Panasonic’s Technics division just dropped a bomb on us. Yes, that bomb.

The Technics 1200 and 1210 series of turntables, the de facto standard for DJs since the 1970s, are getting a refresh. That’s right… the legendary tables are back, for real this time.

The company announced the brand new SL-1200G, as well as a limited edition (1200 units, naturally) 50th anniversary edition called the SL-1200GAE. Here’s what we know so far…

Don’t Call it a Comeback

The last model of the iconic DJ deck was the 1200MK6, released in Japan in 2008. But the 1200 series has been a mainstay in the booths of vinyl DJs for decades now.

Revered for its high-torque and unapproachable durability, this is the announcement that many DJs have been waiting for. While other manufacturers have stepped up to the plate with some respectable alternatives, the desirability of a pair of good ol’ Techs can’t be understated.

Technics SL-1200GAE

Details are already starting to pour onto the Technics website, and we’re getting the news as it comes thanks to coverage from Gizmodo.

Press Release

Due to the widespread use of CDs, turntable systems disappeared briefly from the market, but their warm sound quality is bringing them back. The direct-drive turntable invented by Technics is still highly acclaimed by audiophiles and DJs in the form of the SL-1200 Series, and there have been many requests to revive the turntable system. As such, we decided to develop a new system for Hi-Fi use. Here we provide an outline of our intent in this development.

Direct-drive is generally considered to be for DJ use, and belt drive is for Hi-Fi use. In the 1970s, when Technics invented direct-drive turntables, their performance and reliability were first recognised by broadcast stations. High acclaim was then received by audiophiles. The high-precision rotation and absence of S/N ratio degradation were particularly attractive to these users. The high torque and reliability of direct-drive were recognised by DJs, and direct-drive turntables became the standard in the club scene.

When developing a direct-drive motor, considerable capital investment is required for large-scale production equipment. In contrast, belt drives can be made with a little cost. Also, compared with direct-drive, belt drive was designed with the latest technology. The view remains that direct-drive is for DJ use and belt drive is for Hi-Fi use. Originally, direct-drive offered superior sound quality. If we redesign the direct-drive motor and control circuitry, we will be able to create a turntable that is superior to other systems.

Technics was also a leader in incorporating innovations, such as vibration-damping materials, cabinet construction, and insulators. Having inherited the DNA of Technics, we do not wish to merely make a replica of the SL-1200.

In other words, our intent in this development is to redefine the direct-drive turntable reference.

Technics SL-1200GAE

Specs

All New Design for Redefining the Direct Drive Turntable
Twin-Rotor Surface-Facing Direct Drive Motor
Direct Drive Motor Controller
High Sensitive Tonearm
Brass-Top Turntable Platter
Insulator
Technics Definitive Design
Inherited SL-1200 Series
Heavy Aluminium Top Plate
Turntable Speeds
33 1/3 rpm, 45 rpm, 78 rpm
Variable Range Pitch
±8%, ±16%
Dimensions & Weight
W: 453 mm (17-27/32 inch) H: 170 mm (6-11/16 inch) D: 372 mm (14-21/32 inch)
Approx. 18 kg (39.7 lbs ) *Tentative *Height including dust cover
Photo originally posted on Gizmodo
Photo originally posted on Gizmodo

Details

Technics says that while the SL-1200GAE is a limited-run, the SL-1200G is the full-production model. That means we can justifiably say it: The Technics 1200s are back.

The limited GAE model appears to have a different finish (magnesium, not aluminum), but outside of owning a special model with a small plaque and special serial number, there doesn’t appear to be any technical advantage to buying it over the “regular” model.

That is, except for early availability. The GAE kicks things off in Summer 2016, whereas the full production model won’t come out until several months later.

Details are still fairly sparse… the new model is a bit heavier, but no news on torque rating, wiring configuration, and the like. Like most DJs who own records, I’ll be keeping my eyes peeled for that info.

More news as it develops. Suffice it to say, 5 days in and we already likely have one of the biggest DJ gear announcements of the year.

Stay tuned!

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