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View Full Version : The modified SL-1200: understanding the dynamics of 'synergy'....



Marco
28-03-2011, 00:26
[Please note that the following discussion has been carried over from elsewhere]


Btw, Chris (panteg),

I've just read this over on pfm on the needle drops thread:


And to be honest i think i've kidding myself as to this deck's abilities and perhaps have been chasing fool's gold , lol


I don't think that's the case at all. It's far more likely that the synergy isn't right at the moment with your 1210, whereas it is with your QL1, as it's a 'sorted' all-in-one solution. Although arguably an inferior T/T, with your QL1, everything is pulling successfully together in the one direction, making its inherent faults less obvious, and in turn creating a sound you enjoy. I'm afraid at the moment your 1210 isn't doing that, as the ingredients are wrong.

No offence, but I don't think it's any coincidence that the dissatisfaction with your 1210 has coincided with your purchase of the SME.............

Sorry, but I'm not a big fan of SME magnesium tonearms, feeling that they stifle the life out of music, unless certain 'toppy' sounding cartridges are used to ameliorate their rather dull and bass-heavy presentation. Most SME arms, quite simply, are over-damped, due to their use of magnesium for the armtube *and* headshell.

You'd get a shock if you compared your 309 to a Series M2, with its (instead) stainless steel armtube and magnesium headshell, which is a combination that works, sonically and musically, even though it doesn't measure as well. The M2 has a lighter, more open and airy presentation. Read the design principles:

http://www.sme.ltd.uk/content/Series-M2-1331.shtml

The problem is, magnesium is a great material for damping resonances (killing them near dead, in fact), so it's fantastic stuff for making a headshell from, where damping is required most and where it is extremely effective (think Max Townsend designs here, with the trough at the point of the headshell), but it's less ideal as a material from which to construct an armtube, as heavily damping both the headshell and the armtube (with the use of magnesium) can over-egg the pudding, which with the wrong cartridge, could leave you with a 'thick', 'over-finessed', somewhat lacklustre sound.

Trust me, from experience, I know what I'm talking about.

Apologies, but I have to be honest. I'm almost certain that if you'd gone instead for the Jelco, you'd be very happy now with your 1210, and also considerably better off, financially! ;)

I'd seriously think about selling your 309 and buying either a Series M2 (if you want to stick with the SME badge) or a Jelco SA-750 - or even better, saving up for a Funk Firm FX-R!

All said with the best of intentions, dude.

Marco.

P.S I also think at some point I should pop round to your place, bring my Techy along, and we can have a mini-bake off. I'm sure that would 'refocus' your thoughts as to just how good a modded 1210 can sound, and it'd be good to meet up properly, too! :cool:

chris@panteg
28-03-2011, 09:54
Hi Marco

I agree to a point , but why would the Jelco be better on my Techie ? could it be that it adds some richness and colour ,and hides the over the top bass inherent in the 1210 .

I don't think the SME arm is to blame at all ! i just think it reveals any weakness in whatever its partnered with !

Its not lacking in life so much , just things like the over the top bass and bland tonality , with the DL160 sounding very rich ! The latter was not so noticeable and being plummy in the bass ,didn't help .


But your right in a way , get the combination of arm/cart and have sonic bliss:)
I haven't given up on this deck either ;) I'm just questioning its weakness that's all , i still think with the right cartridge my 1210/309 can do it for me :)

Oh and much though i love my QL1 it is not actually superior to my 1210 , i think i expect so much from my 1210/309 , the QL1 just sounds better than i expected but is still a modest TT .

That's a real nice offer Marco , i wouldn't mind a visit to Marco tower's , my set up is less than ideal for shared listening , being in the attic , though it looks a little like your own listening room , before i got married it was my listening room but now doubles up as the main bedroom , wifey tolerates me having a stereo but is far from happy about it being in here , but its still the best room in the house and with 4 cat's too (don't trust the little buggar's) it will have to suffice.

Marco
28-03-2011, 11:42
Hi Chris,

First of all, please understand (as I think you do anyway) that I'm trying to help, not demean your choices. In my opinion, you've lost the way a little bit with the mods you've done to your Techy, so this exchange is simply about trying to get you back on the right track - at the end of the day though, what you choose to do is up to you :)


I agree to a point , but why would the Jelco be better on my Techie ? could it be that it adds some richness and colour ,and hides the over the top bass inherent in the 1210 .


First of all, "over the top bass" isn't inherent in the 1210; it is simply that way if the ingredients aren't right - read as: the sonic synergy between its constituent parts. I'll deal with this in more detail further on.

To answer your question, however, it's because I think that the Jelco would synergise better, sonically, with with the cartridge you're using and also would more likely produce a sound you prefer in the long term. It's got nothing to do with adding "richness and colour", as that's intrinsically not how the Jelco sounds, although it can sound that way with the wrong choice of cartridge.

But let's take the Jelco right out of the equation, as I don't want it to come across as if I'm using that as an example because it's the arm I have. I'm convinced that if you heard an SME Series M2 on your deck that you'd prefer it to your 309. See my previous post for an explanation.

Did you read what I wrote about magnesium and its damping factor vs. stainless steel armtubes, etc?

The Funk Firm FX-R is another (albeit more expensive) candidate, which I honestly feel would piss all over ANY SME. In fact, I know of a magazine editor who has discovered precisely that ;)


I don't think the SME arm is to blame at all ! i just think it reveals any weakness in whatever its partnered with !


Well, that's one way to look at it, but it's not what I think is going on. Of course, until I actually hear your T/T, I can only guess, but I have a lot of experience in this area, so let's just say that until I do hear it, I strongly suspect what's happening is a lack of synergy.


Its not lacking in life so much , just things like the over the top bass and bland tonality , with the DL160 sounding very rich ! The latter was not so noticeable and being plummy in the bass ,didn't help .


You see that's what's ringing alarm bells.... A properly sorted (or to coin a phrase from DC, 'holistically matched') modified Techy doesn't have "over the top bass" or "bland tonality". It is simply very accurate, and will thus showcase any deficiencies in the partnering ancillaries. Neither my T/T nor Martin Taylor's sounds that way - quite the opposite in fact - so something is wrong, mate. And experience points the finger at the SME.

If when I hear your deck, that proves not to be the case, then I'll gladly hold my hands up and admit that I was wrong, but I suspect not.


