully tricked out SL1200, which will cost thousands. the SP10 is the proper real-man's deck :eyebrows: :ner:

bigmoog
06-06-2010, 09:44
I agree with Dave on the matter of 1200s and Sp10s...although Im considering a 1200 project - but a techno DJ mate of mine thinks the whole 1210 upgrade issue is : 'wanky'


and imho, there are only three phonographic cartridge choices:

decca, denon103 variants, SPU.

:cool:

bigmoog
06-06-2010, 09:51
A lot of us worship the good old Ortofon SPU. It comes in many disguises but it is still the good old SPU in some way.

I had the fortune wisiting Robert Gudmandsen - the inventor of SPU - almost 15 years ago. It was at his home with his wife. An old man, but still eager to tell about his life with cartridges and music. I still remember when he pulled out one drawer after another and they all were filled with old SPU's and cartridges I have never even seen or heard about before.

It was after that experience I bough my SPU Gold, but since then I have listened to many of them. I have often felt tempted to buy one more - maybe the Meister or the Royal N so that it can be used with more "normal" arms.

http://www.soundimage.dk/images/Thorens%20faerdig%20-1.jpg

http://www.soundimage.dk/images/SP10%20first%20setup.jpg

Anyway this thread is also to answer Marco, who asked about my experience with SPU Gold with Fidelity Research FR64s on my Technics SP10 mkII.

Generally I would say that the deck and the cartridge are two opposites. The SPU is a bit bloated and lacks resolution in the low end. The same can be said about the top (sompared to top cartridges of the day), but at the same time it is soft, gentle and pure analogue. Where the SPU really sings is in the midrange. Playing opera or jazz is a pleasure beyound description. You quickly forget anything about the bottom and the top, and just enjoy!

Here comes the Technics SP10 mkII as a sort of "tank" - it has the force, the power and timing. In a way it is like a CD-player (positive). Nothing can disturb it and it gives the right conditions for the arm and the cartridge. But then again the SP10 is NOT a Garrard 301 or a Thorens TD 124. They are both very different "animals", with a much more gentle and holistic approach.

The the Fidelity Resarch FR64s. I have had a SME 3012, but find the FR64 better in many ways. Again we have some of the control and firmness. The FR64 was the only arm that I could use with my Decca Van den Hul cartridge. Its a bit the same with the SPU. When I said the SPU lacks a bit of resultion and firmness in the woofer-range the FR64 helps in this regard. I have also tried the new 12" Ortofon arm - a good arm - but not the same control and firmnes.

All in all I think the combination of SPU/FR/SP10 is very good. Anyway it is a different musical experience compared to what what I get playing with my other decks.

What are your experiences with the SPU?




what a lovely set up, superb :)


my experiences with SPUs have always been great...although I far prefer a decca ;)

REM
06-06-2010, 12:01
Don't care about a fully tricked out SL1200, which will cost thousands. the SP10 is the proper real-man's deck :eyebrows: :ner:


Never mind however many thousands an SL12xx will cost you, a properly sorted SP-10 will cost a bloody site more.:rolleyes:

DSJR
06-06-2010, 12:28
Seriously?

Ah well, back to the Hyperspace.. ;)

alfie2902
06-06-2010, 15:20
Never mind however many thousands an SL12xx will cost you, a properly sorted SP-10 will cost a bloody site more.:rolleyes:

I'm not so sure of this statement! Can you supply some figures to back it up?

Depends how far down the modding route you take with either IMO.

alfie2902
06-06-2010, 15:37
I had not read this thread - I had the Royal N (for sale incidentally with very low miles on it) on my SL-1210 first. Then got a SP-10 in slate plinth.
Tried a SME V 12 on it but it did not do it for me. Too calm and emotionless somehow.
On both these decks I have been using a PL-71 (Acos) arm. This is a cheap looking little arm but it punches amazing well above it weight and has bags of grip and emotion in the music.

I finally came across a SPU Silver Meister and that was love at first hear.
I built my own 12" which is good but the other evening I heard a FR64s on a Voyd with my Silver Meister - boy was that good. I know exactly what you were talking about - I am looking for the arm now.
Nice to read your SPU works well with the SP-10 too. As you say it is about balance - I find the Silver Meister smooth, deep and yet detailed - a neat trick to pull of. Can't keep both hence the Royal N sale...

Hi Steve,

It certainly was a very nice combination :eyebrows: as if the FR64s & SPU were made for each other! :) An SPU is on my want list for the future after hearing yours! A shame we didn't have more time to nip the arm over to your place to try it out on your SP10.

I also would of liked to hear my rosewood 103 side by side with the SPU silver M. I would favour the SPU but it would be nice to hear how close the rosewood 103 runs it.

The AN Io Ltd was IMO another league above again, but should be at the price difference. :stalks: & is another cart firmly at the top of my want list. (perhaps not the Ltd - bit out of my price range!)

Cheers, alfie.

REM
06-06-2010, 17:04
I'm not so sure of this statement! Can you supply some figures to back it up?

Depends how far down the modding route you take with either IMO.

