Devon-based Timestep has garnered quite a reputation for its intelligent (and fully sanctioned) modifications of various iconic Technics turntables. Now, designer Dave Cawley turns his attention to the recently-launched SL-1200 GAE deck and comes up with yet more cannily-crafted advancements in the form of the new Timestep EVOke.
Like its predecessor the EVO, the new EVOke takes a brand new Technics deck, makes a number of smart revisions then adds an excellent quality tonearm and cartridge to deliver a superbly engineered ‘turnkey’ turntable package.
The original EVO was a heavily modified edition of the Technics SL-1200 deck and over the past decade it enjoyed considerable success among critics and buyers alike.
Earlier this year, Technics launched a brand new edition of the SL-1200: the SL-1200 GAE. In its native Japan the first several hundred models built sold out within minutes. Although the SL-1200 GAE has only just arrived in the UK, Cawley was already hard at work on Timestep’s measurements and modifications, having been approached by Technics some months ago who invited him to do so.
The excellent new Timestep EVOke is the result. A Timestep-Technics tour de force, its technical measurements almost equal those of the iconic Technics SP-10 MK-III deck. But hang on, why modify a brand new deck that’s already flying off the shelves?
“The standard Technics SL-1200 GAE, while superb, cuts costs in two areas: the tonearm and the power supply,” says Cawley. “The arm is derived from the SL-1200 MK-IV and while it’s better than some, it’s not what I’d call an audiophile arm.”
In the EVOke, Cawley therefore replaces the tonearm with an SME IV which, he says, “with its tapered magnesium armtube and silver finish is a match made in heaven”. An Audio Technica AT-33PTG/II moving coil cartridge with gold-plated solid boron cantilever provides the perfect complement to top off the system.
As for the power supply, the EVOke replaces the SL-1200 GAE’s internal switch mode with an external linear PSU designed by Timestep. “While the SL-1200 GAE’s power supply is very quiet,” says Cawley, “a number of reviews have mentioned a ‘haze’, which our modified supply removes.” Constructed with supreme attention to detail, the Timestep power supply’s cable exits the SL-1200 GAE via a custom-made adapter plate; the gold-plated power connector is made by Furutech while the PSU connectors are both gold-plated Neutrik.
The new SL-1200 GAE is the culmination of 45 years of research by Technics and now, in its Timestep EVOke form, delivers a stunningly high measured performance at an affordable price.