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gazcarts
11-01-2010, 17:31
Hi all,

Despite resisting the urge to upgrade my hi-fi equipment for several years now (in fact, I nearly sold it all 6 months ago), I have once again been bitten by the bug.

I have owned the same Rega Planar 2 TT since 1993, and in all that time have only upgraded the Bias cartridge to an Elys. Most of my upgrades have been related to the CD player/amp/speakers. Unfortunately, I have recently made the mistake of watching Ebay and after much forum reading decided to buy a Technics SL-1200 Mk2, owned from new by a hi-fi enthusiast and already fitted with an unmodified Origin Live OL1 tonearm and Dynavector 10x5 cartridge. This mint, 2 year old deck , complete with modifications (but minus the original arm) cost me about the same price as a new SL-1210 with no cartridge, so seemed a good deal.

It is clear the Technics needs a few additional tweaks to sound at its best, but I don't wish to spend a fortune making all the available modifications. I've already ordered the basic stuff like a turntable mat and clamp, but need advice on what to do with the tonearm. Do I spend money getting the current tonearm upgraded with better end mod, cabling, etc, or should I replace the arm with a Jelco 750D, which can be bought for under 400 including the straight arm cable?

How will the Dynavector sound on the Jelco? I currently have a modest Phono Box, which I'd like to upgrade at some point, possibly to a used Tag Mclaren PPA20 to match the rest of my system. Incidentally, I realise the 10x5 is a high output MC cartrdige; is it better to leave the Phono Box set to MM input or change it to an MC setup?

Thanks for any advice you can offer.

Gary

DSJR
11-01-2010, 17:57
Welcome! System pics and a proper introduction please in the relevant threads :)

I personally don't believe the Rega derived arms are suitable for the Techie - my opinion only - and feel you'd be better advised to sell the arm you have and go for a Jelco. Use the Planar 2 as a sort of reference, although I personally find the cheaper Rega cartridges a bit overly warm, soft and squidgey for my tastes (I have an Elys 1 but understand the later version is a bit "tauter" in feel?).

The 10XV should go straight into the MM input and gives a very civilised sound on the whole, but some people like the sound of a high-output MC going into the more sensitive MC input, so you could try it and see.

Have a look at the Timestep (Dave Cawley) site. Dave has outlined on here the order for doing the various mods and IMO, the best way to severely lift your Techie from it's "Rega standard" roots is to follow his suggestions as it's been done by many and is foolproof..

The 10XV in the Jelco shouldn't be a problem at all. In fact, I'd suggest it may work better in the Jelco from a mechanical POV...

gazcarts
11-01-2010, 18:17
Thanks Dave,

I'll post some photos of my system soon, although I'm not sure why anyone would want to see a stack of Tag Mclarens. All very clinical and not very anologuey :-)

After posting I tried changing the jumper settings in the Phono Box to make it MC compatible. It was dreadful, merely amplifying all the clicks and crackles on the LP. Much better sound setup as MM.

I've looked at Dave's site; not sure what order he advises to do the mods in? Is that on his site or did he post it on the forum here?

Does anybody have experience of a fully modded Rega arm, and a Jelco arm on the Technics? If so, which do you prefer?

Thanks again
Gary

DSJR
11-01-2010, 20:43
The correct upgrade "order" was posted here and I did suggest it was put in the reference section.

Search through "Dave Cawley's" posts and you should find it. I'll do the same...;)


From the "Timestep Bearing" thread -

So what does this tell us? My recommendation for modifying the SL-1200 series in chorological order is :-

1. Change the mat

2. Change the PSU (one designed specifically for future upgrades)

3. Change the arm

4. Change the bearing

gazcarts
11-01-2010, 21:00
Thanks Dave.

The mat should arrive any day. I'd really like to get the arm sorted before thinking about the PSU. I'm not looking for a stella deck in all honesty; I don't have a huge vinyl collection, and no audiophile pressings at all, although some are in the post.

I don't know whether to just buy the Michell Technoweight for now to see how that improves things. I've also ordered some sorbothane feet. Just need to check the VTA and cartridge setup too.

On the subject of the Technoweight, has anyone any experience of the Inspire Rega arm mod listed on Ebay? It seems good quality and a bit cheaper than others. I'm just not sure the O-ring system is secure enough There doesn't seem to be a grub screw to secure it).

