| audio, gear, vintage | 64 comments

I picked up this turntable at a thrift store for only $15—the first time I've ever found anything remotely worth keeping at a thrift store. It needed a good cleaning and a few repairs, but nothing too major.

I found this turntable at a thrift store for only $15, which is surprising because I never find any electronics worth keeping at thrift stores around here. It was pretty gunked up, the belt had disintegrated, and the cartridge was missing its needle. It seemed to be in decent cosmetic shape (no cracks in the dust cover!) so I figured it was worth taking home.

After ordering a new belt from lpgear.com, I found that it was having trouble maintaining a constant 33 RPM speed, and 45 didn't work at all. A quick Google search indicated that this is an extremely common problem with these old Technics turntables. All you need to do is open up the bottom, spray a little contact cleaner into the speed control knobs, the power switch (which also acts as a 33/45 RPM switch), and finally the secondary speed control variable resistors on the bottom side of the circuit board. It's those variable resistors that usually cause the most grief, since they are never used outside of the factory, and accumulate a lot of oxidation over the years. Once again, I did not document this process with photos but you can see some here on Audiokarma.

After all of the knobs were cleaned, I gave the whole thing a good scrubdown and it was spinning beautifully again. Good as new. Except—one of the channels was not outputting any sound. I used my multimeter to test whether the channel was cutting out on its way through the tonearm, or through the RCA cables. Luckily I determined it was the RCA cables that were faulty (not uncommon for a 40 year old turntable) so I simply ordered a heavy duty replacement set from Monoprice, snipped one end, and soldered them in. Having to rewire a tonearm is an exercise in frustration, so I was glad I didn't need to.

The turntable came fitted with a vintage Pickering XV-15 cartridge, which I found out is pretty well regarded. Instead of replacing it with a whole new cartridge, I decided to order a replacement aftermarket stylus for it instead. As luck would have it lpgear.com had a replacement in stock, so I ordered it at the same time as I ordered the belt.

With the new belt, RCA cables, and needle installed, everything was working perfectly again, and it had only cost me the initial $15 plus about $60 in replacement parts (including shipping). And as I pointed out in the comments of my turntable comparison chart, the specs of these old turntables basically destroy many of the modern entry level turntables, even ones priced between $200 and $400. They just need a little bit of work to bring them back to life. Now if only Technics hadn't chosen the absolute worst shade of olive puke for the veneer.


I have the same turntable, and the veneer is not originally that color. This is due to a habitual smoker or dirty owner.

I'd love to do a restore but can never find any old equipment. Great job!

David, the base was heavily scrubbed with magic eraser and warm soapy water, and the photo has been white balanced (though maybe a tad on the warm side). So if the color looks off, it might be your display. Or maybe Technics made slightly different versions for different production runs, because I see on Google that some look a little more gray than others. But this one is definitely clean

I'm not sure about the plastics used on that record player, but I've had good results using "retrobrite" to restore the plastic on a heavily yellowed Super Nintendo. Heavy scrubbing accomplished nothing until the retrobrite was used. May be worth looking into here.


Great post. I have an sl-23 as well which I bought from goodwill for 7 bucks and then paid $30 to ship it! Anyway, part of the reason I decided to go with it (besides the value) was because all the controls are integrated into the right side section and, after taping that off, it could be easily painted. Mine is now high gloss white and I'm quite happy with it - modernized retro I guess. Fwiw, it also looked good in a flat black which I used as a primer.

Nice! I would like to see photos of your paint job

I just bought one sl23 $ 8.00 yard sale I would like to replace the lid it has one scratch but nice I think this was a good buy.

I Found Mine For $19.00 Dollars In Almost New Condition And It Blows Away My Marantz 6350Q!!! Technics Is The Boss...

Hi, I'm having speed problems with mine. I tried to put it on 45 after about six months of having it on 33 and everything went crazy, just wouldn't keep the correct speed and sometime it wouldn't start properly. Then suddenly today it starts working again. I couldn't find contact cleaner but bought wd 40 however I've realized this is not the stuff to use and didn't use it. What part of the turntable alters the speed, is it the capacitors? Did you use the contact cleaner on the dials from inside the turntable by opening the back or just from the front? The photos you suggested didn't help. I also had to replace the audio cables just bought some decent ones from radio shack was simple enough. I've just ordered I new needle/cartridge so I'd like to get it running as smooth as.... Thanks for the post!