But your right in a way , get the combination of arm/cart and have sonic bliss:)
I haven't given up on this deck either ;) I'm just questioning its weakness that's all , i still think with the right cartridge my 1210/309 can do it for me :)


I would agree. Every T/T has its weaknesses, a modded Techy included, but quite simply its weaknesses are not what you describe. What you're describing instead is the weakenesses of your 1210 in its current iteration, not the intrinsic weaknesses of the 1210 itself. All it will take for you to realise this is when you compare your T/T to another modded Techy which, sonically (and musically), better optimises the sum of its parts.

There's no doubt that a better and more compatable cartridge will help things, but experience tells me that you'll never totally eradicate the SME's sonic signature (bass heavy and over-damped), as that is inherent in its design. All you can do is 'window-dress' the effect as best as you can, through judicious cartridge choice.


Oh and much though i love my QL1 it is not actually superior to my 1210 , i think i expect so much from my 1210/309 , the QL1 just sounds better than i expected but is still a modest TT .


Indeed, but the crucial thing is that you're enjoying music more on your QL1, than on your 1210, or have I got that wrong? And that simply should not be happening. I've explained though why I think it is.


That's a real nice offer Marco , i wouldn't mind a visit to Marco tower's , my set up is less than ideal for shared listening , being in the attic , though it looks a little like your own listening room , before i got married it was my listening room but now doubles up as the main bedroom , wifey tolerates me having a stereo but is far from happy about it being in here , but its still the best room in the house and with 4 cat's too (don't trust the little buggar's) it will have to suffice.

Lol - I know exactly what you mean! My room may be on the small side, but it does function very well, due to the fact that the walls are extremely solid and it has an irregular shape (with oak beams breaking up reflections).

I think what we need to do is arrange for you to come over for a sesh, and bring your 1210 with you, so I can hear what's going on with it in a familiar system. You will also have the opportunity to compare your deck with mine, and hopefully see where I'm coming from with the modification route I've taken - and we can hopefully BOTH learn from the experience :cool:

I will repeat again though, that my criticism of the SME is intended to be entirely constructive and designed to help, as I do think you need some help, so please take it that way, Chris, and not as an attack on your personal choices.

Marco.

P.S I'll move all off-topic posts to a separate thread later.

YNWaN
28-03-2011, 17:02
Unfortunately, I can't read this very page because my work network feels it carries inappropriate discussion of weapons - I'm not even joking either!

(I'll have a look when I get home)

Marco
28-03-2011, 17:28
Eh? LOL! That's madness!! :lol:

Marco.

YNWaN
28-03-2011, 19:51
Yeah, I know - barking - I'm home now though :).

Marco
28-03-2011, 20:11
"Honey, I'm home....!" A bit like that? :eyebrows: ;)

Marco.

Marco
28-03-2011, 23:33
Hey, Chris, I hope you aren't off crying in your soup, mate. I didn't mean it, honest! ;)

Marco.

chris@panteg
29-03-2011, 01:28
Hey, Chris, I hope you aren't off crying in your soup, mate. I didn't mean it, honest! ;)

Marco.

Hi Marco

No not at all , just back from the pub :cool:

Interesting stuff and perhaps it makes a nice change to saying " my 1210 is god's gift and all that ;)

But i don't agree about the SME arm's Marco , i did have a 310 mounted on my Voyd .5 you see and i also remember how certain LP's sounded with that combination :)

Like i said i haven't given up on this deck , not by a long shot :) i still think its a great TT you know , the AT is just my little experiment :mental: , it deserves something far better i know .

Its surely a good thing to talk about the negative's so to speak! As to imply that the my 1210 is perfect and that the SME 309 is actually letting the side down is rather questionable is it not ?

Marco
29-03-2011, 11:18
Hi Chris,

Glad you're still speaking to me! :eyebrows:

Yup, no turntable is perfect, including the Techy modified (or otherwise), so yes, it's good to discuss its weaknesses as well as its strengths. It's just that the weaknesses you describe are not what I believe to be inherent in its design, as I certainly don't experience myself what you describe.

If you were to say that you found, in particular, a modified Techy, a little 'clinical' and 'master tape-like' (or perhaps that's what you mean by "bland tonality"?) lacking the 'analogue warmth' of some T/Ts, particularly most belt-drives, and that it was a bit too revealing - then I'd say yes, that's fair criticism, and I get where you're coming from (and incidentally, there's nothing wrong with liking a bit of coloration!) ;)

Anyway, the above traits, I believe, are simply a by-product of its neutrality, brought about as a result of the 1210's (incredibly) accurate speed stability. But in my experience it does not have "overbearing bass" unless something is amiss, and you know what I believe as being largely the culprit (although a cartridge change will undoubtedly help matters enormously).

Returning to the "bland tonality" thing, I know exactly where you're coming from - and you will get that effect if the 'ingredients' are wrong, specifically the arm/cartridge combination. But the mat/feet/PSU 'relationship', in terms of sonic synergy, is also equally as important, as are the T/T's other constituent parts, which make up the 'whole', that one hears in the final analysis.

Because a judiciously modified 1200/1210 is so sonically neutral (at least in my opinion it is), it thus acts as a neutral platform from which to showcase the inherent characteristics of the partnering ancillaries, particularly those of the arm and cartridge. And so if any of those items exhbit "bland tonality", "overbearing bass", or if the set-up isn't right, then that is precisely what you will hear.

Furthermore, the Techy (acting as a motor unit only), when appropriately modified, does not colour the sound, with a pleasing euphony, in the way of certain popular belt-drive T/Ts. And so when comparing it to those T/Ts, the sound it produces can (until your ears adjust) appear as somewhat 'bland', and you think to yourself: something is missing? But it's only 'bland' in the sense that someone who likes ketchup on his chips will find the taste 'bland', minus the flavouring effect of his favourite condiment..............

'Gourmets' will thus always prefer the taste of the real potato, unsullied by artificial additives - and so it is, I believe, with a judiciously modified Techie versus most popular belt-drive T/Ts.

Do you see what I'm getting at? :)

The problem is, however, when modifying any turntable (the Techy being no exception), and thus departing from its original design, you have to be careful not to upset the dynamics of the synergy existing between its constituent parts. And so it's no use upgrading one part, if in doing so it only serves to highlight the deficiencies in another, and so on and so forth....

