View Full Version : Steve's current turntable journey

Magna Audio
31-03-2009, 22:23
I've been reading all your exploits and thought it time to share mine

It started with a few TT's in the late 70's early 80's - there was no choice then.
Now after 9 (or is it more) years with no turntable and having used the last one (Ariston RD11E with Sme something or other, bless it's socks), I got a Rega 3 with all the OL mods on a RB250 and a Sumiko BPS Evo III.
It is/was a bit bright (sorted largely by lowering the arm until I liked it more).
Cart does not really suit the gain setting on the Dyna P75 however.

So, I decided to get a AT 33PTG (read it pairs well with the P75 esp on Phono enhancer / current amp mode) - Not arrived yet and then for some irrational reason (mostly what I have read on here) I have bought a PSU modded SL-1210 - again not arrived yet.

Plan is to mount the RB250 and muck about with it (I love fiddling) and then play the Rega off against the SL. Winner stays on the stand:smoking:

The reason for all this - I can't find a PL-71 anywhere.
Gromit you have a lot to answer for:) (A Stax set up finally trumped the Slee and the AT-W1000's BTW).

In the meantime I've had great fun with Foculpods, MDF and granite on the Rega - big change in sound from this.

So, after playing around, do I save up for a SME 309 or for a Jelco SA-250ST? What if I like the punch of the Rega? I'm no big classical fan.
If I did that what cart? 103 top dog or?

So many questions so little time.
More when the gear arrives... god I hate waiting...

Peter Stockwell
01-04-2009, 08:25
So, after playing around, do I save up for a SME 309 or for a Jelco SA-250ST? What if I like the punch of the Rega? I'm no big classical fan.
If I did that what cart? 103 top dog or?

Personally no experience of Rega arms on the SL1210. marco doesn't like them. I could never get on long term with a rega, I had a P3 twice back in the day, I think a fruit box derivative would be more satisfying (Thorens, Linn, etc).

The single most satisfying thing with a Teccie is the pitch stability, this gives a completely different view of previously known music. The psu upgrade amplifies this stability, and because the bass transients do not slow the TT down you get a much clearer view of the mid range - where the music is.

I use an AT33PTG in an SMEIV on my SL1210. I'm always gobsmacked at how much better it is than the Squeezebox that I use most (I don't always have the time to sit down and listen, I have other chores to do).

Look at MartinT's comments about the Jelco, or Pete's (I think) views on the 309. the SMEIV is probably overkill, but I wanted one for years.


Magna Audio
01-04-2009, 09:39
Yeah, I have read all the comments about Rega's and arms. Suck it and see I thought. I am open and an new arm can come should I think it necessary / the time is right. Black SME's look sooo nice don't they.
I like a bit of impact to the music hence the big Tannoy's. Not into classical but do like some jazz.
Interesting about the pitch - I can def hear something going on with Rega on that score. I have a Teac VRDS T1 and DPA Enlghtenment Dac front end for CD so the deck has to perform to beat that combo. It's taken me a while to get happy with D playback - tried all sorts of Dac's / CDP's. TT's will be no different.

Anyway in many ways it's the journey that is fun.

01-04-2009, 10:32
Why not give a trans fi Terminator a chance?
Vic does a fair returns policy, so if you don't like it no worries. If you do like it you'll have an extra £100 lying round for your cart purchase.

01-04-2009, 10:43
Hi Steve,

Love your exploits so far, and good luck with them :)

My thoughts are well-known regarding low-mass belt-drive T/Ts of any description and Rega arms, so I won't repeat myself again - it's in the archive and I'm sure you've read it all.

Enjoying recorded music through a hi-fi system is such a subjective experience with a multitude of variables attached to it, so it's very difficult to make blanket recommendations which will universally apply to everyone. You may love the combination of the P3 with OL-modded 250 and AT-33PTG in your system, and prefer it to your modified 1210, and of course this is all that matters, but it wouldn't necessarily mean that former is the better turntable in a technical sense.

Incidentally, which PSU have you got for the Techy?

The problem when people decide which turntable is 'best' is the highly subjective nature of their judgement criteria and how they prioritise various aspects of this over others when coming to a conclusion. I am of course no different to anyone else in that respect, but what will always be of paramount importance to me is which turntable gets the most music from recordings whilst imposing as little of its own character or 'sonic signature' on it as possible. I don't want to hear what the T/T is doing - I just want to hear what's on the record.