Take a look at the Sound HiFi site. Dave Cawley will sell you a fully refurbed SP10 with a plinth for 3k, a SL1200 with psu, MN bearing, isones, Herbies mat and say a Jelco 750 is around 2k.
A grand might not be much to you but it sure is to me:eek:

pure sound
06-06-2010, 17:16
You can still occasionally pick up working SP10 Mk2 motor units for ~600

You can buy pre-cut wooden plinths from ebay for less than 200 (shipped) or have a substantial piece of slate cut for even less. Put an RB250 or a Jelco on it and you'll have a perfectly good sounding deck. I still think it can be done for less than 1000 and it would take some beating.

http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/plinth-Technics-SP-10-Technics-SP10-/200471883715?cmd=ViewItem&pt=Vintage_Electronics_R2&hash=item2ead0e2fc3

alfie2902
06-06-2010, 17:46
Take a look at the Sound HiFi site. Dave Cawley will sell you a fully refurbed SP10 with a plinth for 3k, a SL1200 with psu, MN bearing, isones, Herbies mat and say a Jelco 750 is around 2k.
A grand might not be much to you but it sure is to me:eek:

If Dave supplied the SL1200 with all the mods fitted & all the work done what would that cost? You're not comparing apples with apples!

Guy in the post above has pretty much covered my points, that an SP10 can be sorted for 1000 - 1500!

What's in the SL1200s favour is repairs & support, but with all the mods PSU, New bearing, New Plater, & plinth costs are now really starting to add up! Any SL1200 support becomes negated because all that's left of the 1200 is the motor!

At 2K & thats without New plinth! you're at SP10 mkIII prices, if you can find one!, so VFM of a fully modded 1200 is starting to diminish IMO. That doesn't though take away from the performance that can be got from a modded SL1200!

DSJR
06-06-2010, 20:42
Just how much refurbing will be expected of an SP10? I expect the power supply will be the biggest casualty, but I don't know how many "special" components are inside one ("ordinary" components are ten a penny these days even if labour charges aren't!). The main bearing was heavily built from the start, so hopefully it won't be too worn by now, will it?

John
06-06-2010, 20:56
I hear that the biggest issues with the SP10 is having to keep getting it serviced this would not be cheap and I think will soon add up

Barry
06-06-2010, 20:57
A lot of the SP10s coming onto the used market are ex-broadcast items. The BBC used many of these and all were modified to suit their purpose.

Any ex-brodcast item will have had a lot of use and not been treated with kid gloves. I would expect that a fair amount of refurbishment of the electronics would be required. The bearing, I imagine, would have been designed for the task and hopefully still be in good condition.

Regards

pure sound
06-06-2010, 21:37
I have 2 SP10's, one was refurbished and fitted to a plinth by Stirling Broadcast, the other was a tattier ex Radio Bristol unit converted back to domestic function and fitted to a 2 layer slate plinth. Both have worked perfectly well & without a hitch in the time I've had them. I don't think there are any unobtainium parts in the electronics. If necessary they could be serviced by Sound HiFi or by Vantage Audio. I think there's someone on Merseyside who does it as well. I know of quite a number of people who've bought SP10's since I bought mine. None that I know of have had any problems with them other than the odd lamp not coming on. These things were built like tanks, if they were used for broadcast they'd likely have been serviced regularly. If used for domestic purposes they would have far fewer hours on them.

I'd perhaps avoid samples that had all the additional BBC pitch control gubbins attached.
I'd also still assert that one can be got up & running with an arm for <1000.

speedy.steve
06-06-2010, 22:14
I hear that the biggest issues with the SP10 is having to keep getting it serviced this would not be cheap and I think will soon add up

Exactly what servicing?

John
07-06-2010, 04:28
I hear that they can often develop faults just what I was told by Dave C

Marco
07-06-2010, 07:11
Hi Guy,


I have 2 SP10's, one was refurbished and fitted to a plinth by Stirling Broadcast, the other was a tattier ex Radio Bristol unit converted back to domestic function and fitted to a 2 layer slate plinth. Both have worked perfectly well & without a hitch in the time I've had them. I don't think there are any unobtainium parts in the electronics. If necessary they could be serviced by Sound HiFi or by Vantage Audio. I think there's someone on Merseyside who does it as well. I know of quite a number of people who've bought SP10's since I bought mine. None that I know of have had any problems with them other than the odd lamp not coming on. These things were built like tanks, if they were used for broadcast they'd likely have been serviced regularly. If used for domestic purposes they would have far fewer hours on them.


Those are all valid points, but how can you be *absolutely sure* that any SP10 is functioning at 100% of its original capacity, when you're talking about something that's over 30 years old?

I would imagine that there are quite a few internal components which are long past their sell-by date, as it were, and no longer performing to their original spec...... I know that was most certainly the case with, for example, the similarly ancient crossover components in my Tannoy Monitor Golds, and the sonic improvement (at no inconsiderable cost) of upgrading them wasn't subtle!

