Technics Announces Grand Class Direct Drive Turntable System SL-1200GAE

At the CES convention in Las Vegas today, Technics just dropped some welcome news to DJs everywhere.  An updated, precision-machined version of the venerated turntable of all time: The SL-1200.  The new, updated version includes newly minted components and the “Grand Class” label bringing it to a new level.

From the Technics website:

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.

The turntable has a three-layered construction with a rigidly combined brass and aluminium diecast platter. With a deadening rubber covering its entire rear surface to eliminate unnecessary resonance, thereby achieving high rigidity and vibration damping. This delivers smooth rotational stability and inertial mass surpassing the SP-10MK2, the direct-drive turntable standard used by broadcast stations worldwide, as well as having more than twice the inertial mass of the SL-1200MK5.