In 2010, Panasonic made the odd decision to stop producing the Technics SL-1200 MK2, a turntable that’s as much a part of pop culture as it is one of the most revered and reliable ever made. Now it’s time for the Technics SL1200GAE…
Panasonic announced at CES 2016 that the turntable will be carried over starting this year. In fact, the Technics SL-1200 will be back in two different versions. The first one is the Technics SL1200GAE, of which only 1,200 will be produced, a limited edition that celebrates the 50th anniversary of the SL-1200. This version will be on sale from this summer, while the common version will arrive by the end of the year. The Technics SL-1200 G will surely be more accessible from an economic point of view but will be less premium than the Technics SL1200GAE.
But what’s new on this turntable? Direct drive turntable systems have been beloved by HiFi enthusiasts since their birth in 1972. However, one problem that direct-drive systems have always faced was sound quality degradation caused by ‘cogging’, or tiny vibrations of the motor and rotational speed fluctuations. By combining the knowledge and expertise gained as the originator of direct-drive turntable systems with a newly developed coreless direct-drive motor without iron core, this ‘cogging’ can be eliminated. Any potential minute motor vibrations are suppressed even further by high-precision rotary positioning sensors guided by a microprocessor controlled system; a feature unique to the new Technics turntable. The rest of the turntable has been given a tune-up too, and includes a heavy-weight brass, aluminium, rubber construction to reduce resonance and a new aluminum tonearm.
Technics SL1200GAE not for everyone
Now comes the harsh part. It looks like Technics are making an entry into the luxury sector of the turntable market, because the Grand Class SL-1200 G will cost $4000. There’s no denying Technics are premium pieces of gear and the very top of the range, but this required outlay is more than double the retail price of the previous Technics turntable. This mean that the Technics SL1200GAE will be more like a collection piece than a professional dj turntable.