Technics SL1200 Cartridge Alignment
Nov 24, 2008 at 2:22 AM Thread Starter Post #1 of 28

nkoulban

100+ Head-Fier
Joined
Feb 12, 2007
Posts
242
Likes
11
Hi,

This is a real newbie question on cartridge alignment I know, here it is...

I am currently setting up a newly acquired Technics SL1210M5G. According to KABUSA the prefered alignment method for a Technics is Stevenson. I then went to the Vinyl Engine and printed a generic Stevenon 2 point alignment protractor. I'm not sure how to use it though. Do I keep the protractor in one place when setting alignment to the 2 null points or do I need to move the protractor for each null point alignment?

I have just ordered some KAB mods (strobe disable, damper, 1/4" rubber mat). At the moment it is stock expect for the headshell (Zupreme with the thinner Technics headshell rubber washer). I'll be fitting my Audio Technica OC9II cart to it and a new Project Phono Box II SE. I can't wait to listen to this new toy.

Thanks in advance.

beerchug.gif
 
Nov 24, 2008 at 2:28 AM Post #2 of 28

Uncle Erik

Uncle Exotic
Joined
Mar 18, 2006
Posts
22,596
Likes
502
You'll want to keep the protractor in place while you do the alignment. The stylus should hit each null point while moving the arm back and forth.

Yes, it is a pain. Especially the first time you do it. If you get frustrated, walk away for 30-60 minutes and then try it again. Once the stylus hits both null points, square the stylus up, then set the counterweight and anti-skate.
 
Nov 24, 2008 at 4:11 AM Post #3 of 28

derekbmn

Headphoneus Supremus
Joined
Jun 25, 2005
Posts
1,674
Likes
11
Quote:

Originally Posted by Uncle Erik /img/forum/go_quote.gif
You'll want to keep the protractor in place while you do the alignment. The stylus should hit each null point while moving the arm back and forth.


Not totally true... It depends on what kind of protractor you are using.

If you are using a standard 2 null point protractor regardless of whether it is Baerwald,Stevenson or Lofgren etc. you WILL have to move the platter to get it to align with both the outer and inner null points.

BUT when using an arc protractor you DO NOT need to move the platter and it should (when aligned properly) follow the arc and align with the set null points. This kind of protractor is only usefull under strict guidelines in that the exact tonearm mounting distance must be used with certain arc protractors.
In this case there is a arc protractor for the Technics mounting distance of 215mm on the Vinylengine website.

My advice is to simply find what works best for you and stick with it. Mounting cartridges is a bit of a pain at first but with time and experience becomes rather easy. Good Luck !
 
Nov 24, 2008 at 5:01 AM Post #4 of 28

nkoulban

100+ Head-Fier
Joined
Feb 12, 2007
Posts
242
Likes
11
The protractor I'm refering to is not an arc protractor, so I assume that will need to move the protractor to match up to the 2 null points. It looks like there is no one best method, so I should not get hung up on doing a Stevenson alignment (Unless the Technics experts out there advise otherwise).

I also downloaded a generic 2 point protractor from Enjoy the Music, this one says that you to keep the protractor in one place and to line up the 2 null points. This one is easier to use and actually explains how to use it (unlike the vinyl engine which assumes you know this stuff).

I have performed my alignment, adjusted the headshell amuzuth, set tracking weight and anti-skate and... BLISS!!!! I can't beleive the sound I'm getting out of this deck that I had originally dismissed as a DJ deck... and this is through headphones!

beyersmile.png
 
Nov 24, 2008 at 6:11 AM Post #6 of 28

nkoulban

100+ Head-Fier
Joined
Feb 12, 2007
Posts
242
Likes
11
Derekbmn , you say that "Yes the Enjoy The Music one is an exception, albeit a bit of a crude one". Do you think I should try another protractor, so just leave it alone if it sounds good?

Also, you are right about the Senns loving being fed vinyl, my HD650s make the records sound sweet indeed. I was expecting my cans to highlight every pop and click, in fact the opposite occurs, the 650s sound very clean and it is my amp and speakers that highlight every pop, click, etc.

