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Thread: Musing a change of arm on the SL1200G

  1. #1
    Join Date: Apr 2009

    Location: Oakengates, Shropshire

    Posts: 650
    I'm Richard.

    Default Musing a change of arm on the SL1200G

    HI all,
    It's coming up to a year since I went from an SL1200MKII with a load of mods to an SL1200G now and I'm still over the moon with the upgrade. Playing vinyl is more of a joy on this deck than anything I've ever owned before it and I wouldn't even be thinking about touching it but for one thing - SIBILANCE!
    I started noticing it more than usual when I put a SoundSmith Carmen cartridge on the deck and it started to annoy me pretty quickly, even though the cart was definitely an upgrade over my old Dynavector DV20X2L (for this arm at least). At first I suspected it was the cartridge itself but having checked alignment, anti-skate, VTA, azimuth 100 times and re-fitted the DV and tried a couple of other carts, the sibilance seems to be there all of the time, so my suspicions have now turned to the arm. Reading around it does seem that the standard arm is the weakest link from what I can gather, so I am now toying with the idea of replacing it... So I'm wondering whether anyone has any experience they can share of having upgraded the arm on their 1200G?
    In terms of choice, I guess I'm too late for a Jelco, so I'm weighing up between a Timestep T-609 or a Funk Firm FX3D. I have to admit that I love the look of the Timestep and I'm a little hesitant about the Funk with it being a straight arm which I think looks a bit out of place on a Techie, but does anyone have any experience of either that they can share, or indeed have any others they think I should consider?
    On the other hand, would simply fitting a fluid arm damper to the existing arm sort out my sibilance issues?
    Rich

  2. #2
    Join Date: May 2012

    Location: Toulouse, France

    Posts: 5,423
    I'm Kevin.

    Default

    Hqve you looked at the FX1200 from Funk?
    I have the older version, and I am very happy with it.
    Kevin

    Too busy enjoying the music....

    European loan coordinator for Graham Slee HiFi system components..

  3. #3
    Join Date: Apr 2009

    Location: Oakengates, Shropshire

    Posts: 650
    I'm Richard.

    Default

    That's an interesting proposition, thanks for that. From what I can tell though, that's an upgrade to the arm tube so the current bearings remain as they are?
    Did you use your original Technics tonearm for the upgrade and if so what were the major differences you found after the upgrade both in terms of use and sound?
    My biggest worry with going for something like that is that my sibilance problems are coming from the bearing so may well still be there following the upgrade...
    Rich

  4. #4
    Join Date: May 2012

    Location: Toulouse, France

    Posts: 5,423
    I'm Kevin.

    Default

    Arthur upgrades the bearings.
    You get to keep on the fly VTA, and with the newest version, a detachable head shell. Ease of use is the same.

    Sound wise, there is no comparison. It is much better.
    However, the new Houdini may be worth a try first, as it seems to negate the need for a really good tonearm.

    I kept my original arm, as I bought one already done. It was without a doubt one of the biggest upgrades I have done on my deck. I have not tried many different arms though.
    Kevin

    Too busy enjoying the music....

    European loan coordinator for Graham Slee HiFi system components..

  5. #5
    Join Date: Apr 2009

    Location: Oakengates, Shropshire

    Posts: 650
    I'm Richard.

    Default

    The fact that the bearings get upgraded too makes it very attractive indeed. As you say, it's an upgrade to the existing arm which means the general feel of the deck doesn't change. I like that a lot. My only gripe would be my small amassed collection of headshells becomes obsolete, but it's not a deal breaker.

    But now you mention the Houdini, that's really tweaked my interest. I'd not heard of them before and having read around they get nothing but universal praise (apart from the naysayers who've not even heard them in action anyway). I think I should start there and see if that fixes the problem and if it doesn't I can come back to the arm later...

    Fantastic.. I hadn't expected that much of a curveball, but I love the idea of it.. Many thanks. I shall report back on how I get on..
    Rich

  6. #6
    Join Date: May 2012

    Location: Toulouse, France

    Posts: 5,423
    I'm Kevin.

    Default

    If you don’t like the Houdini, Arthur will refund you on return.
    They also have a dedicated Technics head shell, which gives you back the 6mm VTA lost.
    Kevin

    Too busy enjoying the music....

    European loan coordinator for Graham Slee HiFi system components..

  7. #7
    Join Date: Apr 2009

    Location: Oakengates, Shropshire

    Posts: 650
    I'm Richard.

