The Technics SL-1200 Tonearm
KAB Audiophile Times
January 2005 - The Tonearm - Page 2

Table Of Contents
Page 1......The Drive System
Page 2......The Tonearm
Page 3......The Mod Process
Page 4......Power Delivery
KAB Main 1200 Page

Getting Your Bearings
  Here's something to think about: how many high end tonearms can you name that specify bearing finish and friction?
gimbal bearing
Well, while you ponder that, consider this: the Technics SL-1200 tonearm is specified to have a bearing finish of ± 0.5 microns. This and the extra closeness of pivot center to the bearings results in a minimal friction of 7 milligrams. It is important to note that the1200 arm was designed at a time when tracking forces were pushing the 0.75 gram range. So a good margin of safety would place the bearing friction at 100 times less than that.

Bearing friction should be 100 times less than the tracking force.

Unless the bearing friction is sufficiently small it can contribute to "static damping" and that is undesirable since it increases record wear. Very low bearing friction enables a tonearm to make the maximum advantage of dynamic fluid damping.
Our TD-1200 fluid damping mod raises the performance of the 1200 arm to a very high standard.

Getting into the thick of it
  Fluid Damping all but eliminates wild low frequency arm/cartridge resonance. This lets the arm mate with a wider array of cartridges. It also prevents the wild and often destructive movement that can occur on warps or from simply testing resonance. It also reduces rumble and acoustic feedback to speakers. Fluid Damping is a good thing.
KAB TD1200
Sonically, there is a slowing down of the entire acoustic event. There seems to be more "time" to listen. Here is a great A'gon review of the Fluid Damped 1200 Tonearm.

With the KAB TD-1200 the acoustic event seems to almost stand still. Allowing more "time" to listen.

Throwing a curve
We've all heard the condemnation about how Japanese curved arms are not audiophile approved. Of course, curving the wand at dissimilar lengths achieves the same objective as tapering a straight wand: the breaking up of standing waves. The advantage of the curved wand is that it looks prettier! Yet I cannot help but feel that the smooth progression of the curved arm actually does a better job of transferring -and keeping- energy away from the cartridge. One last thing, the mass of the polished thin wall cast aluminum arm is 12 grams. That includes the headshell. The arm resonates at 9 Hz with cartridge compliances of 30 cu.

SL1200 Tonearm

Adjustments and Settings
  It's nice to have cousins in the camera business!. The calibrated VTA adjustment on the '1200 tonearm comes courtesy of the same helicoid deep thread technology used in camera focus rings. Silicone damped, and lockable, it gives a precise feel and "on the fly" adjustment of VTA.


  Calibrated stylus force and calibrated antiskate force are standard. The counterweight is elastomer decoupled and stays put.
1200 Counterweight I think I have heard about enough of counterweights that aren't calibrated or that go out of adjustment all by themselves! The 1200 settings are repeatable and always stay right where you leave them!
1200 ANTISKATE CONTROL The calibrated antiskating control uses progressive spring tension to apply the reverse skating force.
This technique increases the force gradually as the stylus progresses towards the end of the record.
This is the most predictable antiskate force design.

The tonearm settings are repeatable and always stay right where you leave them!

  The removable computer designed cast aluminum headshell offers great convenience to swap and compare cartridges. Finally you can have the best cartridge for mono, stereo soundstage and tracking!

If Form Follows Function, So Then Music Follows Precision.
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