You have to understand what it is you want to achieve from day one, know how to go about it, and see the process through to the end. In effect, have a plan of action from the beginning, and not simply tackle the process 'willy-nilly', as it were.

And to do that successfully, it requires assessing the whole modification procedure, again I will borrow DC's favourite phrase, 'holistically', to ensure that any modifications carried out are in sympathy both with each other, and crucially, also with the turntable's original design.

Otherwise, all you're left with is a collection of disparate parts, pulling sonically in opposite directions, and anything but synergy, with the inevitable disappointment in performance, and subsequently in one's musical enjoyment. And *that*, unfortunately, is what I think is happening now with your 1210. But it can be fixed!

My apologies for the long post, but I think it's very important that this issue is tackled in detail, not just for your potential benefit, but also that of others who own a modded Techy and may be harbouring similar concerns.

Marco.

chris@panteg
29-03-2011, 11:43
Hi Marco

Yes , no problem :)

If you read my post further back , i have a found raising the arm height beneficial , its much better ! Though i still think it is just a tad exaggerated , just been listening to "My Room" off Still life ,which has some serious bass ! And I'm happy with the way it sounds now :)

The bland tonality , i think can be overcome with the right choice of cartridge , the AT is just something i tried on impulse and actually sounds pretty good for such a peanuts cartridge , all good fun :) and i should be praising it really .

Marco , i think if you can somehow get your act together with some needledrops of your own , i for one will be keen to hear them :) and contrary to what some might think , i feel my efforts do give a good representation of how my deck sounds at the moment , and i don't use any fancy soundcard or special cable.

Beobloke
29-03-2011, 11:54
The Funk Firm FX-R is another (albeit more expensive) candidate, which I honestly feel would piss all over ANY SME.

:nocomment:

Marco
29-03-2011, 11:55
So you disagree? If so, don't be shy and say why! ;)

Marco.

prestonchipfryer
29-03-2011, 12:00
Hi. I have used a SME M2-9 on my modded Technics (Mike New bearing, T/S power supply, SME V, Oyaide mat/weight. Currently using a 2M Black mm. I am very happy with the sound of this combination. At one time I had the TS bearing but on installing the MN bearing it was obviously vastly superior to the stock/TS bearing and makes the turntable so much better. When I changed from the M2 9 to the V there was no question that it was an improvement, but not as big as I expected, and certainly not 1500 quid or so extra that it costs over the M2. My point is that the M2 9 is indeed a fabulous arm and suits the Technics very well, so I would agree with Marco that it is a good choice. I have also used a Denon 103r and at one time I thought that the V took it well, however, mainly on reading about Marco's advice to use a headshell weight, intend to do just that and hope it improves the sound. I should add that my modded Technics is no way 'plummy' or 'lacklustre' in its sound. Would suggest to Chris that he invests in the MN bearing and be astounded at the improvement wrought.

Regards

John :)

Marco
29-03-2011, 12:17
Hi John,


At one time I had the TS bearing but on installing the MN bearing it was obviously vastly superior to the stock/TS bearing and makes the turntable so much better. When I changed from the M2 9 to the V there was no question that it was an improvement, but not as big as I expected, and certainly not 1500 quid or so extra that it costs over the M2. My point is that the M2 9 is indeed a fabulous arm and suits the Technics very well...


Thanks for that, and your experience is most interesting. The M2, quite simply, ticks all the right boxes for use on a Techy, but the problem as I see it is threefold:

1) SME dealers, keen to secure the most profit, will unlikely encourage potential customers on a budget to buy it when they can instead sell them a 309.

2) Potential SME customers, on a budget, unfamiliar with just how good the M2 is, will generally ignore it in favour of the 309, often because the latter looks 'sexier' and is considered as a 'proper' SME tonearm.

3) SME themselves don't go out of their way to promote the Series M2, and so it's not largely showcased in the public domain.

However, the question that begs to be asked is that if the improvement between a Series M2 and a Series V isn't dramatic, then what is the likely difference in improvement between an M2 and a 309? ;)

In my view, the Series M2 is where the real 'SPPV' lives in the SME range (and the new version of the 3012, above it), but it seems to be largely the preserve of 'those in the know'............ And the Japanese certainly come into that category.

I think it's time the fact that the M2 is a hidden gem was 'outed'!

Marco.

prestonchipfryer
29-03-2011, 12:35
1) SME dealers, keen to secure the most profit, will unlikely encourage potential customers, on a budget, to buy it, when they can instead sell them a 309.

2) Potential SME customers, on a budget, unfamiliar with just how good the M2 is, will generally ignore it in favour of the 309, often because the latter looks 'sexier' and is considered as a 'proper' SME tonearm.

3) SME themselves don't go out of their way to promote the Series M2, and so it's not largely showcased in the public domain.

However, the question that begs to be answered is that if the improvement between a Series M2 and a Series V isn't dramatic, then what is the difference between an M2 and a 309? ;)

In my view, the Series M2 is where the real 'SPPV' is in the SME range (and the new version of the 3012, above it), but it seems to be largely the preserve of 'those in the know'............ And the Japanese certainly come into that category.

I think it's time the fact that the M2 is a hidden gem was 'outed'!

Marco.

Yes I would say that SME would prefer to sell 309's, IV and V's, it's more lucrative for them, but of course this is business and no bad thing when you know that their customer service is A1. Also the M2's have a detachable headshell, which is not the easiest to change, but a definite plus for those (like me) who *play* around with different carts; the headshell is not cheap (at 100+) but still a lovely piece of engineering. As for looking 'sexier', then yes the 309 onwards probably do. It seems (to me) nonsensical to 'tart-up' some other well known arm when the M2 has so much going for it.

Regards

John

Marco
29-03-2011, 13:00
Yes I would say that SME would prefer to sell 309's, IV and V's, it's more lucrative for them, but of course this is business and no bad thing when you know that their customer service is A1.


Sure, I get that, and SME's customer service is undoubtedly superb. However, a good dealer should always advise on what's in the best interests of his customers, and not always his profit margin ;)

As a businessman myself, I know that if you successfully attend to the former, the latter will usually take care of itself....


Also the M2's have a detachable headshell...


Yup, and so do 309s...


It seems (to me) nonsensical to 'tart-up' some other well known arm when the M2 has so much going for it.


Indeed. However, just for clarity, which other "well known arm" are you referring to? :eyebrows:

Marco.

Beobloke
29-03-2011, 13:02
I think it's time the fact that the M2 is a hidden gem was 'outed'!

