Technics SL-1200  •  SL-1210

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.... "   And indeed we now bring you the bearing upgrade and power supply for the original consumer audio SP-25.

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.

Our modifications restore it to it's original audiophile birth. 


 

A customers SL-1210 MKII with SME 309, rather tasty?
 

The Timestep Evo with SME309-TE ready to go out of the box!  click here for more details

 

 

The "captive nut" fixing allows arm
plates to be swapped without taking
the turntable apart.
 

The easy and standard nut and bolt
method that requires a lot of work
 if you ever need to change the arm or arm plate
 

 

The record Weight I looks cool and works well, just place it on the spindle to hold down warped records and to get greater contact with the audiophile mat

Weight II  Finished in black chrome to match the Jelco 750D, this weight can be used on all turntables, old and modern. It's a bit smaller and lighter than the Weight I.

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Arms & Cartridges:

The Standard Arm is not that bad and a lot better than some cheaper audio turntables.  The easiest thing to do is to fit an Audio Technica AT120e, an AT440MLa or if you can take moving coil a Denon DL-103.

The SME 309 is very cool indeed.  We suggest the Audio Technica AT33EV, or Transfiguration Axia .  You will sleep at night knowing you have a superb combination. 

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Arms plates:

The original arm plates have been replaced by new anodised plates available in silver or black.  The correct VTA will be obtainable whatever thickness of mat is fitted.  They are a composite sandwich design that also has better energy dissipation.  They have taken a long time to design and represent the ultimate Technics arm plate, expensive, yes!  but you only get what you pay for!

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Audiophile mats:

Mat 1: The Standard mat is quite hard, does not fully support a record and is designed for DJ use.  Everything you don't want for your audiophile use!  BEWARE:  The Technics platter has an outside lip that will make any other mat tilt up at the edges, this means your records will only be in full contact at the very edge, and not with the main part of the record.  Our mat is slightly smaller in diameter to fit inside this lip and give your records constant contact.  This small but absolutely necessary feature demonstrates our fanatical attention to detail. Ours is made from finely textured, open-cell silicone foam, this mat has unsurpassed vibration-absorbing characteristics and no resonant qualities to discolour the music. Records are thoroughly decoupled from unwanted platter vibration.

A black elastomer "donut" on top of the white full-size foam base reduces vinyl/stylus feedback and eliminates lateral slippage, while drawing static electricity away from the record. Unique qualities allow the vinyl to "give" slightly, microscopically, to stylus contact, allowing the record groove to be tracked smoothly and accurately. Completely non-tacky, records lift right off the mat, while the underlying foam sticks firmly to the platter. This 3.7mm thick mat virtually eliminates the effect of the semi-hollow cast platter that can be prone to ring.
 

Mat 2:  No longer available.

 

Mat 3: The original Oyaide turntable mat “MJ-12”, is designed to trace the groove on the vinyl absolutely. The surface of MJ-12 is curved 1.0 degree which makes the record surface closely fit to MJ-12 by using a stabilizer (more than 300g is recommended). This corrects the warpage of an analogue record and makes the stylus moving stable.  For more details click here.

Mat 4:No longer available.

 

Mat 5:  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.

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Feet:

The standard SL-1200 SL1210 feet are designed for a hostile DJ environment, and made to a cost.  Our feet make a huge difference in sound and we give you a choice!

Feet 1: No longer available.

 

Feet 2: No longer available.

 


Feet 3:  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).

Accompanying Sorbothane Boots are also available to seat the bearings and maximise isolation.  Instrument Glass pads are also available for the perfectionist.
 

Feet 4:   No longer available.

 

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Power supply:

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, and c) the existing power supply dips on some motor demands giving variable and poor dynamics to the feedback system.  This 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.   For more much details on how we designed this PSU click here

We now use special order 3 pin high current gold plated Neutrik XLR connectors.  Other power supplies are not created equal, click on the link to find out why?  5 year guarantee.  A lot of customers have asked if ours is better than the KAB.  Well they are nice guys, but ours is a) a better power supply, and  b) ours eliminates the internal regulator ripple.  So is it better?  yes it is significantly better, so much so that if you have a KAB, you really ought to upgrade, you won't know what you are missing!!  Click here to find out why?  For high end applications we will always use linier power supplies, just like this one!  We will never use a switched mode power supply (SMPS) to drive the SL-1200 series!  90/100 - 110/120 & 220/240V versions available.  The HE III is only available in in black is now.

And for the ultimate we have the new Timestep T-01PSU Shunt PSU click here to see it.

