Yamaha GT-2000 Turntable Cable Replacement & Review

The Yamaha GT-2000 direct drive turntable is one of the great super-decks from the golden era. Come along as I install a new RCA cable and review this beauty.

Make no mistake, if you want one of the very best turntables, it’s going to be a high-end deck from Japan. Most likely it will be a direct drive, maybe a Kenwood L-07D, maybe a Technics SP-10 or perhaps a Yamaha GT-2000. There are others, but these are three of the heaviest hitters.

The GT-2000 is so big that GT actually stands for ‘gigantic & tremendous’… It’s so large that it’s difficult to carry, my L-07D is denser, but it has handles, the GT-2000 does not. The GT’s platter alone is nearly 6kg of machined aluminium and the chassis is so big, it’s awkward to pick up and move around.

The GT-2000 is, in basic form, a nearly 30kg beast, that gets out of the way and plays records. Very simple to operate and with few frills, you get on/off and speed controls and that’s it. You can add an auto arm lift that raises the arm at the end of the record, and beyond that, Yamaha’s accessories catalogue was the go.

Yamaha GT-2000
A Yamaha GT-2000 with accessories including the vacuum platter, cast iron base and external power supply. With the iron base, the total weight on this monster hits over 50kg!

Yamaha offered a range of accessories for the GT-2000, some of which are pictured above and most are described in the table below. If the 6kg platter wasn’t enough, you could grab the 18kg gun-metal platter, for just 180,000 Yen, or the YAB-1 cast-iron base, for 90,000 Yen…

Hi-fi lovers are searching out this high-end vinyl gear because many are fed up with paying top dollar for what are often just light-weight belt drive decks. High-end vintage decks like the GT-2000 are becoming so popular now that Yamaha recently announced a modern ‘replacement’ for the GT-2000, the new GT-5000. Check it out and have a think about which one you prefer…

You can read more about the GT-2000 at The Vintage Knob. If you want more holy grail decks, check out this article with five of the very best. Also, check out my video overview, below!

Specifications & Accessories

(Courtesy of The Vintage Knob)

Turntable
Motor :DC 4-phase 8-pole
Bi-directional servo
Platter :37,4cm / 5,8kg
Anodized
Inertia moment :1,2t / cm2
Start up :2kg / cm
Electronic braking :With YOP-1 ext. power supply
Wow & flutter :0,005% (FG measured) – naughty Yamaha…!
S/N ratio :85dB (DIN-B)
PC :7W (GT-2000)
12W (GT-2000L)
Dimensions :54,5 x 12,5 x 39,5cm
Total weight :28kg.
YA-39 Tonearm
Type :Static-balanced
Effective length :26,2cm
Overhang :14mm
Effective mass :22g
Cartridge weight :1…20g
Wiring :Neglex 2496
Accessories
YOP-1 :External power-supply @ 32,000¥
YDS-1 :Air-pump mat @ 60,000¥
YDS-3 :680g wood+metal puck @ 8,000¥
YDS-9 :Metal puck
YSA-1 :Straight tonearm @ 40,000¥
YSA-2 :Straight tonearm @ 60,000¥
YAB-1 :Iron base @ 90,000¥
YGT-1 :18kg gun-metal platter @ 120,000¥

Longer Cable

Yamaha knows what they are doing and fitted a Mogami Neglex 2496 RCA cable to this deck. Neglex, in its various iterations, is superb stuff and found in studios and serious home systems around the world. What’s not great is the 1-metre length of the factory cable. The owner needs 2 metres and, rather than use adapters, he asked me to custom-make and install a new, longer cable.

Mogami is a Japanese cable manufacturer that makes some of the best cable stock available. I used Mogami here for my custom cable build, as I often do in serious installations, this time choosing a Neglex cable type that can be used in single-ended or balanced configurations.

It’s worth considering that Mogami cable, dressed up with different coloured jackets and labels, is often sold for hundreds of dollars per metre from boutique manufacturers. Canare and Mogami are who the OEMs go to, it’s the real deal, made with real copper, in Japan. Best of all, it’s affordable, a rare high-end hi-fi bargain.

