Technics 1200 Upgrades
- Tonearm Upgrades
- Boing Isolation Feet
SL1200 gets Funked – Upgrades for the Technics SL1200 series of Turntables
Technics have had unprecedented success with the SL1200 range of turntables that started life in 1972. These direct drive models originally intended as hi-fi devices, were adopted by the DJ community following the launch of the high torque motor and Quartz lock mechanism with the Mk2 in 1976. Approximately 3 million turntables were made until they were discontinued in 2009.
More recently the high end 1200G audiophile model heralded a return to production and a relaunch of the Technics brand in 2016. This was followed by a lower cost GR model the following year. In 2019 the 1500c starter turntable, and a new DJ-specific 1200 mk7 model, were launched.
All of these models have huge potential for upgrades, as have several related Technics models. The Technics direct drive motor is an industry standard reliable unit that keeps very accurate speed. Inevitably these turntables are built to a price and while the motors are very highly regarded, compromises are made elsewhere.
All the decks suffer from acoustic feedback due to the ineffectiveness of the standard rubber feet and are fitted with arms that are more suitable for DJs than audiophiles. Major gains in performance can be achieved by upgrading suspension and arm.
Bo!ng Suspension Feet
The Bo!ng isolators have been specifically designed around the foot size of the 1200, provide fantastic isolation, with adjustable stiffness and damping. (DJs may prefer firmer springing to audiophiles, so the table moves less during “scratching”.) Note that in the picture below the Bo!ngs can be screwed in and out easily to level the table on uneven surfaces, without impact to the effectiveness of the suspension.
DJs have found that the new lighter weight Mk7 is even more susceptible to vibration from acoustic feedback – not ideal in clubs! The Bo!ng solves that problem.
The Achromat is our patented solution to absorbing vibration energy from the critical interface between stylus, record and platter.
The Achromat is made of acrylic containing thousands of randomly sized bubbles. These absorb energy and turn it into heat, significantly reducing the back reflection from the platter to the stylus, and thus reducing distortion. This results in a more 3D soundstage and better delineation between notes. The Achromat also helps to dampen the ringing of metal and glass platters as it is stuck to the platter when fitted. The Achromat is also anti-static, unlike the felt mats that are often used with the 1200 series.
All of the 1200 series have adjustable vertical tracking angle (VTA) – via the knurled ring under the tonearm, enabling the higher performance 5mm Achromat to be used.
We make a Technics 1200-specific Achromat for turntables with a raised lip on the platter. This applies to models with a mark number e.g. mk2-7 and the GR.
Standard tonearms “ring” within the range of listening frequencies, which imparts a brightness to the sound. The 1200 turntables, deserve better arms. For many years audiophiles have used Rega and SME arms to improve Technics models. The Funk Firm now offers a significant upgrade on these arms.
For the 1200 mk2-7 we recommend the FX-1200 upgraded Technics arm or for a complete new arm the F5-II
This is an upgrade service that changes the weak point of the Technics arm, the resonant S-shaped tube and replaces it with the Carbon Fibre Cross Beam FX tube, upgrading wiring at the same time and of course necessitating a new cranked head shell designed for straight arms.
To purchase this the customer returns the arm to Funk, who then can significantly upgrade the performance with modifications that keep most of the iconic look and ease of use such as VTA adjustment, of the classic 1200.
At £750 this is a much more cost effective solution than complete arm replacement but still achieves the staggering performance improvement gained with the FX Cross Beam.
This arm outperforms all of the traditional (much more expensive) replacements such as the SME 309 and the Rega Arms.
If upgrading a modern Technics such as the G, GR, Mk7, the phono plugs are retained at the rear of the deck. If upgrading an older arm with captive leads, these are also retained.
The F5-II tonearm is for those people that want to break from the design of the classic 1200 and have a more “audiophile” aesthetic. It replaces the whole arm assembly and has captive leads that run straight to the amplifier.
- Works well as an upgrade tonearm for Technics 1200 turntables
- Tone arm is complete with fixed tonearm lead and three point arm plate
- Falling weight style of bias adjustment
- Sliding weight on the arm itself which makes setting the tracking weight very straightforward
- The sliding weight moves forward for higher tracking weight (typically low compliance MC cartridges) which increases the effective mass, and reduces resonant frequency
- The low profile weight improves tracking