The Last Word (For Now) on the Technics SL-1000R Tonearm

The amount of faux "controversy" surrounding the 10" arm Technics will supply with its upcoming SL-1000R turntable bordered on the absurd. Much of it centered on the pivot to spindle distance and effective length. It all began when the 'table arrived and the spec sheet listed the effective length as 239mm. That didn't make sense to me because that would be the effective length of a 9" arm!

So I measured the pivot to spindle distance and it was 239mm. Add the 15mm overhang and the actual effective length of the arm was actually 254mm. It turns out that Technics uses the term "effective length" to describe the actual length that's normally defined as the pivot-to-spindle distance! To its credit Technics has changed its specification nomenclature to avoid future confusion.

In the meantime, my friend and mentor Wally Malewicz has take the time to prepare the above chart that hopefully will clarify many of the faux controversies under the previous SL-1000R story. The chart shows you (reading from right to left) the null points and % distortion when setting up the SL-1000R using various alignments. As you can see, both the "new" Technics alignment and Stevenson alignment produce the lowest distortion at the inner groove area and therefore if you play mostly older records that tended to be cut closer to the label, there's a benefit to using either of those, though as you can clearly see, distortion throughout most of the record is considerably higher than with either Lofgren A or B.

Also obvious is that if you play mostly newer records that are not generally cut close to the label, you are much better off aligning using either Lofgren A or B. When I chose to not use the Technics overhang gauge and instead used the WallyTractor, of course the overhang was different than the result using the Technics gauge, but it's what I prefer: lower distortion throughout most of the record, with higher distortion at the end, but not really a problem on modern records.

Which alignment you choose to use is up to you! Arguing over it is just plain stupid and a total waste of time!

Tom L's picture

...for this final clarification. Getting the correct numbers and interpretation from Technics is surely easier and less destructive than my Ball Peen Method.

volvic's picture

Before silviajulieta chimes in and fills up this page with his theories. I say by tonight.

Michael Fremer's picture
Just lost power in blizzard and posting this thanks to battery back up but that won't last long!
misterc59's picture

Patience, perhaps not a regular follower, on vacation, or as I like to think, this person uses the "shotgun" approach in choosing which website to enlighten next...:)


Cam08529's picture

explains it perfectly. I have read articles explaining the differences in alignment methods but have never seen a pictorial explanation better than Wally’s graph. Personally I’ll pick the curve drawn with my favorite color blue, but to each his own.

silviajulieta's picture

Mr. Fremer: Sorry but still something wrong. Look this is what you stated in the original thread where you measured the P2S distance using the smart-tractor:

""" The measured number plus the 17mm overhang spec produced an effective length of 254mm """

that's means that the P2S distance that you measured was: 237mm and not 239mm as you posted here. 237 + 17 = 254 239 + 17 = 256

In the original thread I posted this:

In the other side you measured the pivot to spindle distance as 237 mm and this is the only true parameter you have on hand """

and the only true parameter I had on hand too and where I works with, not 239mm.

The chart here is wrong because the P2S is false and because japanese manufacturers normally don't use IEC standard as this chart.

Exist what japanese name it " typical " standard and with that measured ( 237mm. ) true P2S and the normal japanese Stevenson A the results are:

P2S 237mm overhang 15.26mm offset angle 21.08° EL 252.26

All in all does not appears that 254mm. That spec sheet seems to me is not totally correct.

I think you need to have again on hand that TT to measures again that P2S distance that's the only true parameter to make calculations. This P2S distance can't change because the tonearms in those models are fixed and we can't change its position. So, the EL will be according the kind of alignment and standard we choose forn calculations or even to have a custom alignment as the one Wally " forced " in that chart.

Using that " typical " standard along Stevenson A is what gaves the nearest ( not customed. ) numbers to the original Technics specs of 15mm and 21°.

Mathematics manipulations as the " Tech new " makes no sense because it's not what japanese manufacturers did it or does it. Manipulation is simmilar of what unidin did it: remember?


Irrational's picture

silviajulieta, if Mr. Fremer is incapable of doing basic math, I see no reason to assume he can read a value and accurately transfer it to one of his stories.

Mr. Fremer, please choose one and only one of the following:
a) Change 239 to 237
b) Change 17 to 15
c) Change 254 to 256
d) Explain your use of the equation: Effective Length = PivotToSpindle + Overhang – 2.

