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thankyoumisterman
13-03-2010, 16:36
Hello gents, I just joined the forum recently. I have a KAB-modded Technics 1200 Mk2 'table on order, and have just purchased a Denon 103, which I'm also sending on to Zu for their modification. I have read that there may be a problem setting VTA on the Technics with the stock 103 - does anyone have any experience with the Zu version? Would it still require a spacer or some other bit of rig to set it up properly in the headshell so as to attain proper height?

Lots of good information on the forum - part of the reason I decided to search out the Technics was due to the interest being shown this TT. This represents something of a leap of faith for me, as I've only heard the stock version. I liked in general what I heard of it stock, and am getting most of the mods via KAB: Isonoe footers, power supply, tonearm rewiring, strobe disabler, fluid damper, and having the dustcover set up without the hinges so I can completely remove it during play.

I've also read some posts regarding a significantly heavier counterweight used with the Zu Denon, due to its nearly 14-gram weight after modification. Which are you guys using there?

Thanks for the help, and I appreciate the welcome given me here!

The Grand Wazoo
13-03-2010, 23:00
This represents something of a leap of faith for me, as I've only heard the stock version. I liked in general what I heard of it stock, and am getting most of the mods

Funny enough, most folks that have taken that particular leap of faith seem to have landed pretty softly so far. Not all, but most.

DSJR
14-03-2010, 13:25
Didn't Marco have a brass sleeve-weight added to his Techie counterweight at the time?

You know, the answer is to fork out for a Jelco 750D with heavy counterweight. Not only will it fit the deck and balance out properly, it should provide a perfect platform for the cartridge. It's not silly money either and costs around half the price of an SME 309, to put things in perspective...

thankyoumisterman
14-03-2010, 15:13
I thought about the Jelco S-arm, but the cost of buying and fitting it put me off it, so I'll be using the stock tonearm for the time being.

@ Wazoo, you're right - it does indeed seem most people are pleased with their modified 'tables...it's just that a relatively expensive purchase made without hearing it is a bit of a leap.

thankyoumisterman
21-03-2010, 17:09
Bump - anyone else have suggestions or experience with this issue?

chris@panteg
21-03-2010, 17:31
Hi

Marco is the one to ask ' as he has used the 103 extensively on the 1210 and seems to know it inside out !

DSJR
21-03-2010, 20:29
I dunno :rolleyes: Arm before cartridge my friends........ :)

Marco's definitely your man for this..

REM
22-03-2010, 10:23
Missed this thread until now, I use a Zu 103 on a 1210 but it's definitely not in a stock arm. Not sure what the KAB damping does for the Techie arm but I think the general consensus is that it's more suited to mm cartridges than mc's.

There can be problems using mc's on the Techie due to the siting of the standard ps trannie, again not sure that the KAB psu addresses this or not but would think that KAB themselves are best placed to advise you on that.

Finally, are Zu actually doing any 103s at the moment? Last I heard they weren't doing any more until later this year so you might have to put your aspirations on hold for now anyway.

Apologies for seeming so negative but whatever you decide to do I'm sure you will love what the Techie will do for your records.

Cheers

thankyoumisterman
22-03-2010, 17:01
There can be problems using mc's on the Techie due to the siting of the standard ps trannie, again not sure that the KAB psu addresses this or not but would think that KAB themselves are best placed to advise you on that.

Finally, are Zu actually doing any 103s at the moment? Last I heard they weren't doing any more until later this year so you might have to put your aspirations on hold for now anyway.

I will ask Kevin B. about that, but I imagine the PSU should eliminate any siting problems.

Yes, Zu will modify Denon 103s which are sent in to them for $200 plus shipping...they just don't have enough on hand to make a go of offering the carts as a consistently-sourced product. Denon don't make enough for Zu to keep them perpetually in stock.

Which arm are you using on your Technics, BTW?

EDIT: I see now that you have an SME arm on your 'table...

Marco
23-03-2010, 10:40
Hi Trey,

My apologies for arriving at this thread so late! Sometimes it's difficult to get round to reading everything :)


Hello gents, I just joined the forum recently. I have a KAB-modded Technics 1200 Mk2 'table on order, and have just purchased a Denon 103, which I'm also sending on to Zu for their modification. I have read that there may be a problem setting VTA on the Technics with the stock 103 - does anyone have any experience with the Zu version? Would it still require a spacer or some other bit of rig to set it up properly in the headshell so as to attain proper height?