Therefore, if I were planning on buying an SP10, aside from funding the initial outlay for the motor unit (and I'd only be happy with one in immaculate cosmetic condition - I couldn't live with a battered old ex-broadcast example), a high quality plinth, and arm and cartridge, I'd have to factor in the cost of a full service and (if necessary) overhaul of all ageing internal components and their replacement with modern equivalents......

How much would that add to the bill, I wonder? And anyway, it's all WAY too much hassle, when instead I can have a ready-made superb souding solution with a modified SL-1200/1210, from Dave C, where all such headache is removed from the equation.

An SP10 "working perfectly well", quite simply, would not be good enough - I'd need a guarantee that what I was listening to was as good as if I'd bought the unit brand new when it was first built; anything less than that for me would be a no-no....

And that's precisely why I've chosen instead to max-out my SL-1210, where I get not only top-notch sonic performance and the knowledge that every bit of it can be replaced if necessary with original parts, but the peace of mind of knowing that what I'm listening to is a turntable performing at 100% of its capability - in fact much more so, as it's been judiciously modified and become something rather more special :)

Marco.

DSJR
07-06-2010, 07:26
You'll just have to watch how much is charged for an hours labour and, of course, the markup on very cheap components, where big caps cost a few quid and transistors, diodes and resistors really are ten a penny (well, a few pence).

I was shafted with a recent JVC TV repair - 76 to replace a small capacitor on the frame circuit. The set isn't worth that much but it's a goodie and in regular use by sonny-jim...

pure sound
07-06-2010, 07:56
The only parts whose performance might have deteriorated with age are some of the electrolytic capacitors. These are not expensive items (unlike critical crossover capacitors).

How do you know whether its working at 100%? By listening to it. I've heard quite a number of these motor units now. They all sound alike. Plinths and arms will affect the result but the basic motor seems very constant. They either work, or it is readily apparent that they aren't working.

Most of the 2nd hand SP10's that I've seen for sale are tidy enough. The really scruffy samples go for far less.

I suppose the only point I'm making is that you can get a tidy one of these up & running for less than 1000. If you want a concours standard of finish and a Russ Collinson type plinth, then obviously it will cost more. I do feel there is an element of the Linn dealer mythology creeping in around these decks. ie, unless your LP12 has been set up by a Linn trained engineer then it can't be operating at 100%. That may be truer in the case of a pernickety & fussy old design like the LP12. I'd also say that in the case of many of the even older idler drive decks currently enjoying a renaissance (ie Garrard, Lenco, EMT) these also need a considerable amount of attention to give 100% of what they did when new. But in my experience, its not been true of the SP10 motors. They generally work well & can give excellent performance for not so great an outlay.

They definitely offer a lower cost alternative to taking a 1210 and uprating the power supply, mat, bearing, arm mount, platter etc.

Marco
07-06-2010, 08:55
That's fair enough, Guy.

For me, listening to an SP10 wouldn't be enough to ascertain whether it was performing at 100% of its original capacity, simply because I have no valid reference from which to accurately judge this. Being as thorough as possible in these matters, for me, is a prerequisite.

I'd need that to be guaranteed by someone who has the right test equipment with which to measure all necessary parameters, such as Dave C, before I'd entertain buying one, as otherwise the 'what if?' factor would do my head in! ;)

Therefore, that would also mean factoring the cost of a full service (and the replacement of any necessary parts) into any potential purchase.


They definitely offer a lower cost alternative to taking a 1210 and uprating the power supply, mat, bearing, arm mount, platter etc.


....Only if you can be bothered with the (significant) hassle involved of what isn't a ready-made solution, supported and fully guaranteed by a dealer. Sorry, dude, count me out.

And in any case, what you end up with (in my experience) isn't guaranteed to sonically outperform a fully-modified SL-1200/1210, when the same arm and cartridge are used.......

No, as far as I'm concerned, the only really valid reason for buying an SP10, over a fully-modified SL-1200/1210 (other than possibly to save some money), is to facilitate the fitting of a 12" arm (or arms).

That itself, of course, would be more than enough reason for some. For me, though, in the end it wasn't quite enough to justify the hassle involved of building one to a specification that would satisfy me in the long-term.

I prefer a top-notch ready-made solution, and for all the 'fiddling & farting' to be carried out (and fully guaranteed) by someone else, so my time instead is spent listening to the results when spinning my favourite tunes! :cool:

YMMV.

Marco.

NRG
07-06-2010, 09:27
Marco is correct. There are some very intricate and detailed adjustments that need to be performed and measurements taken on the SP10 in addition to the mechanical checks to ensure they are working correctly.

Simply listening to one is not good enough. Last year Dave C helped me go through these measurements and adjustments on my MKII, it was sounding fine before hand but much better afterwards, there was a thread about it last year sometime.

Also, much of the logic devices are no longer available, Nick at Audio-Talk had to find replacements after an 'incident' with his, not an easy task.