    Default

    I should be able to just about get away with the increase in VTR as my SoundSmith is sat right at the bottom of the VTR scale, but good to know I can compensate with another headshell if I end up changing cartridges around. The fact that there's a money back guarantee makes it a no-brainer. It really does make me wonder why all of the vitriol about it elsewhere.
    Rich

  8. #8
    Join Date: Apr 2009

    Location: Oakengates, Shropshire

    Posts: 650
    I'm Richard.

    Default

    The Houdini arrived this morning - In a jiffy bag with a little cardboard box inside it with the Funk logo. It's a pretty underwhelming little package for the money really. The device itself looks like someone drove over and flattened an Ortofon Kontrapunkt and the only other things in the box are a few nylon screws, a little plastic jig for cutting the screws to the correct length for your headshell and a tiny little flat blade screwdriver, presumably to use to ensure you don't over-tighten anything, and a little instruction sheet.

    I didn't waste any time fitting it though and the whole thing took no more than 10 minutes and was straightforward enough - Remove the headshell from the 1200G, remove the cartridge from the headshell, screw the tiny 4mm nylon screws into the cartridge, fit the cartridge into the collar of the Houdini, then screw the houdini back into the headshell and fit the headshell back on the deck. Adjust VTA and tracking weight to accommodate and off you go.

    Thankfully my Soundmith headshell and cartridge combination was already right at the bottom of the VTA adjustment on the Technics arm, so I was able to adjust upwards by 6mm and the VTA is spot on.

    I ended up taking a slightly extended lunchbreak so that I could get a first impression of how it now sounded...

    All I'm going to say right now is that if I had just spent 3K on a new arm and it had given me this level of improvement, then I would have still been over the moon!

    OH. MY. GOD!

    I'll write some more when I've had some more time to listen...
    Rich

  9. #9
    Join Date: Apr 2009

    Location: Oakengates, Shropshire

    Posts: 650
    I'm Richard.

    Default

    The Houdini is a game changer. What it has done to the sound of my turntable is nothing short of magic. The SL1200G is no slouch anyway, but fitting the Houdini has elevated it to a level I could never have expected. I cannot remember the last time I performed any sort of upgrade and was left wanting to listen to my entire record collection anew. This is one of those 'where have you been all of my life?' products that I would never run a turntable without again - or at very least would never run a Technics without again.

    I'm not sure I even know where to start with where the improvements lie because it's across the board. I can honestly say that I have never performed any upgrade to any piece of hi-fi kit before that has yielded this much of an improvement, with absolutely no downsides. Record after record last night (and it was a LATE night as a result) was jaw dropping. There are records in my collection that I haven't played for years because I know I won't enjoy them due to the way they sound. Let's take the example of Peter Gabriel's So album. There are tracks on that such as Big Time for instance that could previously cut glass. I've always heard the soundstage collapse in on itself because the track is so busy and the whole thing was a mess but now it's clean, it's tight and it sounds HUGE and you realise what a feat of recording and mastering that whole album is. The triangle at the start of Mercy Street now has this ultimately real quality about it whereas it always just sounded like a distorted jangle before. Percussion generally is on another level. I won't get into superlatives and individual examples because EVERYTHING is better - Night and day better.

    Yes, perceived quality for 300 when you open the box is pretty low, but it's an absolute steal when you hear the difference it has made to my system. When I wrote yesterday I said I'd have been happy to have spent 3K on an arm to get that sort of improvement. Even that would have felt like a bargain, but no such upheaval is necessary, the deck is still pretty much stock and that in itself is worth a lot.

    I am utterly blown away by it - I just wish I'd had it earlier in this lockdown as I'd be about half way through my record collection by now ;-).

    ...Has it cured the sibilance problem? Well, it is at least reduced to an acceptable level. From what I can tell at the moment, before fitting the Houdini I was running at the top end of the recommended tracking force of 1.6 grams - Maybe a touch more in fact, but adding the Houdini seems to be allowing me to wind the dial back, so it'll take me a few days to find the sweet spot again, which may well clear the last of the sibilance - But I'm happy enough with it to be confident that I won't need to take it any further..

    Many thanks to Kevin for the recommendation. I am one immensely happy customer..
    Rich

  10. #10
    Join Date: May 2012

    Location: Toulouse, France

    Posts: 5,423
    I'm Kevin.

    Default

    Kevin

    Too busy enjoying the music....

    European loan coordinator for Graham Slee HiFi system components..

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