The Technics Sl-1200 is back, but... [Archive] - Audio & Video Forums


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01-03-2017, 05:09 AM can only wonder who'll buy it at its whopping price of somewhere between $3,000 and $4,000.

I only just read about this "resurrection" of the SL-1200 in, of all places, The New York Times, and was surprised to see that no one had yet posted anything here about it.

The turntable began its history during the heyday of the audio business - the mid to late 70's - as a decent performing, not inexpensive turntable amidst a sea of others from a variety of manufacturers. It was indeed a decent performer, though unexceptional; it was very stylish, built like a tank; and it likely outlasted many of its original owners.

When the CD all but decimated the turntable/cartridge business, most companies abandoned turntable manufacturing in favor of making CD players, yet the SL-1200 survived, not due to the enthusiasm of audiophiles, but rather, from a then burgeoning market: the DJ's.

Though the SL-1200 quickly became THE turntable for DJ's, it didn't do so because of any sonic values, but rather, due to the fact it endured the brutal treatment DJ's subject their turntables and cartridges to, and did so effortlessly (most audiophiles would be horrified to see what terrible things DJ's do to their turntables!). Numerous copycat versions ere made, but none came close to the stability and quality of the SL-1200.

For a number of years, Technics said it was going to discontinue manufacturing the SL-1200 due to the increased costs of manufacturing, and the deteriorating condition of the industrial molds used to make it. Re-tooling was considered far too expensive for the DJ market for several reasons: for one, there were never as many DJ's purchasing this turntable as there were audio enthusiasts doing so in the late 70's, and also the fact that DJ's never made enough money to afford a pricey turntable.

A few years back, all production ceased. At the June 2016 CES, Panasonic announced a "new" Technics SL-1200G. On this go-around, the focus, according to Panasonic, is on high-end audiophiles and not DJ's: hence the astronomical price of around $3,000.

The new model looks stunning, and there are a few notable improvements, mostly in the motor and platter design. Each platter is hand-balanced, and the new motor either eliminates, or at least greatly reduces "cogging," which many felt caused sonic deterioration, something that was never a concern for DJ's.

And so the question remains: "Who is going to buy this super-expensive turntable?" Certainly not the DJ, and just as likely, not the audiophile Panasonic is aiming for. While Panasonic claims that the first 300 models made sold out in 30 minutes, I doubt that such a rate of sale will continue.

There are plenty of very high quality turntables on the market today that are a good deal less expensive, and the SL-1200 still has two major issues that most audiophiles shun: it's direct-drive, rather than belt-drive, a system most audiophiles shun (try to find any high-end turntable today that's direct drive). It also still has its sexy-looking, but rather high mass tubular "S-shaped" tonearm that, while attractive, is a bit much for any high-compliance cartridge (though many moving coil cartridges work better with higher mass tonearms). It's also questionable as to whether any audiophile has any interest in a pitch control, still a prominent feature of the turntable.

The SL-1200G isn't expected to hit the market until around June. I'll be very interested to see how many people plop down so much money for a gorgeous-looking, but so-so turntable amidst a plethora of far better ones for a good deal less money.

01-03-2017, 10:46 PM
While that table may resemble the older model the technology may justify the higher price.

Grand Class Direct Drive Turntable System SL-1200G Hi-Fi Audio | Technics US (

JoeE SP9
01-04-2017, 09:48 AM
I guess it's just me. I've never considered any version of the SL-1200 to be attractive.

01-05-2017, 04:21 AM
To make matters worse, or at least just silly, scalpers in Japan who apparently were among the first 300 to buy a new SL-1200G are now offering it online for prices as high as $5,500. That's just nuts.

01-09-2017, 09:44 AM
I bet it sounds great. I can't see them putting out a TT at that price and it not sounding good. It would be a huge financial loss for them. Nothing wrong with old technology. I am using a 1970's Thoren's TD-145 TT and it sounds stunningly good. I would probably have to drop about $1K to $1.5K to get the same sound.

I would also not have much reservations about a DD system in that price range. I have owned DD TT's years ago and never had a problem with them. But I never owned a $2K cartridge and phono preamp and may not have been able to hear the differences.