Technics SL-1200 Replacement Connectors?

Hey guys,
been having a spot of trouble with the Technics SL-1200. I first noticed this problem with a significant imaging shift to the right, and just generally feeling underwhelmed with the vinyl experience on this system. Upon closer listening, I noticed that the left channel just sounded like i]any number of expletives I dare not attempt[/i.

I was speaking a little with Kevin over at KAB, and he gave me a few great troubleshooting ideas. I say "great", but this this, most of you more-vinyl-experienced would say "obvious", in that these troubleshooting ideas mostly involved continuity/resistance checks on the part of the system from the diamond on back to the phono pre. Dehr, right? Well, not dehr to me - I'd completely overlooked this section of the system, which just goes to show how digitally inclined I've been, forgetting that with analog, it's no all or nothing, but that there can be levels of failure or degradation, and, in fact, that this is likely.

Long story short, after checking a few things and seeing some odd fluctuations in my readings, kicking a few ideas around with Doug, as well, it's seeming like I've got a cable degradation issue, dirty connectors, or weak contact points in the chain. Finding improvement after some basic initial cleaning of the RCA connectors on the OE captive cable on the Technics, I'm noticing that the image is drawn back closer to center, and the left channel output is better again. It's still not quite right, though; seems a bit flat. I did a few other things during this process (I know, I know, one thing at a time during ts'ing) so I need to confirm the issue's with the TT cable and not somewhere else, but it's looking like a combination of oxidation of the cheapie tin connectors, and a possible failing cable near the connector on one of the channels. Still picking through it.

My question is: Is there anything in particular I should be looking for in replacement RCA connectors for the captive cable on this SL-1200?

Kevin tells me changing the cable out entirely, or converting to RCA terminals so I can use a regular separate phono cable can invite other problems. I'd like to try replacement connectors at this point, and was just thinking of using a quality locking RCA.

What do you guys think?

Signed,
Analogedly Challenged

Comments

  • msgmsg Posts: 4,270
    A. Is there a "step-down" grommet or something I can use to fill the space in the back of an RCA connector when a wire's insulation doesn't fill the gap?

    I typically use heatshrink on this rear portion on diy cables, but I don't think even 3:1 will shrink enough; the oe cable is pretty skinny.

    t0id01hk9mpg.png
  • maxwardmaxward Posts: 164
    Did you also clean any other metal-to-metal contacts in the signal path? Such as: cartridge pins to headshell wires, headshell pins to tonearm sockets, etc. if the left-channel problem persists, you might want to look at the cartridge as a source and try mounting a spare, if you have one. Good luck.
    Thorens TD-160C; Sumiko Talisman S; Jolida JD9; Marantz CD-53; Micromega Mydac
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  • msgmsg Posts: 4,270
    Thanks guys.
    Clip, I'd like to try new gold or otherwise plated connectors with the oe Technics cable to see how that goes. I'd like to see how getting the tin connectors out affects things. Plus, I wanna solder some *$&# B)

    Max, I've not yet cleaned the headshell wires or contact points. This setup is maybe around a year old, and I think I cleaned everything when I first set it up. You're right though, issue could be in the cart/headshell, and part of my troubleshooting checklist is to swap in a second cart/shell combo to rule out the cart/shell for certain. There are three contact point areas between the stylus and tonearm! (as you know) So far, resistance testing through both cart/shell combos indicates reasonable throughput paths. Seems to be from the tonearm springpins to the connector end of things that the numbers get screwy, with some wild fluctuations.
  • mhardy6647mhardy6647 Posts: 19,343
    edited December 2017
    FWIW -- My experience with "generic" tts (I do not have any experience with the SL-1200 per se) is that the connections get intermittent where the cable attaches to the RCA plugs (inside the finger grip, that is).

    Historically I would usually just cut the old plugs off and put on new ones from Radio Shack -- you can tell that I haven't done one for a while ;)

    In the good old days we mighta used somethin' like this:

    pll5nm0k9fx8.png
    52cv4tjt52o2.png

    :)
  • ClipdatClipdat Posts: 4,793
    No problem, there are a number of suitable replacement cables to look into for the 1200s since it's a popular mod that DJs do. They also sometimes ground them internally so there's no fussing with the ground wire.