Marco.

Now that I am happy to come right out and agree with! I have long been of the personal opinion that the M2-9 is a better arm than the 309.

Marco
29-03-2011, 13:06
Good! I of course agree.

So tell us now why you think an FX-R is sonically inferior to, say, an SME IV or V? And no, Adam, I'm not going to let you wriggle out of this one! ;)

Marco.

prestonchipfryer
29-03-2011, 13:28
Indeed. However, just for clarity, which other "well known arm" are you referring to? :eyebrows:

Marco.
Well okay, you know it's the Rega arms. Not saying they are bad or good - it's a personal thing really, as I don't like them. Don't like the headshell arrangement, no standard VTA adjustment (yes I know there are after-market products), but not for me.

John :)

Beobloke
29-03-2011, 13:32
Good! I of course agree.

So tell us now why you think an FX-R is sonically inferior to, say, an SME IV or V? And no, Adam, I'm not going to let you wriggle out of this one! ;)

Marco.

To my ears, every arm I have ever heard is sonically inferior to an SME V, with the possible exception of the Audio Origami PU7. ;)

JazzBones
29-03-2011, 16:41
I'm shuffling in here with my two cents' worth on the subject of compatible tone arms. For thirty odd years Panasonic has produced a turntable that has out sold all others, or so I have been told. Its engineering has been admired from the execution to price for the product so the engineers really knew what they were doing. So why oh why has the stock arm been given such dismissive print time, Dave Price of HFW for example? Surely the aforementioned engineers would have engineered an equally sound product for the 12** tone arm albeit under a price constraint. When I first got my 1210 I used the stock arm with a Goldring 1012GX cartridge and it sounded pretty okay by me and nudging me along the upgrade journey. I then substituted the Technics head shell for a Sumiko and that brought an improvement. This leads me to the subject of having the stock arm modded as well. The arm cable would need to go, and Johnny Nielsen (J7) of Audio Origami could then do an internal rewire plus any damping required. The counter weight could also come under close scrutiny and viola, we have an arm of worth until funds permit an upgrade. My upgrade was to have my Linn Ekos transformed by J7, the works in fact and having a close lineage to the Jelco works bundles for me. I also have a Jelco 750D put prefer my Origami Akos :)

I'm not sure here, but I think Chris P down graded his bearing from an MN to a TS one when DC was putting the frighteners on about oil leaks, overheating etc. I questioned this at the time on the Timestep forum but my post was deleted without an explanation and on that day I left and found a home here at AoS. By all means censor if required but don't gag a valid question! From time to time I have had a look at the TS forum but have stopped doing so as I have become suspicious of any dealer/manufacturer lead forum which I now look upon as being a vehicle to push their products and stock to the fore.

I have digressed here, sorry folkies, but lets have some re-thinking on the Tekko's own stock arm and where it can be taken to?

And now I shall shuffle off and have my evening's tincture :)

:cocktail: Ron

prestonchipfryer
29-03-2011, 16:48
I'm not sure here, but I think Chris P down graded his bearing from an MN to a TS one when DC was putting the frighteners on about oil leaks, overheating etc. I questioned this at the time on the Timestep forum but my post was deleted without an explanation and on that day I left and found a home here at AoS. :cocktail: Ron

I will say that the Mike New bearing is a major upgrade for the SL1200s. Better than the T/S IMO.

JazzBones
29-03-2011, 16:59
I will say that the Mike New bearing is a major upgrade for the SL1200s. Better than the T/S IMO.

A hearty affirmative on that one John. I had my MN bearing on soak test non stop for a whole week plus the adjoining weekend to see If I could get it to over heat or leak oil, didn't even make a noise or take time out for a pee, the bearing not me :eyebrows:

Back to my drinkee poos old mate :)

Ron

MartinT
29-03-2011, 17:34
and hides the over the top bass inherent in the 1210

Can't agree with you there, Chris. The 1210's bass is certainly tight but most definitely neutral in the frequency spectrum. I've listened to many CDs and LPs of the same music and the balance of both my CD player and 1210 are very close to each other.

MartinT
29-03-2011, 17:45
I will say that the Mike New bearing is a major upgrade for the SL1200s

Yes, agreed. Pretty much the biggest upgrade of them all and very much worth the outlay.

MartinT
29-03-2011, 17:51
Chris, having previously owned an SME IV (used with a Roksan Xerxes) my memory of that arm is vivid and I have to say that my recollection of it matches very closely with what Marco has been saying. It has stupendous bass, no doubt, but it is highly damped and does, to a degree, crush the life from music.

The comparison with my Dynavector is stark; the DV soars and makes dynamic, exciting, music regardless of genre. This is perhaps why HFN marked the DV down against the SME, together with an inappropriate and mismatched review turntable. They simply preferred the dryness of the SME.

prestonchipfryer
29-03-2011, 18:41
A hearty affirmative on that one John. I had my MN bearing on soak test non stop for a whole week plus the adjoining weekend to see If I could get it to over heat or leak oil, didn't even make a noise or take time out for a pee, the bearing not me :eyebrows:

Back to my drinkee poos old mate :)

Ron

Certainly no oil leak here either. As a matter of fact I did take it out to have a look, the bearing that is. That was when I tried the TS bearing. Not a candle, not a candle. Soon replaced the MN bearing.

John :eek:

Marco
29-03-2011, 18:47
This is perhaps why HFN marked the DV down against the SME, together with an inappropriate and mismatched review turntable. They simply preferred the dryness of the SME...


...and/or because, due to commercial pressures/bias, they found it 'easier' to criticise the DV (tiny company, less potential comeback) than showcase the faults of the SME ;)

Cynical, moi? Well, have you EVER read anything negative written about SME in the hi-fi press?

Having heard both the SME V and DV on a few occasions, if faced to choose between them, it would take me less than a nanosecond to very quickly nab the Dynavector and run!!

My apologies to all SME owners, but in my opinion, engineering quality aside (which is undoubtedly stupendous), based purely on sonic terms, they are the most overrated arms on the planet.

Good, yes, outstanding, no. The highest SPPV, tonearm-wise, I'm afraid lies elsewhere, but the lure of 'the badge' remains!

Ok, mes amis, tonight's repast awaits, after which I shall talk about how worthwhile it is modifying the stock Techy tonearm. As they say, been there, done that, bought the floral blouse! :eyebrows:

Marco.

