Previously, I used 4 x ‘mag-lev’ (magnetic levitation) support ‘feet’ under the new plinth on my TECHNICS SP-10MkII – similar to the mag-lev feet used under my previous turntable.
However, I found that this turntable sounds much better supported on top of (3) solid plywood blocks.
Supporting the plywood plinth perimeter – the sound is sharper, clearer, dynamic, rhythmic, with a light, ‘agile’ touch. Image height and scale are good. There is nice treble extension, nice tonal ‘sustain’.
This is an example of why you cannot just assume that what works on one turntable (eg. rim-drive) will work similarly on another turntable (direct-drive).
Always use and trust your ears!
My feeling was that the rotational forces of a Direct Drive turntable require strategies that focus on rotational rigidity. The Mag-lev concept is not ideal in this regard (although great for isolation under vertical gravity forces). ‘Hard’, rigid supports work better with this TECHNICS SP-10MkII.
Next, it was time to remove the SP-10 from the equipment rack and put it on top of a proper,dedicated turntable stand. The legs are filled approximately 1/3 only with lead ‘shot’ and with adjustable spikes under.
Of course the sound improved noticeably – more clear and more clean. More ‘defined’ high-frequencies, improved ‘imaging’, more ‘presence’, more inner detail. Much stronger ambient decay & ‘sustain’.
However, my feeling was that this turntable can give more – it is capable of more leading-edge ‘snap’.
As noted above, the above steel stand is not TOTALLY rigid – spiked to the wood floor, it resonates a little rotationally (ie. ‘twisting’ in the horiz plane), if struck sideways. Not a lot, but there is more resonance than I would prefer, under a PLL-controlled Direct Drive turntable.
I saw that:
- The steel tube legs are relatively small 38mm diameter.
- The horizontal rectangular steel tubes are nicely mitred to the round leg, but are not fully welded on 4 sides to the leg. They are welded only on 2 edges (for visual, cosmetic or cost reasons).
When compared to this older stand (below) in my ‘collection’:
- The legs are larger 52mm diameter.
- The horizontal tubes are fully ‘fillet-welded’ on all 4 sides of each joint. (below).
The TECHNICS SP-10MkII was transferred onto this second stand:
The steel leg tubes were ‘ringing’ like a bell when tapped mid-tube, so lead shot was again added – but only in the bottom portion of each leg. There is no need to ‘over-damp’ and increasing mass too much by completely filling the tube. The ‘centre of gravity’ also, is kept low if only partially filled.
3 aluminium ‘cones’ were used under the turntable plywood edges (with temporary wood ‘shims’ under the cones, on top of the steel stand). You can experiment with best positioning around the 4 sides.
This produced the best sound yet from this turnatble:
- Increased clarity – of tone, harmonics, separation (eg. very good guitar ‘reverb’ now).
- Leading-edges are clear (but not ‘sharp’ and without ‘edginess’).
- Importantly, bass is still weighty and resonant.
- Overall sharper, cleaner, clearer ‘imaging’ and good image ‘localisation’
I have found no downsides as yet, no criticisms to report so far.
This confirms to me, the hypothesis that rotational stability is a most important parameter for a PLL servo speed-controlled Direct Drive turntable.
PS. This TECHNICS SP-10MkII above is currently fitted with:
- TransFi Terminator linear-tracking, air-bearing tonearm – https://www.musicfromvinyl.shop
- London Decca Super Gold with Decapod cartridge
- Fidelity Research FR-64 vintage tonearm
- Koetsu Rosewood Signature cartridge