I just finished doing an AB on some tracks off Carol King's Tapestry album, one was off iTunes on a Mac in Apple Lossless format via an optically connected Stello DA100S DAC and the other off my Technics Rig. Both sources went through to my balanced desktop via its analogue inputs. Interesting comparison! The vinyl version sounded so immediate and real even down to the hearing the piano keys being hit, Carole breathing and the sound ambiance of the studio. The digital version of course had no surface noise and arguably provided a fraction more detail but somehow it sounded less real and immediate, a little dead sounding if you like. I have a decent record collection that I'm pulling out of storage, I can really see myself enjoying both digital and vinyl now. I wouldn't go so far as to say vinyl sounded better than digital just satisfyingly different.

Quote:

Originally Posted by derekbmn /img/forum/go_quote.gif
Yes the Enjoy The Music one is an exception, albeit a bit of a crude one.

Congrats on getting the alignment done ! You will quickly find out that the Senn 580/600/650 LOVE being fed vinyl.
tongue_smile.gif



 
Nov 24, 2008 at 6:16 AM Post #7 of 28

Uncle Erik

Uncle Exotic
Joined
Mar 18, 2006
Posts
22,596
Likes
502
Quote:

Originally Posted by derekbmn /img/forum/go_quote.gif
Not totally true... It depends on what kind of protractor you are using.

If you are using a standard 2 null point protractor regardless of whether it is Baerwald,Stevenson or Lofgren etc. you WILL have to move the platter to get it to align with both the outer and inner null points.

BUT when using an arc protractor you DO NOT need to move the platter and it should (when aligned properly) follow the arc and align with the set null points. This kind of protractor is only usefull under strict guidelines in that the exact tonearm mounting distance must be used with certain arc protractors.
In this case there is a arc protractor for the Technics mounting distance of 215mm on the Vinylengine website.

My advice is to simply find what works best for you and stick with it. Mounting cartridges is a bit of a pain at first but with time and experience becomes rather easy. Good Luck !



redface.gif


Well, you learn something new every day! Thanks and I need to read up on that.
 
Nov 24, 2008 at 2:44 PM Post #9 of 28

memepool

Headphoneus Supremus
Joined
Mar 24, 2004
Posts
2,689
Likes
13
Quote:

Originally Posted by nkoulban /img/forum/go_quote.gif
I have a decent record collection that I'm pulling out of storage, I can really see myself enjoying both digital and vinyl now. I wouldn't go so far as to say vinyl sounded better than digital just satisfyingly different.


Cool but you'll really need to get a better tonearm to hear what detail the Technics is capable of. The stock arm isn't really upto the job of tracking a nice MC like the ATOC9 which should sound a lot more revealing.
 
Nov 24, 2008 at 5:10 PM Post #10 of 28

ssportclay

1000+ Head-Fier
Joined
Aug 27, 2003
Posts
1,335
Likes
11
I have to agree on the tonearm upgrade suggestion. The AT-OC9ML/II actually gets mixed reviews. The big problem with this cartridge is that it is so affordable that people are mounting it on inexpensive turntables/tonearms. I ran one for about a year and it tracked pretty well on my silver tonearm. It was very revealing a detailed and fun to listen to but it shoves Hi-Fidelity in your face to the extent that it gets on your nerves after a while. I would say that even a stock Rega 250 tonearm is probably even marginal for this cartridge. I am running a new Stanton 681eee now. I struggled through a very long 6 weeks and 120 hours before it finally broke in and started to sing. Now that I have soldiered through this terrible period I am now liking the Stanton much better than the AT-OC9ML/II. It has a warmer more analog sound with a magical floating in air sound stage I haven't quite experienced with any other cartridge.
 
Nov 24, 2008 at 5:51 PM Post #11 of 28

memepool

Headphoneus Supremus
Joined
Mar 24, 2004
Posts
2,689
Likes
13
Quote:

Originally Posted by ssportclay /img/forum/go_quote.gif
I have to agree on the tonearm upgrade suggestion. The AT-OC9ML/II actually gets mixed reviews. The big problem with this cartridge is that it is so affordable that people are mounting it on inexpensive turntables/tonearms. I ran one for about a year and it tracked pretty well on my silver tonearm. It was very revealing a detailed and fun to listen to but it shoves Hi-Fidelity in your face to the extent that it gets on your nerves after a while. I would say that even a stock Rega 250 tonearm is probably even marginal for this cartridge. .


I agree AT carts can be very tonearm dependent and are also pretty fussy about phonostages. They are really happiest punching well above their weight in a higher end system which makes them really good value for money, but can sound a bit shouty or hard and grainy if the ancillaries arn't a good match. Maybe it didn't get on with your phonostage?