MCRU
29-03-2011, 19:13
Its only an arm Marco off a record player, you do get carried away matey don't you..:ner:

Who dragged the SME debate up again, we all know your love of SME's knows no bounds don't we so it's really old ground were are treading on, let's move on....:)

Marco
29-03-2011, 19:23
I think it's important, David, that these things are examined in detail before the Techy gets blamed for something I don't believe is its fault.....

So stop getting all defensive again just because you've bought a 309! :ner: ;)

Marco.

MCRU
29-03-2011, 19:32
Defensive, moi? The only defence I do is defending all my customer's systems against the nasty mains pollution.

It doesn't bother me in the slightest but some will be quite upset and maybe even offended when you are less than favorable about something they maybe spent over a grand on?

I just use my eyes and ears and they tell me the 309 is a joy to look at and a joy to listen to, anyway I think too much importance is placed on arms, unless the entire system is singing from the same hymn sheet so your point about synergy is of paramount importance. Now how would a 5k cartridge sound on the end of the stock arm, would it sound better than a 20 cartridge on a 5k arm?

Marco
29-03-2011, 20:27
It doesn't bother me in the slightest but some will be quite upset and maybe even offended when you are less than favorable about something they maybe spent over a grand on?


Well, I'm entitled to express my opinion, and if I have something to say which I think is important, I'll say it. There's nothing wrong with constructive criticism when it's necessary, so I'm sure people who own SME tonearms are big enough and ugly enough to take it! ;)

I suggest we leave that one there.


Now how would a 5k cartridge sound on the end of the stock arm, would it sound better than a 20 cartridge on a 5k arm?

Not sure I get where you're coming from :scratch:

Marco.

Tarzan
29-03-2011, 20:44
I'm shuffling in here with my two cents' worth on the subject of compatible tone arms. For thirty odd years Panasonic has produced a turntable that has out sold all others, or so I have been told. Its engineering has been admired from the execution to price for the product so the engineers really knew what they were doing. So why oh why has the stock arm been given such dismissive print time, Dave Price of HFW for example? Surely the aforementioned engineers would have engineered an equally sound product for the 12** tone arm albeit under a price constraint. When I first got my 1210 I used the stock arm with a Goldring 1012GX cartridge and it sounded pretty okay by me and nudging me along the upgrade journey. I then substituted the Technics head shell for a Sumiko and that brought an improvement. This leads me to the subject of having the stock arm modded as well. The arm cable would need to go, and Johnny Nielsen (J7) of Audio Origami could then do an internal rewire plus any damping required. The counter weight could also come under close scrutiny and viola, we have an arm of worth until funds permit an upgrade. My upgrade was to have my Linn Ekos transformed by J7, the works in fact and having a close lineage to the Jelco works bundles for me. I also have a Jelco 750D put prefer my Origami Akos :)

I'm not sure here, but I think Chris P down graded his bearing from an MN to a TS one when DC was putting the frighteners on about oil leaks, overheating etc. I questioned this at the time on the Timestep forum but my post was deleted without an explanation and on that day I left and found a home here at AoS. By all means censor if required but don't gag a valid question! From time to time I have had a look at the TS forum but have stopped doing so as I have become suspicious of any dealer/manufacturer lead forum which I now look upon as being a vehicle to push their products and stock to the fore.

I have digressed here, sorry folkies, but lets have some re-thinking on the Tekko's own stock arm and where it can be taken to?

And now I shall shuffle off and have my evening's tincture :)

:cocktail: Ron

Interesting point Jazz, re-wire, foam fill- how far can we go with it- the arm is so musical!

Spectral Morn
29-03-2011, 21:19
Single biggest issue with the SME 5 is the coloured VDH internal wire and external arm cable. Get the arm re-wired and imho most of the issues vanish. Any other SME arm using this or similar VDH cable is also compromised fundamentally too imho.

I would also say :sofa: unless you do direct comparisons on the same deck (and that must be compatible with the arms being tried) then comments relating to what is better or not better based on experience of these arms on different turntables is at best partially useful and at worst open to doubtful recall. The cartridges also need to be fully compatible with the arms under test. Only if you have done that can any kind of statement be made imho.

This is exactly why I have been doing extensive tests (for awhile now) using the Technics 1200 with SME 5/Jelco 750d, Origin Live and soon my Graham arm (hopefully) when all that is done I will be able to throw my two p into the arena but not until then.

However what I will say at this point and as long as the deck is fully compatible (interestingly I don't think the Model 20 is :eek: instead to my ears the Graham Phantom sounds better on it) and suits the SME5 arm then frankly it is in the top few best arms about.

Perfection of build, perfection of set up, perfection of instructions, perfection in accessories and excellence of sound (caveat) if rewired or at the least a different arm cable is used or junction box. However if people don't like its sound then fair enough but that does not make it a poor tone arm just one you don't like...imho.


:sofa: D S D L

REXTON
29-03-2011, 21:42
I did have my V recently rewired by J7 at AudioOrigami and all I can say is why the hell didnt I do it earlier? Bigger soundstage, better bass (extension, tightness), increased microdetail, the list goes on. I got rid of the original wire and had some teflon coated silver with silver cartridge tags installed. Total cost with a few others mods came to 350. Best 350 I spent in a while. :cool:

Marco
29-03-2011, 21:59
I agree with what you're saying, Neil.

However, I still feel that the magnesium used in the construction of the SME V, over dampens the sound, and along with the dreadful VDH internal wiring (why is such hopelessly crap cable continually supplied with a very expensive tonearm??) goes some way to contributing to the SME's 'house signature'.

There's a reason, you know, astonishing as it is, why an SME V on a Model 20 T/T doesn't 'work', and you have to fit a Graham Phantom to fix the problem! ;)

Anyway, let's try and keep the discussion on-topic and not dwell any more than is necessary on the issues some SME tonearms may have. This is about the Techy and helping Chris achieve more satisfactory results from his T/T.

I'm certainly not anti-SME, as some folk seem to think. I love the Series M2 and M2-12R, the latter especially when partnered with an SPU. I also love the old 3009 and 3012! I'm just not a fan of their all-magnesium pick-up arms, for reasons already stated.

Marco.

DSJR
29-03-2011, 22:13
Jazzy should remember a certain LP12/SME V and Kiseki Agat Ruby combo from yesteryear. god, that set sounded good :) A 309 with Troika headshell trounced a similarly priced Ittok/Troika too, although it dodn't sell because it wasn't judged "kosher."