Yamaha GT-2000
The GT-2000 as she arrived at Liquid Audio. It’s so big, it hardly fits on my table!
Yamaha GT-2000 tonearm cable clamp
Inspection cover removed, time to work out the clamping arrangement and release the cable.
Yamaha GT-2000 tonearm cable termination
A closer look at the factory cable termination. Three allen bolts need to be removed to allow the cable to be removed.

Yamaha GT-2000 tonearm cable termination
Before I fully extracted the last bolt, I desoldered the tonearm wiring from the main cable. This is precise work, don’t even be tempted to do something like this without precision soldering tools and a steady hand.
Yamaha GT-2000 tonearm cable termination
A close-up look at factory cable termination. I used this to guide my new custom cable build.
Yamaha GT-2000 tonearm cable termination
Here, the new cables are installed in place after much fiddling. This mock-up allowed me to get the allen bolts re-installed and everything mocked up to make sure the cover went back into place smoothly.
Yamaha GT-2000 tonearm cable termination
Finally, the tonearm wiring is soldered onto the new cable, a tight but good fit.
Yamaha GT-2000
Cable laid out for final dressing. I installed heat-shrink tubing at regular intervals, the only way to ensure neatness was to lay the thing out on my floor!
Yamaha GT-2000 service
Final testing and adjustment

Performance

You’ll see the details in the review panel, but cutting to the chase, the Yamaha GT-2000 is a very serious record player. In terms of rumble, the GT-2000 is dead quiet and wow & flutter is almost unmeasurable. The GT-2000 contributes virtually nothing to the sound, a superb technical performance, expected from a machine of this calibre.

FR-2 & RS-10
Gorgeous FR-2 and RS-10 headshell. The RS-10 suits the deck well due to its high build-quality and low mass. The FR-2 is nice and light, but the compliance is a little too low for this arm. The output is very low @ 0.1mV, so a transformer is almost a must with an FR-2.

It’s worth noting that Yamaha specifies their wow & flutter measurement at the FG (frequency generator) output, not from a test record and wow & flutter meter (like my Kenwood FL-180A). That’s not really fair and Yamaha’s 0.005% wow & flutter measurement is therefore not comparable with others made conventionally.

My Kenwood FL-180A wow & flutter meter. I use this to benchmark turntable performance and get the best out of high-end decks that have adjustments for wow & flutter.

Sonically the GT-2000 is a heavyweight with a deft touch. The deck renders the slightest breaths and nuances with incredible precision and lightness, whilst digging deep into the bass and maintaining a rock solid stereo image. Very few decks are this quiet or exhibit wow & flutter this low, so if these sonic attributes matter to you, and they should, this is an excellent start.

This level of insight is only possible with very heavy decks like the GT because, with turntables, great mass is needed to ground everything and render the chassis inert. The longer tonearm used here helps to reduce tracking distortion. Compared to lesser machines, especially the swathe of belt drives so many people are familiar with, playing records on a GT-2000 is like hearing them again for the first time.

You don’t actually realise just how good records players get until you own a Japanese heavy-hitter like this. It’s then that everything clicks in terms of how obsessive the Japanese are about vinyl replay, and why this sort of machine is the path so many of us must take.

Yamaha GT-2000
The deck, cleaned, serviced and fitted with a new cable, ready to go. I’ve since heard the deck again and she sounds fantastic, better with the new custom-made cable.

Other Considerations

The deck is limited by its tonearm. I’ve spent a lot of time with this arm, it isn’t in the same league as the superb arm that comes with the Kenwood L-07D for example. It limits the cartridges one can achieve a good match with. Old-skool low compliance MC carts which can sound so good aren’t ideal here.

The GT’s low mass arm needs a medium to high compliance cartridge to match. The FR-2 fitted here, whilst sounding great, is not an optimal match. The low-mass counterweight also limits the weight of headshells and cartridges one can fit. All of this must be considered for good mechanical matching and I’ve been working with the owner to refine this. A new cartridge is coming soon…

Based on careful consideration, modern cartridges suited to this arm and calibre of deck include the Ortofon 2M Black, Audio Technica AT/OC9 Mk 3, Shelter 501 III, Hana SL and Benz Micro-Glider SL.

Bang Per Buck & Final Thoughts

Overall, the Yamaha GT-2000 is a superb turntable and a great buy, especially with ever-appreciating heavyweight deck prices. We’re just lucky that this deck was popular back in 1982 because there are plenty available now and that keeps them sensibly priced, for now.