    Also I believe you would still have to solder them, for what it's worth, as you would have to slightly disassemble the bottom to get to the spot where the OEM RCAs are directly attached to the PCB:

    1Undertonearmexposed.jpg

    msg wrote: »
    Thanks guys.
    Clip, I'd like to try new gold or otherwise plated connectors with the oe Technics cable to see how that goes. I'd like to see how getting the tin connectors out affects things. Plus, I wanna solder some *$&# B)

    Got Dayens?
  • mrbironmrbiron Posts: 4,840
    I think you should lop the male RCA connectors off at the chassis and install new female RCA connectors so you can play with different cables.

    I just swapped some oldies on the Ps Audio Delta amp I bought from kharp...

    x5fum57x6wyk.jpg
    Zu Audio Omen MK-1B's, Peachtree Decco65, Bryston BDA-2, Cheap TT, PS Audio UPC200, PS Audio AC3's, Zu Mission SC's, HTPC, One, Bottlehead Reduction & Crack w/Speedball
  • msgmsg Posts: 4,270
    edited December 2017
    mhardy6647 wrote: »
    FWIW -- My experience with "generic" tts (I do not have any experience with the SL-1200 per se) is that the connections get intermittent where the cable attaches to the RCA plugs (inside the finger grip, that is).
    Historically I would usually just cut the old plugs off and put on new ones from Radio Shack -- you can tell that I haven't done one for a while ;)
    Thanks, Doc. I was checking to see if I could slide the boot back for a closer look. If so, doesn't seem to work that way easily.
    One of the things I noticed about these OE ones is that the sleeve is split, and in my resistance tests, only one half of it seems to be connected; I'd get an open if connected to the "wrong" half of the shell. This was consistent on both left and right connectors
    dxzwjuadrjy6.jpg
    Clipdat wrote: »
    there are a number of suitable replacement cables to look into for the 1200s since it's a popular mod that DJs do. They also sometimes ground them internally so there's no fussing with the ground wire.

    Also I believe you would still have to solder them, for what it's worth, as you would have to slightly disassemble the bottom to get to the spot where the OEM RCAs are directly attached to the PCB:
    yd0wg2rb0hd5.png
    Ah, nice, thanks for the photo. I was wondering what the connection actually looked like inside. Have you been over to KABusa.com? Kevin carries the oe Technics replacement cables (as well as a bunch of other oe and quality direct replacement parts and hot-rod upgrades) and PCBs they've had manufactured either for oe replacement or that internal ground conversion you mentioned.

    Have you done any of these mods on your tables?
    Post edited by msg on
  • msgmsg Posts: 4,270
    edited December 2017
    mrbiron wrote: »
    I think you should lop the male RCA connectors off at the chassis and install new female RCA connectors so you can play with different cables.
    I just swapped some oldies on the Ps Audio Delta amp I bought from kharp...
    nis48e00bpo6.png
    Dang dude, that thing looks jacked.
    (that was not intentional)
    But figures since you got it from K :p :D
    Thanks Mark. Yes this is one option I've considered. I kind of want to try to figure out this problem before I go any further. Plus, Kevin was telling me that messing with different cables on these tables can be a pain (hugely paraphrasing). Do you have a favorite set of phono cables? I'm concerned with introducing hum on an otherwise relatively quiet setup.

    I was looking for a way to do this very early on. The newer M5G (I think) came with terminals instead of the captive cable. I might still get there, but the oe cable is supposed to be pretty good, as I understand it? I've seen this addressed a couple of different ways - some lop the cable up closer to the chassis, and install female connectors. The Kevin has this thing. Seems okay, but, eh, not ready to do that.
    pc1200a.JPG
  • ClipdatClipdat Posts: 4,793
    edited December 2017
    Thanks buddy, now you got me going down the rabbit hole of 1200s mods. I like how with some of the cables you can get them already soldered to the PCB. Helpful for people like me who don't own a soldering iron.

    I've not done any mods (or maintenance) on my pair of 1200s since I bought them in January of 2000. Only thing I've done is tried out various stylus (Shure and Ortofon). For the money I think the Ortofon Night Club with the elliptical stylus sounds damn good. It's about $65 for a replacement stylus.

    They still work as perfectly as the day I got them, but I'm sure improvements would be noticed with upgrades.
    msg wrote: »
    Ah, nice, thanks for the photo. I was wondering what the connection actually looked like inside. Have you been over to KABusa.com? Kevin carries the oe Technics replacement cables (as well as a bunch of other oe and quality direct replacement parts and hot-rod upgrades) and PCBs they've had manufactured either for oe replacement or that internal ground conversion you mentioned.