Nah, I LOVE SME's except for one thing - the cachet prices they charge for everything these days. thank heavens for the Jelco 750 :lol:

Marco
29-03-2011, 23:45
Well okay, you know it's the Rega arms. Not saying they are bad or good - it's a personal thing really, as I don't like them. Don't like the headshell arrangement, no standard VTA adjustment (yes I know there are after-market products), but not for me.


Snap!

Rega tonearms are only worth gracing your T/T with, IMO (RB1000 aside) after being 'Johnnyfied' in Glasgow, which means a full rewire, and a stripped and polished armtube - then they sing! Otherwise, they are rather ordinary, although undeniably good value for money.

The problem is, people are lazy, and so won't think for themselves (or look beyond the end of their noses), preferring instead to jump on the latest bandwagon...... :rolleyes:

And the Rega bandwagon started with the departure of the superb (Acos sourced) R200. Their own pick-up arms which followed were decent but unremarkable, although touted at the time (incorrectly, IMO) by many as superior to the R200.

Don't get me wrong, Rega tonearms (and T/Ts) occupy a very valid position in the marketplace, and were responsible for getting thousands of people into vinyl who otherwise couldn't have afforded to do so, but the success of their tonearms is partly down to people's lack of imagination.

Personally, RB1000 aside, I'd rather have a Roksan Nima, the M2 we've been discussing, a Jelco, or a Hadcock - all of which in my opinion are far more dynamic and musically interesting performers.

Marco.

Pete
30-03-2011, 01:48
My experience in optimizing the SME V mirrors some others.
It benefits greatly from a good phono cable and cartridge tags.

What I hear is that the arm is very resolving and accurate, and it lets you hear your system.
I had over done bass for a while, but when I changed my phono stage to the Conrad Johnson from the Modwright, the bass was perfect, tight and tuneful.
Plenty of dynamics and superb tonal balance.

I would look at your phono cable, cartridge setup and cartridge, and phono stage as possible sources of the sound signature that you don't prefer. Ultimately it is synergy, or sorting out your system to get the sound you like.

Also the stock platter and lesser bearings play a not insignificant role in the sound signature.

Cheers
Pete

JazzBones
31-03-2011, 11:36
Jazzy should remember a certain LP12/SME V and Kiseki Agat Ruby combo from yesteryear. god, that set sounded good :) A 309 with Troika headshell trounced a similarly priced Ittok/Troika too, although it dodn't sell because it wasn't judged "kosher."

Nah, I LOVE SME's except for one thing - the cachet prices they charge for everything these days. thank heavens for the Jelco 750 :lol:

Hi DaveO old mate, sorry my reply is coming in a couple of days late but I move slowly nowadays at about 33.3 rpm and slowing down as opposed to 45rpm in my 'yoooof' :rolleyes: Yes, I well remember that marriage of an LP12 plus SME and Kesiki, it was for that man who regularly did the Beford to Brighton run stopping off in London for a shopping bag of Jazz CDs, man was I envious. The SME mounted on a Linn LP12 was not an easy job, and you still bare the grooves on your forehead :) from fiddle arseing around with suspension springs, bounce etc. At the time, the 80s, it was blaspheme akin to having a woman cardinal at the Vatican! One thing the SME does have is Leica type build which all in our circle greatly admired and lusted after. But not all are of the persuasion and Marco doesn't like the SME with tomato ketchup, ermm, that could be SPUDS :scratch:

Before I aimlessly meander off and demagnatise myself with a Furetech bristle or three, I think we have drifted off course here and should get back into giving Chris P support and encourage persistence with his Tekko, faint heart never won etc.;)

Tooroo for now

Jazz, identifiable as Ron :piano:

Darren
31-03-2011, 18:28
Before I aimlessly meander off and demagnatise myself with a Furetech bristle or three, I think we have drifted off course here and should get back into giving Chris P support and encourage persistence with his Tekko, faint heart never won etc.;)

Tooroo for now

Jazz, identifiable as Ron :piano:

MODS: please delete this post if the language is too strong but my old boss always used to say after lunch: " Well, lets get back to it boys, feint heart never fucked a pig!"

Marco
31-03-2011, 18:35
Lol - you're fine, Darren. Most amusing! :eyebrows:

Marco.

JazzBones
01-04-2011, 11:18
MODS: please delete this post if the language is too strong but my old boss always used to say after lunch: " Well, lets get back to it boys, feint heart never fucked a pig!"

Darren, there was a new dimension to breakfast this morning, my egg and bacon were scrutinised more than usual for any trace of your boss, he wasn't Danish by any chance?:) I've gone off the idea of having pork chops for dinner now!:(

Jazz/Ron

Alex_UK
01-04-2011, 11:28
Darren, there was a new dimension to breakfast this morning, my egg and bacon were scrutinised more than usual for any trace of your boss, he wasn't Danish by any chance?:) I've gone off the idea of having pork chops for dinner now!:(

Jazz/Ron

:lolsign:

http://i1.soundcloud.com/artworks-000005018716-4o8wm9-crop.jpg?05a778

Mind you, this one might help get your appetite back. I suppose the only question is "why would you?" :D

http://i639.photobucket.com/albums/uu120/duke-Leto/bacon-bra-01.jpg

Sorry for the thread drift!

Marco
01-04-2011, 11:36
Pop a couple of scampi on her nips, and you've got a whole new take on 'surf 'n' turf'! :eyebrows:

Marco.

JazzBones
01-04-2011, 11:54
:lolsign:

http://i1.soundcloud.com/artworks-000005018716-4o8wm9-crop.jpg?05a778

Mind you, this one might help get your appetite back. I suppose the only question is "why would you?" :D

http://i639.photobucket.com/albums/uu120/duke-Leto/bacon-bra-01.jpg

Sorry for the thread drift!

:eek: Well ding and dangle my dongle, I wondered what all the kafuffle was at my Morrison's meat counter, I thought it was just crashing trollies :rolleyes:

chris@panteg
02-04-2011, 08:57
Can i just say , it was a rather rash and frustrated comment ! That has more to do with cartridge set up than any synergy , this is all a bit daft but in my own defense i did try and point out that i was getting a better balanced sound in another post .

I didn't expect the Spanish Inquisition lol .