What are your options? Well, Yamaha wants $9,000 AUD for their modern version of this deck, the Yamaha GT-5000. Technics will take $4,000 from you for a new SL-1200, albeit with a lovely sounding 2M Black cartridge. Luxman wants $8,500 for the gorgeous PD-171A.

The GT-5000 is a belt drive deck. It looks great but doesn’t have the technical performance of the GT-2000. Only time will tell if it too becomes a classic. The PD-171A is a stunner, I’ve set-up and listened to one, but again it’s a belt drive and doesn’t have quite the GT-2000’s specs. The SL-1200 is lovely and a classic, but not in the GT-2000’s league. You can pick up the real thing for 2 – 3K, so here again, the value of vintage hi-fi gear is obvious.

At the end of the day and as I keep telling people, decks like this will only continue to appreciate in value and appeal. More and more folks realise this and understand the value, performance and collectability of wonderful analog equipment from the golden era. If you want a Japanese super-deck, the Yamaha GT-2000 is an excellent choice.

Yamaha GT-2000
A final look at this elegant yet brutish and sublime sounding vinyl spinner.

Thanks for reading and if you like me to set up and service your Yamaha GT-2000, get in touch.

Yamaha GT-2000 Direct Drive Turntable

$2000 - $3000 AUD
9.1

Build / Finish

9.5/10

Features

7.5/10

Sound Quality

9.5/10

Scalability

9.0/10

Bang-Per-Buck

10.0/10

Pros

  • Gigantic & tremendous!
  • Superb sound quality
  • Wide range of accessories
  • Yamaha reliability
  • Amazing value

Cons

  • Tonearm limits the deck
  • Suits med - high compliance cartridges

15 thoughts on “Yamaha GT-2000 Turntable Cable Replacement & Review”

  1. Dang it! I accidentally hit send too soon. Anyways, do you think I can get a measure of the benefit of a GT2000 with such lowly gear? I get by on forty + year old Sanyo amplification & DIY speakers but I’m good with that ever since I heard a 6 figure Radialstrahler system & came away convinced that my rig has more weight, impact, & general dynamic life. Oh sure the MBL rig soundstages into the next town & all but I’m far more thrilled by punch than I am depth.

    1. Hi Tim, yes I think you’ll definitely hear the improvements with something like a GT-2000. I’ve just installed my beautiful Luxman PD-350 in place of the KD-600, story to follow, and it takes things to another level. Even as the needle hit the first record, the sonic improvements were undeniable. I knew this from when my L-07D was working, but sadly I have to repair that beast. If you are chasing the very sound from your records, you’ll need to improve the cartridge, phono preamp and then, of course, the deck itself. Improvements in any of these will make a significant sonic difference.

  2. Thanks for the info Mike! As far as associated equipment goes my priciest/fanciest cartridge is a Dynavector 10 x 5. My pre-amp is the Schiit Mani though I one day plan to upgrade to a Parasound JC3 jr.

  3. Awesome as always Mike! As a devotee of the Kenwood KD 600/ 650 which is all due to your posts about those ‘tables I am intrigued enough by this post to ask you here & now, how much better percentage wise in your opinion is a deck like the Yamaha GT 2000 to the Kenwood KD 600/650? You know, just in the unlikely case that I’m ever in the position to buy one?!

    1. Hi Tim, thanks and I’m glad to know you enjoyed this article! Decks like the GT-2000 and my Luxman PD-350, for example, are in another league sonically when compared to decks like the KD-600/650. This is to be expected of course, given the original sale price and engineering considerations, but the differences are obvious in weight and scale, imaging, dynamics and so on. It’s hard to put a percentage figure on it because one cannot quantify such things, but let’s say that once you use a properly set-up super deck like this, there’s no going back. I’d say go for a GT-2000 or any of the super-decks if you get a chance and remember that the synergy between deck, arm and cart is critical along with the set-up.

  4. Great job Fitz. The GT with its new cable is sounding great. It will be even better when I find the perfect cart!

    1. Hi Robert, no, fortunately, this cable is designed for long runs with low amplitude signals and 2 metres is no problem. The way I’ve wired this Neglex makes this even less of a concern, and of course, I carefully test everything before it leaves, it sounds superb, with a very low output moving coil!

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