Technics SL-1200  •  SL-1210  1978 - 2010

from an ugly duckling into a beautiful swan!

Is the Technics SL1200/SL1210 a DJ deck or an audiophile turntable? Wikipedia has this to say "The Technics SL-1200 is a series of turntables manufactured since October 1972 by Matsushita under the brand name of Technics. Originally released as a high fidelity consumer record player.... " 

It is a common misconception that direct drive motors hunt, in fact the servo mechanism is entirely analogue and does not hunt or jitter.  By contrast an AC motor belt drive deck can suffer from cogging as the motor steps from magnet to magnet.  DC motors can easily suffer commutator noise and vibration too.  Belt drives often suffer from belt oscillation.  However, all Hi Fi decks are designed to minimise these problems, and so is the SL1200!  The SL1210 is the black version and the SL1200 is silver.  There isn't any significant difference in all the versions, the MK II is the simplest and cheapest.  All our mods will fit any version of the SL-1200 or SL-1210.

We have been modifying Technics SL-1200 series turntable since 2007 and have had three prestigious HiFi World "Turntable of the Year Awards" for all our dedicated work.

The SL1210 is the black version and the SL1200 is silver.  There isn't any significant difference in all the versions, the MK II is the simplest and cheapest. 
All our mods will fit any version of the SL-1200 or SL-1210.

Arms                                                                              
The standard arm if in good condition is fairly good and isn't really worth replacing with another low cost arm.  For the very best performance use the T-609 Timestep arm that easily outperforms the SME 309 but at a lower cost.

Cartridge
Low cost : Denon DL-110, 103 or Audio Technica AT-F7. If you can only take a Moving Coil cartridge use the DL110.
The best : Audio Technica AT33-EV, this cartridge has won awards and is our all time best value cartridge.

Record weight
Low cost : Audio Technica AT618
The best : Oyaide STB-MS

Armplate
• Ammonite Audio Modular as shown above, SME or Linn/Jelco/Timestep or blank. Available in black and silver.  Why ?  Because They look nice, designed to mimic the outer ring of the original Technics arm mount, even replicating its tiny and delightful outer edge ‘step’. All fixings are from underneath, so no ugly bolts etc. Being CNC machined, the assembly is dimensionally correct and stable – no odd angles here. The assembly of outer ring and centre plate is strong and stiff, which does matter when you consider the tiny stylus movements required to play a record. That means you will get the very best performance from your chosen tonearm and therefore the best sound reproduction.
• Timestep armboard, 1,000's sold, great quality and great price, but not nearly as good looking as the Ammonite !

Bearing
The standard bearing on the left cannot keep the oil in place.  Instead a high viscosity "anti-fling" oil must be used.  The Timestep bearing has the spindle as a solid single piece of polished 303 Stainless Steel with a much larger base diameter and the bearing is polished PB102 Phosphor Bronze. A silicon nitride ball and PTFE thrust pad are fitted. The whole assembly is in a captive oil bath so that you can use more suitable thin oil, or any oil of your choice. 

The far right image shows the Timestep bearing shaft on the left and the Technics on the right.

The Technics bearing shaft has a cut out just below the brass part, resulting in a diameter of just 5.9 mm, the Timestep bearing shaft at this point is 10.4mm. This gives the Technics a critical bending moment around the reduced diameter. 

The main part of the Technics shaft bearing surface is 7.1mm diameter and the Timestep one is 11.1mm which results in a bearing surface increase of nearly 2.5 times more (actually 2.445). And that's a lot!  The other image is looking down into the captive shaft bearing. At the bottom would normally be the P.T.F.E. thrust pad and the silicon nitride ball bearing, and a lot of very nice oil. 

So with 1.76 times diameter at the weakest point and 2.5 times more bearing surface area, you can see why we get such great performance. 

There are stories on some forums about other bearings sticking, some propagated by me, and some from recent users.
I remember doing the Bristol show with a very expensive German turntable. It had been in the van overnight and as the bearing warmed up over a few hours, the different materials expanded at different rates giving intolerable wow and then a complete seizure. Later that evening it finally stabilised. But you have to wonder how it would perform in a normal house in the winter after the heating had come on early in the morning? So where is this leading? well materials and tolerances, you need both the right material and the right tolerance. It's no good making a bearing so tight it introduces drag and takes a lot more power from the motor. Oil is meant to sit between bearing surfaces, a tight bearing will not allow that. Conversely it's no good making a sloppy bearing. We use similar tolerances as Linn and after a lot of research, measurement and listening, we discovered that the same sort of oil that Linn uses was better, except ours is golden not black, and it is 100% pure synthetic. It does have EP additives but not excessively so. 

As you can see, there is more to bearings than you might first think. Time, patience, pure engineering skills, measurement equipment and good ears are required, and Timestep and its staff have all of those.
 
Platter mat
Oyaide BR-12 Inheriting the shape of MJ-12, it is made of butyl rubber which has excellent vibration damping properties. Due to its high friction coefficient and grippy material, it enhances the adhesion with the vinyl surface and ensures stable vinyl playbacks by its anti-slip property.

Tungsten, which has almost same specific weight with gold and known as anti-vibration material, is mixed into butyl rubber which has excellent low-repulsion force and vibration absorbing property. The tapered structure angled 1.0° from centre circle to the edge for correction of warping. 18 of tuning holes are arranged in spiral pattern for effective vibration attenuation.

Power supply
HE III The SL-1200 has three problems with its power supply :  
a) the transformer mechanically hums and this is audible through the cartridge,  
b) the transformer has an electromagnetic field also audible though the cartridge,
c) the existing power supply dips on some motor demands giving variable and poor dynamics to the feedback system. 