Thanks again
Gary

DSJR
11-01-2010, 21:01
Regarding Rega arms and siblings/cousins on the Techie. My impression is that the arm couples too tightly to the metal arm-plates and I read somewhere that it's better with the fixing nut barely finger tight (or the screws barely nipped up on latest versions).

Ivor T suggested in conversation that the reason the Ittok (and now Ekos) has the horizontal pivots anchored at one side only was intentional, to assist in resonance transmission/dissipation. Apparently, the Syrinx PU2 had one side of the bearings decoupled with rubber for the same reason on Linns recommendation (ancient memories but that's how I remember it said). The RB arms have everything TIGHTLY bolted together.......

Reproduced music needs to flow effortlessly and this is what some of the inapropriate turntable systems just don't do (and a well fettled Linn LP12 system does - with colouration in past incarnations)..

A good turntable helps bad pressings to transcend their limitations and that's one reason why I love NAS decks so much and THEY love Rega arms...

chris@panteg
11-01-2010, 23:48
Why not try it ' as is for a while ' and tell us what you think

gazcarts
12-01-2010, 13:31
Hi Chris,

I plan to see how the sound improves once the isolation mat and feet are fitted. I also need to adjust the tonearm VTA, as the arm tilts upwards when used with the Technics mat. I'm currently using the felt Rega mat because it is thinner and the arm is more level (and it sounds better). I will also check that the cartridge is aligned and the overhang is correct (I've already adjusted this as it was less than the recommended 17mm).

At the moment there is an improvement over the Planar 2, but it isn't much of an improvment, bearing in mind the difference I would expect to hear between the Dynavector and Elys. I'm hoping the tweaks above will improve the sound and if I'm reasonably happy will probably settle for the Michell Technoarm end mod. I'm just trying to avoid spending lots of money tweaking the OL1 arm, only to find that it still isn't quite right, so having to buy the Jelco anyway.

If someone else has already tried this but ended up buying a Jelco I'd be interested to hear their opinion.

Thanks again
Gary

DSJR
12-01-2010, 16:43
Here we fo again...;)

The Rega arm pipe is tapered and will always look slightly down at the back, even when it isn't.. Rega don't finish the headshell either, so exact levelling of the cartridge is a matter of suck-it-and-see unless you have the Techno-arm which has this attended to.

The techno weight should offer little in the way of sonic gain I suspect, but its wide rather than deep or circular form may improve things in terms of clearance.

I've said for ages that a more-or-less bog-standard Techie is sort-of Rega standard and that's why I sugested the upgrades as sugested in order by Dave Cawley. You'll find a mat such as Dave sells (discount for AOS members I understand) should give the correct platter damping and record support without jacking the arm too high...

gazcarts
12-01-2010, 19:28
Well the isolation mat arrived today. I didn't go for Dave Cawley's as it seemed very expensive. I didn't realise members of this forum could get a discount.

Anyway, I went for the SRM-Tech silicon version, which is much cheaper. I know it doesn't account for the platter lip, but it has made a difference. Still waiting on the sorbothane feet.

Today I also received a few items for checking the arm/cartridge: Avid Mirrored Protractor for Rega arms, a Rega VTA adjuster, (which I don't think I'll need now as the SRM mat is much thinner than the Technics one), the Hi-Fi News test record and a few brand new 180 gram LPs (one of which I will have to return as it was scratched and warped).

When I listen to the Technics on its own it sounds very nice. It's only when I directly compare it to my CD transport that I notice a difference. The Tag is brighter and picks out more detail I think. It makes the Technics sound a bit "muffled". Not a great description, but I'm no hi-fi reviewer :)

That said, when I listen to the Technics without switching to the CD, it produces a nice sound.

DSJR:-
The techno weight should offer little in the way of sonic gain I suspect, but its wide rather than deep or circular form may improve things in terms of clearance

This is interesting as most reviewers think they do improve the sound of the arm, mainly because the standard Rega end bit is so pants.

Still undecided over that Jelco arm though :scratch:

Regards
Gary

hifi_dave
12-01-2010, 20:37
I don't think the Rega arm stub is 'pants'. IMO it has done the job admirably for nearly 30 years and from the RB300/301 upwards is superbly machined from hard alloy, which is more than can be said for several of the so called 'improvements'.

