The TECHNICS SL1200 MK II
The world of vinyl lovers caught their breath last month when the smoke signals from Panasonic in Osaka Japan signalled the return of the mightiest of all the turntables, the legendary Technics SL1200.
But, don’t get too excited. Well you can if you’re a Guetta, Fatboy, Calvin or someone who doesn’t mind shelling out £3,000 for ONE turntable! DMC was invited down to Panasonic’s HQ to get the inside story and whilst it’s a great story if you’re David Preece the guy who talked Osaka HQ into re-launching the brand Technic, it’s not such a great story if you’re a DJ wanting to play your ever expanding record library on a machine that once took the entire spinning weight of Germany’s DMCWORLD Champion DJ David.
When DMC set off with their DJ Championships in the early 80’s, the SL1200 had some competition from German record player Thorens. One of DMC’s early DJ producers was Peter Romer, a German making a name for himself in the UK clubs who devoutly (or nationalistically) insisted his Thorens out-played the Technics. He was unanimously outvoted and so the legend began.
DMC legend Les Adams aka LA MIx sums it up perfectly…”The main feature of the SL1200 which made it the finest DJ turntable was the high torque direct drive motor which was strong enough to hold the platter at a steady speed even under duress and use of slip mats.
In conjunction with the long and very responsive pitch control Technics were on to an accidental winner… accidental because incredibly it was not made for DJ use, it was designed for home hi-fi and originally marketed as such but was a flop. It was the DJs who turned it into the most iconic turntable ever built.
Watch Grandmaster flash speak on getting his first TT’s:
Within a year DMC had the 100% backing globally with Technics sponsorship. With Panasonic behind DMC, the company was able to build two SL replica stages at the Royal Albert Hall and it was because of Technics generosity that James Brown flew in from America to create one of DMC’s truly golden moments at the World Finals.
Within a few years the expensive gold-plated turntables became the coveted prize at each year’s DMC World Championships. Today those unique golden decks take pride of place in the homes of Cash Money, Cutmaster Swift, Q-Bert and DJ Craze (who has 8 to his name)! Then the unthinkable happened, in 2000 the gold dried up along with the golden days of vinyl. It looked all over for turntablism, DMC shuddered as the CD upstart and digital technology eclipsed the black plastic records and America’s DJ SHIFTEE became the last recipient of the Technics Golden SL1200’s.
The DMC World DJ Championships adapted and grew in strength combining turntablism and DVS. Unlike a live DMC event where all the equipment changing slows things down, the DMC Online DJ Championships permits DJs much more choice of equipment but still, the SL1200 shines through.Today, sales are through eBay and most DJs service and repair their turntables themselves.
There is no such thing, anywhere in the world, as a NEW Technics SL1200 turntable and yet it plays on.
A couple of years ago, during a Panasonic management meeting where new ideas were called for, one bright spark suggested ‘Why don’t we bring back the Technics model’?
David Preece, then running Panasonic Europe, took the idea one huge stride further. No one knew better than Preece the level of affection DJs had for the old SL series. He had after all been party to opening the envelope on stage at the DMC’s and announcing the new World Champion. But he was also aware, that whilst vinyl was going through some kind of re-birth, the quality of the vinyl was thicker offering a far better sound than the LPs The Beatles and James Brown released back in the halcyon days of records.
Added to this was the fact that the original tooling (the building blocks for manufacturing) had either disappeared or damaged and unusable. The advent of a new era for the Technics turntable was founded. This time new tooling was created for a Technics turntable destined to become extremely hi-end with playback components that would be out of the financial reach of most DJs and music lovers.
Technics took this hi-end development a major step further by launching a compatible hi-end music download site where millions of jazz, classical and blues music is available.
“We realised that jazz fans also loved high quality playback” said David Preece, “So we licensed the entire Blue Note back catalogue and today are rolling out millions of tracks from Quincy Jones to Marvin Gaye to Boy Bands.” Links here: https://tracks.technics.com
DJ JIMMY JATT
Speaking to What Hi-Fi? at the Bristol Sound & Vision Show, Technics CTO Tetsuya Itani explained that the new deck was a complete redesign, requiring a brand new manufacturing process, using all new tools – and this is what made for an expensive turntable…
To view the prototype, here’s the What Hi-Fi film… :
Other notable Nigerian deejays that have flaunted the technics MK II’s include DJ JIMMY JATTS, DJ SNOOP THA DAMAGER, DJ FUNKY JAY, DJ WHET, DJ MEKZY of CITY FM 105.1FM, DJ NUFF JAMZ, DJ WIZZIANO and DJ ‘SHYLUCK’ JIMMY.
Additional credits: dmcworld.net/DMC DJ Championships
Compiled by: @djshyluckjimmy