Unlike others, and don't get me wrong there's nothing wrong with this, but I am not seduced by the euphonic colorations some other T/Ts imbue on the music, particularly the LP12 and other low-mass belt-drives of its ilk. I can understand people enjoying and becoming used/addicted to this particular sound and then finding more neutral and 'accurate' sounding T/Ts 'tuneless' or not being very good at 'making music', when mostly what's happening is that they're seeking a particular 'flavour', and when that flavour isn't there then it's quite natural to assume that something is missing.

It's rather like removing the sugar from a cup of tea when you're used to having three spoons of sugar in it, or eating a plain grilled steak, cooked rare, instead of having it well-done and covered in a cream pepper sauce: at first the taste will come as bit of a shock and superficially appear as quite unpleasant, or even somewhat bland in comparison to what you're used to, but in reality all that's happening is you're sampling what the raw ingredients actually taste like when all the 'artificial additives' have been stripped away - and so it is I feel with music, good direct-drive T/Ts, and their low-mass belt-drive counterparts.

Persevere with the 'rawness' of the presentation of a high quality direct-drive turntable and the only flavour you'll 'taste', or hear, is that of the music itself... Highly accurate speed stability, and thus vanishingly low coloration, is at the root of that effect and the main ingredient in the success of this recipe. One simply then chooses an arm and cartridge that enhances the quality of the raw ingredients, much like a good gravy does to a Sunday roast, or a beurre noisette to a piece of John Dory :)

It'll be interesting to see which way you go.

With regard to partnering tonearms, no I don't like the Rega, for reasons already specified elsewhere, and I'm not sure if its inherent colorations will cloud your judgement of the 1210. However, with a 33-PTG I'd be more inclined to partner it with an SME (go for the best one you can afford) than the Jelco, purely because the AT doesn't require high-mass.

Enjoy your forthcoming experiments and keep us posted of developments! :cool:


01-04-2009, 10:45
That's a very good suggestion from Gareth. The Terminator is an excellent arm :)


Magna Audio
03-04-2009, 21:20
Whoohoo. Get home to find deck waiting for me.
Assemble in 5 mins. Adjust height of RB250 to roughly where it sounded best on the P3 and play.
Auberge first up - well I do have a parts of the mans Caterham 7 engine management system on my 7;)
Interesting that two decks on the same arm / cart can sound so different.

Bottom end is solid very solid. On some tracks it seems to go waaaay deeper.
Top end is a little shouty, drop the arm down a tad - better.
Mids and highs are quite spaced and very detailed. Sound stage is there.

Next up some bass and percussion - Dire Straits Communique, News and Where do you think you're going. Bass still a bit solid. Like what the rest is doing. At this point I change the very thick rubber that came with it to a thick felt mat. Adjust arm height slightly.
Ah, that's interesting - more timbre to the bass, more air to the vocals.
On to Oscar Peterson's Night train.
This is one jamming trio. Like the snap of the high hat, double bass is tight and timely. Tannoy's push out a mean rocksbox.

Summary of very short session - It's a solid sound, pitch is so obviously rock solid. Less toppy or shouty than the Rega deck. There's plenty of detail too. It's quite engaging.

Need more disc time. Will continue listening via the Stax now...

Been reading up on Trans-Fi Audio.
I think I want to hear it with a Terminator. It's only money and you can't take it with you...

03-04-2009, 22:20
Glad it got there OK Steve.

I was about to suggest experimenting with mats but I see you're on to that.

Guess feet might affect the bass but I never got around to that.

One thing I would try is removing the nut from under the Rega. I find this really sets the arm free. You have to dress the arm cable so it doesn't pull to either side. If you like it, rig up something to stop the arm base rotating when cueing (I used fuses stuck in blu-tack). I assume that you're using the OL VTA adjuster - works just fine with that.

Magna Audio
04-04-2009, 22:38
John (Purveyor of tunes & Music Room Mod) came over this afternoon for a listen. He was checking out my 20w tube amp (now attenuated to about 8w) to hear what such an amp could do for him with 96dB efficient open baffle speakers he is planning.

We started on CD, a compilation of stuff he made to test my system.