Our low noise power supply eliminates all these problems.  If you can solder, you can easily fit it yourself. We supply fully colour illustrated step by step instructions, if you can solder one joint, you can fit this easily yourself.  
We now use special order 3 pin high current gold plated Neutrik XLR connectors.  Other power supplies are not created equal. 5 year guarantee.  90/100 - 110/120 & 220/240V versions available. 
The HE III is only available in black.
 
Feet
Isonoe Isolation Feet in black or silver, are equally effective at blocking the ingress of vibration from the mechanical assemblies of both turntables and CD players . Designed utilising cutting-edge 3D CAD modelling and simulation, the Isonoe Isolation System is machined from raw magnesium alloy billets by multi-axis CNC machinery to within a tolerance of 1 micron.  Stainless-steel bearings in the base of the outer body block the transfer of energy by keeping the point of physical contact area between surfaces to a minimum (akin to a more contemporary version of spikes in hi-fi). Available in black and silver.


Strobe disable
This really doesn't make a difference, but if we do the work on your turntable we can change the deck mounted on/off switch to become a strobe disable switch.

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Prices

Item

Description

Price inc 20% VAT

SL1210

Both brand new and used ones available

Ask

 

 

 

T-609

Timestep Tonearm including mount & interconnect cable

£1,559.00

Glanz MH-94S

Glanz tonearm

£5,600.00

Denon DL-110

High output cartridge

£175.00

Denon DL-103

Budget moving coil cartridge

£179.00

Audio Technica AT-F7

Budget moving coil cartridge

£199.00

Audio Technica AT33-EV

Outstanding value moving coil cartridge

£399.00

Miyajima Takumi

Premium Moving Coil cartridge

£1,691.00

Miyajima Shilabe

The ultimate Moving Coil cartridge

£2,775.00

Audio Technica AT618

Budget record weight

£38.00

Oyaide STB-MS

Premium record weight

£225.00

Timestep

Standard armboard for SL1210 & SL-1200 Black and silver SME only

£90.00

Ammonite Audio Modular

Premium armboard for SL1210 & SL-1200  Black or silver, SME or Jelco/Linn, or blank for your own arm

£205.00

Timestep bearing

Replacement bearing for SL-1200  SL1210 only

£259.00

Oyaide BR-12

Platter matt

£88.00

HE III PSU

Power supply for the SL-1200  SL1210   black only

£450.00

Isonoe isolation Feet

Feet for the SL-1200  SL1210 and GR  black or silver

£120.00

Strobe disable

Performed at base for the SL-1200  SL1210

£35.00

Fitting

Fit armboard

£45.00

 

Fit supplied arm

£45.00

 

Fit supplied cartridge

£35.00

 

Fit customers cartridge

£55.00

 

Fit PSU

£85.00

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Thank you for the service provided by Sound HiFi. Rita and I are very  happy with the SME V tonearm; we had a lot of fun mounting it in our  "old Technics 1210" and now the improvement is so audible in both  ends that we are really aware of the GIGO (garbage in garbage out)  role in our LPs. Thank you again and we'll surely consider your shop first before buying anything "analogical" ;-).

Got everything installed and set up on Saturday. Spent the rest of the weekend blown away by the transformation of my turntable. It's pretty incredible.

Received my PSU today, my wife managed to catch the postman today. I must say the hardest part of fitting it was refitting the new cable in the rascally strain relief bush! Initial listening is very promising a lot more detail and much more open. Now all i have to do is save up some more pennies, sell my Garrard 401 and technoarm and put the cash toward a SME 309! Looks cracking in black too, very impressed! Many Thanks and Good Luck with Timestep

I received the adapter plate from you earlier this week for mounting my Jelco 750D tonearm onto the Technics SL1210mk2 turntable. The adapter plate is very nice and much higher quality than I was expecting.

Received my PSU today. I must say the hardest part of fitting it was refitting the new cable in the rascally strain relief bush! Initial listening is very promising a lot more detail and much more open. Now all I have to do is save up some more pennies, sell my Garrard 401 and technoarm and put the cash toward a SME 309 and my Technics will be nicely Timestep'ed Looks cracking in black too, very impressed!  Steve

▪ Hi Dave, Just to say how bowled over I am by the Technics sl1200 you modded for me last week. The deck sounds excellent with hitherto unheard detail, bass notes so much clearer, mid sweet and top airy. Images rock solid. Thank you very much.. Also I will be ordering the sorbothane boots for feet from you shortly.  Regards John 

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Reviews:

•  Hi Fi World review of a SL-1210 with most of our options, click here to read it.

•  Tone Audio review of the SL-1200 with some options  click here to read it.

•  Hi Fi World review of the Timestep EVO SL-1210  click here to read it.

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Notes from the web,  latest one is at the bottom of this list

Note:  16 February 2010:  There are new mats out there!  Instead of trying hard and getting it to fit inside the platter, they have taken the easy route and made it a stock size.  This means it drapes offer the platter only supported at the very edge.  Instead of making it properly they hid the fact with some mumo jumbo.  It costs more to do things properly and we believe in that.  We will never take short cuts, our power supply is a testament to that!

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Mail order & Prices
We will often match or beat any price.  Postage/shipping please ask.
Just telephone, Fax or e-mail and order by Credit Card, Debit Card, Cheque and other ways. We ship in the UK by Fed Ex and the rest of the world by insured Fed Ex.
All prices shown include UK VAT.

03 April 2018

Sound Hi Fi

PO Box 2001  Dartmouth Devon  TQ6 9QN  Great Britain

Telephone 01803 833366  Fax 01803 839498  e-mail sales@SoundHiFi.com