Adored by hi-fi fans and DJs alike around the world, it was a sad day in 2010 when Technics finally announced that it would cease production of its iconic SL-1200 direct-drive turntable due to dwindling vinyl sales and the rise of more practical music formats.
The SL-1200 was originally built for hi-fi fans when it launched in 1972, but its consistent performance, robust build and unique pitch-shifting ability made it the go-to deck for many DJs, who managed to prolong the deck's life long after many hi-fi fans had sold their record collections to car boot sales. Even so, its departure from the market was a surprise and perhaps even a little premature given the growing interest we've seen in the vinyl market in the last few years. Thankfully though, the legendary vinyl spinner looks set to make a comeback later this year.
Anticipation of the turntable's likely return emerged last September at IFA in Berlin. The official announcement finally came at CES in Las Vegas in January, where Technics pretty much stole the audio element of the show with the news that it will introduce the Grand Class SL-1200GAE 50th anniversary deck this summer. The limited-edition release will run to just 1,200 models but will be followed by the Grand Class SL-1200G, which will be available by the end of the year.
Technics tells us the new SL-1200 was developed with the help of some of the original engineers. But this
is no replica, and the completely re-engineered turntable looks set to have all the hallmarks of a great deck and iconic design.
The redesign utilises a new twin-rotor direct-drive motor along with precision sensor technology to eliminate any interference from vibrations. Its four-layered cabinet construction has a 10mm-thick aluminium top layer that claims
to offer high rigidity as well as a premium finish, Technics says. The three-layered turntable platter consists of heavyweight brass and aluminium with a rubber covering to the underside that deadens its entire surface and promises to eliminate any unnecessary resonances. The tonearm fitted to the SL-1200GAE will be honed from lightweight magnesium while the SL-1200G's is aluminium. Both play at 33, 45 and 78rpm speeds and have variable pitch control. UK pricing is yet to be confirmed. Click here to find out more.
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