The Michell Tecnoweight certainly looks the biz and does alter the sound as do the other add-on counterweights more, I suspect, by altering the mass than by any other means. The Michell weight does hang out the back further than the Rega weight and stub.

DSJR
12-01-2010, 20:51
The Techno-weight is usually an upgrade for the RB250 series, which uses a plastic composite threaded rear stub - fine for the budget decks it was designed for, but many, many people have taken that arm, with its less toleranced brass bearing-housings and tried to race tune it over Rega's better arms. I believe that only one mod actually dealt with the RB arm's main "issue," and that was Avondale's experiments with a pre-tensioned long-bolt down the length of the arm pipe to stifle the two Hi-Q resonances the arm suffers from (in RB300 guise, and one in the 250 form).

I wonder if anyone's ever tried a plywood or MDF plate for matching the Rega to a techie. I have a gut feeling that this may just be better for a Rega arm on this particular turntable...

gazcarts
12-01-2010, 20:52
Hi hifi dave,

I'm only going on what I've read on t'interweb, and the fact that so many end mods are available to fit the Rega arms. Have you had the opportunity to try out any of the different end mods? If so, have you noticed an improvement?

The only nagging doubt I have is that if I add an end weight mod, next comes the internal and external rewire, adding about another 150. Hence why I wonder if it's easier to just bite the bullet and buy a Jelco?

This is the problem with audiophillia; do you ever reach a point where you are happy with the sound you have and don't feel the need to upgrade? :doh:

Regards
Gary

DSJR
12-01-2010, 20:56
You know, there really ain't a huge amount wrong with the Hitachi wires rega fit inside their arms, the main problem being the rubbish looking exit cables which actually have decent copper cores and screens inside - the RB300 exit wire made a very good interconnect actually, when we had one broken at the arm end and re-terminated with phonos...

I do like the Incognito re-wire though and should also add that Mike Harris (Moth) is one of the very few people outside of Rega who HAS BEEN TRAINED BY REGA to dismantle the arm and re-assemble it properly and who knows how to dress the cables inside the arm, especially as there's a little rubber gland inside that can become dislodged I understand..

gazcarts
12-01-2010, 21:19
I do like the Incognito re-wire though

Funny you should say that; I've just been checking it out. I don't trust myself with a soldering iron so wouldn't attempt it myself using the DIY kit. :)

Gary

chris@panteg
13-01-2010, 11:02
Well the isolation mat arrived today. I didn't go for Dave Cawley's as it seemed very expensive. I didn't realise members of this forum could get a discount.

Anyway, I went for the SRM-Tech silicon version, which is much cheaper. I know it doesn't account for the platter lip, but it has made a difference. Still waiting on the sorbothane feet.

Today I also received a few items for checking the arm/cartridge: Avid Mirrored Protractor for Rega arms, a Rega VTA adjuster, (which I don't think I'll need now as the SRM mat is much thinner than the Technics one), the Hi-Fi News test record and a few brand new 180 gram LPs (one of which I will have to return as it was scratched and warped).

When I listen to the Technics on its own it sounds very nice. It's only when I directly compare it to my CD transport that I notice a difference. The Tag is brighter and picks out more detail I think. It makes the Technics sound a bit "muffled". Not a great description, but I'm no hi-fi reviewer :)

That said, when I listen to the Technics without switching to the CD, it produces a nice sound.

DSJR:-

This is interesting as most reviewers think they do improve the sound of the arm, mainly because the standard Rega end bit is so pants.

Still undecided over that Jelco arm though :scratch:

Regards
Gary

Hi Gary

my advice would be to sell the arm and go for a Jelco 250st .

I say this not because i have heard one on a 1200 ' but i just have faith and trust in Dave Cawley's holistic approach ' you see with any rega based arm it seems there are endless mod's , with the Jelco its just fine as it is with good cable too.

I am going for the 250st myself ' regarding the sound of the stock 1200 'well the internal psu is a source of hum and interference and sounds to tight and edgy ' this is cured by an external psu like the timestep.

