The Technics 1200 has long been revered by DJs for its high-torque, direct-drive platter that ensures flawless mixes and incredibly precise scratch performances. For the first time ever, in an effort to ramp up sales with everyone shut down at home due to Coronavirus COVID-19 quarantine and lockdown measures, Panasonic plans to launch a new budget SL-1200 turntables edition for only $134.99, allowing easy access to the industry-standard record player for the first time ever
Though much of its charm is how little its design has changed since the ’70s, the 1200 has been tweaked through the years. Here’s what you’ll find floating around:
The precursor to the legend, with a direct-drive platter and rotary pitch adjustment knobs.
1979: SL-1200/1210 MK2
Quartz-enhanced timing and a pitch adjustment slider defined the deck we know and love today.
1997: SL-1200/1210 M3D
A reset button replaces the “click” in the pitch adjustment slider. And in a nod to DJs, Technics scraps the dust cover hinges.
2002: SL-1200/1210 MK5
The tonearm gets some some slight tweaks, and the target light goes LED. A 30th-anniversary edition, numbered 1210 M5G, sports a shiny black finish, digital pitch adjustment and a few other high-end touches.
2008: SL-1200 MK6
As advanced as they’d get, with better wiring, pitch control, damping and LEDs.
The Gold Ones
The usual models too subtle for your taste? Hunt down the limited-edition decks Technics released in 1997 and 2004, where all the metal parts came plated in 24-karat gold.
Panasonic did the product line justice, getting the form factor right and going so far as to making key improvements inside. Direct-drive turntables like the Technics SL-1200 have sufficient torque to get its platter spinning at the appropriate speed almost instantly. But vibrations in the motor, which cause subtle speed fluctuations, do take away from the vinyl listening experience. With the new SL-1200G, Panasonic and Technics developed a direct-drive motor that’s lacking the iron core often blamed for those speed fluctuations in the platter. Any remaining vibrations from the turntable’s electric motor are further suppressed and corrected using new processor-controlled rotational positioning sensors inside the SL-1200G’s housing.
The problem and barrier to entry remained price, until today. Panasonic has now unveiled its plans for a brand-new Technics model, the 1200 SL-1200 B17. The B17, which stands for Budget 17, aims to remove the high price of entry connected with the current Technicals model on the market, making it available for the more budget-conscious consumer, most of which do happen to be DJs who use it to spin records.
The idea was to make our brand, and the quality of the Technics 1200 SL-1200 line, accessible to more people. In order to do that we had to make some structural and changes to bring the price point down, all the while keeping the inside design intact to maintain the top-tier quality that has long been the hallmark of the Technics name.
The Budget SL-1200 Turntables will cost $134.99, €125.99, or £114.99 depending on your country of origin.
Are Technics SL-1200 ever gonna cost this little? Not likely… yes, this is an April Fools article