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Comparing SL-10 and SL-1200: Linear tracking arm adjustments affecting frequency? Or is it the cartridge?

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I'll start with a bit of a story....

I'm in the midst of trying to illustrate that a Technics SL-1200 mk2 that I purchased refurbished (and have had serviced), is experiencing problems.

What I've been doing is recording the Ortofon Test Record that plays a number of sweeps and tones alternating between the left and right channels, and looking at the resulting channel separation and levels.

To demonstrate that the problem is with the SL-1200 and not the record/my system/etc. I also captured a recording of the record test with my Technics SL-10.

The setup:
Record Player (SL-1200 / SL-10) -> ifi Zen Phono -> Behringer UCA202 Audio Interface -> Record via Quicktime -> Audactiy to view

Results:

SL-10
Even with a $40 budget elliptical cartridge (Audio Technica 85EP) the SL-10 looks to have good channel separation, and level match.
(Please note, this isn't me recommending the 85EP cartridge - it has a terrible static pop problem - verified with 2 cartridges and multiple turntables)

What I noticed was seeing how much "micro" variation there was in the signal.

What do you think, is it the small adjustments of the motor as the cartridge moves across the record, or is it the performance of the cartridge?


Technics-LinearTracker-AT85EP.png


SL-1200

Pre-and-post service, same problems with poor channel level match, and "bleed" through into one channel.

Perhaps an azimuth problem? Or a cartridge problem?

SL1200-Before.png


SL1200-After-Alignment-Service.png
 

stereoplay

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I would try to correct the azimuth by turning the head shell a little bit CW or CCW to achieve the same crosstalk between the channels.
 

DVDdoug

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It's "odd" to see the left bleeding into the right and not vice-versa. I'm guessing it's the cartridge.
 
OP
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With the SL-1200 that I took the screenshots above, it was a struggle to get the shaft of the stylus to appear vertical. Using mirrors, eye-balling, etc. Never seemed to get it to perform well.

Yesterday, I had the opportunity to try a different sample of the same model of cartridge on a different SL-1200. I did some recordings while I was at the store that sold me the SL-1200, since he was accommodating, and has a number of SL-1200s and allowed me to swap it out.

The new cartridge and SL-1200 performed much more consistently, without much fuss (however still more crosstalk than what I saw with the SL-10).

Here's the new cart with the swapped SL-1200.
Screenshot 2022-05-15 at 10.39.46 AM.png


And here is the new cart, with the original SL-1200 that I had. Makes me think perhaps something was off with the tonearm too?

Screenshot 2022-05-15 at 10.41.04 AM.png
 

stereoplay

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Yes, it's a problem of the tonearm, too. There is always a certain play in the Headshell. Underneath the tonearm there is a little screw to fix the headshell's azimuth.

But be aware, that the Sumiko has maybe a worser crosstalk than your AT also...
 

Balle Clorin

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The cartridge channel separation comes from the pickup, nothing to to with turntable or arm. The steps in the SP -10 in your first post, does not look good, and is the turntable - not the cartridge. The SL1200 looks better.
.
 

DSJR

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The Oyster isn't a nice sound I remember, all thumpy and very dull as befits such an ancient design (the roots of this thing go back to the mid 70's...).

Which 1200 is it? I go back to the early to mid 70's original you see (rocker power/speed lever with a little knob on the top) and that with lid fitted is a feedback machine par excellence... I don't mean to drift the thread off but a similar period and stripped out version (SL1500) had duff signal cables, which I judge were excellent quality when new, but not after then thirty years of use and snagging I suspect (it's now almost fifty years as I first re-tinkered with a 1500 back in 2005 or so).

1652630810446.png
 
OP
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Thanks for all the replies.

Regarding the SL-10, it has been completely restored (all caps, lube, etc.) - not by me, but someone who I trust, so I'm surprised that the wiggles in signal are from the player. I have other P-mount cartridges I can try to see whether they also exhibit the same wiggles. (edit. Sorry should probably use a different description - I guess it is is output amplitude variation.)

As for the SL-1200, it is the mk2, and supposedly has had the tonearm wires, and phono cables replaced this week.

Re: the Sumiko, it was by recommendation at the shop where I got the SL-1200. Can't say I am enamoured by it.
 

Newman

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The micro glitching on the SL-10 is very regular. Can you look at the timescale and tell us what its period is please? If it is 0.9 sec it would be the tracker motor following record eccentricity. It is extremely unlikely to be stiction if the arm glide is serviced, but could be a fault in the motor control servo.
 

daftcombo

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I also experience some issues with my SL1200 + Ortofon cart. Channel mismatch is there, but not similar at the end of the record and at the beginning of it.
 

Blumlein 88

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Could anti-skate being off cause the channel bleed?
 
OP
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I wanted to add, that I used the Technics cartridge alignment tool for the first set of SL-1200 measurements (Pre/Post Service) - resulting in the cartridge being square to the head shell (which some say for a S-shaped tonearm is fine, especially since that's using the Technics tool).

The pictures showing the new cartridge, were aligned at the store using a tool, which gave a slight rotation to the cartridge. As can be seen, when putting the new cartridge back onto the "bad" SL-1200, the channel mismatch was worse.

Could anti-skate being off cause the channel bleed?
Re: Anti-skate, I dialed in both to the same amount. However, I am not sure how to best measure if they were actually at the same amount.
 

JP

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Looking at the frequency components would likely tell you most of what you need to know.
 
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