Marco
07-06-2010, 10:16
Thanks for that, Neal - it's what I suspected :)

In fact, I was over at Nick's place yesterday with Ian Walker, and he mentioned the unfortunate "incident" concerned.... It hammers home the fact that these T/Ts are intricate precision instruments, and should only be tampered with by qualified personnel ;)

It stands to reason that such a complex mechanical device is liable to drift from its original specification after more than 30 years!! I mean, would you expect your car, for example, to run optimally without having been serviced after that period of time?? Presuming of course it would even last that long.

Furthermore, how can you service an SP10 if you don't have access to the necessary data showing how it should perform when new, and the wherewithal (and required test equipment) to then effect changes if necessary? Clearly, units bought from Ebay, and such like, are likely to be performing sub-optimally, therefore an SP10 will never be a 'fit and forget' purchase, in the way, for example, of a modified SL-1200/1210.

Moreover, if some key parts go pop (such as the logic devices you refer to), then there's a good chance you'll simply be left with an ornament......... No, for me, it's all WAY too risky and too much hassle! :rolleyes:


There are some very intricate and detailed adjustments that need to be performed and measurements taken on the SP10 in addition to the mechanical checks to ensure they are working correctly.


Even I, as one of the most die-hard subjectivists you'll meet, would fully acknowledge when our ears are inadequate devices for accurately judging certain aspects of audio. And ascertaining whether an SP10 is performing at 100% of its designed capability is one of them.

This is precisely why, even if I decided that the new platter for the SL-1200/1210 effects a significant sonic improvement (in certain areas) to justify the financial outlay, I would require to see documented evidence from Dave C (or someone of his ilk), based on relevant test measurements, which proves that the extra mass of the new platter does not adversely affect the speed accuracy of the drive system - even minutely so, before I'd consider buying one.

Merely listening to the results, as was proven by Neal's experience with his SP10, will simply NOT be enough!


Last year Dave C helped me go through these measurements and adjustments on my MKII, it was sounding fine before hand but much better afterwards, there was a thread about it last year sometime.


Indeed. Only the "afterwards" performance would interest me; nothing less would do - and that's easier said than achieved......

Marco.

pure sound
07-06-2010, 10:49
Hmm. A fully 'pimped' 1210 (including new platter) comes to about 2500 now, and that's before you fit a decent arm to it.

Electronic 'fettling' of a used SP10 (even if necessary) won't cost that much!

But each to their own. Some people are less concerned about newness & more concerned with the maximum sound per . It takes all sorts.

Marco
07-06-2010, 10:59
Indeed - but such truisms have never stopped debates like this before! :lol: ;)


Electronic 'fettling' of a used SP10 (even if necessary) won't cost that much!


No, but it's not just that, is it? It's finding a decent one in the first place that's not been dog-abused in a broadcasting studio, then buying a quality plinth which successfully showcases its sonic potential, and worrying about if key (difficult to replace) components will go pop, blah de blah de blah...

When one can simply have the peace of mind of buying a superb sounding, fully guaranteed, modified and brand new SL-1200/1210, from Dave C, and worry about nothing more than how much money to spend a month on records! :eyebrows:

Marco.

REM
07-06-2010, 11:11
Hmm. A fully 'pimped' 1210 (including new platter) comes to about 2500 now, and that's before you fit a decent arm to it.



Deck, 400, psu 300, MN bearing 400, platter 600, feet & mat 200 = 1900, bung a Jelco arm on it and you still get change from 2.5k and peace of mind knowing it's working to spec, priceless:lol:

Marco
07-06-2010, 11:19
Also, you don't need to touch the Technics tonearm if using an MM cartridge, which short of a rewire (MK5 model with its quality internal OFC wiring not applicable), is near-perfect for the job!

Oh, and IME, you don't need the new platter as part of the modifications to obtain SP-10-type performance either!

How much does that lop off the price now? ;)

Marco.

pure sound
07-06-2010, 11:23
I simply don't think there's any reason to discourage people from buying working SP10's as & when they appear. Obtaining or even making a plinth isn't that difficult. I've seen (& heard) enough of them now to realise that in the main, they work pretty well (even heavily used broadcast units like one of mine). There are people about who can fix them if necessary and the bottom line is they give a great result.

I'm still to be convinced that a 1210 (even with an improved bearing) is as good. It also constrains you to using a 9" arm, and who knows how effective the proposed new platter will be? Not everyone has 2500 to spend on a TT either.

alfie2902
07-06-2010, 11:24
I'd take an SP10 & put an FR64s on it & that would come in at less than the tricked up 1210! & would take some beating IMO!

Well infact I went with a Denon & even with it's planned trip to Vantage Audio, just for a health check (speeds stable & no noise so doesn't need to go really), & a nice plinth will come in at just over a 1200 that gives me more than a grand to spend on vinyl over what a 1210 would cost! In fact I could probably own an SP10 (or a Voyd :eyebrows: Pete's fault! Not a Ref at that price though) aswell as the Denon for the price of a tricked 1210!!

Marco
07-06-2010, 11:28
And what happens if the (long-discontinued Denon) decides to go tits-up in a way that cannot be repaired?

