Devon-based Timestep has garnered something of a reputation (and bagged a number of awards) for its shrewd modifications of several iconic Technics turntables. The latest of these is the EVO GR, an upgraded version of Technics’ budget SL-1210 GR deck. Hi-Fi World editor Noel Keywood takes it for a spin.
Back in the early 70s the Technics direct-drive motor was a revolution (no pun intended), delivering exceptional performance in terms of speed accuracy and stability. This, combined with a raft of other practical features, made Technics decks legendary to generations of vinyl fans and firm favourites among DJs. But for audiophiles, they had their limitations – hence the ongoing appeal of Timestep’s canny enhancements.
Earlier this year Technics unveiled the new ‘standard’ SL-1200 GR turntable which incorporated many of the technological highlights of last year’s ‘reference’ SL-1200 G – but at around half the cost. This was soon followed by a black version, the SL-1210 GR (the 1200 series being silver). Great news for Technics fans, but for those with audiophile leanings, the old limitations were still a niggle. Or as Keywood puts it, “the GR comes with a prosaic arm and on-board switch-mode power supply, both of which raise audiophile eyebrows.”
Time for Timestep to step in again….
The first key area for attention was the SL-1210 GR’s internal switch-mode power supply. Since switch-modes are renowned for radiating “radio-frequency rubbish”, the modified EVO GR instead features Timestep’s own high quality external linear supply.
Technics’ “prosaic” tonearm is replaced with a Michell TecnoArm, which is a modified Rega RB202 (1 see note below) and is fitted by way of a brand new arm mounting plate. For the review, the package was finished off with a Denon DL-110 MC cartridge but Timestep are happy equally happy to fit any MM or MC cartridge or to leave the buyer to fit their own.
“What you get with this package is exceptional sound quality from LP at an affordable price,” Keywood concludes. “Outstanding – amongst the best.”
Find out more about the Timestep EVO GR at Sound Hi-Fi.
Read Noel Keywood’s full review in the August 2017 issue of Hi-Fi World.
1Note: Timestep designer Dave Cawley has since added a further upgrade to the package while also lowering its cost. He now uses Timestep’s own Technocrat TE303 tonearm – a modified Rega RB303 with special weight and separate ground wire.