Craig's List TT find - how'd I do?
Nov 20, 2008 at 11:53 PM Thread Starter Post #1 of 16

jpelg

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I just picked up a Technics SL-1700 (non-MkII) in near-new condition from its original owner tonight. Here's a slick pic off the 'Net (not mine, but the same model):

2693346738_e833f63440.jpg


It came with the original dust cover, the owners manual & brochure, and an Ortofon VMS 20 E MkII cartridge installed (good?). He even included a cheapo, Radio Shack-type phono preamp.

Stylus condition seems good, as he reportedly only used the 'table in his home stereo for a couple of years before boxing it up & putting it away in his closet. Never DJ-ed or abused. The thing is heavy - built like a tank!

Any ideas or recommendations for getting the best out of this unit? Cartridge upgrade? Phono stage? Any tests I should run thru? How much is it worth to invest in a deck like this?
 
Nov 21, 2008 at 3:53 AM Post #2 of 16

tubes

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If it operates well with no problems you did very good, do a search at Audioasylum at you will get some good info on the table. Upgrade the cartridge and you will be happy as a clam. Something like a Denon DL-110 will be a nice match. Get yourself a nice budget phono preamp like a Cambridge 640p and you will be good to go.

Phill
 
Nov 21, 2008 at 11:25 AM Post #3 of 16

Lazarus Short

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The Ortofon VMS series qualifies as Timeless Classic, IMO. Nice TT too.
 
Nov 21, 2008 at 12:05 PM Post #4 of 16

memepool

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Quote:

Originally Posted by Lazarus Short /img/forum/go_quote.gif
The Ortofon VMS series qualifies as Timeless Classic, IMO. Nice TT too.


It is a lovely cart but completely mismatched to the Technics SL1700 MkI arm which has a mass of around 16-17gms ! The VMS was designed for something more like an SME 3009 Mk2 Improved at 5-6gms effective mass !

see here.
Resonant Frequency Evaluator

your Technics will be much happier with a Denon MC cart like the DL-110/160 which will work with any standard phonostage, or if you have an MC input then maybe the stalwart DL 103. I'm running one of these at the moment and it's really a beguilingly musical performer.
 
Nov 21, 2008 at 8:30 PM Post #5 of 16

jpelg

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Quote:

Originally Posted by tubes /img/forum/go_quote.gif
Something like a Denon DL-110 will be a nice match.


Quote:

Originally Posted by memepool /img/forum/go_quote.gif
It is a lovely cart but completely mismatched to the Technics SL1700 MkI arm. The VMS was designed for something more like an SME 3009 Mk2 Improved at 5-6gms effective mass ! your Technics will be much happier with a Denon MC cart like the DL-110/160 which will work with any standard phonostage, or if you have an MC input then maybe the stalwart DL 103.


Thanks for the replies guys. That's exactly the kind of info I was hoping for. Much appreciated.

What's would I gain going from the DL-110 to the 160? Are they high enough output to use these with an MM preamp? Will there be a big improvement getting a dedicated MC pre?

Also, what is a good source for the Denon cartridges? Doing a quick Google shopping search turns up a fairly wide range of prices. Are they all legit?

smily_headphones1.gif
 
Nov 21, 2008 at 8:59 PM Post #6 of 16

Uncle Erik

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I got my DL103 off eBay. Can't quite remember the price, but it was the best I could find at the time. It was new and has been working great.

Instead of a dedicated MC preamp, look into running stepup transformers into a MM phonostage. I don't know about the DL110 or DL160, but there is wonderful synergy between the DL103 and Cinemag transformers. I had considered going up to more expensive carts, but the Cinemag/DL103 combo is extremely good. I might catch upgraditis some day, but I can't see moving away from this any time soon.
 
Nov 22, 2008 at 1:42 PM Post #7 of 16

jpelg

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Quote:

Originally Posted by Uncle Erik /img/forum/go_quote.gif
there is wonderful synergy between the DL103 and Cinemag transformers...the Cinemag/DL103 combo is extremely good.


Something like this unit?

This is getting more complicated & expensive. More devices equals more interconnects too. What did I start here?
wink.gif
Quote:

I got my DL103 off eBay. Can't quite remember the price, but it was the best I could find at the time. It was new and has been working great.


Hmmmm...there seems to be at least two different DL103 models, one considerably more expensive. What's the diff? Is there a good web source for this kind of info?

TIA.
 
Nov 22, 2008 at 2:10 PM Post #8 of 16

memepool

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Better to keep it simple then if you are planning on just using the Radioshack phonostage, which is perfectly adequate to start with, then just get the DL110.

If you want to spend more money I'd get a decent budget phonstage like the Cambridge Audio 540/640p. The 640 gives you every conceivable setting for MC carts and you'll need to spend thousands on a front end before it's really worth upgrading. It's a big jump up in quality over a basic one like the Radioshack.

Denon prices do seem to be quite different around the world. For some reason Germany seems to be the cheapest place. William Thakker has a shop on ebay eBay Store - William s Stylus Shop: Phono Cartridges and sells the DL110 for 119USD or DL103 for 155USD.

