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Vintage Audio (record players, hi-fi etc) Amplifiers, speakers, gramophones and other audio equipment.

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Old 16th Apr 2019, 11:37 pm   #1
martin.m
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Default Technics SL 221 turntable

I have recently acquired this belt drive turntable to use in my home system. It has an SME type detachable headshell and is fitted with a Shure M44E cartridge. I think the SL 221 dates from the late 1970s, there's not much information about this model on the Internet. My question is would there be any improvement in tracking ability if the auto stop and arm return mechanical bits and pieces were removed completely. It doesn't seem good engineering practice to have a "Hi Fi" turntable built along the same lines as a 1950s BSR Monarch. The turntable sounds fine to me but I intend using it with a Shure M95ED cartridge which tracks at around 1.5g.
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Old 17th Apr 2019, 9:02 am   #2
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Default Re: Technics SL 221 turntable

The service manual for the SL221 is available from Vinyl Engine. Registration is free, after which downloads and other data are available. A brief look at the SL221 diagram suggests that if the Cam Gear (Item 50) can be removed, the turntable should then operate purely manually, but removing other linkages involved may not be practical. Whether any audible or measurable improvement in performance would be achieved by disabling the auto-stop & arm return mechanisms is, IMHO, question-able. My own Turntable (A TEAC PX-300 direct drive, btw) is purely manual, but over the years I've owned & used , among other things, 2 players with BSR Autochangers, a Kenwood Belt drive TT with autostop, and a Sharp SG500E Music centre (Top of their range in 1978/70, the 500 had a high class Direct Drive Turntable, with motorized arm return & auto-stop) This, to me, was the equal of many other HiFi Turntables. I never tried disabling the auto-return system, but, equally I was never concerned about it's effects on performance.
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Old 17th Apr 2019, 10:09 am   #3
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Default Re: Technics SL 221 turntable

I have just bought a Sansui SR 212 which is the first semi automatic Hi Fi deck I have owned. I was surprised to see that the auto mechanism looks a bit like the BSR ones but I have found that it works very gently and well with a tracking weight of 2g.

I will be leaving mine alone and enjoying the fact that I don't have to get straight up at the end of a record.
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Old 17th Apr 2019, 10:18 am   #4
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Default Re: Technics SL 221 turntable

I used a Shure M95ED, tracking at 1.5 grams, in a fully automatic Dual 621 without any problems at all. The Dual also had a cam wheel and mechanics under the platter. Personally I'd leave the Technics well alone.
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Old 17th Apr 2019, 10:28 am   #5
martin.m
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Default Re: Technics SL 221 turntable

Thank you for your comments, I will leave the mechanism alone. As you say Paul the auto system on these Japanese turntables operates very gently and it's nice not to have to get up and stop the turntable manually. I associated auto stop with the heavy clunky auto changers of the 1950s but things have come a long way since then.

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Old 17th Apr 2019, 10:45 am   #6
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Default Re: Technics SL 221 turntable

I was also going to make the point about not having to get up when a record reaches its end. Although my TEAC TT is very good, one thing I miss about the Sharp SG500E deck is the fact that it had auto return and shut off. I know that any form of automatic operation is frowned upon by some HiFi enthusiasts, just as some will swear that Belt Drive is better than direct drive & vice-versa, but all these things are a case of 'if it's O.K. with the owner/user', then it's OK full stop. Because nylon and plastics are used in the majority on Japanese and other more modern turntables, the effect of cam gears, trip pawls, etc., is less than that of the old metal items, the only drawback I can see is that the nylon gear on the centre spindle can crack. This happened on a Sony Turntable recently. Part NLA, so I removed the gear, leaving that TT as a purely manual one!
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