Richard, the speed control is part of the power switch. You need to flip the turntable upside down (remove the platter and secure the tonearm first), then unscrew the bottom. Once open, you'll be able to easily find the power switch and adjustment dials for both 33 and 45 RPM. Spray a little contact cleaner inside the power switch and speed dials, give them about two dozen turns, and then repeat the process again. It's unlikely you'll need to replace any capacitors.

Awesome! Worked... so far. Installed an Audio Technica 95E cartridge and the sound (and speed) are much sharper. Thanks!

Hi all!
I'm looking at purchasing a Technics Sl-23 for $100 here in Australia. This would be my first record player! Any tips on what else I should be looking out for? Do I need a receiver, amps etc?



I bought mine when I was 13 (1975) in Europe. My original finish is silver. Have used it up until 8 years ago when mine started exhibiting the same speed issues - Never had the heart to toss it. Now I'll try the contact cleaner and dust off my Vinyl! Glad I stumbled across your review. Thanks

Back in the early 90s i came across one of these when i started getting into rave music and dj'ing and learnt to mix on one of these, been 14 at the time and it all been about technics 1210, (a bit out of my price range) i made do with one of these along with another unknown deck i had, cant remember what it was but it had nothing on this. This lasted my years, was a great deck and have found memories of it. It ended up getting stolen from a friends house when he was burgled. :( would love another one

I just bought an SL-20 off Craigslist for too much, but I love it. The speed was inconsistent, so it needed to have its controls and power switch cleaned and lubed. Now it works great.

There is a slight squeak when the platter starts, but then goes away in about a quarter-second. It doesn't happen with the platter removed, so I'm guessing it's not the motor; I'm not sure what's causing it. Maybe the spindle against the platter is making a noise. There is also a very tiny amount of looseness where the tonearm meets the pivot. I think the whole thing would need to be disassembled to fix that, so I haven't bothered.

I was pleasantly surprised at the finish of the plinth. I see a lot of them on ebay that are really discolored, but mine is in almost perfect condition. It's also a much more durable texture than I imagined it would be. I used 91% alcohol and a paper towel; that cleaned it almost perfectly. The next step is to polish the dustcover. Not sure yet how I'm going to approach that.

Hi! planning to get this as someone's birthday present, But i am absolutely new to turntables and record players, hence i don't really know if i need a pair of speakers to go with this? or do i need an amp for this turntable?

Jenn, you need both speakers and an amp or receiver. The amp or receiver needs a phono input to run the turntable. See my turntable guide for more clear instructions (search in the upper right for "how to set up a turntable")

Just thought I'd update my post on this thread, I've had this turntable for a year now and it's probably the best I've owned. The base is made of mdf covered in formica (cheap). It is a strange olive color. It's belt driven (but fast on start up) the mechanics are mostly plastic, but it's easy to open and work on, it uses a thick S arm that is a variant of the Technics 1210 (it has a big grip on the head so it's easy to pick up in the middle of a track). For a home turntable to play jazz/folk/blues it's perfect with the automatic return arm so you can pass out while it's playing. At a party it's fast as sh1t when you want to wip of Motorhead and put on a big electro number on, it's right there. Certainly not good for real djing with a mixer and a second turn table but that job is only for a 1210. You can buy a Denon for the real quality but why bother. I can't tell the difference. It's a bit annoying changing from 33 to 45 as it appears to take time to change speed but for $100 it's a really fun object that delivers speed and quality 30 years after it was built. Just think how much pleasure that has delivered to many many people.

Maybe a dumb question but worth a shot...would you ever consider selling? I'd love to have this as my main hub for vinyl.

Kyle, these are available on ebay all the time. They made a ton of them.

In fact, I just got one this past Saturday off CL. There is some yellowing, but it's not too bad. I used Novus #2 to polish the cover, which worked pretty well, but I need to do another application.

Yes, I have been looking. Going to do my own restoration I think. Possibly paint the plinth. They are just getting harder and harder to find for cheap since vinyl is coming back. I have an SL-20 but I want the SL-23 for the auto return feature.

Kyle, I sell all of my gear to fund my hobby of purchasing new gear. Unfortunately this SL-23 has been sold long ago :)

Hi there,
I just got one of these today from a house I was working on. Ofcourse it doesn't start at all on 45 and slow/ stops on 33. This post looks like it should help, I took the bottom off and had a look - coud you elaborate a little on the "secondary speed control variable resistors", do I need to remove screws on the circuit board or just spray the connectors on the board or what?

