Review KAB TD1200 Tonearm Fluid Damper For Technics SL1200 MK2, 3, 5
Unlike others who use the TD-1200 Fluid dampener, I am not an audiophile, but a DJ who plays at various nightclubs, and rents sound equipment for events at a variety of differentlocations and setup configurations. Here's my recent experience with the TD-1200.
First installing the dampeners to my Technics SL-1200M3D's a couple of weeks ago, I immediately went to work to see what improvements they would offer to the rigorous enviornment of the DJ.
Using Shure M44-7's, with a 23 degree inward turn (basically turning my "S" style tonearm into a strait tonearm), I proceeded to configure my turntable setup as normal. Leveling the tables, adjusting the height, and applying 2.5 grams of weight using the Shure SFG, and adjusting the anti-skate.
From here, I do what many of you would cringe over... and proceeded to "scratch" with the record, vigorously moving the record back and forth while the stylus tip is in the groove. My previous normal response, when too much speed or vibration is caused, is immediate skipping, where with some play on the anti-skate, I can get improvements, but not necessarily fix the mis-cue problems. Where other DJ's an I disagree, adding more weight doesn't fix the problem, but just gives the tonearm more mass behind it's inertia to cause even further skipping. Back to the Dampeners...
Well, small adjustments with the anti-skate halted the tracking errors, and I was able to scratch faster, and harder than ever before. So, I proceeded to lower the weight in .25 gram increments. By the time I got to 1 gram, I couldn't stop laughing. The tracking improvements were incredible. So, the scratching test went very well.
Now to the Live Environment.
Having gone to a show at a venue I was scheduled to do an event at the next day, I noted the power configurations of the system, and the level settings of the crossover, eq, and compressors. The total power of the system was 4,500 watts, with 2,750 watts being powered to 4 18" subs, between 35-90Hz.
During the breakdowns of the tracks, I could immediately hear LF feedback, and noted that even with the eq settings pulling down at 63Hz by 5dB, there was no solution for them to fix the problem. The next day, I set up for a show at the same venue... only with more power, and the dampeners. 14,650 watts, with 6,000 watts powering 4 18" subs between 30-80Hz, with a 2dB per octave crossover. Using a spectrum analyzer, I was able to power up the system to RMS, and peak out at over 14,000 watts, but the difference between the show before, and mine, was that I only decreased 63Hz by .5dB. Not once during the show, during a breakdown in the track did I hear even the slightest hint of LF feedback. Also, with the venue having wood floors, a wood stage, and the turntables set-up on top of this, I never even heard a single skip.
Just last week, we showcased the dampeners at a show for 1500 people, on a sound system that peaked out at over 45,000 watts, with almost 15,000 watts of power on the stage, and 4,000 watts to the monitors, which were only inches away from the turntables. Again, no LF feedback, and nothing but praises from the DJ's who performed that night, as only 1 DJ had a single skip, while trying to see how well the dampeners could perform during vigorous scratching. (With a small adjustment to the antiskate, and still only using 2.5 grams, he never had another skip during the show.) So, as much as i'm in a different environment as many of you, I hope that you understand that in a more dramatic setting, the benefits of the dampeners becomes more apparent. Mr. Barrett, I praise you for your contribution to the Dance Music Industry. Sincerely, DJ Donovan
See Audiogon.com link here for more info: http://forum.audiogon.com/cgi-bin/fr.pl?raccs&1033259530&openflup&6&4#6