Like Guy says, each to his or her own ;)

Incidentally, I'm not trying to discourage anyone from buying an SP10; merely presenting some factual information which deserves to be carefully considered...... :)

Marco.

alfie2902
07-06-2010, 11:46
And what happens if the (long-discontinued Denon) decided to go tits-up in a way that cannot be repaired?


Marco.

The Denons are pretty well put together & Vantage can sort most (if not all) problems out! If it did happen to die then I've lost the price of a new 1210 wouldn't be nice but not the end of the world!

Each to their own though Marco :) all i'm saying is to fully trick out a 1210 is getting quite expensive now & is passing the cost of a well fettled SP10 thats it's trying to catch up with! :scratch:

DSJR
07-06-2010, 11:48
And what happens if the SL1200 "Guru" goes tits up, as he seems to be the only one able to get this deck to world-class standards??? A bit tongue-in-cheek and I apologise, but I worry about one-man-bands with some of this stuff - and no, NAS isn't now "only" Tom Fletcher..

At least Loricraft can fully rebuild 301's and 401's to better-than-new performance and there's a similar situation for the TD124 I understand now. Lenco's are very cheap and idlers and critical tonearm parts (assuming you haven't foolishly totally abandoned the tonearms) are still available new.

What we need is for some other skilled engineers to get the service data and get trained up on setting these things up properly, so there isn't a monopoly on these skills. If these people already exist, then they should be promoted here and elsewhere I reckon.

pure sound
07-06-2010, 11:53
Back on topic, I did recently have the opportunity to play with a Royal N. I didn't get on with it so well & think I probably prefer the sound of the Classic GM. The cartridge I'm currently using & really enjoying is the Technics EPS310MC which came fitted to the SL-10 as standard. This is a P mount cartridge so needs an adaptor to be used in a conventional arm. But it does sound lovely. Quick & delicate but with plenty of colour.
Puts most 'modern' mc's to shame.
http://i75.photobucket.com/albums/i318/murrayjohnson/cartridge3.jpg

Marco
07-06-2010, 12:00
Hi Alfie,


Each to their own though Marco all i'm saying is to fully trick out a 1210 is getting quite expensive now & is passing the cost of a well fettled SP10 thats it's trying to catch up with!

Indeed. But in my experience, it's already caught up with it, and without the need of the new platter and PSU. In terms of the latter, a Paul Hynes PR3 or PR5 does the job. Therefore, you can shave 650 off of your figures for the new platter, for starters - and if using an MM cartridge, the cost of a Jelco! That alters things slighty, doesn't it? ;)

Hi Dave,


What we need is for some other skilled engineers to get the service data and get trained up on setting these things up properly, so there isn't a monopoly on these skills. If these people already exist, then they should be promoted here and elsewhere I reckon.


I completely agree. If we can find them, then they most certainly will be! :)

As Guys says, back on-topic..........

Marco.

DSJR
07-06-2010, 12:02
I remember the whole SL10 sounding really good too, although not as good as yours does Guy. How do you get round the whole flexi-T4P mount?

pure sound
07-06-2010, 12:48
I use one made by Audio Technica although I'd prefer something more substantial & made of metal. I'm not sure such an item exists though.

alfie2902
07-06-2010, 13:05
Hi Marco,

Yes, the New platter does make a big dent in the budget! It may though take the 1210 performance above an SP10 then the costs might not matter ;)

Back on topic :)

I was very impressed with Steves SPU Silver M the other night, very impressed indeed. :eek: He also had his Royal N there but we didn't have time for a listen which was a shame. Steve prefers the Silver M but in a way you would expect the Royal N being a stripped down Royal to be the better cart! I wonder if they work better in their own body/headshell.

The Technics EPS310MC looks interesting too. A friend of mine had an SL-10 some years ago so I've probably heard one of these! His SL-10 always sounded better than I thought it should but I only had eyes for a certain Scotish deck in those days.

P.S. Guy is your avatar an L10 pre?

Marco
07-06-2010, 14:10
The cartridge I'm currently using & really enjoying is the Technics EPS310MC which came fitted to the SL-10 as standard. This is a P mount cartridge so needs an adaptor to be used in a conventional arm. But it does sound lovely. Quick & delicate but with plenty of colour.
Puts most 'modern' mc's to shame.


Why am I not surprised by that......? It gives proper substance to the sound, no doubt, with musically correct tone and timbre, instead of the usual tonally bleached, forensic sounding modern monstrosities foisted upon us by today's so-called cartridge cognoscenti! ;)

Your twelve-incher's looking good, btw! :eyebrows:

How's the M3D doing?

Marco.

pure sound
07-06-2010, 17:54
The M3D certainly suits the music of its time well enough although it perhaps lacks a bit of finesse. Great fun though, big boned, bouncy and rich sounding. I need to listen to it some more although I'm enjoying the 310MC too much at the moment.

Alfie. Yes, an early computer rendering of one. I have the prototype here but should get the 1st two production ones air freighted in during the next fortnight. I'll post some proper pics in the trade announcements when I have them.

