The Technics SL-1200G Direct Drive Turntable

The original Technics SL-1200 direct drive turntable introduced in 1972 enjoyed a thirty-eight year, six generation run. Technics sold more than 3.5 million of them. In October of 2010 just as vinyl was staging its unlikely comeback, parent company Panasonic pulled the plug on the SL-1200 Mk6.

Some speculated the move was caused by worn tooling or that production costs had soared or that the market was saturated with used SL-1200s or that with D.J.s “going digital” the market was collapsing. Whatever the reason or reasons, it marked the end of an era that even vinyl haters recognized as remarkable.

Then, at C.E.S. 2016 much to the delight of turntablists world-wide, Technics announced a return to the turntable market with a brand new SL-1200 aimed not at D.J.s but at audiophiles.

There were two “Grand Class” models: the 1200G and the limited to 1200 numbered units 1200GAE edition (long since sold out).

Other than a different magnesium tone arm finish and of course the “limited edition” plaque on the GAE model, the two models are identical.

Among some SL-1200 fans, the announced $4000 price turned delight to outrage. It was, after all “just” an SL-1200 so obviously Technics was ‘price gouging’. Among non-fans, any turntable that looked like an SL-1200 was a non-starter. What audiophile wants a disco turntable?

For its part, Technics obviously felt that losing the iconic look would be a foolish industrial design choice. Its job would be explain to the public that while some technical design aspects have been retained along with the iconic look and functionality, the new SL-1200 is in many ways a new from the ground up turntable.

Frankly, the blowback on the analogPlanet YouTube channel was instructive. It demonstrated just how little knowledge some posters had about vinyl playback and especially about the new SL-1200G, which though it looks like the old 1200 is anything but!

However, in terms of features and functionality it is very much like previous 1200 iterations. The speed can be “locked in” or unlocked and easily varied via a top-mounted slider, though now pushing both 33 and 45 buttons gives you 78. The arm features the familiar rotating and locking VTA adjustment. Any 1200 veteran will know just what to do.

The New Coreless Direct-Drive Motor

As with “digital” where proponents think spouting “Nyquist” proves an open/shut case for CD perfection, direct drive proponents also have their slogans but as Technics points out in the SL-1200G literature, while direct-drive has some obvious theoretical advantages over belt drive designs, including lower wow and flutter, direct drive motors suffer from torque ripple, also known as cogging.

Actually virtually all brushless motors produce cogging, which is caused by torque variations produced as the motor shaft rotates and the rotor’s permanent magnets interact with the stator (coil windings). Belt drive systems do a good job of minimizing the effects of cogging by isolating the motor and platter with a belt. In direct drive systems the torque ripple/cogging whatever you want to call it happens within the platter itself so despite the great wow and flutter measurements, the sonic effects of the cogging are easily heard.

Technics’ new direct-drive motor eliminates the magnetic core previously found within the stator coils of previous designs. This design eliminates the attraction force between the cores and magnets and thus the motor is free of non-uniform magnetism. The downside is low torque. In some ways this is similar to moving coil cartridges featuring non-magnetic cores around which are wound the coils. They are lighter and thus more responsive, which is good, but they produce far less output.

The new coreless motor uses twin rotors fitted with permanent magnets in a sandwich design with the coreless stators above and below. This produces about twice the torque of the SL-1200 Mk6’s motor yet with a reduced bearing load. By narrowing the rotational shaft’s clearance relative to the bearing to the same or lower than that of the legendary SP-10Mk2’s motor system, Technics engineers have significantly reduced rotational micro-vibrations. New self-lubricating impregnated metal bearings help produce a maintenance-free motor drive system.

These are all significant and costly to engineer and implement upgrades, which makes all the more ridiculous the online whining from people complaining about the price increase. Only those who don’t consider and/or understand what’s taking place within the record groove could dismiss all of this.