    Have you done any of these mods on your tables?

    Got Dayens?
  • msgmsg Posts: 4,270
    Just forget you found this place. And KAB.
    Get out now while there's still time.
    If you're reading this, it's already too late.
  • mwk455mwk455 Posts: 198
    Kevin at KAB is the nicest person to deal with . And has some really good upgrades. His arm rewire makes a huge difference also.
  • msgmsg Posts: 4,270
    I couldn't agree more about Kevin.
    I've been curious about he arm rewire, too. Have you done any other mods?
  • mwk455mwk455 Posts: 198
    edited December 2017
    I did the tonearm damper the arm rewire and the spiral air interconnect
    attached to kabs pc board.
  • mwk455mwk455 Posts: 198
    And I did the wood drop in cabinet . It didn’t improve sound like the others but I like how it looks.3n2afdf2zehc.jpeg
  • EmlynEmlyn Posts: 2,150
    Are you certain the cartridge and stylus are properly aligned? Or swapped another cartridge in yet? With a turntable that is the first and easiest place to check before proceeding to other surgery.

    It would be very rare for a connector to noticeably degrade the output unless the electrical connection is broken. It is possible for there to be an intermittent signal loss if the cable connection is broken internally but you could tell if that is the problem by very gently wiggling the cable during playback.

    Good luck. I have looked at the mods over the years but have not gone for any of them.
    1. Polk LSiM707, 704C, 703; Dual SVS SB2000 subwoofers; Marantz SR7011 receiver; Parasound A23 amp; Oppo 205; Toshiba HD-DVD Player; Sony 65" 4K TV; FIOS; PS Audio Power Plant Premier; MIT S2 cables
    2. JM Labs Electra 920.1; Parasound JC2 Preamp; Sonic Frontiers Power 2 amp; Sony HAP-Z1ES; Oppo 105D; Music Hall MMF7 and Acoustech phono pre; PS Audio P1000; MIT S1 Cables
    3. Polk LSiM703; Pioneer Elite SC97 receiver; Oppo 203; Squeezebox Touch; MIT S3 cables
  • msgmsg Posts: 4,270
    Thanks Em, yeah, that's on my list of troubleshooting tasks.

    This is what I'm wondering, re: degrading cable integrity. This table was second hand to me, and lived in a recording studio before. I was told it was just for playing records, not DJ'd. It looks very well cared for and shipped with oe box and packing materials, but no sense of how the cables/connections were handled during its life there.

    Here's what I noticed on the connectivity front:
    1. Slight twisting the L or R channel turntable output connector on the phono preamp input affected the sound quality (oxidized connector; noticeable improvement after cleaning)
    2. Bending the turntable cable around the about near the connector at the phono pre input affected sound quality

    I have two cart/headshell combos, a Shure M97xE and a Grado Prestige Green, which is the cart I've been running on this table. I'll swap the Shure on, get it a quick tracking force and antiskate setup and have a closer listen.
  • ClipdatClipdat Posts: 4,793
    Bending and manipulating the RCA cable around shouldn't have any effect on the sound. I bet new cables will solve the problem.
    msg wrote: »
    [*] Bending the turntable cable around the about near the connector at the phono pre input affected sound quality
    [/list]

    Got Dayens?
  • mhardy6647mhardy6647 Posts: 19,343
    ditto.

    It was a really common 'failure mode' on the classic 1970s Japanese tts.
  • Viking64Viking64 Posts: 3,492
    mhardy6647 wrote: »
    ditto.

    It was a really common 'failure mode' on the classic 1970s Japanese tts.

    As far as that last word, do you want to buy a vowel?
  • mhardy6647mhardy6647 Posts: 19,343
    nope, we're good.

    (I'd say I am good, but that would be just too precious)
  • DaveHoDaveHo Posts: 2,004
    Thanks for the

    kdwv2llvt932.jpg

    Reported.
  • msgmsg Posts: 4,270
    What happened to that Dany dude's posts about that SL-1200 RCA jack mod?

    Been busy lately and just had a chance to come back on to get a closer look at that accessory he posted up. Looked like a great add-on. I haven't seen any RCA conversion kits for the 1200 that looked that clean.
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