You are right - it is impossible to achieve correct VTA with the DL-103 on a stock Technics tonearm, as there isn't sufficient downwards adjustment on the VTA collar to allow the arm to sit parallel with the record surface. The reason for this is that the 103 is a rather 'low-bodied' design, somewhat different from the Ortofon Concorde and Stanton 500AL DJ cartridges the arm was designed to be used with.

I'm unsure if the ZU body-shell changes that situation, as I haven't used one personally. I get the impression though that it mimics the dimensions of the 103's stock plastic one, although perhaps it's a bit chunkier and adds a little more 'height', so this may make things a bit easier with regard to setting optimal VTA.

In order to do the job properly though, I suspect you're going to need a spacer, which can be obtained from the likes of Dave C at Sound Hi-fi, or since you're in the US, perhaps Kevin from KAB could make one up for you of the right diameter (I would guess around 3-4mm)?

It would need to be very lightweight though in order not to 'over-egg' the mass, as the ZU body-shell already adds quite a bit of weight to the overall equation. I would suggest no more than is physically possible with the overall diameter of the spacer and the material chosen. Ideally, you want something made from plastic or acrylic. Any lightweight non-magnetic material though will do.


Lots of good information on the forum - part of the reason I decided to search out the Technics was due to the interest being shown this TT.


I'm glad that the bug has bitten, as it's a phenomenally good turntable for the money, both as standard and especially when fully-modified.


This represents something of a leap of faith for me, as I've only heard the stock version. I liked in general what I heard of it stock, and am getting most of the mods via KAB: Isonoe footers, power supply, tonearm rewiring, strobe disabler, fluid damper, and having the dustcover set up without the hinges so I can completely remove it during play.


Tell me about leaps of faith! I ordered an SL-1210 MK5G and what you've listed from KAB (along with Isonoe feet and threaded record clamp) - all for exporting to the UK. I had carried out extensive research into the SL-1200/1210 and the whole D/D thing (and also KAB as a company), so I had a good inkling of what to expect, however I didn't know Kevin from Adam, so to speak, and there was I transferring around 1200 of my money to him thousands of miles away without getting anything to show for it until many weeks later!

However, Kevin was a gent and a real pleasure to deal with. Even though I no longer use his products (having now gone the Sound Hi-fi modification route instead) I still owe him a debt of gratitude for his considerable effort in bringing to my attention (and countless thousands of others) this fantastic turntable and how it can be made into something truly special as a device for reproducing music on vinyl to the highest standard.


I've also read some posts regarding a significantly heavier counterweight used with the Zu Denon, due to its nearly 14-gram weight after modification. Which are you guys using there?


You'll definitely need a heavier counterweight to balance out the ZU. I only know of people in the UK such as J7 of Audio Origami (Google for info), but as he's a one-man band he's rather busy, so you may have a long wait on your hands to get one made.

However, I'm currently in discussion with another engineering company in the UK who appear to be most interested in manufacturing bespoke tonearm counterweights to order. When this is finalised, I shall invite the chap onto the forum to introduce his products and services to members, so stay tuned.

In the meantime, have you thought of using the small supplementary counterweight balance supplied with all new SL-1200/1210s, which simply screws into the back of the existing counterweight, thus adding extra weight accordingly?

If you don't have one of these you can order them from KAB. It may just be enough to do the job without the need for ordering a bespoke main counterweight balance.

Hope this helps :cool:

Marco.

thankyoumisterman
23-03-2010, 13:20
Marco, thanks for the detailed responses. I saw the small brass counterweight on KAB's site, but I didn't know if it was hefty enough to counteract the added weight the Zu body would bring to the equation. Another question for Kevin B.

Would you also recommend the heavier headshell then, as the Zu Denon itself weighs nearly 14 grams? That would be serious weight at the playing end of the stick! :scratch:

Finally, mats - KAB includes a heavy mat with the Technics thin mat atop it - I see several posters here using a variety of them, including the Isoplatmat...what are your recommendations?

