Technics SL1200-mk7 (and other turntables at #NAMM2019)

Ahh, the classic Technics 1200. A staple in DJ booths for decades… though it was originally launched as an audiophile record player for listening purposes. A few weeks ago, Panasonic unveiled the mark-seven version of this icon… and over the weekend, I got to spend a few moments with the new player at NAMM 2019.

Video:

The design is slightly more minimalist, now presented in a shadowy matte-black style, and while the design hasn’t changed much, they have made a few new additions.

First, they’ve expanded the pitch range. By hitting a new button above the control, you can change from the normal +/- 8 percent, to +/- 16 percent.

Under the platter is a switch that enables a reverse function, and another that changes the LED illumination to blue. Buried further down are some adjustments to the torque and brake speed.

The direct drive motor has been improved, and it’s now coreless. The company says the intent is to reduce cogging, which is a variation in rotation speed. The stock torque matches that of the MK5.

Plus, the new 1200s do have detachable phono and power cables, thank god.

The “murdered out” finish does look pretty good, and they seem to perform well. But the new decks cost $1200. Each!

Plus, it STILL requires a separate ground peg.

Technics SL1200-mk7

And while it’s easy to understand the company’s propensity towards preserving an icon, it’s hard to justify the price point, considering what’s available on the market now, for nearly half the price.

And for an example, we only have to go *literally* around the corner, where Reloop did a bang-up job of showing the mark-2 version of the RP8000.

The new Reloop turntable is designed for seamless integration with Serato DJ Pro, and they tout it as “the most advanced DJ turntable ever made”. Developed in close cooperation with renowned turntable artists, it lets you get creative with its built in features… especially when used in combination with the Reloop Elite mixer.

It contains 7 new RGB colored performance pad modes. One of the cool things you can do is enable the new “Platter Play mode”… and it’s pretty cool. In this mode, the performance pads can be used to control the speed of the platter, allowing you to create melodic musical performances and play the turntable like a piano.

Get a full tour of the RP8000 mk2, or order it here.

In fact, it’s programmed with 22 built-in scales (and also allows you to create custom scales). Plus, you can use the speed select buttons to pitch-bend up or down a semitone. This all works both with Serato, or with actual vinyl records.

By the way, all of this stuff is MIDI mappable. If you want to connect a MIDI keyboard and play your turntable using that… you can do that.

The pads also give you access to a 7 different performance modes within Serato (for example, cue, sampler, loop, slicer, etc.). On the corner is a digital LC display for pitch, BPM, scale, key, and deck assignment information.

The torque is high (and adjustable), it features a rigid construction, and it has a deep black, metallic finish.

Of course Pioneer DJ had a strong presence at NAMM. They gave lots of demonstrations, and they had setups where people could walk by and try scratching on their PLX line. Though, these have been out for a few years, so… nothing new to report there.

And then there’s the Rane Twelves, which are turntable-esque digital controllers that give you that classic feel, while letting you manipulate your files digitally. When paired with the Rane Seventy-Two mixer, you’ll find one of the more popular setups of the forward-thinking turntablist as we head into 2019.

And then there’s Phase.. basically,  a high-speed wireless DVS system which lets you mix digital music turntable-style… kinda like using timecode, but without special records, needles, or tonearms. It kinda accomplishes the same thing as the Rane Twelve, just with a different approach… and you can use any turntable/vinyl/slipmat combo you’re comfortable with.

They were showing the full production units on the floor, and claim it will be available in March.

Check out this hands-on video with Phase, or pre-order it here.