Gramophone Dreams #9 Contacts

Sidebar: Contacts

Abis/Sibatech Inc., Room 1301, 8-25-22 Higashi-Suna, Koto-ku, Tokyo 136-0074, Japan. Tel: (81) 3-3645-1646. Fax: (81) 3-3645-1948. Web: US distributor: Mockingbird Distribution, LLC, Van Alstyne, TX. Tel: (214) 668-2509. Web:

Jasmine Audio, West Wing of 2nd Floor, Block G, Baoshan Industrial Park, Longhua District, Shenzhen, China 518131. US distributor: Mockingbird Distribution, LLC (see above).

KAB Electro Acoustics, PO Box 2922, Plainfield, NJ 07062. Tel: (908) 754-1479. Fax: (908) 222-3442. Web:

SME Limited, Mill Road, Steyning, West Sussex BN44 3GY, England, UK. Tel: (44) (0)1903-814321. Fax: (44) (0)1903-814269. Web: US distributor: Acoustic Sounds Inc., 605 W. North Street, PO Box 1905, Salina, KS 67402. Tel: (785) 825-8609. Fax: (785) 825-0156. Web:


spacehound's picture

Do you know WHY the SL 1200 sold so well? Because it sounds every bit as good as any of these $5,000-$20,000 plus turntables made by the small 'garden shed' outfits which most turntable manufacturers are.
BTW: I've never met a garden nymph with roses in her hair. Do you have a lot of them in the USA?

Belt drive? It's all these little outfits having neither the technical knowledge nor the engineering facilities to make a direct drive turntable. So they decry direct drive, which is far too complicated for their so-called 'expertise'.

'Subjective'? No. None of us, having no access to the studio when the recording was made, can know what it is supposed to sound like anyway.

"I like the sound my turntable makes". Since when has HiFi got anything to do with what you 'like'? The very phrase 'High Fidelity' means accuracy. If you don't lke the sound of YOUR recording of Handels Water Music or whatever, buy a different recording. I bet the SL 1200 imposes far less 'signature' or 'color' to the music than these garden shed turntables do.

BTW: Strange you had to do all that work to fit the SME arm. I just purchased an arm board to suit any SME '9 inch' arm and my Series IV bolted straight in, except for cutting a small bit of the 'rubber' SL 1200 base away.

volvic's picture

After reading Herb's article I decided to (for now) not purchase the new 1200 but a used, mint 1200 mk5 and make some of the upgrades that are out there. I too will be putting an SMEIV so just curious as to how much cutting of the base is needed. Isn't that base quite fragile?

spacehound's picture

The turntable top is a solid casting (zinc I suspect, like car door handles, and zinc is a material that doesn't 'ring') with a recessed round hole about 5 inches diameter with the arm mount attached to it by 4 'knurled' hand tightenable plus a screwdriver slot bolts and separated by a soft 'rubber' gasket.

You just buy a 'SME' or whatever plate from an accessory dealer (and I think Technics may have made them too).

If you mean the 'rubber' base I mentioned, it's a thick with plenty of material, soft(ish) thing. I just cut a rather crude hole in it with a modelling knife as the SME underside is deep enough to need it.

Regarding other so-called 'upgrades', only obsessives buy them. It's perfectly well designed in the first place, by people with far more experience than any of these 'improvement' people. (Such gadget shops, but in a different field, won't improve your Mercedes or Ferrari either.) And the SL 1200 is built to a VERY high standard.

If you think it's worth it, you might remove the power transformer, extend its low voltage wires, and mount it in an box externally. Some think it is worth it for lower magnetic fields and less vibration. I think that is unlikely but it's just my opinion.

Even the provided arm is not bad. It's just too 'High Street' for many people is all and its 'S' shape is currently unfashionable. I fitted a SME arm because I wanted one as a teenager and could never had afforded it then. Pure nostalgia, I didn't have $20 dollars (yes 20 dollars!) for a new SME 3009. No other reason. I've got a Koetsu Black in it. I bought the IV rather than the V purely because it's silver colored and goes better with the rest of the turntable. (BTW: 'SME' stood for 'Scale Model Engineering'. They made very nice model cars for car manufacturers and things like scale 'scenes' of power stations for power utilities and the like. The cars certainly weren't toys.)

volvic's picture

I might go further and put the timestep or KAB PS which ostensibly invalidates the internal transformer for one outside. We'll see. Was seriously considering getting the new one at 4k but thought it over and decided to just get a used one for now and see what Technics offers in the future with newer mods; perhaps a 1200 without tonearm. But for now will buy the used one and mod that with another new SME IV as I already own another one on my VPI.

volvic's picture

I think I read it 3 times when my subscription came in.

deckeda's picture

I certainly enjoy mine, with Paradox Pulse body mod. Easier to do than taking a saw to the turntable, also. :)

Nice to see that configuration mentioned in print finally, since the SC35C isn't suited for much in the way of modern arms.

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yaka24's picture

So what were your final thoughts on the 1200 vs LP12 and TD124?
Sorry if I overlooked it.

Herb Reichert's picture

Stay tuned: I promise to not only compare those three classics to each other, but to every turntable I review after that. Thank you for reading my story.

grantray's picture

Glad to see a touch of elbow grease and hacker culture! I rebuilt a sad Garrard 301 that'd lived in a basement closet since the 60s and paired it with an early SME 3009 Series II I also rebuilt. The arm has custom brass weights for heavy carts and a beefy brass mounting plate, as well as a Stage 2 Zu Denon 103 MKII. The complete setup sounds 99.8% as good as the $25K rig my audio dealer runs in his shop. Hearing his rig and mine within an hour of each other (his shop is almost down the street), and with the same records, really slapped me out the vampire trance a couple of the ultra high-end ($$$) makers had on me... Also, I have that Nonesuch record, too, and it's one of my favorites.

krahbeknudsen's picture

Thank you for a very interesting article. I'm wondering whether the same procedure would be possible on the Pioneer PLX-1000? Is the arm mount the same?

Herb Reichert's picture

I hope some day to try other arms on the PLX-1000 - I am 90% sure the armboards are interchageble

peace and rat rods

Decibel's picture

Being a 16 year old budding audiophile back in 1983/84 and having lusted after an MKII version, I got a summer job in my dad's company in Curacao, Netherlands Antilles. After 6 weeks of sweating away stacking boxes in an unairconditioned warehouse and making deliveries I finally earned enough (650 Antillean Guilders, roughly the same as US Dollars) to buy one with an Audio Technica cartridge. I had it hooked up to a Technics SU V4A integrated amp, Radio Shack mixer, Sansui SPX8 speakers, Technics RSM85MKII cassette deck and another Technics DD Turntable and a few other components. The build was astounding. Used this combo to earn some money on the side DJing at house parties to feed my habit. Great article.