Then moved on to John's vinyl (Keith Jarrett - piano and Nick Drake acoustic guitar).
Great to hear some new sounds and artists I've not come across.
I played some of my favourites - Oscar Peterson Trio - Night train on vinyl and Jan Johansson Jazz på Svenska on CD. We compared the Vinyl 1963 cut of Night train with a CD remaster from 1996). Different tonally but the reality of Piano sound was all the way with the Vinyl - no contest.

The SL-1210 did not disgrace itself at all. John put it above a Gyrodeck and on the way to an Orb but not there yet.
It is a rock solid platform - we could both see why folk talk of it's potential.

I am still having gain issues with my Sumiko BSP EvoIII cart and the Dynavector P75 (makes it sound a little restrained - not all getting through some how). The AT 33PTG still not arrived - hope that will sort this out.
The detail was great and I have the feeling this is a great platform on which to build.
John did nothing to dissuade me from a Trans-fi audio parallel arm, saying it would def put notch the arm way up there.

So, a very good listening session and food for thought about the next move.
Great to meet a fellow artofsounder and share some music over a warm amp.

I am looking forward to getting the cart and a phone call / trip to Watford is in order I think... To be continued.

04-04-2009, 23:37
It was great meeting you Steve I totally get the whole potential thing about the deck as you know just going to a better Cartridge match for your system will make a big difference The system is nice and clean and shows plenty of potential my first experience of a 1210 and yes I do get what the fuss is about increadble value for money. It had a lot of detail and allowed the music to flow. Think either the Jelco or Terminator will suit you well but you know where my money would go
Great sharing music I really enjoyed the Oscar Peterson and Jan Johansson stuff nice system and thanks for the warm welcome

Spectral Morn
05-04-2009, 00:14
Always nice to meet new people Steve;). Glad you and John got on okay. It will be really nice when I get to meet some of you guys some time in the future.:)

Regards D S D L :)

05-04-2009, 06:20
Neil if you ever in london let me know Il ove to meet up

05-04-2009, 10:33
Glad you guys had a good sesh :gig:

John, you've now tasted the potential of a 1210!

Trust me, when you modify it to the level I've done, it leaves an Orbe standing at the traffic lights rather like the driver of the M5 wondering where the Caterham had gone he was going to 'race' which was there just a few seconds ago. All he can now hear is the roar of its engine in the distance and perhaps the rather smug laughter of its driver... :eyebrows:



Magna Audio
05-04-2009, 17:59
Today I did some listening and then swapped the Technics feet for Foculpods.
I like Foculpods. I have a 22mm MDF/Granite bass and then the deck on top. Works best of all combinations I have found.

The feet swap gave a subtle change in sound but worthwhile.

Still lovin it.

God I hope my 33PTG comes tomorrow.

05-04-2009, 18:21
Hi Marco
Yes its a good deck the 1210 I can see/hear its potential
Hope to hear a fully mod one sometime I am sure it can be beat a Orbe as speed stabilty so much better
I also think its one of those decks you can mod in stages and each time get a good degree of performance from it

Magna Audio
06-04-2009, 21:15
Measured up the deck this evening for the Terminator arm.
Vic says it should be able to mount straight on to the OL Rega arm board I have. This would make it easy peasy.

Interestingly the hole position for the O.L. Rega board is in quite a different place to the one on the Rega deck?! I always felt the Rega sounded rubbish on the inner tracks (frustrating) - The Technics / O.L board does have this massive discrepancy). Interesting eh?

06-04-2009, 21:39

The position shouldn't matter as long as the distance between the spindle & arm pivot distance is right.


06-04-2009, 21:41
I'm also very interested in the Terminator - been speaking to Vic. Once my Lenco plinth is sorted, I think I will be taking the plunge. Oops, sorry this is supposed to be Steve's journey, not mine!

Spectral Morn
06-04-2009, 21:54
Neil if you ever in london let me know Il ove to meet up

No problem John, I too would love to meet you. I will let you know.

Regards and thanks D S D L

Magna Audio
06-04-2009, 22:17

The position shouldn't matter as long as the distance between the spindle & arm pivot distance is right.


Oh, Thought I was on to something there... They share approx 22cm from arm pivot point to spindle.

Vic got back already. The Rega mount will take the Term. no problem.

07-04-2009, 06:21
Good to see you on the way to getting the Terminator if you need a hand with the set up let me know Steve; its quite easy once you get used to it and Vic site explains it really well

Magna Audio
07-04-2009, 21:22
Firstly the OL modded arm and OL Rega board. (click on the pics for bigger linked pics & even bigger if you click the +)



Next up the pretty lights.