I suspect your power outage is penance for claiming 239 + 17 = 254 in three stories.

Irrational's picture

You can’t assume that there are gross errors in Technics specification sheet just because of Mr. Framer’s errors.

You can’t assume that the initial design currently uses any known specification for inner and outer grooves. It is perfectly reasonable for Technics to use values they determined based on an analysis of a number of actual recordings.

You can’t assume that their alignment jig corresponds to any of the design criteria you have examined. They could very well take into account other factors that affect tonearm performance as well as actual measurements or perhaps chose a nominal alignment that introduces the least error to overall tonearm performance for a set of cartridges suitable for a turntable at this performance level. Don’t lose sight of the forest by staring too long at a single tree.

There is nothing inappropriate with Wally’s Tech New curve. It is based solely on taking Technics specification values as absolute. That curve is independent of inner and outer groove radii.

If you wish, the specification sheet provides angular errors for inner and outer grooves. You can use the law of cosines and the solution to a quadratic equation to calculate the inner and outer groove radii. But keep in mind that you do not know the requirements for this specification. It may correspond to the inner and outer groove in Japan, the groove specifications in a market that requires these values, the minimum inner groove and maximum outer groove of all known recording specifications in which they sell their products or something else. It does not follow that these inner/outer groove values were used for the purpose of initial design.

silviajulieta's picture

Mr. Fremer: """ As you can see, both the "new" Technics alignment and Stevenson alignment produce the lowest distortion at the inner groove area and therefore if you play mostly older records that tended to be cut closer to the label, there's a benefit to using either of those """

That advise is absurd as it's Stevenson A alignment. I already posted in other forums a wide explanation about and I don't have the time to do it again.

Please only think this:

the IEC standard ( for calculations. ) states two of the input parameters for the alignment calculations and are: 60.325mm and 146.3mm

So we are talking of a groove playing area of: 85.975mm and Stevenson A gives us lower distortion ( nothing to die for. ) in the last 3mm of inner grooves ! ! ! ! ? ? ? and only when exist those 3mm in the inner groove area.

Go figure ! ! !

With all respect to Stevenson and their advocates just makes no sense and bording in the stupidity to use that terrible kind of alignment.


Ortofan's picture

When the CD was being developed, the diameter of the disc was chosen so that Beethoven's 9th Symphony would fit on one disc.

In a similar vein, are you aware of a particular LP recording that is especially popular in Japan - likely a classical work with a loud conclusion and of a length that would require cutting the inside grooves relatively close to the label - that might have induced Technics to choose a Stevenson-like alignment so as to minimize playback distortion near the end of that record?

silviajulieta's picture

Mr. irrational: When you writed your posts you must assumed some premises to do it. You assumed that I assumed something that you can't really know about.

I know very well and almost perfectly the Technics audio analog history where I owned or own almost all its top of the line TTs, cartridges and tonearms.
A the same time I know perfectly ( too. ) almost all japanese analog manufacturers of tghose same old times.

In the other side I know for sure the Japanese audio analog " culture " where almost all had the same way of thinking where no one of them changed it overtime: always the same even today.
I know that the new Technics TT/tonearm was designed and manufactured in Japan not in USA and certainly not with the people that are the USA Technics organization/enterprise.

My first/second post in the original thread was not only taking in count all those facts but taking in count the only true alignment parameter of the Technics tonearm and this was the P2S 237mm. that Mr.Fremer took. All my coments were founded/based on those premises. Latter on things goes with an accumulation of true or not misunderstandings and I posted according those misunderstandings.

I don't understand how your posts puts some " ligth " true ligth in the whole regards. Please do it, time to learn.


Irrational's picture

You are correct in pointing out that 239 + 17 does not equal 254. But you have assumed, even though Mr. Fremer wrote that he measured a pivot to spindle of 239, that he must of meant 237 without considering that the number 17 or 254 was incorrect.

Mr. Fremer provided a link to Technics own specification sheet which states that pivot to spindle is 239 mm and not the 237mm which you claim. So, you are claiming that Mr. Fremer and Technics wrote the wrong value.

I am only pointing out that it is remotely possible that even a Japanese company could change its ways. Purely as an example, consider the possibility of a Stephenson alignment with their own choice of an inner groove radius.

Tony C's picture

Dear Esteemed Siliajulietta,

You have not taken into account the possibility that in a alternative universe; 239 plus 17 does equal 254. And therefore Mr. Fremer is correct?