Andy, check the service manual at vinylengine.com -- most of what you're looking for is there. You'll need some contact cleaner.

Thank you very much for your help. It works now :)

I just acquired one. Want to fix it. Can't seem to get the platter off. Do they stick? Any suggestions would be appreciated.

I brought my SL23back in the 70s have not used it for 30 years or so if I was to sell it today what would I get for it ???

Snake, it depends on the condition. Check ebay for sold listings. You might get $50-100. High end is for really good shape machines that come with a decent cartridge.

Hey! I have just brought one home, although it $150 AUD for the turntable, reciever and stereo tuner. I have the same speed issue. With the contact cleaner, is there any particular one thats better?

Matt, anything plastics safe is good enough.

Hi. I've got an SL20 the needle just fell out. I bought a new needle but I can't work out to fit it. Do I need a whole new cartridge? They cost £30!
Please help?Many thanks

Rebecca, no, just replace the stylus. What cartridge is it?

Hi, Just thought I'd share this...
I recently bought myself an SL-23 for £1 from a local charity shop. They weren't even selling it, just had it stored in the back of the shop, until I asked. It needed a new stylus, cartridge etc and still needs a counterbalance weight. It seems to be having an issue when set on 33 speed. Any ideas where I can get contact cleaner from? Oh, and a counterbalance if anyone is in the know??
Anyway, it is now working again, to some degree, and have now got a few new records to spin, thanks to santa. ☺
Happy days
Regards, Tom

Hey tom
Any hardware store or electrical shop should have contact cleaner
For the counterweight might be a bit tricky. eBay is your friend, if you want to find one that was on the turntable originally

Thanks Matt. Yeah, I took a look on tinter-web for both. Contact cleaner should be no probs but looks like the counterweight might be quite tricky. Temporarily, I've used a couple of old washers and added some blue tack to get it right. Seems to be doing the job for the time being. Do you know if I can use another counterweight from other Technics models or does it have to be specific?

Should be able to, tone arms come in different sizes though. If you can fin one from around the same year, that could work


I decided to dust off an old SL-23 that was in my parents basement for about 20 years now. I've brought it home but unfortunately for me it doesn't work? I mean it doesn't turn on, no movement or lights. Does anyone have any ideas? is it the transformer? fuses or capacitors? Any insight would be greatly appreciated.


You have to move the tonearm out over the platter to turn on the light and engage the motor.

I replaced the root cause of the speed issues on my Sl-20 (23 will be similar) by using an 'on-off-on' guitar toggle switch. As a bonus, it's made in Japan. You have to work out the connections carefully because miswiring will fry the chip. If you undertake it, it's at your own risk of course. Spraying out the control doesn't last, and after taking the rotary switch (which was replaced once before when it was available) apart I can see why. Any plating is long gone and the contacts and inserts totally cratered. Disappointed with the quality of the switch, it's not a sealed unit. Absolutely solid speeds now. I posted on vinylengine along with a picture. It isn't fancy, but visual is secondary to audible. FYI, the FRX22.4 flat belt from russellind works perfectly for the 20.

SL-23 year made ?

SL-20 and 23 were made 1975-1977.

I just bought the same table for 15$. Much better color than puke, lol, but no cartridge...I found the cartridge shell and needle up for around 45$ total. I can't wait to put it together.

Thanks jeff you're a life saver,saved a lot of heartache agonising whether to bin the old Sl 23,that had fluctuating speed issues,given it a new lease of life with new belt sourced from Portugal and stylus from Germany...Cheers

Hi Jeff, just scored one of these for free from the recyclers locally. No stylus and encrusted with bird crap and dust. They also harvested the power cord and the ground wire and RCA cables for the copper. But, no cracks in the dust cover and I had an RCA cable and ground wire from an old ELAC turntable as well as a power cord. Have installed these and done a thorough cleaning with DeOxit 100%...plus a new old belt and a new old Shure M55E cartridge and we are rockin' for sure.

I have just bought a technics sl23 which runs on 110v ,there is no voltage change over switch for 230v , which I need for new zealand. from the circuit it seems that the transformer will take 230v and the c14 & r53 just attenuate the voltage down.Do I just need to short these out? Your thoughts on this would be appreciated. Many thanks for your help.

I prefer your "olive puke" (LOL!) to my SL-220's ubiquitous silver grey.
Technics belt drive turntables sure sound excellent but get no love. Their loss, our gain.