SPS
07-06-2010, 20:51
I keep going back to the m3d... just like the old Who Lp.. meaty beaty big and bouncy.. if i remember the title correctly...

it just fills the room with a 3d sound..

i have a large box of stylus for them...n3 and n21's .. if it would just play the top end without 5 grams+ to hold it in the groove..

i had 30grams of stud.. blue tacked on to the fr64, it just balanced with an 18 gram headshell... that made the biggest difference...

but its just not perfect...

madness...

i've been watching this thread with interest.. i realy want the m3d sound
but with real tracking abilities... i'd hoped the spu may have been the answer.. i nearly bought the high output one last year.. the fear of it not sounding as good (or not much better?) as the my ancient (09 vdh rebuilt) dynavector 30a held me back...

then niel's (nrg's) wood bodied 103 sounds very,very good too...

a slightly confused
steve

pure sound
07-06-2010, 20:59
Yes, I took the M3D out because I wasn't convinced by the tracking performance on some discs & didn't want to damage any precious records with it. The 12" Jelco has an eff mass of 26g with its own headshell. I tried the lighter ADC LMG1 shell and then started loading that up with weight & using the big c/weight. But I haven't exceeded 2.5g vtf. this is with a NOS? Shure N21 stylus.

I will go back to it as it has promise.

Marco
07-06-2010, 21:19
Guy, I think 2.3g is the maximum recommended VTF with the N21.

From experience, I agree with yours and Steve's concerns about tracking, but neither of you are adding enough headshell mass..... The M3D positively EATS mass! It makes you wonder just how heavy the old 1950s broadcast arms were on the 'battleship build' T/Ts that it would've originally been partnered with.....:eek:

Mind you, just one look at a Rek-o-Kut from the same era explains everything:


http://img412.imageshack.us/img412/6429/rekokut.jpg (http://img412.imageshack.us/i/rekokut.jpg/)


http://img576.imageshack.us/img576/74/rokdx1.jpg (http://img576.imageshack.us/i/rokdx1.jpg/)

Interesting link here: http://members.myactv.net/~je2a3/roktips.htm

Check out the 103R in that ridiculously high-mass arm - and that's likely what an M3D would've been used in originally! I know that the headshell ALONE weighs just under 30g, as I nearly bought one from someone on Ebay in the States....!

I've got 26.5g of headshell mass on my M3D at the moment (16.5g FR headshell with a 10g brass spacer from Dave C), on my Jelco SA-750, not including the mass the armtube itself adds, and that all but sorts out the tracking issues. Therefore, my advice is to keep adding more mass until it tracks as securely as possible.

The M3D is far from a 'normal' cartridge, as it harks from an era where the approach with audio was rather different from how it is now.

However, I don't really use the M3D much for playing modern music - it's more for hearing just how utterly glorious the likes of my Dean Martin, Nat King Cole, Connie Francis, Shirley Bassey and Frank Sinatra albums can sound! :cool:

Marco.

pure sound
07-06-2010, 21:43
LOL! I have a Rek o Kut micropoise arm but I haven't tried it yet. It will be replacing the RB250 at the rear of the SP10 pictured above although probably carrying the GE VR cartridge it came with as the intention was to play 78's with it.

I'll try to up the ante further with regard to eff mass on the Jelco & see what happens!

Marco
07-06-2010, 21:59
Please do and report back, but you simply *must* listen to the M3D in the Micropoise (lucky bugger - I'd love one of those!), or at the very least in the headshell of it, then fitted to your Jelco, as I suspect it will be a match made in heaven :)

Marco.

pure sound
07-06-2010, 22:10
The headshell attachment for the Rek o Kut is not the SME style one although it looks like it. Mine is also wired for mono so some issues to resolve before I could use the M3D in it.

Marco
07-06-2010, 22:22
Ah, ok.... I'd urge you to resolve those issues though if you can, as I think the results with the M3D could be pretty special ;)

Keep us posted!

Marco.

Marco
07-06-2010, 23:32
Some other examples of the 'high-mass route', 50s style: home of the M3D:


http://img32.imageshack.us/img32/4063/rokb12h3vt.jpg (http://img32.imageshack.us/i/rokb12h3vt.jpg/)


http://img641.imageshack.us/img641/2259/mono2e.jpg (http://img641.imageshack.us/i/mono2e.jpg/)


M3D fitted inside the massively high-mass Rek-o-Kut headshell (on the left observe the [currently available] Shure SC35C, which I also use occasionally):


http://img32.imageshack.us/img32/3690/retrocart1.jpg (http://img32.imageshack.us/i/retrocart1.jpg/)


And another classic (Gray) broadcast arm, which in its day would've partnered the M3D:


http://img130.imageshack.us/img130/6250/4587818146ae1b546d7.jpg (http://img130.imageshack.us/i/4587818146ae1b546d7.jpg/)


And we expect the M3D to work in a 'normal' tonearm?? :doh: :mental: :eyebrows:

Marco.

