Technics 1200GR Owners

I’ve just recently bought a 1200GR, and a Zu Denon 103.  I’d be curious what others think of the table and it’s sound who have had it a while and if there are any suggestions you would like to share to get the best out of it. 

Just for for reference sake my main rig is a VPI Prime with Eagle PSU and Roadrunner tach, two belts with HRX Pulley and Soundsmith Carmen II. 
I do not have the GR, I have the G but have heard the GR.  It is a very nice table.  I think both the G and GR are very neutral.  You hear what is there, no more , no less.  It does not add anything on its own.  Some tables have a certain sound, whether its homogenized, warm, etc.  The Technics tables do a good job of getting out of the way.  The VPI's have a certain sound to them thats is very enjoyable as I have had a VPI for many years.  The Technics just give you what is there on the recording.
Unfortunately DL-103R modded by Zu does not get what’s on the records, because it has a Conical tip with very small contact area, also the Technics tonearm is not heavy enough (the effective mass) for low compliance oldschool cartridges. The life of the conical tip is very short and it must be retipped every 300hrs. Do you like rolled off bass and treble? Using conican tip nowadays is very strange decision. 
I just bought the SL1210GR about a month ago.  So far I'm absolutely loving it!  I've been switching out carts to find the best match in my system - Ortofon 2M Black/Bronze, Kontrapunkt B, and Clearaudio Maestro V2.  No clear winner yet, as they all have their own signature, and all sound wonderful.

I use the Technics stock headshell, an Ortofon LH-9000, and a Yamamoto Sound HS-2HS-2 headshell.  All adding a mild signature that sounds good IMO.  With the non-Technics headshells, I am using the additional tonearm weight.

I did remove the stock feet, and replaced them with an Isonoe Suspension Footer system and sorbothane boots w/ glass inserts, bought from KAB USA.  Certainly helps with vibration, and blacker backgrounds.

I've also been playing around with different mats.  I did not care much for the stock rubber mat, although it's not terrible.  I've been going back and forth with a Funk Firm Achromat (5mm), and a Poly-Glass mat with a thin rubber mat on top.  More more lively midrange in my experience.
” Using conical tip nowadays is very strange decision. “

It might be strange but I picked it for very specific reason. The speakers are the Thiel CS 2.4’s and they can tend to sound bright in my room. With the 103 I don’t really perceive the rolled off highs but a more neutral sound. As for the bass I’ve done back and forth comparisons with the Dynavector 20x2L and both produce about the same amount of bass and bass quality - for the most part. I use a Zupreme headshell and use the extra counter weight as well. My preamp is a BAT VK-3ix and I use a Parasound A21 amp with PAD speaker cable. The phono is the dynavector P75 mk3.

I was thinking of trying and Audio Technica MM cart but I’m not sure which one would be the best fit because I’m not that familiar with that line.
Have had the GR for over three weeks and it is my final turntable.  Could have sprung for the G but was completely satisfied with the GR in a demo.  
Absolutely loving the speed accuracy and stability that adds an easily distinguishable energy and neutrality to the sound that was not there on my previous high mass belt drive table. 
Makes my old cartridges sound so much more alive. 
The idea of no longer being concerned about speed and pitch wavering allows me to relax and listen to the music. 
Currently running the Ortofon Cadenza Blue which sounds spectacular on this table even with low run in hours. 
Tried a variety of mats and headshells.  The stock headshell works just fine and lets the cartridge be as low as possible.  Other 'shells raised the cartridge and made it impossible to set proper VTA. 
Tried the wooden bull mat (not bad but bass was too rounded off) and the Funk Achromat 5mm.  The achromat was yanked in a hurry because it made the bass sound light and "hollow" and reduced its depth and impact.  The stock mat sounds the best so far- deep bass and high energy neutral sounding.   I may try a Herbies mat in the future but have no need at present.  Thrilled with the neutral, transparent, high energy speed stable sound.    
I had my Zu 103R converted to ESCCO's white sapphire cantilever/Paratrace stylus. Well worth the $400 cost. I believe Andy Kim does this service as well, and you wouldn't have to wait three months like I did. Andy's in Bellevue WA, and I've heard he doesn't dally in his work.

I very glad I had the conversion done, you most likely would too.



I was thinking of trying and Audio Technica MM cart but I’m not sure which one would be the best fit because I’m not that familiar with that line.

Mid compliance cartridges are great on Technics tonearm, Audio-Technics AT-ML180 OCC and Audio-Technica AT-ML170 are clearly the best MM design made by this respected company, but they are from the 80s (from the golden era). Hollow pipe (Gold-Plated) Boron cantilever and MicroLine stylus tip - the best combination anyone can imagine. This type of stylus is state of the art (similar to Fritz Gyger or MicroRidge), can be used for up to 2000hrs. This is neutrial cartridge! I owned multiply samples, i decided to keep my AT-ML180 OCC (it’s one of my favorite cartridges) and sell my AT-ML170 OFC which is very close. If you looking for the Audio-Technica best MM ever, then you should find more information about these two top models before you will look for anytning else on MM territory at any price.

