Transfering Vinyl to Digital, I Need A Deck
Sep 8, 2008 at 6:40 AM Thread Starter Post #1 of 16


100+ Head-Fier
May 15, 2002
It's been a long time since I've posted here, but I need help.

My father has quite a few vinyls that he can't find on CD. He want's me to transfer them over. I was looking at one of those USB decks but I have only found that they are rubbish.

So, I'm left with getting a decent deck but I don't want to pay a lot of money. I know very little about what makes a good deck and what cartridges I can use. I was looking at something like this:

Technics SL1300
Kenwood KD-5070

I have a Shure N104 Stylus and I'd like to use that so I assume I can get a Shure cartridge that will work to go on this deck.

I'd like to keep it under $200 when it's all said and done. Please give me some suggestions.
Sep 8, 2008 at 7:22 AM Post #2 of 16
I have been thinking about this very issue for friends of mine. First, let's get a bit(okay, far better) better deck than those popular USB decks. The Technics SL-Q2 and SL-Q3 are apparently very close in quality/design to the SL-1200 units; and these are a solid reference point for a high quality turn table. However, these units have little bit lower torque motors and lack the DJ pitch control slider as on the 1200, but you don't need the super high torque of the 1200 for home use. These units have a substantial solid alloy cast body like the 1200, thought not quite as heavy. The tone arm is very similar design, and is probably the same quality. These arms are good arms from what I can tell in research; good enough for the purpose herein, anyways. $60-$100 should be sufficient to purchase an excellent condition unit on eBay.

I have no knowledge of the SL-1300, unfortunately. I don't even know what the body is made of, much less what similarities it may have to the SL-1200.

As for the cartridge, this is very important. I recommend the Denon DL-110. It will provide for extremely accurate data retrieval and in addition, it reads a bit deeper into the groove than the average stylus, which is very beneficial for used vinyl, as it bypasses some of the previous wear/damage that the vinyl has been subjected to. Your total should come out to no more than $220-$250. I do recommend the purchase of at least a carbon fiber dry brush and a Shure stylus force gauge so that you can accurately set the tracking force to be ideal. Download one of the standard protractor templates online and print it; use this to set your cartridge properly.

Hopefully you have access to a low noise phono preamp, or have a low noise phono pre-amp built into a receiver or integrated amplifier. If not, this will be an added expense.

Sep 8, 2008 at 5:48 PM Post #3 of 16
The Kenwood KD-5070 is a cracking good turntable. I ma afraid that you might however have a battle on your hand snapping up the one in the link you posted. No doubt the current bidders have done their homework on that TT and are not going to let it pass without a good fight.
The Technics is so so. If you can snap up a 1200 instead of the 1300, you can at least be assured that its resale value will net you a good return after you have done your transfers.

When copying vinyl, a lot more care has to go into the preparation compared to when you just want to play a track. The TC-760LC phono pre-amp as sold by... Phonopreamp in the US is a very good unit for copying, since you can adjust the output on the fly in order to keep recording levels more or less even across records, without having to mess about with any recording software gain settings every time.
Sep 9, 2008 at 1:01 PM Post #4 of 16
The 1300 is a slightly more domesticated version of the 1200 with more automatic features. It's not quite so robust but it's a very good deck nonetheless from the same series as the original 1200 back in the 1970s.

That Kenwood is also a very nice deck. I 'd be tempted to go for that actually although the Technics is in very good order by the sound of it and comes with a really nice Stanton 681EEE cart.

Either will be fine. the Denon carts as mentioned above would be a fine match for either of these decks as they both have very traditional medium high mass '70s tonearms.
Sep 9, 2008 at 2:03 PM Post #5 of 16

Originally Posted by memepool /img/forum/go_quote.gif
The 1300 is a slightly more domesticated version of the 1200 with more automatic features. It's not quite so robust but it's a very good deck nonetheless from the same series as the original 1200 back in the 1970s.

I have had problems with the 1300. There is a sort of hollow sound in between record tracks, which I have put down to the cabinet or the mat. Might have been the sensitivity of the cartridge, but the problems I experienced were severe enough for me to exclude it for use as a copying machine to PC.
Sep 9, 2008 at 2:54 PM Post #6 of 16
Sounds like acoustic feeback maybe. These decks really need a dedicated wall shelf or to be on a concrete floor to work optimally.

But that is the case with all Direct drives and belt drive higher mass plinth designs.

This is one area though where simple chipboard slab decks like the Rega and Pro-ject score.

The smaller Airpax type motors are also easier to accomodate whereas direct drives need proper transformers with heatsinking etc which requires more metal in the construction leading to more resonance issues especially in the cheaper ones....
Sep 9, 2008 at 3:01 PM Post #7 of 16

In that case I'm going to try for this Kenwood. Judging from what it has been going for on eBay I've got a fight on my hands. If this falls through, do you guy have any other suggestions. I looked in a suggestion thread that someone posted and I really couldn't find any of the model, save for the Kenwood, on eBay.


Originally Posted by memepool /img/forum/go_quote.gif
The smaller Airpax type motors are also easier to accomodate whereas direct drives need proper transformers with heatsinking etc which requires more metal in the construction leading to more resonance issues especially in the cheaper ones....

So, would say I'd be better off with a belt driven model?
Sep 9, 2008 at 3:55 PM Post #8 of 16

Originally Posted by Polygon /img/forum/go_quote.gif
So, would say I'd be better off with a belt driven model?