New Motor Controller System

Technics incorporates motor controller technology originally developed for Blu-ray disc players. The SL-1200G’s motor controller incorporates a reference clock that’s three times as precise as that of the SL-1200 Mk6. There’s more to the encoder/detector system but I can see your eyes glazing over so I’ll stop.

New Platter and Tonearm Precision

The SL-1200G’s platter is a three-layer construction of diecast aluminum topped with a thick brass top plate and an elastomer damping material attached to the platter bottom. At nearly eight pounds, the platter weighs more than twice than that of the SL-1200 MK6’s and is said to achieve an inertial mass surpassing that of the SP-10Mk2.

The tonearm may look like the same one used on earlier SL-1200 iterations but it is not. For starters the tube is of cold drawn magnesium, not aluminum. Magnesium has natural damping properties, which makes it ideal for a tonearm tube. The high-precision gimbaled bearings are manually assembled and adjusted. Technics provides additional counterweights that attach to the main one to provide for an unusually wide range of cartridge weights from 10 to 19.8 grams.

The new ‘table’s base is a four layer construction, three of which are reprised from the Mk6 (rubber base, diecast aluminum chassis, bulk rubber compound) plus a 10mm thick aluminum top plate that’s individually cut and polished. The footers are of a complex construction including silicon rubber and a newly developed cylindrical microcell polymer tubes that fit within a zinc diecast housing.

Hand Built

“The playback mechanisms for analogue records are extremely simple, and so mechanical precision in every part is directly linked to sound quality”.

Those words are in the well-produced SL-1200G brochure and they are worth remembering, particularly by the knuckleheads posting simple-minded drivel on the YouTube channel!

If you buy an SL-1200G, Technics claims it’s been hand-built and carefully inspected, down to the precise slit-width of the encoder that’s critical for accurate speed control.

The tonearm, platter and other critical parts are manufactured in Japan with final assembly in Utsunomiya. Technics claims (as do many in this field of manufacturing) that what’s being produced today would have been impossible when the original SL-1200 was introduced. I never owned an original SL-1200 but there’s an early iteration or three at the WFDU radio station from which I broadcast the AnalogPlanet radio show. At a quick glance those look similar to the new 1200G but the closer you look the more you appreciate the differences, even of just “fit’n’finish”, which alone are considerable.

Specs and Operational Details

The SL-1200G plays all three speeds with a pitch adjustment range of ±8%, 16%. It can reach stable 33 1/3 speed in .7 seconds. Wow and Flutter is spec’d at 0.025% R.M.S., with rumble spec’d at 78dB (IEC 98A weighted).

The “S” shaped arm is a static balance design (meaning the center of gravity is on the axis of rotation), which means tracking force will not deviate as the arm rises and lowers on a warped record—a good thing. The arm’s effective length is 230mm (9 1/16th inch), with a 15mm overhang (meaning that the actual length is 215mm (8.46”).

For some reason some individuals insist that the arm was “made for the Stevenson alignment”. Or “works best” with the Stevenson alignment. These are ridiculous assertions in my opinion. I set up the arm for Lofgren “A” and was quite happy with the results. This produces a somewhat longer overhang and the cartridge is not “straight” in the head shell. This is not a problem! Though you will read some online knuckleheads claiming it is. The Stevenson alignment produces the lowest distortion only at the innermost groove area and far more elsewhere. That’s a measurable fact.

The SL-1200G is operationally similar to decade’s worth of 1200s in terms of set-up and use, including sliding pitch control and all of the other features, some more useful than others for audiophile-style playback but none of which are deleterious to high performance.

The ‘table comes with a full plate of accessories including a thick rubber mat, dust cover, RCA cables etc. I ran the ‘table “stock” for a while and then played with various accessories including mats and record weights.

In case you were wondering if the arm was tailored for high compliance moving magnet cartridges, I can tell you that I used, among other cartridges, the Lyra Etna SL and when I measured the horizontal and vertical resonant frequencies using the Hi-Fi News test record, both measured between 8Hz-and 9Hz, which means yes, you can use the SL-1200G with your favorite low-medium compliance moving coil cartridges.