I've never heard an OC9 on a Technics arm but short on detail is one thing they are not. I'd say you'd loose most of the definition via the Technics arm's multitude of damped joints. Getting rid of the rubber washer on the headshell collar for starters should tighten things up a bit.



Quote:

Originally Posted by ssportclay /img/forum/go_quote.gif
I am running a new Stanton 681eee now. I struggled through a very long 6 weeks and 120 hours before it finally broke in and started to sing. Now that I have soldiered through this terrible period I am now liking the Stanton much better than the AT-OC9ML/II. It has a warmer more analog sound with a magical floating in air sound stage I haven't quite experienced with any other cartridge.


I also think the Stanton is way underated. It sounds as though you'd like a Denon DL-103 though which I've been having a lot of fun with recently, or a Benz Glider which should be happier on the OL.
 
Nov 24, 2008 at 9:55 PM Post #12 of 28

ssportclay

1000+ Head-Fier
Joined
Aug 27, 2003
Posts
1,335
Likes
11
Most of the people who seem to really love the Stanton 681 are running them with original New York manufactured Stanton Stereohedron styli which are no longer available. I almost ordered a JICO shibata on several occasions during the long grueling break in but the stock elliptical stylus finally smoothed out and is now sounding fine. I suppose the JICO shibata stylus could potentially extract my detail but I have yet to see any reports of this very interesting stylus anywhere on the internet.
 
Nov 25, 2008 at 3:53 AM Post #13 of 28

nkoulban

100+ Head-Fier
Joined
Feb 12, 2007
Posts
242
Likes
11
I only have my RP850 to compare with the Technics and based on using the some AT OC9II cart, the Technics wins hand down. The Technics is a (currently) stock SL1210M5G which has the copper OFC wiring and the improved titanium plated arm. I am also running a Zupreme headshell with the caradas wiring and it is sitting on vibrapods and cones. As for the rubber headshell washer I have tried it with and without and have found that the thin rubber washer suplied by Technics offers the best solution sound wise to my ears. I'm going to add an isopltmat, 1/4" thick Technics rubber mat, KAB tonearm damper and KAB strobe disabler. It will be interesting to see how much the Technics improves after the mods. I'm reticent to put an OL Silver on the deck as I will miss out on VTA adjustment and I like the ability to swap headshells. If I end up being unhappy about the Technics performance
after all of this I will consider going down another path.
 
Nov 25, 2008 at 6:48 AM Post #14 of 28

nkoulban

100+ Head-Fier
Joined
Feb 12, 2007
Posts
242
Likes
11
Oh, and I forgot to mention that if I went and spent $ on an OL Sliver arm my wife will kill me.

I reckon if the KAB mods don't get good results, I can always go the OL Silver path later. It may also be worth getting a DL110 to compliment the AT OC9II, it would make an interesting alternative for sure.

icon10.gif
 
Nov 25, 2008 at 2:29 PM Post #15 of 28

ssportclay

1000+ Head-Fier
Joined
Aug 27, 2003
Posts
1,335
Likes
11
Quote:

Originally Posted by nkoulban /img/forum/go_quote.gif
I only have my RP850 to compare with the Technics and based on using the some AT OC9II cart, the Technics wins hand down. The Technics is a (currently) stock SL1210M5G which has the copper OFC wiring and the improved titanium plated arm. I am also running a Zupreme headshell with the caradas wiring and it is sitting on vibrapods and cones. As for the rubber headshell washer I have tried it with and without and have found that the thin rubber washer suplied by Technics offers the best solution sound wise to my ears. I'm going to add an isopltmat, 1/4" thick Technics rubber mat, KAB tonearm damper and KAB strobe disabler. It will be interesting to see how much the Technics improves after the mods. I'm reticent to put an OL Silver on the deck as I will miss out on VTA adjustment and I like the ability to swap headshells. If I end up being unhappy about the Technics performance
after all of this I will consider going down another path.



The Technics 1200 turntable is a solid performer and you will probably have to spend over $2000 to do better and even then you may have to choose carefully. The stock tonearm has many nice convenience features that many people cling to even though they are detrimental to sound quality. Things like the detachable head shell, the VTA adjustment, the spring loaded anti-skate mechanism, and even the arm tube made from common tubing all detract from sound quality. The KABUSA Mods can reduce some of the damage being done but there is no solution as good as starting with a clean sheet of paper. Installing a whole new tonearm will fix all the above problems and will address the wiring and bearing issues that I didn't even mention.
 

Users who are viewing this thread

Top