Do you have a wobbly wooden floor? and if so can you DIY a wallshelf for the deck?

Of this vintage Pioneer PD-11 / 12 / 112 or Sansui SR 222 were the most popular mass market belt drives which you should be able to find for 100USD or less.

There is nothing wrong with either of those direct drives though, both good designs. The thing I would worry about the Technics is the automatic functions giving up the ghost ,but this is just as much of a potential issue with the other one.

I saw one of those Kenwoods in a junk shop recently and was tempted to get it although I already have too many turntables. (15 presently)...
It's a nice deck but not all that amazing. I'm not sure if you can change the tonearm which is the main drawback so I wouldn't pay much over 150USD for one.

If you think it'll go higher then get that Technics. It's original and boxed so it should have been well looked after. Also that cart is worth 150 on it's own if the stylus is usable. 70 USD for a replacement but other cheaper 680 series will also fit it.
Sep 9, 2008 at 4:31 PM Post #9 of 16
For copying purposes I have had better results with turntables that have a wooden base. Don't ask me why, but I think Memepool has hit it on the head with the mention of resonance.

A TT that I have had good copying results with is the SANSUI SR-222, and many uninformed buyer pass it by without a second look.

I had a quick look on eBay US for turntables I recall to be dead quiet resonance wise. The one that caught my eyes is the JVC QL-55F . The mat on it is one of the thickest and heaviest TT mat I ever lifted up. An absolute beauty to look and listen to. But it might end up being another difficult one to snap up.

Good luck either way.
Dec 14, 2008 at 4:12 AM Post #11 of 16
Hi people. I broke out my old Technics SL1300 I bought back in the mid 70's to move some of my vinyl collection to my computer. This was my first attempt at this and I used Garage Band on my iMac to import the music just to see how it would sound.

When I plugged the turntable in and turned it on, it had a hard time getting started. (Has not been plugged in for at least 20 years) It finally started going, but it seamed real slow, and I could not get the strob dots to line out. Using the speed adjust for the 33 made some difference, but not enough. Playing the music, it was way too slow. I moved the speed switch to 45 rpm and it speeded up to about the right speed for 33 rpm and the music sounded just right. The strobe dots looked pretty close too. I did oil the motor bearings, but it did not help.

My question is, is this baby toast? Is it worth fixing? Options? The USB tables are about $100 and look like they may work ok.

I have maybe 200 alblums to convert for now, with more available from friends. Any advice will be appreciated.

Brewing great beer in South Texas
Dec 14, 2008 at 2:22 PM Post #12 of 16
Sounds like you need to service the deck. These guys

have a lot of info about possible faults but from your decription if the deck is running at a stable speed but just a bit slow then try oiling the motor. KABUSA sell the official Technics lubricant and you'll find the manual at the

I'd say lubricate and leave it running for a few days to see if it cures itself.

Don't bother with those USB decks like the ION as they are really crap and will give you nasty hollow plasticky sounding transcriptions lacking detail and bass, the Technics is in a different class altogther.

NB there is an adjustment for the speed selectors (on the SL1200 anyway) under the hood so this might also be worth a go.
Dec 15, 2008 at 1:31 AM Post #13 of 16
Thanks for the advice. I had a bad feeling about the USB decks being crap like you said. I'll look for the extra adjustment, get some new oil (my oil was as old as the machine) and get in touch with the turntable factory. I think I'll also start checking the pawn shops and forums out.
Dec 15, 2008 at 3:03 AM Post #14 of 16
Here's the manual for the SL1300:

Technics SL-1300 Owners Manual, Service Manual, Schematics, Free Download | Vinyl Engine

Why don't you clean it up and give it a try? My guess is that it needs to have the bearing oil changed; it probably thickened or dried up over the years. I like to use Mobil One 5W-30 synthetic. It's automotive oil, so you can find it at Kragen, Pep Boys, etc. One quart will last you a lifetime. But before you add oil, take it apart and thoroughly clean it with Q-tips and degreaser. Get all the old oil out, then add new.

You might want to put a modern cartridge on it - I like the Shure M97xE and Grado Black for inexpensive cartridges. I think the Grado comes in a P-mount if you need one.

Take the time to do the setup right. Make sure the deck is level, use a scale to set the weight, get the alignment right, and everything else recommended in the manual. An expensive deck with a poor setup sound worse than an inexpensive deck with a good setup.
Dec 15, 2008 at 3:45 PM Post #15 of 16
Hi. Well, good news this morning. I got the manual last night at work, (from Vinyl Engine) and when I got home this morning, I adjusted the speed "pots" under the disk, and got some results. I must have woke up something up as I finally got the table to turn at the right speed using the strobe and adjuster on top of the unit.

I will look into a new cartridge. There is an "Empire 999 Te/x" on the arm now. I hear Empire is a dinosaur, so I will certainly change it.

Don't know what a P-mount is, but I'm sure I'll find out. I do have one question for now. I have a Shure Precision stylus force gauge, SFG-2, and the arm was off the scale. So I made the arm neutral, and then adjusted it to 1.5 grams. The scale will go up to 3 grams, so I took the middle weight. The instructions don't give a number to use. I adjusted the anti-skating force to 1.5 also.

Thanks in advance for all the help.

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