Now running a 1042 on loan from Strat , what a top bloke .

Marco
02-04-2011, 09:13
Lol - I think it was the comments you made on pfm, like this:


And to be honest i think i've kidding myself as to this deck's [the Techy's] abilities and perhaps have been chasing fool's gold...


....that raised the alarm bells, dude!! ;)

Anyway, you know we're only here to help, and so I'm glad things are looking up a bit now :cool:

Marco.

bubba45
03-04-2011, 10:32
So how much does the synergy cost?

2nd hand 1210 in good nick - 250 - 300?

How much per item for:
arm,
external cable,
internal rewire,
headshell,
arm collar,
mat,
feet,
PSU,
bearing,
platter,
platter mat,
cart,
stabiliser / puck?

Depending on cart:
Heavier counterweight
phono stage / preamp / SUT

Anything I've missed thats needed to get the synergy right?:scratch:

Marco
03-04-2011, 10:41
You can work it out yourself, surely? ;)

How much did it cost you put your Techy together? There's plenty of synergy going on there! :)

Marco.

REXTON
03-04-2011, 10:56
I shudder to think how much my techie cost to put together, probably several thousand (dont tell the missus) :lol:

MartinT
03-04-2011, 10:59
Ah, but doing it in stages is so much easier to justify... ;)

MCRU
03-04-2011, 11:06
I cannot think of another TT with as much up-grade-ability as the Technics. Personally it is a joy to do, even just putting a new arm on initially and a better mat will do for starters.

Marco
03-04-2011, 11:15
I shudder to think how much my techie cost to put together, probably several thousand...

I think that I'm at around the 3.5k mark (Martin will be even more), but I don't grudge a single penny, as it sounds absolutely stunning, and IMO, better than almost any other T/T I've heard, many massively more expensive :)

You just have to get the ingredients right and understand the concept of symbiosis!

Marco.

prestonchipfryer
03-04-2011, 11:23
The expense of upgrading the SL12**s is worth every penny imo. Mine sounds fantastic, better than many costing 1000s more. About 4k (inc. cart) at the moment. I love it.

John

REXTON
03-04-2011, 11:49
If, like me your are a tweakaholic then the problem is knowing when to stop, usually when even the moths have left your wallet :eyebrows: I have no issues with spending money on the 1210 but I realised that its HOW you spend it that matters. I've started experimenting with a load of homebrew stuff like platter matts and power cables etc because I have easy access to them, they are cheap to produce and easy to sell to others if you dont like the results. I'm also using this strategy to convince myself to get rid of Timestep HE power supply for the Paul haynes SR5 :eyebrows: But there again would a better cartridge be a better upgrade. Do you see what I mean :doh:

Marco
03-04-2011, 12:17
Hi Andrew,

I'm sure that the HE is a very good PSU, but we must do that swap we talked about sometime soon....... ;)

TBH, once you've sorted out a quality off-board PSU (Time Step, Paul Hynes, Origin Live, or whatever) and decent feet and mat, for the Techy, you've got a pretty neutral, high quality, platform from which to play music.

Therefore, the most important thing to get right next is the arm/cartridge combo, and crucially, how their respective sonic signatures 'marry' with EACH OTHER and also that of your preamp/phonostage/and or/SUT.

Get ANY of that wrong and, as they say, 'the game's a bogey' - and any previous synergy you had achieved up until that point, goes right out of the window!

Marco.

prestonchipfryer
03-04-2011, 12:28
If, like me your are a tweakaholic then the problem is knowing when to stop, usually when even the moths have left your wallet :eyebrows: I have no issues with spending money on the 1210 but I realised that its HOW you spend it that matters. I've started experimenting with a load of homebrew stuff like platter matts and power cables etc because I have easy access to them, they are cheap to produce and easy to sell to others if you dont like the results. I'm also using this strategy to convince myself to get rid of Timestep HE power supply for the Paul haynes SR5 :eyebrows: But there again would a better cartridge be a better upgrade. Do you see what I mean :doh:

Have thought about the PH PSU and may get it. But then I know a better cart would also be of benefit. But which? Both would be good but it's a lot more lucre. So yes I do know what you mean.

John

REXTON
03-04-2011, 13:04
Hi Andrew,

I'm sure that the HE is a very good PSU, but we must do that swap we talked about sometime soon....... ;)

TBH, once you've sorted out a quality off-board PSU (Time Step, Paul Hynes, Origin Live, or whatever) and decent feet and mat, for the Techy, you've got a pretty neutral, high quality, platform from which to play music.

Therefore, the most important thing to get right next is the arm/cartridge combo, and crucially, how their respective sonic signatures 'marry' with EACH OTHER and also that of your preamp/phonostage/and or/SUT.

Get ANY of that wrong and, as they say, 'the game's a bogey' - and any previous synergy you had achieved up until that point, goes right out of the window!

Marco.

I remember we were going to do this in Jaunary but to be honest I have been bogged down with trying to finish my masters degree off, well at least the proposal for my final bit of research. I will probably have some time from 26th April onwards when the proposal has to be finished :eek::eek: So we could swap then if you wanted. This may make me decided if I want to spend wonga on a PSU or maybe a Benz / Ortofon / Lyra cartridge. I've got your favourite arm on my techie the SME V :lol: so finding a decent cart for that may be a pain. At the minute I'm having a look at this http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/audio-technica-AT5000T-High-end-MC-Step-up-transformer-/200583338746?pt=Turntable_Parts_Accessories&hash=item2eb3b2dafa . I have a local dealer that can get this sort of stuff so I'm just waiting for its delivery:eyebrows:

chris@panteg
03-04-2011, 13:49
Lol - I think it was the comments you made on pfm, like this:



....that raised the alarm bells, dude!! ;)

Anyway, you know we're only here to help, and so I'm glad things are looking up a bit now :cool:

Marco.

Hi Marco

Although i was wrong about the bass , i am having doubt's as to how good my deck/combo is at the moment , it just isn't singing with either the AT95HE or the 1042 which Strat kindly lent me , of the 2 the 95HE seems to be the easiest on the ear but is kind of boring at times but never offensive , the Goldring seems a more exciting cartridge but I'm finding it an uncomforable listen at times , it seems a bit peaky ? Chris did say he prefer's his DNM cartridge to the 1042 , yet looking on the net i read glowing reviews of this cartridge and almost to a man they say finding its sweet spot is tricky but worthwhile .