Finally da 'Pods'


Still no 33 PTG boo hoo:wah:

Peter Stockwell
08-04-2009, 07:17

Your feets is tits upwards ?

Magna Audio
08-04-2009, 09:31

Your feets is tits upwards ?

Yes indeed! he base of the Foculpods are a tad to big to sit nicely in the round moulding for the orinigal feet - not good for deck leveling . Next best thing was upside down.

Magna Audio
09-04-2009, 14:38
There I was getting resigned to not have it for the Easter break and Parcel Force letter arrives. Please pay up the to Customs and Rev... Good job I took the day off to do stuff:)

Boogie on down to the depot and pic it up.

First the box all the way from the land of the rising sun. Should be happy with the SL-1210 and the Dynavector P75 then...

The mounting in the box is functional and not over bling - hate it when too much money goes on the box etc unless it's for presentation / looking at. This baby is for listening to.

Ok mount her up - Balance, VTA etc etc. Quite a bit lighter than the Sumiko that is 9g - this is 6.7g.
Bolts are gold coloured to match the rest. Either too long or two short though.

Set the P75 phono amp to Phono enhancer/current amp mode. I've read all about how this setting really sings and how the 33PTG is very compatible with this.

Here's how she looks.


Only on the third side as I write this and sounding great. Just the sort of balance, powerful, deep, authoritative, detailed blah blah blah sound I wanted.
What will it be like once run in?
Oh yeah and there's enough gain for me too.

Great vinyl Easter weekend ahead.

09-04-2009, 15:51
Great to hear think it should be sounding really sweet now

Spectral Morn
09-04-2009, 16:38
Very nice looking cart. Glad it arrived okay. Bummer about customs and vat.

Regards D S D L

09-04-2009, 16:43
There I was getting resigned to not have it for the Easter break and Parcel Force letter arrives. Please pay up the to Customs and Rev... Good job I took the day off to do stuff:)

Unlucky! :( I got away with it when mine arrived.

What loading are you using?

Magna Audio
09-04-2009, 21:30
I set it to the recommended 1.8g - have you a recommendation?

It really is a good sound. All round but for instance I noticed the bass transients have very good attack and stop on the dot when they should - I like a nice bit of bass.
When I think how my earlier systems just muddled it up and it was something there clomping about without sounding like an instrument really - This was pre valve, hopeless small drivers in narrow towers, pre TVC, pre Ubyte-2 cable, pre DPA dac and of course pre Technics SL-1210 and latest addition 33PTG.
The best bit is the system of old cost more than this system. Looked more bling and WAF but it's all about the sound...

Time to squeeze in some Stax listening...

10-04-2009, 17:56

Shagtastic baby :guitar:

10-04-2009, 17:58
But it does pose the question,why don't Audio Technica UK bring these beauties into the UK,along with some of the other goodies AT make ? :(

10-04-2009, 18:13
Have a look in your local model shop (or RS Components) for some longer stainless steel 2.5mm allen bolts and nuts. RS supply bags of these and it'll mean you can get the cart a little tighter in the OL arm.

Magna Audio
10-04-2009, 22:20
Shagtastic baby :guitar:[/QUOTE]

Glad you like it. Bought my wife a Canon 20D camera body off Zerogain and had to test it to see it worked... what better than some hifi close ups:)

Sgt. Dunno why AT don't bring them in. You can get other Cart's

This is close to the PTG33 on spec at least. Higher impedance and slightly lower output. Doesn't look as nice though - oh yeah I am quoted as not caring about looks:doh:

DSJR - Should I be torquing things up - following OL's instructions all is done up 'just' enough - esp the main nut arm to board assembly.

10-04-2009, 23:54
DSJR - Should I be torquing things up - following OL's instructions all is done up 'just' enough - esp the main nut arm to board assembly.

Hi Steve. OL are right. Anything more than just enough kills the sound. I found on my OL that it sounds best without the main nut altogether.

Dave Cawley
11-04-2009, 07:01
Why? in a word RoHS



Magna Audio
11-04-2009, 15:05
Why? in a word RoHS



Restriction of Hazardous Substances?

Easter news flash - I am building something at the moment. Well a man has gotta have hobby...
More info and pics if it works/sounds good & looks ok:-) (question is - will beat a Rega O.L. RB250???