I also chose at first to use the ‘table as set at the factory in “auto mode” meaning it automatically adjusts startup speed. A “manual mode” lets you manually adjust startup speed as well as the torque gain at constant speed. You can also adjust the brake speed (time it takes for the platter to stop spinning). These adjustments are easily accomplished with a flat blade screwdriver through a hole in the platter.

Here are the excellent Platterspeed measurements with the ‘table in “auto mode”:

Those are of course excellent numbers by any definition but please note the green line hills and valleys. That is probably the minor, but continual speed correction that some claim is heard as a slight bright edge. And if you look at the YouTube comments that’s what some post. Others though, like the somewhat brighter sound, whatever the cause.

There are those who claim the sound can be somewhat “relaxed” by lowering the torque setting, which is easily done through a hole in the platter that gives you access to adjusting start up and braking speed as well as torque during playback. So I reduced the “play torque” somewhat, listened and took these measurements:

As far as sonic differences, they were not what I’d call major. I wouldn’t want to be subjected to a blind test (actually I never again want to be subjected to one because even if you “pass” they find a way to make you fail if the results aren’t what they were expecting). However, look at the graph and chart info: by almost every measured metric the “relaxed torque” measurements are inferior. So I think Technics is correct when they say in the manual that you can maximize performance by leaving the ‘table in ‘auto mode’ and not messing with anything, but suit yourself!

Tweaks You Can And Should Do

The first thing you should do it remove the ribbed rubber mat. I replaced it first with the 5mm Funk Firm Achromat (compensating for the slight VTA change) and then with a new mat from Stein called “The Perfect Interface” Carbon edition. This is a thin mat of “special paper from the tapa cloth tree. It is so thin no need to adjust VTA. I was so surprised by the difference between the Achromat and this ultra-thin mat, I next tried the same record (the $555 ERC version of Tommy Flanagan’s Overseas [ERC021]) directly on the brass platter!

Don’t bother with that. “The Perfect Interface” produced an increased transparency, blacker backgrounds but especially transient precision that was easy to hear don’t ask me why that should be but it was easily audible.

Next up was a leather and cork mat from wooden bull, manufactured in Ireland. Definitely produced a softer, warmer more mellow sound! Now if you find the sound of your SL-1200G bright or hard with your chosen cartridge, that might be the one. However, with the Lyra Etna SL, the Stein mat was the one for me.

Another option I’ve heard mentioned is a replacement head shell. I was gifted a few years ago a beautifully made graphite head shell from the Italian idler wheel drive turntable manufacturer audiosilente that I finally could try. Big improvement. It added mass of course, which for a medium to low compliance cartridge is definitely beneficial in this arm.

While the resonant frequency of 8Hz is “in the ballpark”, it would be better to have it up between 9-10Hz. The added mass brought it to around 9Hz. Also the wires are better and the clips and head shell interface are gold plated, plus the thick graphite is a better cartridge body interface.

The Technics SL-1200G is a fine performer as delivered, but maximized with the Stein “The Perfect Interface” and the audiosilente graphite head shell, produced a more exciting and inviting vinyl ride.

The bottom octaves were well-controlled with just a small amount of “hangover” compared to the way more expensive Continuum Caliburn. The midrange, especially with the Stein mat was presented exceptionally cleanly and generously, though free of "warmth" induced colorations. The top end was neither accentuated nor suppressed, though the overall sound can be somewhat dry. The brightness some complain about (and some like) can be somewhat reduced by reducing playback torque. The measurements show what was obvious while listening: the SL-1200G excelled rhythmically and if the record was concentric, pitch stability was exceptionally good.

Ron Carter’s album All Blues (CTI 6037) tests the ‘table in many ways. Of course the Rudy Van Gelder recording stars Carter’s bass, which is given a bit more emphasis than it would be had Carter been a sideman on the date, but it’s got Joe Henderson on tenor sax, Roland Hanna on piano and Billy Cobham on drums. This 1973 session was not a Blue Note type recording. Instead instruments were isolated with Cobham hard right, Carter and Hanna center and Henderson center-left (then center). Carter plays both double and piccolo bass (overdubbed).