Marco
07-06-2010, 23:43
And if there's a cooler retro pic than this, I haven't seen it!


http://img46.imageshack.us/img46/5547/rokinmovie1.jpg (http://img46.imageshack.us/i/rokinmovie1.jpg/)


:youtheman: :respect:

Marco.

pure sound
08-06-2010, 07:12
While I'd agree that the pictures look very cool (and the Micropoise is a beautifully styled arm in the flesh) do you think that the M3D in one of those heavy arms actually sounds better than a more modern arm (like the Jelco for example) sporting a more modern cartridge such as your 103SA? Have you heard any of those heavy arms actually playing? I'm not convinced that bearing tolerances back then were anything like as exacting as they can be now. I'd also be concerned about record wear in the longer term. I think the reason why arms such as the SME 3012 were (& still are) successful is that they moved the precision engineering aspect along a huge amount. While heavy by the standards of many of today's arms the 3012 (and the Ortofon 309) were elegant lightweights by comparison to arms such as the Gray. Those heavy arms were really from the era of playing 78's with substantial tracking force. Wide bandwidth was less of an issue.

Marco
08-06-2010, 07:28
I tend to agree, although I'd love to hear one of those T/T & arm combos with an M3D (or DL-103) fitted, just out of curiosity..... I just love the looks, though!

I wasn't saying that I thought the M3D would overall sound better in one of those old high-mass arms; merely that it would track more securely, as it *needs* that amount of mass to behave properly.

I reckon the best option is to apply the equivalent amount of mass (supplied by one of the arms pictured above) to the headshell of a modern arm, like your Jelco, and then you should have the best of both worlds :)

I'd also bet any money that if you rewire your Rek-o-Kut for stereo, the M3D will positively sing on the end of it. That's a project you really can't ignore.... You may even find that when the M3D is fitted, it plays mono records almost as well as the GE ;)

Marco.

DSJR
08-06-2010, 07:28
The Grey arm used by the Beeb with the Gates rumble-box used a golf-ball style "bearing" running in a cup full of damping fluid as I recall. The BBC used Goldring G800's before the SC35C, which I read was quickly abandoned due to record wear concerns. They replaced it with the Ortofon OM Pro in a BBC designed arm I believe.

Marco
08-06-2010, 07:44
Cheers for the info, Dave. Thing is, the SC35C sounds fine and tracks very well at a much more sensible 2.5g.... I know because that's how I use mine!

The quoted 'minimum' VTF of 3.5g by Shure is only applicable for the DJ market, and if the Beeb were using even heavier downforces, then it was utterly unnecessary :doh:

No wonder some of their music broadcasts in the 70s sounded as dull as ditchwater! Things improved vastly in that respect in the 80s when they started using EMT TSD15s on their EMT arms and turntables.

Concerns for record wear, if the SC35C had been tracked at 2.5g (instead of the ridiculous 4g, or whatever), would therefore have been unfounded. 2.5g (2.6g in my case) is also what the DL-103 tracks at, and it causes no noticeable record wear that I can detect :)

Marco.

SPS
08-06-2010, 09:27
I have also had a vintage lenco L70 on duties with the m3d, best results where with the head shell packed with blue tack

lots of mass.. the sound surprisingly was close to the fr64,( i would not have been able to tell them apart by the sound.. i was quite surprised,

it has more life like sound than any other cartrige i've heard

the genuine stylus have shure stamped on them, i had one rebuilt with a top of the range 'expert' diamond on it.. the old guy laughed at me..
but it tracked no better than the best of my n21 pattens and they all vary..hence i have about 30 different stylus and 4 cartriges...

but if i could just get it right...

there must be a way.. i keep telling myself shure would have not made a cart to track like that.. it just needs the right support or some special stylus
.. its the road to madness..

REM
08-06-2010, 09:28
The Grey arm used by the Beeb with the Gates rumble-box used a golf-ball style "bearing" running in a cup full of damping fluid as I recall....

Interesting, wonder if that's where the inspiration for this came from,

http://i909.photobucket.com/albums/ac294/Vinylista/turntable2.gif

http://i909.photobucket.com/albums/ac294/Vinylista/attachment.jpg

The WT Amadeus, sounds bloody wonderful pity it looks as though it's about to drop to bits.

Marco
08-06-2010, 09:42
Hi Steve,


there must be a way.. i keep telling myself shure would have not made a cart to track like that.. it just needs the right support or some special stylus
.. its the road to madness..

Add more mass than the 18g you're using at the moment, for starters.... Say an extra 8-10g (if you can balance it out ok). It'll be better, trust me! ;)

Marco.

SPS
08-06-2010, 13:40
Hi Steve,



Add more mass than the 18g you're using at the moment, for starters.... Say an extra 8-10g (if you can balance it out ok). It'll be better, trust me! ;)

Marco.

i had a 30 g length of steel stud blue tacked over the head shell as well.. it just balanced...

the sound was very much tightened up ... the tracking got very slightly better...

i manged to get hold of an immaculate lenco g60 tone arm the other week, the casting is a sort of U shape with the bottom open.. i was wondering about filling it with something.. bluetack for starters or lead strips, to see how it goes...
you never know...

