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Thread: SL-1200 MKII mods or upgrade to 1200G

  1. #21
    Join Date: Apr 2009

    Location: Oakengates, Shropshire

    Posts: 653
    I'm Richard.

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    Quote Originally Posted by SiT4 View Post
    Out of interest did you try the 1200G with a range of carts ? I came to the conclusion that for me a top notch Audio technica MM cart is all that is needed to get the best out of it, synergy and all that. Or another way of putting it was that MC carts did not seem better musically as a combo than an AT540ML cart. But maybe thats because the arm isn't up to it on the stock 1210 ? So i wonder if it is with the 1200G ? For example, i would love to hear the AT Art 9 with the 1200G. I reckon that combo would be sublime but whats your take here ?
    The 1200G's arm looks very similar to that of the standard 1200/1210 but it's a very different arm which you can feel as soon as you pick it up. Firstly, the new arm is noticeably lighter which is down to the magnesium alloy rather than the aluminium tube of old. When you move the arm towards the centre spindle, you can also feel that movement is much smoother than with the original. Both the gimbal bearings and bearing housing have been re-designed and upgraded and friction is measurably lower. You can feel the whole thing is just of a much higher quality when you're manually cueing, although the feather-lightness of the arm can run away with you when you\re setting up a new cartridge, so that is one to watch. Internal wiring is much higher quality (at least as good as the aftermarket KAB wiring) and is continued through to the headshell, which also looks the same but now also allows azimuth adjustment. The only similarities that are carried through from the original arm seem to be the counterweight and the anti-skate which I think could have been a bit more accurate, but that's a very minor niggle. My only other niggle is the range of VTA adjustment doesn't quite go low enough for some shorter bodied cartridges. I couldn't get the right VTA on my Audio Technica AT-33PTG. You can get around it with shims or a thicker platter mat, but there's a better way around it:

    The one real issue I have found with the new arm is that because it is so much lighter, that does narrow your choice of cartridge somehow and you'll need to avoid cartridges with low compliance values. I have tried a number of different cartridges both MM and MC and I can say 100% that a good MC will really sing so long as it's a good match for the arm. My Shure M-55e with Shibata stylus and Audio Technica AT-95 with fine line stylus sound great, but they're no match for the AT-33PTG which sounds stunning on the 1200G (when setup correctly). I was hoping to use my old Dynavector DV20X2L MC as it had been my overall favourite for a good while, but it sounded dull and lifeless on the 1200G at first. I was lucky enough to get hold of a SoundSmith Carmen MKII for a great price which is a moving iron and that worked very nicely but in the back of my mind I knew it was capable of more, so I'd started thinking that maybe the arm was the bottleneck and pondered changing it, but then I got wind of the Funk Houdini so I thought I'd give that a try and that has solved all remaining issues. With the Houdini in place, ALL of my cartridges are performing at their best and it also solves the problem of the VTA not going low enough as it is basically a 6mm shim. The combination with the 1200G arm and Houdini is the best vinyl replay I've ever heard anywhere and you can now choose whatever cartridge you like. Like yourself I think the ART-9 or something from that family is going to be my next move, but there's plenty of life in the Dynavector and the SoundSmith yet..
    Rich

  2. #22
    Join Date: May 2012

    Location: Toulouse, France

    Posts: 5,582
    I'm Kevin.

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    Sounds like the arm on your 1200/1210 had worn bearings if I am honest.
    Mine is as smooth as it could possibly be.

    I was intrigued as people say that the arm is still not great, and big improvements can be made by changing it out.
    There is no doubt that the 1200G is a class act though.
    Kevin

    Too busy enjoying the music....

    European loan coordinator for Graham Slee HiFi system components..

  3. #23
    Join Date: Feb 2017

    Location: Sussex

    Posts: 58
    I'm Simon.

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    Quote Originally Posted by lovejoy View Post
    The 1200G's arm looks very similar to that of the standard 1200/1210 but it's a very different arm which you can feel as soon as you pick it up. Firstly, the new arm is noticeably lighter which is down to the magnesium alloy rather than the aluminium tube of old. When you move the arm towards the centre spindle, you can also feel that movement is much smoother than with the original. Both the gimbal bearings and bearing housing have been re-designed and upgraded and friction is measurably lower. You can feel the whole thing is just of a much higher quality when you're manually cueing, although the feather-lightness of the arm can run away with you when you\re setting up a new cartridge, so that is one to watch. Internal wiring is much higher quality (at least as good as the aftermarket KAB wiring) and is continued through to the headshell, which also looks the same but now also allows azimuth adjustment. The only similarities that are carried through from the original arm seem to be the counterweight and the anti-skate which I think could have been a bit more accurate, but that's a very minor niggle. My only other niggle is the range of VTA adjustment doesn't quite go low enough for some shorter bodied cartridges. I couldn't get the right VTA on my Audio Technica AT-33PTG. You can get around it with shims or a thicker platter mat, but there's a better way around it:

    The one real issue I have found with the new arm is that because it is so much lighter, that does narrow your choice of cartridge somehow and you'll need to avoid cartridges with low compliance values. I have tried a number of different cartridges both MM and MC and I can say 100% that a good MC will really sing so long as it's a good match for the arm. My Shure M-55e with Shibata stylus and Audio Technica AT-95 with fine line stylus sound great, but they're no match for the AT-33PTG which sounds stunning on the 1200G (when setup correctly). I was hoping to use my old Dynavector DV20X2L MC as it had been my overall favourite for a good while, but it sounded dull and lifeless on the 1200G at first. I was lucky enough to get hold of a SoundSmith Carmen MKII for a great price which is a moving iron and that worked very nicely but in the back of my mind I knew it was capable of more, so I'd started thinking that maybe the arm was the bottleneck and pondered changing it, but then I got wind of the Funk Houdini so I thought I'd give that a try and that has solved all remaining issues. With the Houdini in place, ALL of my cartridges are performing at their best and it also solves the problem of the VTA not going low enough as it is basically a 6mm shim. The combination with the 1200G arm and Houdini is the best vinyl replay I've ever heard anywhere and you can now choose whatever cartridge you like. Like yourself I think the ART-9 or something from that family is going to be my next move, but there's plenty of life in the Dynavector and the SoundSmith yet..
    Another great write up. Thanks for your insights here. Let us know if you go down the ART 9 route !

  4. #24
    Join Date: Mar 2014

    Location: KY - Scotland

    Posts: 5,081
    I'm Mike.

    Default

    1210 Mk7 just released

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