The heavy bass energy could sink a lesser ‘table. The SL-1200G delivered well both the bottom octave energy of the stand up bass and the “pluckier” piccolo bass. The Pure Pleasure reissue is one of the label’s better sonic efforts (mastered by Ray Staff at AIR) though for some reason he or someone got the channels reversed.

Nonetheless it’s a good re-master (though not as good as an original) that’s subtly different from the original on bottom where it’s slightly thicker. I was curious to hear if the SL-1200’s bottom end control was sufficiently effective to present the differences. It did.

This ‘table’s dynamic expression bettered that of some far more expensive turntables, which in turn bettered the Technics in terms of liquidity and musical flow, an area where I think similarly priced belt drive ‘tables excel. Conclusion

I spent a great deal of time listening to the Technics SL-1200G. That’s one reason it’s taken so long to get this review online. From an audiophile perspective there was a great deal to really like, particularly the ‘table’s neutral tonal balance, especially compared to those that are “tuned” to produce a particular noticeable but pleasing coloration. I also really liked the SL-1200G’s ballsy dynamic expression. It’s not at all polite, but it is well-controlled.

I don’t like the number of signal breaks necessitated by this detachable head shell design, one also found on some SME arms, but that’s a very minor issue, especially considering how good this ‘table sounds, how well it is built, how carefully thought out were the upgrade goals and how well they were accomplished. The SL-1200G is more than competitive at this price point. in fact, had Technics really started "from scratch" and not had a more than forty five year history building SL-1200s, I don't see how this turntable could have been brought to market for $4000, a fact that makes the carping and bitching crowd sound doubly ridiculous. If you look at a Technics SL-1200G and see a disco turntable in need of scratching, well, that’s your problem.

dmgrant1's picture

Thanks for the in depth review. Great. Where could I source the "Perfect Interface" TT mat?


SLS's picture

mat. I'm a 30 year audiophile. I'm also an upholsterer. I found a vinyl material that is smooth on one side, slightly irregular the other side. I discovered a solid vinyl material around 1 and 1 half mm thick that transforms my two tts.

I found this mat to make my VPI Classic 3 Sig SE sound sooo much better, but, moreover, my Townshend Rock 7 has much more bass authority, much more soul! This material is just around 1 and 1 half mm thick. Perfect!!!

SLS's picture

I mention this only if someone may want to try one for themselves.

Buzz me.

SLS's picture

The minimal thickness is very desirable. The sonics are undeniable!

I have a limited amount of material. There is no other source available.

atomlow's picture

I was extremely excited to see these platterSpeed tests. I've just recently dialed in my Rega p25 and my tests are very similar if you can imagine that?

I still wonder if manufacturers give better numbers for W+F then they really test. But this gives me piece of mind knowing I'm right in the ballpark with a $500 turntable!

atomlow's picture

Sorry, I posted a little too quickly before I saw the specs Technics posts for the 1200G. They claim: Wow and Flutter is spec’d at 0.025% - but the platter speed tests show 0.08% and 0.13%. Can someone explain to me how they can spec it at 0.025%?

BillK's picture

The lower specs are likely the measured wow and flutter of the platter itself.

The results shown are from a test tone coming from a vinyl LP.

Wow and flutter can be involved by friction of the LP on the spindle, disc eccentricities, and even slight inaccuracies in the iOS device's A/D converter.

gca's picture

Thanks for the great review, Michael! We've been super pleased with the new SL-1200 Series and have enjoyed the enthusiastic feedback from our customers who've purchased both the "G" and "GAE" editions from us.

The Perfect Interface Carbon Mat sounded very interesting so we contacted Stein Music and quickly received a call back from Holger Stein himself. We're arranging to bring in this product and should have some soon.
Galen Carol
Galen Carol Audio

wgb113's picture

Looking forward to how it's little brother the "GR" will perform in comparison. Hope you get your hands on it as well.

jblackhall's picture

How does it compare to your recent review it the $4000 VPI Prime?