The standard answer to why low output moving coils are better than high output (HOMC) ones is that less coils of copper are needed in the generator to ramp up the output. But of course better quality pre-amplification is then needed in the phonostage which has to be more sensitive to amplify the lower output. So if you are using a more basic phonostage a higher output cart is advisable.
 
Nov 22, 2008 at 4:27 PM Post #9 of 16

ssportclay

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Quote:

Originally Posted by jpelg /img/forum/go_quote.gif
Something like this unit?

This is getting more complicated & expensive. More devices equals more interconnects too. What did I start here?
wink.gif
Hmmmm...there seems to be at least two different DL103 models, one considerably more expensive. What's the diff? Is there a good web source for this kind of info?

TIA.



I have also been using a Cinemag unit I built myself with my kicked-up Hagerman Bugle. The Cinemags sound amazing but they can be touchy to wire and assemble to eliminate all hum. Al Gallacher,(anumber1) at Custom Audio Enhancements can build you a similar unit for $325 if you want to go that direction. The Cambridge Audio 640P as suggested can do everything you need and is probably the easiest way to go. The more expensive 103R has better and heavier gauge wiring in the coils with fewer turns than the standard DL103. The 103R will provide you with a bit more extension on the higher frequencies at the expense of requiring a bit more amplification. The standard DL103 is a good starting point and has massive upgrades once you wear the original stylus out.
 
Nov 23, 2008 at 5:32 PM Post #10 of 16

Lazarus Short

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Quote:

Originally Posted by memepool /img/forum/go_quote.gif
It is a lovely cart but completely mismatched to the Technics SL1700 MkI arm which has a mass of around 16-17gms ! The VMS was designed for something more like an SME 3009 Mk2 Improved at 5-6gms effective mass !

see here.
Resonant Frequency Evaluator

your Technics will be much happier with a Denon MC cart like the DL-110/160 which will work with any standard phonostage, or if you have an MC input then maybe the stalwart DL 103. I'm running one of these at the moment and it's really a beguilingly musical performer.



I should have thought of that - my own VMS came mated to a Dual ULM (Ultra Low Mass) arm, and that should have been a clue.

Laz
 
Nov 24, 2008 at 5:57 PM Post #11 of 16

memepool

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To be fair I think the MKII VMS 20E is lower compliance but still out of the range of the Technics and the last time I bought a replacment stylus the needledoctor wanted '70 USD which is a little on the pricey side for a cart like that. The Denon is a better match anyway.
 
Nov 24, 2008 at 7:10 PM Post #12 of 16

nikongod

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I agree with the idea of a Denon DL-103 and a stepup transformer, especially considering the slightly heavy arm on the TT. It compares well with some absurdly expensive carts.
Quote:

Originally Posted by ssportclay /img/forum/go_quote.gif
The Cinemags sound amazing but they can be touchy to wire and assemble to eliminate all hum.


The newest wiring guide on the cinemag site is pretty reliable for low-hum. A little more complicated then the old one, but totally worth the effort.
 
Nov 25, 2008 at 8:05 AM Post #13 of 16

rockbottom

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How much is this turn table worth nowadays? quite curious about vinyl.
 
Nov 25, 2008 at 3:04 PM Post #14 of 16

emurray

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Congrats on snagging that old Technics. I love it when I find old vintage gear at a value.

Once you decide on a cartridge, you should head over to Vinyl-Engine (if you haven't been there already) and download a cartridge alignment protractor. I was able to track one down for my vintage Onkyo TT and I think it helped a lot with the sound quality. Aligning the cartridge is a fairly tedious process, and will leave you cursing the analog gods, so maybe pour yourself a cocktail before doing it. You'll be happier when it's done though.

Vinyl Engine | The Home of the Turntable

Also, FWIW, I've noticed that no one's mentioned them, so I'll go ahead and put in a recommendation for Audio Technica carts. They tend to be regarded as a very good "bang for your buck" cart and are fairly easy to find. Maybe look at the AT-440Mla cart?
 
Nov 25, 2008 at 4:42 PM Post #15 of 16

ssportclay

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Quote:

Originally Posted by nikongod /img/forum/go_quote.gif
I agree with the idea of a Denon DL-103 and a stepup transformer, especially considering the slightly heavy arm on the TT. It compares well with some absurdly expensive carts.

The newest wiring guide on the cinemag site is pretty reliable for low-hum. A little more complicated then the old one, but totally worth the effort.



There is more to making the Cinemags run quietly than just following a wiring diagram. Twisting the internal wires and eliminating as many switches as possible is a good start. Experimenting with different containers and transformer locations will also affect quietness. I am using only the 37.5 ohm tap with no switches with the transformers mounted inside the box. It seems like most people are now using aluminum boxes with the transformers mounted on the lid. I believe I ended up grounding both sides of each transformer to the ground lug as not suggested by Cinemag and as suggested by vinyl asylum. Keeping things as simple as possible seems to allow them to run more quietly and once you get them wired properly you can then experiment with placing them within your system.
 

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