Who doesn’t love the Technics SL-1200 series? These turntables are awesome and while they are designed with DJs in mind (I personally would love to get my hands on one of those double turntable models to play with) they are known for being high-quality and awesome turntables in their own right. I had SL-1200MK5G that I freaking loved and I basically ran it into the ground and I tried to fix the tonearm bearing calibration myself, messed it up and this very expensive turntable now hangs out in the attic, waiting for a man of better technical skill than I to fix it.
My plight got me thinking. Well, first of all, it got me thinking that I need to go on eBay and see if I can find a new or used Technics SL-1200MK5G, and guess what? I found a whole lot of them on there, but they are all priced in the 800 to 1000 bucks’ range and while it would be great to have one, my wife would be mad as hell! So, I thought as the one I have is just sitting in the attic, I might as well give it another try to fix it, and here is what I found out about Technics 1200 tonearm bearing calibration.
To start with, I have been part of many articles on the site about tinkering with your tonearm to help you get your turntable sounding great. I stand by what I say here, but the thing with the bearing calibration is that this is a very, very specific thing. I have read articles that flat out say “DO NOT TOUCH THE SCREWS!! Due to how finicky this process is and once you start messing with it, chances are you are not going to be able to get it working again. Most of the things I have come across advise changing the tonearm.
I would have to agree with this. Unless you know a professional, Technics repair service that specializes in stuff like this, chances are you are not going to be happy with the DIY job you do here. While there are many fixes and repairs that anyone can do, this is one that I would say is not for an ammeter and will probably just cause more frustration (and damage) than getting the turntable sounding right. While they are hard to get you can get a Tonearm bearing adjustment tool however, unless you are fully confident in what you are doing, I would probably not advise tinkering with this.
As this is such a popular series of turntables, if you type in Technics-SL1200 to eBay you are greeted with tons of pages of various parts that you can purchase. While a couple of hundred bucks may seem expensive for a replacement tonearm, it is a hell of a lot cheaper than buying a whole new Technics-SL1200 that is for sure. I ended up finding a decent priced one (can’t say what I paid, the wife might be reading) from Japan and while installing it was a fiddley job, I am beyond stoked to have one of my prized turntables up and rocking again!