Dorian Workman's picture

It does beg comparison, given the identical price points.

Snorker's picture

I too would like to hear Michael's further thoughts on that, but I had a chance to listen to the SL1200G at a local dealer last summer. From what I heard, this quote from the review I think sums it up pretty well:

"This ‘table’s dynamic expression bettered that of some far more expensive turntables, which in turn bettered the Technics in terms of liquidity and musical flow, an area where I think similarly priced belt drive ‘tables excel."

The belt drive 'tables in that price range sounded a bit more musical and organic. But that may also be less accurate I suppose. I don't think you can beat the Technics on the speed stability or wow & flutter. But what you'd prefer depends on your taste I think. I, for one, was already tempted by the Technics, and this review has piqued my interest in it yet again.

volvic's picture

Was supposed to get one last year but balked and purchased a used LP12, in the interim bought an older like new 1200 MK5, have a like new SME m2-9 to install on it but looking at how much better the new one is I am wondering if I should not sell all and get one of these new ones. So lovely a machine.

Dayton P. Strickland's picture

How does it compare to the best idler drive tables selling in the same price range?

volvic's picture

Had one and sold it to purchase the 1200G, which I didn't in the end. Technics will have more detail and be more speed steady than an idler and require zero to no maintenance for along time, not so the idler. But the idler if done right will have a nice big sound that will amaze you but have nowhere near the inner detail of the Technics. Wish I owned both.

Howard's picture

I own both, started with a Lenco L 75 (with many improvements) and and added an SP 10 Mk II. They are both great but (to my ear) the Technics is far more refined. I drool for the SP 10 R.

Anton D's picture

I really feel like that review was a great "tour of the place," so to speak.

I admit to still being a fan of detachable headshells - one more toy to play with - and they seem to maintain good contact.

I am now going to re-read the review!

OldschoolE's picture

When I first saw this table last year, I had a feeling it was not yesteryear's rehash. The platter alone gave me that clue. I know about the 1200s of yesteryear and did not like them for their in ability to maintain speed, etc. Of course, they were DJ tables built for that purpose, trying to use them as an everyday turntable is where the problems began.
This table is far and away different! All the stuff in this review is even better than I thought it would be even though I had no doubts this was a fine table.
That said, I think it can be agreed that $4000 might be a bit much to many folks even with a deep love of vinyl records(but not unreasonable for very good tables especially hand built in Japan). So I ditto an earlier request for a review of the 1200GR if you can for two reasons. 1). The more affordable price and 2) and even more interesting, being the little brother of the 1200G with at least 85% of the same stuff I'd love to know how it stacks up. I hope you can grab a 1200GR for review Michael.

volvic's picture

Got one recently and can tell you they are rock speed steady. I bet the new one will be even more accurate.

Archimago's picture

Yup. Sure, we can use fancy tech to improve timing but when it's time to actually rotate the platter and measure the imperfections of an actual vinyl disk, the effective speed accuracy isn't all that different from a decades old TT.

My results for the Technics SL-1200 M3D using PlatterSpeed is almost exactly the same back in 2014!

atomlow's picture

I see it on your platter speed tests as well. They claim: Wow and Flutter is spec’d at 0.025% - but the platter speed tests show 0.08% and 0.13%. I'm curious why they spec it at 0.025%?

Leyland1671's picture

If new the speed is dead on and as stable as it can get. However, over time the spindle oil might dry out. This causes extra friction, no matter how little. So it is utterly important to lubricate the spindle every 1000 hours, so not the reccommended 2000 hours. And, also utterly important, use the original Technics oil specifically formulated for the old SL-1200 family. So absolutely no WD-40, sewing machine oils or motor oils. WD-40 spreads and sewing machine oils are for the gears and bearings of a sewing machine that requires another viscousity of the oil. Same goes for engine oils. But I assume some common sense is present in the owners of an old original SL-1200. I have restored many SL-1200’s using original parts and even the most abused and battered and scarred units can be brought back to their original specifications and performances. Is it perfect? No, it isn’t. No a single turntable is as a matter of fact. But if you choose a cart that the tone arm can handle and allign it properly, set up the turntable as indicated in the manual it can and will serve you forgood, it will outlive you.