Marco
23-03-2010, 14:44
Hi Trey,

No worries - we are here to help :)

A Sumiko headshell *should* be ok, but if you haven't bought one yet, you may be better off with something like this:


http://img44.imageshack.us/img44/3954/faudiotechnicamg10.jpg (http://img44.imageshack.us/i/faudiotechnicamg10.jpg/)


Details available here:

http://www.audiocubes2.com/brand/Audio-Technica/product/Audio-Technica_MG-10_Magnesium_Head_Shell.html

It's only 10g (roughly the average weight of fixed headshells on medium-mass tonearms), as opposed to the 12g of the Sumiko, which may take things over the edge. Also, in my experience, magnesium is the best material for headshells in terms of damping unwanted resonances.

As for mats, I'd unreservedly recommend the Sound Hi-fi mat, or since you're in the US, the Herbie's version for the SL1200/1210 - it's the best solution when the Techy arm and a 103 are in the equation :)

Incidentally, returning to issues of optimal VTA adjustment, looking at the shape of the ZU-103, it appears that you might not need a spacer, as the cartridge body seems to have more 'height' than that of the stock DL-103:


http://img191.imageshack.us/img191/5489/zu103iii.jpg (http://img191.imageshack.us/i/zu103iii.jpg/)

...but I'd get one anyway, as the extra flexibility in terms of adjustment this will offer could be vital :cool:

Marco.

thankyoumisterman
24-03-2010, 01:18
Thanks again. I wish I had the extra money on hand to add the Jelco 750 S-arm, as it seems it would do away with some of the VTA issues, but that's not possible at the moment. I will look into the Herbies mat, and the ATA headshell. Can't wait to get this baby hooked up and running...although Kevin B. says it will be a few more weeks yet.

Marco
24-03-2010, 12:16
Hi Trey,

I'm sure you'll really enjoy it when it arrives - do keep us posted how you get on.

In the meantime, I'd urge you to obtain the AT headshell and Herbie's mat (make sure you go for the one specifically designed to fit the inner rim of the Technics platter), as both will be fundamental in guaranteeing your musical enjoyment :)

Marco.

thankyoumisterman
24-03-2010, 19:48
A Sumiko headshell *should* be ok, but if you haven't bought one yet, you may be better off with something like this:


http://img44.imageshack.us/img44/3954/faudiotechnicamg10.jpg (http://img44.imageshack.us/i/faudiotechnicamg10.jpg/)


Details available here:

http://www.audiocubes2.com/brand/Audio-Technica/product/Audio-Technica_MG-10_Magnesium_Head_Shell.html

How does one mount the cartridge to the MG-10, since the Zu has a body with top-mounted screws? :scratch:

It appears TTWeights here in the US has a heavy copper mat designed to damp the Technics platter...pricier than the Herbies Mat though.

Marco
24-03-2010, 21:00
Hi Trey,

There are pre-drilled holes on the underneath of the AT headshell - the ones nearest the beginning are spot-on for correct alignment with the 103.

Mmm... I see you're point though! :doh:

I wonder if it's possible to access the holes in the ZU from underneath the cartridge so that one can slip the screws up from the bottom in order that they then poke through the top and into the headshell?

If not, there are other suitable headshells I can recommend :)

Stick to the Herbie's mat, though - it's the best!

Marco.

thankyoumisterman
24-03-2010, 23:04
Zu's cartridge body has the screwholes only on the top of the cart, unfortunately...

Would love to hear your other headshell recommendations! :)

Marco
25-03-2010, 00:13
Ok, I'll dig around my various contacts and come back to you (probably tomorrow now) :)

Marco.

thankyoumisterman
25-03-2010, 00:54
Groovy - mille grazie, signor! ;)

Marco
25-03-2010, 12:01
Hi Trey,

The most ideal headshell, IMO, would be the Ortofon LH-8000 shown here:


http://img248.imageshack.us/img248/9555/ortofonlh8000.jpg (http://img248.imageshack.us/i/ortofonlh8000.jpg/)

http://www.needledoctor.com/Ortofon-LH-8000-Headshell;jsessionid=0a0105531f4391493d73187f488aa f14e2dfefbe7978.e3eSc3uRax8Te34Pa38Ta38Qbxz0?sc=7&category=24345

It's wooden, which I think would look rather funky against the metal of the ZU, and crucially, it only weighs 8.5g. I also like the way alignment adjusts from the top via the finger lift - neat! :)

If that one's a bit too pricey, then you could use the perfectly acceptable SH-4:

http://www.needledoctor.com/Ortofon-SH-4-Headshell-Black;jsessionid=0a0105531f4391493d73187f488aaf14e 2dfefbe7978.e3eSc3uRax8Te34Pa38Ta38Qbxz0?sc=7&category=24345

Hope this helps :cool:

Marco.

