My Trusty Technics SL-Q2, it has almost every feature of the higher end SL-1200 sans the stuff you don’t need if you aren’t a DJ. The only thing I’d really like it to have is height adjustment on the tonearm. Considering I got it for for trade (an old NAS I was not using anymore) there isn’t much to complain about. While when I got it I did have to fix the queuing lever, and replace the stylus (I actually ended up just getting a new Ortofon 2M Red cartridge, and keep the other technics cart with the new stylus as a spare) it autoreturns perfects (again after I adjusted, the first time it didn’t lift the stylus quickly enough and ran it across the record briefly). But with all this being said, what else can be done to improve my sound quality? I do find it is lacking in bass response. The turntable is not light, but it is not heavy either, adding weight is a common budget audiophile hack, and I’d heard of people using modelling clay to full the plinth (body) of the record player so I ordered up 2 pound packs of clay (I recalled seeing someone do it to the same model saying they used 7-8 Lbs in theirs, so to avoid having to wait for another order I played it safe.
I live in Canada, so once the clay was delivered, I arrived home and found… it was hard as a rock from sitting out in the cold, so after letting it come up to room temp for a few hours I disconnected the turntable, removed the platter, the headshell, and the 45RPM adapter. I got 2 stacks of books, and flipped it upside down on top of them so the tonearm was unobstructed.
After removing the 4 feet (the thinner springs are on the front feet, thicker springs on the rear) the bottom comes off, and ya start filling. around the tonearm mechanism is where I decided to start, as this a critical area with most of the moving parts. make sure to move all the moving parts around often as you fill to ensure they can still move freely are not obstructed by the clay. As you fill you will also want to run the auto-return mechanism a bunch of times while filling it in to ensure it can move freely, this can be done by unlocking the tonearm, and spinning the center spindle from bottom move the tonearm past the run-out area to engage the auto-return and ensure the arm returns back properly and further spinning leaves the arm put. When filling in I push the clay into the pattern on the aluminum shell to ensure it fills the entire void, and ensure to blend joints smoothly and try to avoid air pockets as best as possible.
Nearly done, but the base goes on too easily, that means there is more room!And now I ended up filling it a bit too much, I didn’t have to take any out, but did have to find where it was touching the bottom plate and smooth some areas out.8LBs of clay later, I did have 1 problem on my first play, at first a was really kind of upset because I had thought that one of my favourite records had a scrath! It was right at the end, so it wasn’t that bad, the song would just skip on the last bar or two. But then I flipped it over and played the other side (figuring if it was something I did to make the record play scratch the record or something I would at least only be damaging the same record again, and low and behold at the very end of the song (it was a 7″ single, Fascination, by The Beaches, if you are curious) it skipped again. So at this point I said to myself, I added quite a bit at the end near the mechanism without running it through a few cycles, so I turned it off, removed the record, and put the stylus protector on, then manually moved the tonarm to the center of the platter and back a few times, and now it works perfectly. So again, make sure to run the mechanisms before you close it up! it is only 4 screws, but still.
But the real question you probably have is something like “but Paul! What the hell does it sound like!?!?!?” Well, in a word, AMAZING! the bass response is so tight now, its incredible how much vibration there was before, I hear even very quiet things very clearly now in songs. It definitely made the guitar in Snake Tongue by The Beaches sound a lot more like it was being played right in front of me. Songs with synthetic bass-lines you can really hear the frequency sweeps much more deeply, this is a hard one to describe but hopefully you get what I mean. I wish I recorded audio from some records before and after to demonstrate, but alas, I was not thinking of writing this when I started this though, we’re lucky I even took before and after pictures…