XjunkieNL's picture

Fantastic that you clearly took the time to listen and review this turntable. There are so many preconceived opinions. It almost feels as if Technics choice to make an audiophile SL1200 need to be defended. It is great to see so much of Technics DNA in this turntable.

Anton D's picture

By that, I mean that this excellent and in depth review was a direct product of this place and did not require publication in the paper version of Stereophile to get all that work done. For some reason, I find that especially cool.

Ortofan's picture

... without either of the auxiliary counterweights installed the tonearm can accommodate cartridges weighing 5.6g-12.0g.

Breuer64's picture

Great review, much in consistence with my own experience. I use the medium/low compliance Ortofon Cadenza blue on my 1200GAE, and it's a match made in heaven:). Just one comment to to the difference between G and GAE. In addition to the arm looks, the GAE also have a different and better damping material in the feet.

Robert Zohn's picture

Thanks for this excellent in depth article.

Feet also's comment is correct, Technics used a different silicon composite on the SL-1200G vs. the GAE. I could not tell if it made a performance difference when we had both decks set-up with the same cartridge and phono stage.

We have Technics SL-1200G and two SL-1200GR TT connected to Technics C700 Premium Class, G30 and systems for our preview event of the new "Grand Class" floor standing speakers, integrated amp and SL-1200GR. Our SL-1200G is paired with the flagship SE-R1 amplifier and SB-R1 speakers.

brettmendes's picture

I haven't had the opportunity to audition any of Technics' latest offerings in the world of HiFi, but at every level they seem packed with innovative engineering at (relatively) reasonable prices. I've been very interested in learning more about this turntable and appreciate the thorough review - not only have I always been very attracted to the old-school styling of the turntables such as this Technics or the Luxman PD-171, but I was curious to know if some of the remarkable qualities I heard attributed to the VPI direct drive design of a couple years back could be had at a more accessible price point. It seems like the $4,000 mark really has some hard-hitting contenders these days between the VPI Prime, Rega RP8, and Pro-Ject RPM-10 Carbon. When I'm able to upgrade from my Marantz TT-15S1 this 'table will definitely be in consideration...

Findog3103's picture

I am also in a market for a $4000-6000 turntable and wondering about comparisons. I am leaning towards the Technics as it allows easy swapping of cartridges from mono to stereo, etc. I am though very intrigued by the VPI Prime Signature. Anyone have thoughts?

Dorian Workman's picture

And it sounds amazing. But haven't heard the Technics.

Findog3103's picture

Is it the standard Prime or Signature?

Dorian Workman's picture

I haven't heard the Signature.

mobileholmes's picture

Great review!

I spent some time in manufacturing, making parts for aerospace, medical and the military-industrial complex. What Panasonic had to spend, in engineering time, injection molds/dies, special tooling, and mass production, would be completely impossible for virtually all "high end audio" manufacturers. I'm glad they spent the time and money!

I wonder how many people will try to get their hands on replacement versions of the tonearm, motor and electronics, and repurpose them for $20K versions?

Phillip Holmes

XjunkieNL's picture

It's great Panasonic was willing to give the project full resources. Also shows what is possible when these resources and engineering are used. Amazing piece!

Max Delissen's picture

Excellent review, thank you!

There's one thing I wonder about though, and that is the part where you write that adding extra mass to the arm with a heavier headshell brings the resonance frequency up. As far as I know, it's the other way around. More mass + same cartridge = lower resonance.

Can you please elaborate on that?

MarcovS's picture

Good to see at least someone agrees with me...
I always go for Löfgren B as there where Löfgren B exceeds distortion over the other methods, on most of my records I haven't got modulated grooves any more...