Changing the main bearing will give you bags more detail ' less smearing and a much better soundstage ' with real depth and truly superb bass .

hifi_dave
13-01-2010, 12:40
Hi hifi dave,

I'm only going on what I've read on t'interweb, and the fact that so many end mods are available to fit the Rega arms. Have you had the opportunity to try out any of the different end mods? If so, have you noticed an improvement?

The only nagging doubt I have is that if I add an end weight mod, next comes the internal and external rewire, adding about another 150. Hence why I wonder if it's easier to just bite the bullet and buy a Jelco?

This is the problem with audiophillia; do you ever reach a point where you are happy with the sound you have and don't feel the need to upgrade? :doh:

Regards
Gary

I have never carried out a stub mod because I don't believe it would necessarily be better than the standard. I have, however, repaired and returned to Rega for repair, many arms which have been mod'd by their owners or various companies which offer modifications.

If you have an RB300/301 or above, the Michell Tecnoweight is a no hassle mod which will safely alter the sound.

As for fully mod'd Rega arms, the Michell Tecnoarm is hard to beat for performance, workmanship and price. How it compares with a Jelco is for you to determine.

gazcarts
13-01-2010, 13:52
Hi again,

After much consideration, I've ordered a Tecnoweight for the OL1 arm. The Technics with OL1 and SRG mat sounds very nice to my ears. Yes if I compare it to the Tag CD transport I hear a difference, but I actually like the smoother sound of the Technics. Despite hifi dave's reservations, most people report an improvement when fitting the Tecnoweight so I will let you know how it works for me.

I can always sell the arm and weight at a later date if I wish to upgrade to the Jelco or something else, but I currently don't want to spend another 450 on a tonearm. That would put the cost of the Technics with Jelco at just under 900, or 1200 with the Timestep PSU, minus maybe 100 for the OL1 if I sell it; that's a lot of money, and I could probably buy a nice classic deck on Ebay for less (no, not an LP12 - no offence to LP12 owners :))

I really don't want to get into spending hundreds or possibly thousands of pounds for the small gain in performance it often returns. There are some lovely old turntables appearing occasionally on Ebay, and that may be my next purchase, not necessarily just for the ultimate sound quality, but for the beauty and engineering quality as well :)

I'll keep you posted.

Regards
Gary

gazcarts
13-01-2010, 19:00
Another quick update.

The sorbothane feet arrived today and fit very nicely (50mm ones from Ebay for 12.95).

I also took the base of the Technics off so I could fit the 3-way Rega VTA adjustment plate (designed for 3 point Rega arms). I've set it on the 2mm height which means I can place the isolation mat on top of the original Technics 5mm mat. This seems to have made a very nice difference to the sound. The arm is now as close to level as can be. I've removed the lid too, which you probably all do anyway.

Of the 21 screws removed from the base, only 1 refused to go back tightly; one of the corner ones. A bit of a pain but don't think it makes much of a difference.

The sound is now much improved. God only knows why, but the soundstage is far wider and everything is clearer with space between the instruments. I know, I'd make a crap reviewer :)

I hope the Tecnoweight, which should arrive tomorrow, will improve things further.

Best wishes
Gary

DSJR
13-01-2010, 19:04
I don't know how cheap (or otherwise) the Spacemat is, but it works so well on many turntables for not much money..

gazcarts
13-01-2010, 19:49
I don't know how cheap (or otherwise) the Spacemat is, but it works so well on many turntables for not much money..

Thanks Dave. Do you know what the Spacemat is made of? Could that be used in place of the Technics mat underneath the isolation mat? The isolation mat is quite slippy, so I think the Technics provides a bit of grip for it underneath.


I've just checked the difference when using the isolation mat on its own with no Technics mat. It's much better with both together, although it's a bit thick at about 8mm! There's not enough of the spindle left to attach my Soft Grip when using 180mm vinyl (although that doesn't seem to have a detrimental effect). The detail is better and the bass is awesome!

Gary

gazcarts
13-01-2010, 20:35
So if if my Technics can sound this good with a humble Phono Box (the original version), what would it sound like with a better phono stage?

Can anybody recommend one (ideally MM/MC) that would be a big improvement without me spending more than about 300?