Not the original color...the base should be silver, but like David said the weird puke green color is probably do to smoke or some other contamination.

The vinyl veneer on these is highly susceptible to UV, which causes the yellowing.

I have a SL-23, I plunged it in and the light turned on but nothing else is happening the motor isn't turning or anything. Do you know what could be wrong ?

I would check that the power/speed select switch is cleaned properly first.

I got my SL-23 in 1978 from a guy that needed cash to fix his motorcycle. Worked like a champ for a good 25 years, except for the RCA plugs that I replaced years ago it is all original. After a decade in storage, I pulled out my old albums, hooked my baby up. Despite some problems maintaining consistent speed she was humming again. Just ordered a can of Deoxit spray to clean the pots hoping that will take care of the speed issues so we can make it to 50 together.

Hi Jeff
Awesome build. I have 2 sl23's and love the simplicity and sound, even though people just tell me to get rid of them and buy the lastest TT like the project. Question I would like to ask is if you know the difference between a sl23 and a sl23a. They look the same just want to know if they have the same mechanics . Your thoughts?

Hi Guys for the electrical speed issue and some drawing of the capacitors this guys blog at this link is about his journey restoring a Sl-23 , has some drawing that may help everyone, they helped me :-) http://artandtechnology.com.au/audio/…

Hi guys. Just purchased a sl 23.
Would like to replace the cartridge with an ortofon if possible. Can anyone suggest the best one please

I have been pleasantly surprised to learn how well regarded my old SL-23 is. I brought mine with me from NZ when I migrated to Oz in 1979, but have used it for the last 15 years. I've just decided to resurrect my old gear, including getting my Harman Kardon PM655 Vxi amp overhauled by an electronics artisan, and going over the turntable myself. Mine had the usual speed problems, which I fixed, but I'd still like to replace the 5K splined shaft pots (which I can't find). One problem I found was the cartridge shell assy was difficult to remove from the end of the tone arm, due to aluminium corrosion inside the end of the tone arm. Also, to my amazement, the original belt is still serviceable, at over 40 years old! And the first record I played after getting it going again? A 45 single of Pink Floyd's "Another Brick in the Wall".

EDIT to above post "1979, but haven't used it for"

hi all, i have mine same model which i got from a friend and one of the channels is not working. RCA cable has already been replaced, and found out that the problem is coming from the springs inside the tonearm, as when i sprayed contact cleaner and fiddled with the springs a bit both channels were working fine however after a week or two i went to play it again and its back on one channel. I repeated the same process but still working on 1 channel this time. anyone had same issue and fixed it, if not, anyone know how i can solve the issue?

Hi Alex

Contact cleaner is at best just a temporary fix in most situations. It can remove oxidation but it mostly just loosens things up. The best solution would be to take everything apart and give every part a thorough cleaning, which might not be easy or practical in a lot of situations.

i lik thish record player please call me ph no 9040145294

Hey Jeff, I think I have the same problem with mine. When you say you snipped the RCA cables on one end, did you snip them on the outside of the turn table, so the original cable is still attached to the turn table? Or did you go inside the turntable to replace the entire RCA cable?

Matthew, I went inside and replaced the cables entirely.

I have 9 old technics, most not working but I just get rid of them. They’re just so cool.

I don't know what the hell you people are talking about. I purchased one of these new in 75 from Playback stereo foe $150.00. I was a sophomore in high school. I still have the receipt. My first table. and after owning it a few months realized a speed control problem which I learned later was an issue with ALL QUARTZ LOCKED DC MOTOR TURNTABLES of that vintage. Even today for the most part. Compare it to a Pioneer PL-512, 514, or many other early tables with synchronous motors, usually with 4-poles. And with after market power supplies make them really shine. And that's not taking used tables. Their is plenty of turntables in the $200-$400 range that will eat this for lunch.
They're a saying in the business that " dc motors go right by going wrong". The dc motor in this table would just keep speeding up without the quartz servo correcting the speed of it constantly; speeds up, slows down, speeds up, slows down over and over again. Simply play a piano recording with sustained notes and hear the wow. I know of two tables considered truly highend products recently using accurate dc motors and one uses a motor, $5000-$6000 their cost and the other a $5000.00 option. Stick to synchronous motors

I have an old Technics SL-23 that had all the same problems with variable speeds etc.
If you follow this article it'll be as good as new! http://artandtechnology.com.au/audio/…