DSJR
25-03-2010, 12:28
is the jelco shell that dire? What about the Sumiko one at 40 or so?

Marco
25-03-2010, 12:46
Lol, Dave... Pay attention there at the back of the class! He's not got a Jelco - he's using the stock Techy arm ;)

As for the Sumiko, we've discussed this already and in my view at 12g it's a little too heavy for the (already 14g on its own) ZU-103 (you can over-egg the mass and make the sound heavy and bloated), hence why I've recommended the above Ortofons, which come in at under 10g :)

Marco.

P.S Got the Thomas Dolby CD this morning - ta muchly! Will let you know how I get on :cool:

Marco
25-03-2010, 13:03
Some more pics of the ZU-103:


http://img205.imageshack.us/img205/790/zu103.jpg (http://img205.imageshack.us/i/zu103.jpg/)


http://img202.imageshack.us/img202/6861/zu103ii.jpg (http://img202.imageshack.us/i/zu103ii.jpg/)

It's rather nice, isn't it? It also looks well made. I think if I didn't already have a 103SA (and have plans for buying an EMT XSD-15) I'd be tempted to go for one.

In my view, having heard it, it's the best of the body-shell 'tweaked' 103s on the market - much more preferable to the wooden versions, IMO, which can often look botched and stuck on as somewhat of an afterthought.

Marco.

DSJR
25-03-2010, 17:06
The VDH tipped EMT was chosen by Jimmy Hughes way back in the mists of time as it was balanced more like CD and less like a cartridge of the times...... Again, with a modern sorted spinner and arm, it should be amazing :)

thankyoumisterman
25-03-2010, 17:08
It is a swell cart body - machined from aluminum (thought I was gonna make the obligatory joke about "aluminium" dincha? :eyebrows:), and the internal potting is extremely neatly done. I look forward to setting it up.

For those so inclined to the Denon carts, Soundsmith here in the US do a range of Denon mods, using a variety of wood bodies and a variety of contact-line stylus mods. I will be using the stock Denon stylus on this Zu until it needs replacing, and will have SS retip it then. I would like to add a 103R to the mix at some point.

Will look into the headshells you were so kind as to mention. :)

hifi_dave
25-03-2010, 21:34
The VDH tipped EMT was chosen by Jimmy Hughes way back in the mists of time as it was balanced more like CD and less like a cartridge of the times...... Again, with a modern sorted spinner and arm, it should be amazing :)

IMO the standard EMT was much better than the VDH version.

In the early 80's I used to buy EMT cartridges from F.W.O.Bauch in Borehamwood, strip them out of their headshells and solder them into Nagaoka headshells. The result was stunning - a big, beefy, solid presentation that made Koetsu sound weedy. For a short time I did quite nicely with this little mod and even sold them to a couple of distributors who then tripled the price to make them even more desirable....:lolsign:

break-3
25-03-2010, 22:11
For those so inclined to the Denon carts, Soundsmith here in the US do a range of Denon mods, using a variety of wood bodies and a variety of contact-line stylus mods.


Think I'll order a Sound Smith wooden body for my 103R over the weekend - they look nice, if nothing else. ;)
Sorry to hijack the thread ever so briefly, but my lovely black TimeStep PSU turned up today and has just been installed. Look forward to mucho listening tomorrow. Thanks, Dave!
:cool:

MartinT
26-03-2010, 13:51
If that one's a bit too pricey, then you could use the perfectly acceptable SH-4

I bought a couple of these Ortofon branded headshells and they look fine. Japanese sourced (the packaging says Ortofon Japan), and fast despatch from Needle Doctor. Soon I'll be able to play with all my cartridges :)

Barry
26-03-2010, 22:20
I bought a couple of these Ortofon branded headshells and they look fine. Japanese sourced (the packaging says Ortofon Japan), and fast despatch from Needle Doctor. Soon I'll be able to play with all my cartridges :)

I think you will find that many Ortofon products are now made in Japan. Jelco make the arms and (I suspect) the headshells, Nagaoka make the SPUs in all their versions.

Regards