11-04-2009, 18:49
Restriction of Hazardous Substances?

Don't want to smoke it just a quick whiff will do ;)

Magna Audio
12-04-2009, 12:24
Just in case you guys don't look at the drawing board - here's my latest trial.


13-04-2009, 14:59
Hi Steve. OL are right. Anything more than just enough kills the sound. I found on my OL that it sounds best without the main nut altogether.

Then there's something wrong with the energy transmission, isn't there? ;)

Perhaps if the base plate wasn't metal but wood instead?

RoHS Dave? You mean, the reason why these carts aren't brought into the UK? Apologies, I'm confused...

13-04-2009, 15:39
Then there's something wrong with the energy transmission, isn't there? ;)

Perhaps if the base plate wasn't metal but wood instead?

Hi Dave. I don't pretend to understand the physics, just based on practical experience. It works the same on wood & metal arm mounts though. One thing I forgot to mention as I (re)discovered today is if you do this, you have to dress the arm cable properly like on a suspended deck or it kills the sound more than doing the nut up.

BTW, I first got the idea to do this from Pete Riggle's VTAF (http://www.connect-audio.co.uk/VTAF.html). I highly recommend Connect Audio - Chris let me try the VTAF & return it when I found it wouldn't fit the Technics due to the arm plate being recessed.

13-04-2009, 16:10
I remember Scott Strachan of Syrinx fame telling me that the PU2 sounded better with one side of the bearing pairs decoupled with rubber, the other side directly coupled to the housing. Aparently this is one reason the Ittok vertical bearing worked so well, being held rigid at one end and free at the other, in a sort of "C" arrangement..........

Magna Audio
17-04-2009, 15:16
Right. After a few sessions here is the low down on the air bearing arm.

Startling clear & detailed mid range. Hear some delicacy's and nuances that are new. Top end was a little fizzy - cured by damping the vertical knife edge bearing with Bluetac. Perhaps need to make something more solid than a Stanley blade.
Bass was light so I increased the total lateral mass of the arm / carriage.
Some improvement but the same cart (AT 33PTG) still sounds more composed overall in the O.L Rega RB250 arm.

Still not quite there yet then:-
Need to try more mass on the arm or a heavier arm all together.
Need to put the air pump out of the listening room - broom cupboard perhaps better than outside as one can get condensation problems with cold air to warm room.
Need to improve the arm lift system to make it more pleasant to use.

Probably not worth developing this arm further.
On to mkII an inverted air bearing with underslung shorter and massier arm...

Magna Audio
23-04-2009, 11:32
Short update.
AT - 33 PTG is running in nicely.

Terminator air arm should arrive today or tomorrow.

I have made a sound deadening box for the air pump which is going in the cupboard under the stairs.

Still lovin the vinyl BTW.

Magna Audio
24-04-2009, 22:43
http://inlinethumb16.webshots.com/42895/2869651300071997495S600x600Q85.jpg (http://entertainment.webshots.com/photo/2869651300071997495iuijbC)
http://inlinethumb43.webshots.com/39082/2291596140071997495S600x600Q85.jpg (http://entertainment.webshots.com/photo/2291596140071997495HFQjiV)

This is a big step up from anything I've so far heard. I need more listening time and perhaps a few more adjustments but the musicality and timing are just in a different league. Bass weight is good with very good control. Very involving.

Thanks to John, Marco and others who recommended giving it a try.

This one is the Prototype that Vic has lent me. My homebrew attempt taught me a lot about installing and setting up. I got some of the benefits of parallel arms on mine but not all of them - chiefly I think down to the shorter arm and more solid knife edge bearing arrangement. Perhaps the carbon tube also plays it's part.

It's actually very easy to set up and use.

Magna Audio
02-05-2009, 00:27
Well chaps, I've gone and bought a Pioneer PL-71.
Not arrived yet - It's all Gromit fault of course:)

http://inlinethumb02.webshots.com/45505/2778234180071997495S600x600Q85.jpg (http://entertainment.webshots.com/photo/2778234180071997495goUwTS)

I'm very curious to see how this will stack up against the Techi decki.

Has anyone changed arms on the PL-71? I guess I will have to put the parallel tracker on her at some point...

Now I wonder who has a Spu and can be here in a flash on his powerful bike to let me hear a PL-71 Spu'ing..?
Blat in my ex race car 7 in return Richard :-)