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Strobe disable mod:

Some customers say they can tell the difference if the strobe light is disabled.  With our External PSU this is very unlikely as it has proper regulation and the strobe current pulses are not a problem.  However, we are always ready to help and if the External PSU is fitted by us then we can make it so!

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Bearings:

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.

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Plinth:

If you use our Funk platter and our Inspire plinth, you end up with a turntable that no longer looks like a DJ deck and sounds so very good.  The solid wood plinth adds just a little to the sound quality but adds shed loads of pure style.

No longer do you have to look at the strobe dots or the industrial housing, here you have a platter made out of the same sort of material that Clearaudio use on their £110K turntable and wood the quality of a bespoke furniture maker.

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Timestep Evo Turntable : ready to go out of the box !

Complete turntables ready to go.  You can chose the options and we simply make it for you.  The best choice for an out of the box solution.  Click here for more details.

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Prices

Arm plates

Including captive nuts and all fixings:
New type anodised  with correct VTA adjustment:
Linn/Jelco/Linn      SME black    All £90 each

Cartridges

Denon DL-110 £159.00 - Denon DL-103 £169.00 -   AT33EV £499.00
Transfiguration Axia £1,295.00 - Transfiguration Phoenix £2,100.00

Arms

SME M2-9 £870.00   -   SME 309 £1,194.00 (SME have connecting cable included)

Fitting

Fit arm board: £45.00
Fit Sound Hi Fi supplied arm: £25.00 (plus arm board fitting)
Fit customer supplied arm: £35.00 (plus arm board fitting)
Fit and align Sound Hi Fi supplied cartridge: £25.00
Fit and align customer supplied cartridge: £30.00
Return shipping in the UK: £15.00

Audiophile mat

Mat 1.  Unique design only available from Sound Hi Fi that fits the Technics platter £89.95
Mat 2.  No longer available.
Mat 3.  Oyaide MJ-12  £225.00
Mat 4.  5mm Achromat  SL-1200 version £75.00 and UK postage free.
Mat 5.  Oyaide BR-12 tungsten-mixed butyl rubber, very nice !  £90.00
click here to see

Feet 1

Feet 1, No longer available.

  Feet 2

Feet 2,  No longer available.

  Feet 3

4 Isonoe Feet£125.00 Sorbothane Boots £34.00 Instrument Glass discs £44.00

  Feet 4   No longer available.

Record weight

Weight I Stainless steel heavy record weight £125.00
Weight II Black Chrome record weight £55.00
Weight III Oyaide £225.00

  External PSU

HE III version in black only £450.00  click here to see it. Fitted here £35.00.  Fitting here & return shipping  charge £50.00  5 year guarantee,.
Timestep T-01PSU Shunt PSU click here to see it £995.00 6 year guarantee
Spare/second  power cable for a second deck £49.95

Strobe disable

Strobe disable is only available when we fit the External PSU here.  £49.95

  78rpm mod

 71-91rpm 33 1/3 & 45 and even the strobe works £299.00  click here for more on 78rpm

Motor dynamics mod

No longer available.

Main bearing mod

Main Bearing Timestep £249.00 exchange in stock now.  NOTE: there is a additional £75 refundable deposit on your original bearing.

Platter

Platter We recommend the standard platter with  the Mat 1 on top, or the Oyaide mat/platter.
Funk  With no strobe, no metal, no ringing;  £595.00 Highly recommended !

Plinth

Plinth We recommend the lovely Inspire unit that we take to shows and everyone falls in love with!  £287.00  Read the review by clicking here.

SL-1210 deck MKII

You can probably buy a used one on eBay & send it to us, after all we will be changing the bearing, the PSU and the arm, so nothing else to wear out!  

We offer new SL-1210 at £1,200.00 (black) but we can only supply these if fitted with a SME 309 or better arm, and a HE PSU.
● Good used SL-1210 with a two year guarantee £395.00
● Very good used SL-1210 with a two year guarantee £495.00
● Almost like new, with a good lid and all original box/packaging SL-1210 with a two year guarantee £595.00
● Like new SL-1210, with a new or almost perfect lid, no marks or scratches on the deck its self and all original box/packaging Sl-1200/SL-1210 with a two year guarantee £795.00
Please note used prices and condition will vary without notice.

Complete EVO turntable system

This is a complete ready to go package using only the finest components and at quite a reasonable price, click here to see it.

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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.

27 November 2014

Sound Hi Fi

PO Box 2001  Dartmouth Devon  TQ6 9QN  Great Britain

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