DSJR
08-06-2010, 13:51
Are "we" using the N3D stylus or the N21, which supposedly has a slightly finer conical tip and tracks at 2.5 - 3grammes?

pure sound
08-06-2010, 20:43
I'm using the N21. Tonight I tried loading the headshell with a ludicrous amount of mass & had two very large counterweights at the opposite end. Yes it was more planted & yes the bass is jolly entertaining (if not as solid & controlled as a good MC) but from 2-3kHz upwards its still just too messy. I'm not sure the M3D is capable of being tidy enough in a revealing system with demanding music.

SPS
08-06-2010, 22:52
I'm using the N21. Tonight I tried loading the headshell with a ludicrous amount of mass & had two very large counterweights at the opposite end. Yes it was more planted & yes the bass is jolly entertaining (if not as solid & controlled as a good MC) but from 2-3kHz upwards its still just too messy. I'm not sure the M3D is capable of being tidy enough in a revealing system with demanding music.


my issue are much higher up than that,and only with odd recordings

mine was used at the first wigwam show nearly all day with no issues..iindeed my system got alot of praise then... quite a revealing system

its taken a lot of messing about with to get where its is but i'm sure it can be made to work... using my other mc's a keseki blue and a dynavector 30a there is something that i like missing that the m3d does.. and it's not distortion Guy...

i'm think the differences various stylus can make points me in the direction that the stylus is not quite up to the job.. i had one that was very good.. i promptly bent it whilst swapping them..

pure sound
09-06-2010, 08:23
Steve, do you mean different diamond profiles or different cantilevers? Out of interest, was there ever an elliptical tip for the M3D?

Marco
09-06-2010, 10:41
Before I go any further, I'd just like to clarify that the MAXIMUM recommended VTF for the N21D is 2.5g, not 3g, as quoted earlier by Dave. The recommended range is 1.5-2.5g. I find 2.3g optimal.

The N3D stylus has a very different VTF operating range, which is 3-5g.


Tonight I tried loading the headshell with a ludicrous amount of mass & had two very large counterweights at the opposite end. Yes it was more planted & yes the bass is jolly entertaining (if not as solid & controlled as a good MC) but from 2-3kHz upwards its still just too messy. I'm not sure the M3D is capable of being tidy enough in a revealing system with demanding music.

Fair enough - at least you've tried it now :)

With my M3D/N21D there is no high-frequency distortion, in the way you describe (there's certainly nothing "messy" about the sound); merely there is very occasionally sibilance with certain 'S' sounds, depending on the recording - and I find it only a problem with some types of 'modern' music.

With pre-1970s music (which is all I use the M3D for) there is never a problem. I wonder if that's just a coincidence or not?

I can spend a whole day listening to classic jazz albums from that era, all sorts of classical, stuff from The Beatles/Stones/The Who, etc, and all my favourite 1950s music on Capitol from the likes of Dean Martin and Frank Sinatra, and the sound the M3D/N21D produces is utterly sublime, completely outperforming my DL-103SA in many ways, although the latter excels with all types of music and is therefore more versatile.

I think we can safely pigeonhole the Shure M3D as 'idiosyncratic' - utterly superb with the right type of music, and flawed with others.

This of course is the advantage of having a detachable headshell arm, as one can fairly quickly swap from one cartridge to another depending on what music one is listening to! ;)

Marco.

DSJR
09-06-2010, 16:02
Ah, the way a vinyl-o-phobe tolerates a little ssssibilance in his (mis)tracking. Drove me mad that did :) My M3D/N21 is exactly the same, fine on old dull cuts, but give it anything post 1980 with loads of treble and it runs screaming out of the room..

Marco
09-06-2010, 22:48
Hi Dave,


My M3D/N21 is exactly the same, fine on old dull cuts, but give it anything post 1980 with loads of treble and it runs screaming out of the room..


I get your point, but I can assure you that none of the recordings of music I referred to earlier which suited the M3D were in any way a "dull cut" - quite the opposite, in fact!

You'll remember me often going on about how wonderful 1950s recordings on Capitol sound. I like them because they sound wide-open, dynamic and fresh as a daisy, with a wonderfully natural tone, not because they're in any way lush or romantic sounding......

And the M3D simply makes the most of them in a very beguiling way that is highly addictive! :)

I think we all have to accept that the M3D will never be a universal cartridge for playing all types of music, but rather a specialised device for use on occasions to optimise the presentation of certain recordings, where its particular charms are invaluable.

In that respect, I consider it a worthy and highly valued part of my cartridge collection :cool:

Marco.

pure sound
10-06-2010, 08:13
I'd agree that on the right record it can be very enjoyable. My concern is what it might be doing to the vinyl when trying to play the wrong record badly.

Marco
10-06-2010, 11:37
Indeed; and that's a genuine concern. I guess that all we can do is not play the records it struggles with.....

I don't imagine that a few seconds of mistracking is going to cause any permanent damage - only such repeated abuse would do that.

And anyway, for whatever reason, I don't seem to be experiencing the same issues as you (merely very occasional sibilance, as opposed to what seems like severe mistracking - in your words "messy"), so either I'm just lucky or there's more that can be done to optimise its set-up ;)

Marco.