Good question from Max here above...

steviec's picture

As the proud owner of a 1200G I thought I'd share a few of my observations.

- I think it sounds better with the dust cover off
- Definitely change the interconnects. My Blue Jeans IC's work great.
- It likes my Takumi very well, but I really should add a spacer to get the VTA just right. The arm VTA adjustment is all the way down at 0 and it's still a bit "tail up". Sounds great, though!
- I use a Jelco HS-25 headshell, a magnesium alloy with adjustable azimuth. Seems like a good match.
- I've tried a few different mats but keep coming back to the supplied rubber mat. Seems to be the best balance of not too hard, not too soft, and is very coherent in my system. I'd love the try an Achormat but not sure I want to lay out the money right now.
- I also like it best with no record clamp/weight. I've tried a Clever Clamp and a big wonking Thorens, and it doesn't seem to like either one very much.

I've had a lot of tables in my life, and this one makes me very happy indeed!

Anton D's picture

Plus, your was the 33 1/3rd post (technically 34th, but, like a Rega, I went higher rather than (s)lower at 33!)

Thanks for your post.

I want to explore that headshell Mike mentioned, but it is a bit pricey.

I will Google the Jelco!

RR's picture
@ 5:11 Gee, he is filing his nails.
Long live the (virtually) unstoppable Technics "atlas shrugged" motor.

elo_rey's picture

Only to give thumbs up to this excellent review, I´m an owner of one G and a GAE and agree with all the thoughts on it.

The footers in the GAE, as was said by another member, are different, have a SILVER FINISH and different damping material (so the main differences with the "G" are the gorgeous numbered plaque, the damping material base and the footers, as well as the magnesium tonearm).

I have to mention that the pair of counterweights (to balance the tonearm with virtually every cartridge) were also included in the original MK2 release of the 1200, as well as a plastic overhang gauge tool, the 45 aluminium adapter, and a black headshell (without the Technics logo as in the MKs, sob!)

I got a Yamamoto H-5 Titanium headshell and fitted a modest but great Shure M97xE to it and I´m delighted with the results, I show you a pic here:

I had to adjust the torque settings to manual 25% to be able to do beatmatching, the motor is simply AWESOME in this turntable, giving the fact that it has to move that great heavy platter, thing that he do really easilly!

Congratulations for your great work at Analog Planet
Jesus M Rey (Sevilla, Spain)

MannyE's picture

Just curious if the law of diminishing returns would kick in hard. Although part of my wishes the little guy beats the pants off Goliath.

Leyland1671's picture

Some "experts" seem to forget about the fact that the original SL-1200's never were meant for a DJ! So they were not designed having the DJ in mind. It's just that the solidity of the product was so unbelievable the DJ had no other choice than the good old Wheel of Steel. I have restored battered and bruised units back to factory specs and they still go on and on today. Nothing can stop them and if proper care is given the product will outlive you, something that surely will go for the new ones too. I have had the most expensive carts on the tone arm and, granted, not all felt comfortable on the Techie's tone arm but hey, that goes for all tone arms. There is no such thing like a universal tone arm. Once you found your perfect match it is time to forget about the equipment and invest in music. After all, isn't that the reason you own equipment, listening to the music instead of listening to the equipment? I know one or two who own maybe 25 records but change their stuff for other stuff anually. It is their good right, of course. But I do not understand......

Gabe Walters's picture

Thanks for the review! This table looks incredible, and I'm hoping the much less expensive GR model measures at nearly identical performance.

Just one nitpick in your choice of language, from this paragraph: "Then, at C.E.S. 2016 much to the delight of turntablists world-wide, Technics announced a return to the turntable market with a brand new SL-1200 aimed not at D.J.s but at audiophiles." The word turntablist refers to a DJ who uses turntables. It does not refer to turntable enthusiasts outside of DJs, like audiophiles who listen at home. So it's not quite right to say that a turntable aimed at audiophiles but not DJs was released to the delight of turntablists. DJs have been pretty disappointed in this direction from Technics, and even the GR model has an early rep in this community for being aimed at audiophiles, with feet that give too much horizontal movement for scratching or even mixing.

xtcfan80's picture

Hi Gabe,

Michael writes for a large audience who are in many places in the vinyl spectrum. The definition of "turntablist' as only a DJ reference is not universally accepted in the audio world IMO. Who gives a rip???
This DD TT kicks axe by any definition!!!