Thanks again
Gary

DSJR
13-01-2010, 20:54
What you need is the baby Croft preamp for 350. Great phono stage (mm only, but who cares :lol:) used via the record-out and a very reasonable line stage too...;)

I think PureSound do a phono stage for this kind of money and I think Dave Cawley has a few as well, all carefully selected.

chris@panteg
13-01-2010, 23:48
Hi Gary

It sounds like you getting some good sounds from you techie ' how does it compare with your cd player now !

Magna Audio
14-01-2010, 13:28
I like my Dynavector P75 ~ 220 2nd hand - very configurable.
I have compared it in tests against others and it is pretty good.

Plan now is to DIY build a tube phono and use step up Transformers from my SPu 200mV cart.

gazcarts
14-01-2010, 14:18
I like my Dynavector P75 ~ 220 2nd hand - very configurable.
I have compared it in tests against others and it is pretty good.

Plan now is to DIY build a tube phono and use step up Transformers from my SPu 200mV cart.

Thanks Steve. I've sent you a PM.

Gary

gazcarts
14-01-2010, 17:47
Well the Tecnoweight arrived and has been fitted, although the scales haven't arrived yet for me to assess the VTF.

The Tecnoweight is beautifully engineered. I have to be honest and say I can't notice a massive difference. I think the improvement is there but very subtle.

Since fitting the weight I'm now having to use the isolation mat on its own due to the shape of the base of the Dynavector. This is because directly behind the stylus is a piece of plastic which slopes downwards towards the record surface (see photo).

1225

With the VTF set at the recommended maximum, this piece of plastic touches the surface of the record occasionally, possibly because the tonearm still isn't quite level. I could raise the VTA to 4mm, but that means taking the base off the Technics again, something I don't want to do just yet. With the Technics mat removed, the arm slopes down from the pivot to the record surface, giving greater clearance to the bit of plastic. I assume there is nothing wrong with the Dynavector?

As for the sound compared to my CD transport; the CD still sounds brighter with more treble, but the sound from the Technics isn't worse as a result, just different. I only notice it when I compare between the two.

DSJR
14-01-2010, 18:06
Looks as though the "protective" tape over the coils has become dislodged and is bulging downwards. The TOP PLATE of the cartridge should be parallel as near as possible to the record surface.

By the way, the Spacemat is made from a very dense "loaded" foam of some sort, similar to but not the same as a carbon loaded shoe-insole. if a Spacemat is crushed, it takes an age to recover and if a playing record is tapped when the mat is used, all you get through the speakers is a very muted thud. The SoundHiFi mat is the correct size for the Techie platter and is a sandwich or similar composition I think..


P.S. I can't help it (it's my condition...:lol:) but PLEASE try to dress the cartridge tags neatly - they look a dogs dinner all angles like that.....

gazcarts
14-01-2010, 18:09
Looks as though the "protective" tape over the coils has become dislodged and is bulging downwards. The TOP PLATE of the cartridge should be parallel as near as possible to the record surface.

Thanks Dave. Should I remove the cartridge to fix this?

Regards
Gary

DSJR
14-01-2010, 18:24
Be very careful, as this "tape" is very thin indeed (think ptfe sealing tape) and easily dislodged.

Good luck.

gazcarts
14-01-2010, 18:41
I can't actually see any tape, nor how it could be causing this area of the cartridge to get so close to the record surface.

Maybe I'm getting tired of trying to spot differences, but I now can't hear any change between having the Technics mat on its own, the SRM-Tech Isolation mat on its own, or both together. The Technics mat on its own gets the tonearm closest to being parallel with the record surface, the isolation mat gives the great clearance for the plastic protrusion. Maybe the Tecnoweight has brought everything to as good as it can be given the current spec of the TT? Or maybe I'm just tired :steam:

I think I need to stop tweaking until I've had a break of a day or two, although please keep the good advice and tips coming :)

Regards
Gary

DSJR
14-01-2010, 20:52
Thirty years ago, I'd have dem after dem comparing the LP12 to some of the competition. After 15 minutes, I couldn't tell the difference. A friend working for one of Londons best known Linn dealers just used to wing-it when he got to this stage. I needed a cup of tea and a lie down afterwards...

Don't get hung up over small to non-existant differences. getting a Jelco for the techie will be far more significant.

