Thursday, May 21, 2009

Technics vs. Rega, Round 15

Now that i've been getting into vinyl again, it seems that in audiophile circles the "Frazier vs. Ali" fight of the century is the Technics Sl-1200 Mk. 2 against the Rega P3. Both are turntables and they are at opposite sides of the spectrum with regards to engineering, cult following, and audiophile acceptance. Belt drive versus direct. Straight tonearm vs. S-shaped. And on and on. If you happen to read any of the columns of the "Vinyl Anachronist", this Mark Philips dude, you realize that this is quite a heated debate, and it seems that if you are a "true" audiophile you will hate the Technics and love the Rega. Now, audiophiles are not the most scientific bunch. Mark Philips has offered to have a 'sound-off" between the two tables however won't agree to a blind test. Which scientifically invalidates the whole exercise. If he is pre-disposed to hate the Technics, he will. And sure enough, he does. But he's probably one of those dudes who can hear the difference using a green magic marker on the edge of a CD. It seems that the more scientific audiophile, the ones who are into specs and measurements, like the Technics. Specs don't lie. For the most part, I happen to agree more with the latter group. It has gotten to the point that I bet some guys are "afraid" to admit they like the Technics when in the presence of the audio elite who feel that direct drive tables are as good as dog shit.

Now, I happen to OWN both of thest turntables. Which makes it easy for me to make an objective comparison. And i'm not one of those brand loyal audiophiles.
Here's the deal. The Technics is a better built, more refined table. It weighs a ton and is acoustically dead. The Rega is a piece of MDF that a motor is attached to. Pretty sparse. The Rega tonearm is supposedly a "classic" and does indeed seem well engineered. Then again, so does the Technics arm, and it has adjustable VTA, too. So on mere quality of materials and build aesthetics, the Technics wins.

But it's the sound, you say. Which one SOUNDS better?? And the answer is....Fuck if I know!!! I've listened to loud rock and roll for 30 years and my ears are essentially FRIED. I have a different cartridge in each, so right there is a huge variable. Both tables sound good to me. The Rega has the edge most likely due to the top of the line Shure V15 cartridge in there. But I sure do prefer the build quality of the Technics, the damn thing is like a tank.

So what is the verdict of all this hoopla?? Get whatever table you want. It's your money. Just spin the black circle, baby.

I will admit that the table I am using, however, is the Rega. I'm just too scared that a real audiophile will make fun of me if I use the Technics.


Blogger vinyl anachronist said...

First of all, who is "Mark Philips"? Second of all, I've owned an SL1200 for over two years now and have published several reviews of it with different cartridges and modifications. So I'm not "predisposed" toward anything. I've conducted several blind comparisons as well.

Even you admit that you can't hear why did you even bother to write this blog?

Marc Phillips

2:53 PM  
Blogger Dip said...

Yeah, sorry, I messed up your name. And contrary to what you might think, i'm not slagging you nor anyone else, vinyl fans need to unite! It's just that being a scientist by trade I find the whole audiophile thing, with it's rampant subjectivity and pseudoscience, rather amusing. I really used to enjoy those old Audio Critic mags...they seemed to be the only ones who would tell it like it is.

12:55 PM  
Blogger 12345 said...

The correct SL-1200, for such a comparison, is the SERVO ORIGINAL, (not QUARTZ).

Please have a look in this blind test:

3:13 AM  
Blogger 12345 said...

The correct SL-1200, for such a comparison, is the SERVO ORIGINAL, (not QUARTZ).

Please have a look in this blind test:

3:14 AM  

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