Best regards,

Chris O.

Oksana's picture

I don't like buying extra features I don't use in any product. So I'm curious about what features on this turntable are for a DJ?

Leyland1671's picture

It might come as a surprise but would you believe me that not a single part of the SL-1200 series, old AND the new product, has been developped for the DJ. True, the DJ kept the product alive, the DJ kept record pressing plants alive, if only a small number of them. The DJ needed a rock solid piece of equipment that could take all the abuses a DJ can give the product. It is the stable, no nonsense construction of the SL-1200’s that comes standard. Not a single clone can even come close, none.

tzh21y's picture

make sure that the platter bolts are tightened to your liking. Too tight, not good. much better when just snug. also, if you have the dealer set the table up for you, make sure they installed the platter washers correctly as it makes a huge difference if they are reversed.

dharmabumstead's picture

I’ve got a VPI Classic “2.5” (it was “randomly upgraded” at the factory to an original Classic 3 tonearm) with center weight and peripheral ring, running an Ortofon 2M Black cart. Would the 1200G be a notable step up?

tzh21y's picture

the magic combination: YMMV

I have tried many combinations but find this is the magic combination.

Technics 1200G:

Boston Audio - The Mat

Lyra Delos - 1.75 loading 100 ohm or 160 ohms (on Pass Labs XONO)

Acoustical Systems Arche Headshell - with smaller Lyra screws and Nylon washer/without good too. Technics stock arm sounds killer with this headshell and Delos. need to use heavier weight for tonearm supplied with G model.

Clearaudio Headshell cable set AC008 Pure Silver

VTA set at zero Antiskate around 1 gram.

MintLP Technics 1200 Stevenson alignment tool.

I am using no clamp or weight.

No need for outboard power supply

Very natural presentation. Wonderful. sound is sublime.

Timbo21's picture

It seems Technics are no longer able to manufacture a flat platter. There are plenty of videos on Youtube. My old 2006 SL1210 Mk2 is way better. Technics say they are 'within tolerance' and that the tonearm can cope with fluctuations. If you are considering a 1200G or 1200GR check yours and send it back whilst you can of you're not happy.

Here are a couple

lashing's picture

I own a 1200g. No platter issues. However VTA cannot be dialed lower but has ridiculous "up" adjustment. If I ever use a Volkswagen as cart I will have the room; however, one cannot get arm parallel with a short cart like Denon 103. Massive oversight for the admission price. In fact I stracth my head wondering is perhaps someone in assembly bungled things as certainly the engineers designer this table as smart people. Alas, quick net search shows its not just me so ... super weird decisions Technics. No one wants to start shimming and searching for longer screws when purchases a fairly pricey table. My 2 cents. Otherwise no complaints. The speed is rock solid. Why did I put a 103 on? I put a 103 on everything to test. You know, sometimes, I wonder is the extra manybucks required to get teh detail missing in the 103 is worth it since that cheapo is at least 90% there. Works great on the 1200g too ...well, with a 2.58mm shim to get almost level that is. Its still a little tail up. I have a 4mm shim but not any 20mm screws! See Technics, I go on about this because it exists, and it shouldnt. Dont make a man go on.



did you use “The Perfect Interface” on top of the brass platter or the rubber mat? It's not clear in the article. Thanks!

sktn77a's picture

"While the resonant frequency of 8Hz is “in the ballpark”, it would be better to have it up between 9-10Hz. The added mass brought it to around 9Hz".
A bit late to the show here (!) but the above is backwards - increasing the mass of the headshell would LOWER the resonant frequency.