It's been a long time since I got intimate with a 10XV, but most moving coils have a piece of protective tape wrapped round the suspension and pole piece to stop dirt and metal filings (oh yes indeedy) from getting caught in the coils and magnet... Have a look with a mirror and take a piccie of the reflection if you can...:)

gazcarts
14-01-2010, 21:06
Hi Dave,

I seem to get the best sound with the isolation mat (which is silicon) laid on top of the Rega felt mat. The combination is a good depth so the tonearm is level.
I've ordered an acri-mat off Ebay for 20 quid, so will put the isolation mat underneath and the acri-mat on top and see how that sounds. All cheap upgrades for now, but effective. A Jelco may come eventually but I think my phono stage will have to be changed first (anybody selling a Tag Mclaren PPA20?).

I've attached a pic of the back of the 10x5. The only thing that looks like tape seems fine. By the way, the previous owner fitted the cartridge, hence the untidy cables :)

1226

Best wishes
Gary

hifi_dave
14-01-2010, 21:31
I don't think it's the coil covering thingy, it's that the arm is too low. If the arm is raised, there would be greater clearance between the cartridge and the record. Then, if the arm is raised, the sound will be a touch brighter and more like your CD player.

gazcarts
14-01-2010, 21:45
I don't think it's the coil covering thingy, it's that the arm is too low. If the arm is raised, there would be greater clearance between the cartridge and the record. Then, if the arm is raised, the sound will be a touch brighter and more like your CD player.

Hi Dave.

With the arm totally level, there is literally half a millimetre between that plastic and the turntable. The only thing that alters it is reducing the VTF; it's currently set at 2g, less than the maximum of 2.2g. At 2.2g it actually touches the surface occasionally. Maybe the Tecnoweight isn't giving the correct VTF? I followed the instructions exactly though. Unfortunately, I don't have a digital gauge to check the VTF. I'm due a Clearaudio plastic gauge any day now.

Best wishes
Gary

hifi_dave
14-01-2010, 22:04
It's so frustrating trying to work out what's wrong at a distance. If I had the deck on my bench it would take seconds to see what's what.

From that pic of the cartridge on the LP it looks too close but it also looks like the arm is far too low. From memory, the grey coil covering should be nearer to parallel with the record. If it was, there would be more clearance between that and the record. It's either that or the cartridge suspension is shot and unable to support the whole caboodle.

gazcarts
14-01-2010, 23:12
Well I took the cartridge off to give a check; it looks fine. When it's not on the record surface there is about 2 or 3mm of vertical separation between the tip of the stylus and the plastic to its rear. When the stylus is on the record, it moves upwards slightly and the vertical distance decreases.

I ran the Hi-fi News record and everything seems fine apart from the silence track where there is lots of scratchiness/rumble at high volumes. This can be heard in the gaps between tracks on normal records too. It gets slightly quieter if I back off the VTF to 2 or even 1.8g.

The gap was small before I put the Tecnoweight on, but maybe the weight's low CofG makes it slightly smaller?

Up early tomorrow so time for bed. Will take another look at it tomorrow afternoon.

Good night
Gary

hifi_dave
14-01-2010, 23:31
Night, night, sleep tight. Hope the bed bugs don't bite.:eek:

Alex_UK
14-01-2010, 23:37
:stalks: unless you want a nibble, of course!

DSJR
15-01-2010, 08:25
1.7 to 1.8 grammes playing weight is more like it IIIRC..

Dave Cawley
15-01-2010, 10:10
I think your tracking force is way too much. Measure it properly?

Regards

Dave

gazcarts
15-01-2010, 17:32
I think your tracking force is way too much. Measure it properly?

Regards

Dave

Unfortunately, my Ortofon Tracking gauge, ordered from Needle & Spins, hasn't arrived. I think Parcelforce have lost it, or they've forgotten to send it. I'd buy some digital scales, but even the ones on Ebay (the proper ones) are 37 plus postage. Do I really need VTF to be accurate to 3 decimal places?!

I'll try setting 1.8g. The Tecnoweight system is apparently reasonably accurate (as accurate as the Shure?)

Regards
Gary

hifi_dave
15-01-2010, 19:15
The Tecnoweight is pretty accurate so you've no real need to buy scales, as the final tweaking should be done by ear anyway. Just make sure that you've got the arm nicely balanced to get the zero point before dialling in the tracking force.