Neutrial cartridge is what we must have as a reference, especially MM (not MC) then you can compare it to your Denon 103r with conical tip. I know it’s always important to expand the standards, i’m pretty sure with this cartridge on your Technics you will be blown away. I’ve tried it on various Technics tonearms, my favorite is EPA-100mkII.

Specs for AT-ML170 MM:

Frequency Response (Hz): 5 - 40,000
Vertical Tracking Force: 1.25 +/- 0.3
Tracking Ability (microns) at center value VTF: 90
Tracking Ability (microns) at upper value VTF: 100
Channel Separation (dB at 1kHz/10kHz): 31/21
Channel Balance (dB): 0.5
Output (mV at 1kHz), 5 cm/sec): 4
Vertical Tracking Angle: 20 degree
Stylus Shape: 0.1mm MicroLine
Stylus Construction: Nude Square Shank
Cantilever: Gold-plated BORON
Wire Uses For Coil: PCOFC
Recommended Load Impedance (ohms): 47,000
Recommended Load Capacitance (pF): 100 - 200
Dynamic Compliance @ 100Hz: 10.0
(* please note that Dynamic Compliance @10Hz will be around 18-20cu)
Static Compliance: 40.0
Cartridge Weight (grams) 7.0
Replacement Stylus: ATN170ML

 Thank you for your informative response. I have heard good things about those carts that you recommend. However I would rather keep my budget around $300 - $400 at the most at this point. I’ve pretty much blown through my budget. If I’m going to experiment with a new MM cart is there another cart you would suggest? 
@last_lemming The AT-ML series is unbeatable, if your budget is limited you can start with AT-ML150 (Beryllium cantilever), but it will be impossible to find anything close to AT-ML170 for much lower price if you’re considering new MM cartridges. The MM is out of fashion nowadays, it is impossible to find a modern MM cartridge with hollow pipe boron cantilever and micro line stylus with similar specs (the tip mass, the frequency response etc), even very expensive MC are not close. This type of tapered boron pipe cantilevers are not available anymore, same with beryllium. I’ve tried many cartridges, in my opinion top MM models from the 80s are better choice when it comes to price/quality. The problem is to find a perfect sample, but if you got it then it’s brilliant. You already have some cartridges and if you’re looking for something special you can check not only AT-ML170, but also Victor Laboratory X1 or X1II for your Technics tonearm. Another gian killers are the Grace F-14 or LEVEL II, Stanton CS-100 WOS, but within your budget i could recommend only AT20SLa but they are all high compliance and not ideal for your tonearm, so the AT-ML170 is better choice.

If you really would like to stick to your budget then maybe Glanz MFG-610LX is what you need, check on ebay, they are NOS. I’m not sure this 610LX is equal to my rare Glanz MFG-61 (legendary model, their best of the best), but it must be close! Perfect for your tonearm. It’s not exactly MM, it’s Moving Flux, patented by Mitachi Corporation.

As for the new MM carts i could only recommend Garrott Brothers cartridges, but again i use their old P77, the new "improved version" is P77i Dynamic Coil, but i’m affraid it is not as good as the AT-ML series from the 80s.

I don’t like new Ortofon MM cartridges simply because i have much much better vintage MM cartridges. Also the new AT line of MM carts are not as good as their old AT-ML series (reported by many users who tried both).

Well Chak, I took the plunge on the Glanz MFG-610LX. I couldn’t find much on it, but what I did find was very good. 
One question I do have about the Glanz is it has an output of 3.5 mV. My Dynavector P75 phono pre only lists up to 2 mV with 40 db of gain. Will I hav too much output from the cart or will I just not half to turn up the volume as much to achieve the same loudness?
@last_lemming it shouldn't be a problem, just lower the volume, Glanz should be great. 
Any comments on how the 1200GR compares to your main Prime rig?  I've seen a few people go from a Prime to 1200G so I'd love to know how the GR holds up.

I have been a audio dealer for 15 years now. I have not yet come across companies that make a Quality turntable at this price point with the same consistency and reliability as Technics. Most manufacturers have 2 out of 10 tables with some problem or another. When you treat it with the same respect as a high performance table, you will be rewarded with many years of play time in your home rather than at a repair shop. Several cartridges perform very well with this rig. The G Version has more punch and detail with a quieter noise floor. A HRS Record weight helps tremendously. 
"Any comments on how the 1200GR compares to your main Prime rig? I've seen a few people go from a Prime to 1200G so I'd love to know how the GR holds up." 

It's hard for me to compare since each TT is on a different system. B
BUT if I was pressed I'd say the big differences are the Prime has more air and soundstage, and the GR has more punch and presence. 
So I got the Glanz MFG 610LX up and running today. Thanks Chakster for the recommendation. Less than an hour, but so far very impressed. Sounds very natural. 

So I got the Glanz MFG 610LX up and running today. Thanks Chakster for the recommendation. Less than an hour, but so far very impressed. Sounds very natural.

Nice, if this beast is on the same level as my older and rarer Glanz MFG-61 it must be one of the best cartridges ever (on MM/MI/MF territory). I hope the damper is fine on your sample, i wonder how many samples that Japanese guy own (lol).