New Technics SL-1210MK5 completes my analog upgrade!

John Frum

Secret Society Member
I hope I’ll be able to hear past the incessant cogging to the brittle, grainy, definitely-not-audiophile presentation I’ve read so much about!

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Trials don’t start until tomorrow when I get my phono preamp back.

This table was made in March 2010, and was one of the last off the line before the SL-1200MK2 and its derivatives were discontinued. It had one audiophile owner, who outfitted it with MK2 platter mat and dust cover hinges, and replaced the high capacitance cables that plagued the ‘09-forward ‘1200 tables with Mogami WR-03. Curiously, the KAB thrust plate wax support mod has been installed, as well.

Most of my vinyl listening in the last 15 years has been through my trusty fully automatic SL-1600. Giving up those auto features will be a blow, so I’ll be leaning on my new Little Fwend (Disco Edition). Further mods are up for consideration, though I’m not sure how crazy I want to get yet. I think an RCM may be more pressing than table updates.

Cartridge is courtesy of our @Drugolf, a Supex SD-900/E+ Super that’s been retipped by Joe Long with a nude line contact diamond. It’s mounted on a NOS Supex SL-4 headshell, and the whole apparatus will be going into a JuicyMusic Tercel II preamp equipped with Jensen SUTs.

Any reminiscences about the ‘1200, good, bad, or indifferent are welcome, along with thoughts or recommendations on my new analog rig.
 
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JohnVF

Administrator
Staff member
I've enjoyed every moment I've ever spent with an SL-1200. Some sounded better than others. Oddly a fully Funk-Firm modified deck that was barely a 1200 except for the motor, quartz lock, and casing wasn't one of my favorite iterations of it, though I will say that I think the Funk Firm Acromat can liven up a direct drive if its a bit too sterile. I'm not a mat fanatic but have never regretted the money I spent on that..it sits on my Mitsubishi LT-30 I'm listening to right now, and takes what little I don't like about that deck out of the sonic picture. YMMV. Other than that, I'm in the camp of letting it bet what it is because what it is is really nice. I think the arm is good (there may be some bearing upgrades?) depending on how much it likes your cart. Its a fine deck that I'd personally love to have over most of the Rega family with some upper tier exceptions (sorry to just throw that bit of tribalism bait out there).
 

prime minister

Site Owner
Staff member
Congrats, John.

What a lovely table. And an absolute joy to use. Can’t wait to hear your impressions of your Souped Up Supex too.

There really is a special joy in using a product that is so well engineered. From the click of the buttons to that wonderful pop up light. It is about the perfect turntable.

Yes, I’m jealous.
 

S0und Dragon

Moderator and Circus Hand.
Staff member
My last 1200 left over the summer to a new home. Just as well as it was damaged and in need of serious love. But It was my last piece of DJ equipment and served me well for many years. After being stored for years and after a serious drop. It still kept speed!
 

John Frum

Secret Society Member
What a lovely table. And an absolute joy to use. Can’t wait to hear your impressions of your Souped Up Supex too.

There really is a special joy in using a product that is so well engineered. From the click of the buttons to that wonderful pop up light. It is about the perfect turntable.

I can already tell you a little about the Supex. The SD-900 was designed by or with contributions by Yoshiaki Sugano, and is considered by some a precursor to the Koetsu Black. I put it on the SL-1600 with a Hitachi stamped headshell, pushing towards the edges of how heavy an arm the cart wanted.

The Tercel’s MC section consists of Jensen JT-44K-DX SUTs JuicyMusic called the “Cream” option. In my likely factory-built preamp, the transformers were clearly added by the owner, and the wiring was a rats’ nest that introduced an unacceptable amount of noise. I poked and prodded, making things worse, and an experienced friend offered to clean things up.

So in spite of the sub-optimal situation, the Supex acquitted itself nicely, and ruined me for an Ortofon 2M Blue I’d previously really liked. The amount of additional texture was not subtle, and the tonal balance was excellent.

And, yeah, I’m also a sucker for the exceptional design, feel, and build quality of the better Technics direct drives, and have on many occasions waxed rhapsodic on Panasonic products from my ‘1600 to the powered stapler I use at work.
 
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JohnVF

Administrator
Staff member
I bet that Supex does sound nice. Mine is in line for being sent off for a new cantilever or at the least a retip and checkout...it has a hum as well, which we talked about privately, but I'm hoping that VAS can clear that up as well as advise on what else to do. Mine won't track very cleanly but that could be an aging suspension... it may or may not have been NOS (sort of known pedigree but not totally known). Just a reminder that mine has a bit of hum/buzz as well on a system that is normally quiet
 

John Frum

Secret Society Member
My last 1200 left over the summer to a new home. Just as well as it was damaged and in need of serious love.

A few months ago, I’d never owned a 1200. Then, in rapid succession, I found a “MK1”, a MK2, and a M3D. The latter two had been DJ-beat, and they all had some degree of issues. I was very impressed, though, and thought seriously about keeping the M3D.

I tallied the cost of refurbishment, and instead decided to keep my eyes out for a deal on the nicest, newest 1200 I could find. Almost immediately, the 1210MK5 popped up on US Audio Mart for local pickup in DC, priced meaningfully lower than I think it should have been. It was in its original box, and the seller said he hadn’t used it in years. My brother-in-law was kind enough to pick it up and hold it until we could arrange transit, and I already had the Fwend waiting when the deck arrived.
 
Excellent! I am excited to get your impressions of that cart. I never even mounted it after getting the work done on it. Joe felt it was one of the finest sounding he'd ever heard.
 

John Frum

Secret Society Member
The Juicy Music (JuicyMusic?) Tercel II is acquitting itself nicely now that the hack SUT installation has been sorted out.

Right now, I’ve got Mullards in the 12AT7 slots, and the indispensable Raytheon shiny black plate 12AX7A in V2, robbed from the Almarro. A ribbed plate Telefunken 12AX7 took its place in the amp - if I run two of the Raytheons in the system, it leans towards Technicolor.

The textured top plate of the Tercel is a dust magnet, but fits JM’s aesthetic, and sort of matches the turntable. I had wanted a silver 1200, but am warming to the look of the 1210.

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airdronian

Radar Member
The Juicy Music (JuicyMusic?) Tercel II is acquitting itself nicely now that the hack SUT installation has been sorted out.

Right now, I’ve got Mullards in the 12AT7 slots, and the indispensable Raytheon shiny black plate 12AX7A in V2, robbed from the Almarro. A ribbed plate Telefunken 12AX7 took its place in the amp - if I run two of the Raytheons in the system, it leans towards Technicolor.

The textured top plate of the Tercel is a dust magnet, but fits JM’s aesthetic, and sort of matches the turntable. I had wanted a silver 1200, but am warming to the look of the 1210.

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That's a nice looking phono stage. Is this the same as the one @JohnVF has ?
 
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