The DL160 although it had a slightly plummy bass ? had what i percieve to be a lovely midrange , this is lacking in the other 2 carts to my ear's and perhaps there really is no alternative but get a decent MC , now i know you say this Marco , but the experience of trying different carts has been fun and I'm learning something ! But i don't want to spend endless hours trying to get it to sound right :steam:

chris@panteg
03-04-2011, 13:56
Oh as an aside , yesterday Richard said he had an LO7D in the boot , just refurbed and fettled for a customer and did i fancy having a listen to it in my system :eek: he wanted to make one last check to see if it was performing at its optimum , i said do you need to ask lol :) but alas we couldn't in the end as it would have taken too long and the chap was waiting !

But its one hell of a deck to behold .

chris@panteg
04-04-2011, 11:19
Just a quick update , i think the Goldring is now just about there ! and its err ahem rather good , one small criticism is the treble is a bit wispy and at times sibilant but its a very musical cartridge ! And the bass is err well incredible :eyebrows: and at times scary .

A fine cartridge , though the NAG MP200 might be better at the price ?

Marco
04-04-2011, 11:28
Hi Chris,


Although i was wrong about the bass , i am having doubt's as to how good my deck/combo is at the moment , it just isn't singing with either the AT95HE or the 1042 which Strat kindly lent me , of the 2 the 95HE seems to be the easiest on the ear but is kind of boring at times but never offensive , the Goldring seems a more exciting cartridge but I'm finding it an uncomforable listen at times , it seems a bit peaky ?


It was certainly very kind of Chris to lend you his 1042, but it's not a cartridge I'm fond of at all, for the reasons you've stated. Despite the strengths you currently perceive, eventually its rather 'spot-lit' top-end, and overall forensic nature, will get on your nerves.

If you're absolutely set on keeping your 309, then *the* cartridge to put on it is an AT-33EV. Audio Technica cartridges (and Lyras) work beautifully on SME tonearms. Fit one of those, and quite simply, your worries will be over.

In your set-up, *that* is where synergy lies, trust me, so stop pissing about with anything else, lol!


The DL160 although it had a slightly plummy bass ? had what i percieve to be a lovely midrange , this is lacking in the other 2 carts to my ear's and perhaps there really is no alternative but get a decent MC , now i know you say this Marco , but the experience of trying different carts has been fun and I'm learning something ! But i don't want to spend endless hours trying to get it to sound right

Quite simply, a DL160 is a terrible match with a 309, or any other Magnesium made SME tonearms.

You need an AT-33EV (or a Lyra Dorian), plain and simple, mate, so make do with what you've got just now and save up for one. Once done, the only worries you'll have, will be how many hours you can fit into a day listening to music!

[The Oracle has spoken] ;)

Marco.

Marco
04-04-2011, 11:50
Hi Andrew,


I remember we were going to do this in Jaunary but to be honest I have been bogged down with trying to finish my masters degree off, well at least the proposal for my final bit of research. I will probably have some time from 26th April onwards when the proposal has to be finished. So we could swap then if you wanted.


Sounds like a plan, mate, so mark it in your diary! ;)


This may make me decided if I want to spend wonga on a PSU or maybe a Benz / Ortofon / Lyra cartridge. I've got your favourite arm on my techie the SME V :lol: so finding a decent cart for that may be a pain.


Lol! It's impossible for me to say what moving from a Timestep HE to a Paul Hynes SR5 would do, as I've not done the comparison.

What I would say, however, is that the HE would have to be massively better than the standard version, to live with the SR5, as the latter totally outperforms the standard Timestep PSU.

As for cartridges, as I've just said to Chris, look at the AT-33EV (which punches WAY above its weight), the Lyra range (choose whichever one you can afford) or *some* of the Ortofons. The trouble is, they vary so much!

I'd also look at Shelter. The 501 is an incredibly good cartridge, and can compete with much more expensive designs.


At the minute I'm having a look at this http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/audio-technica-AT5000T-High-end-MC-Step-up-transformer-/200583338746?pt=Turntable_Parts_Accessories&hash=item2eb3b2dafa . I have a local dealer that can get this sort of stuff so I'm just waiting for its delivery

Nice one. I'm sure that'll sound superb. Your local dealer must be a bit of a risk taker, buying something like that in, unless you've promised to take it? It'll not exactly be an easy thing to shift otherwise!

Personally, if I ran an AT, I'd be looking at one of these, which to give him credit, DC is selling at a very attractive price:

http://www.soundhifi.com/Audio%20Technica%20AT2000T.html

Marco.

REXTON
04-04-2011, 16:34
MARCO

The audiotechnica that you have just mentioned can be bought for less than 700 so DC is making BIG profit margins!

Andy

MCRU
04-04-2011, 17:35
MARCO

The audiotechnica that you have just mentioned can be bought for less than 700 so DC is making BIG profit margins!

Andy

Andrew,
Not very fair matey IMO, perhaps if you understood the whole dealer issue then you would retract that statement. :)

REXTON
04-04-2011, 18:30
I run several businesses and understand the concepts of profit margins, costings etc. So, whats said is said! Its my observation about what money can be made on these things. Locally I can walk into my local HIFI specialist shop and get the same SUT for 999, and probably get some knocked off as well.
DC advertises the same SUT for 1120 and then claims because he sells bags of AT stuff he can offer a discount so that it now costs 999. :lol: This is great advertising and a classic way of making the SUT cheaper than it actually is. Suddenly that advertised SUT is not such a good bargain. I'm not having a go at DC I think he's done a lot to push the 12xx techies forward and I take my hat of to him. So statement stays! :eek:

prestonchipfryer
04-04-2011, 18:40
MARCO

The audiotechnica that you have just mentioned can be bought for less than 700 so DC is making BIG profit margins!

Andy

Where can I buy it for said amount please?

John

MCRU
04-04-2011, 18:45
Where can I buy it for said amount please?

John

If they actually have it of course, seems a bit too cheap to me?

REXTON
04-04-2011, 19:16
eBay!

Marco
04-04-2011, 19:21
Hi Andy,


MARCO

The audiotechnica that you have just mentioned can be bought for less than 700 so DC is making BIG profit margins!


Depends what it's costing him, of course ;)

But yes, I take your point. Whatever the case, I hope that the AT SUT you're trying hits the spot - I've little doubt that it won't! :)

Marco.