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Technics talk to DJs, audiophiles with SL-1200GR, SL-1210GR

  • The SL-1200 turntable’s rebirth is slowly becoming a righteous resurrection. At CES 2016, the Panasonic-owned Technics relaunched the iconic SL-1200 turntable, beloved by DJs the world over and discontinued in 2009, but with quite a hefty gotcha: the incoming SL-1200GAE would be a wolf in sheep’s clothing; an audiophile turntable with an audiophile price tag – US$4000.

    Everything – the chassis, the platter, the plinth, the arm – had been reworked. Only the look and feel of the original had been retained.

    Then came the second gotcha: the SL-1200GAE would be limited to 1200 pieces; they sold out within hours of going on sale. One German collector is rumoured to have travelled the length and breadth of the country with a roll of cash on launch day to buy up as many units as he could.

    At Munich High-End a few months later we met the SL-1200G. A slightly modified version of the GAE but without the limited production numbers. At US$4000 it remained an audiophile-aimed piece. The DJ was once again held at arm’s length.

    At CES 2017 signs of hope for those of skinnier wallet. Given the big bang treatment was the supposedly more affordable Technics SL-1200GR. Supposedly? Panasonic were playing hard to get on pricing.

    By the time Hamburg’s Norddeutsch Hifi-Tage rolled into view last weekend, we had answers…and a bonus. German pricing on the SL-1200GR had been officially pegged at €1500 and another new model announced: the SL-1210GR would be identical to the SL-1200GR in every way except its black chassis shell. It too will sell for €1500 when stock arrives in May.

    Time then to ask Panasonic EU’s Jan Hildebrandt on how the new SL-1200GR / SL-1210GR differ from the almost three times more expensive SL-1200G:

    For fewer dollars down we get almost the same look and feel but an aluminium tonearm (instead of magnesium), one less layering in the platter – almost a kilo heavier than that found on the SL-1200MK5 – and a slightly smaller, less-powerful ‘coreless’ direct-drive motor.

    From the press release: “The SL-1200GR/SL-1210GR inherits the same design philosophy with the new development of a single-rotor, surface-facing, coreless direct-drive motor, resulting in the elimination of cogging.”

    The takeaway here is one of affordability, especially for DJs with a thirst for a robust ‘table but also for audiophiles who prefer something more solid, the (theoretically) superior speed stability of direct drive, the near-instant platter spin-up or the click-able speed change – a breath of fresh air when many similarly-priced belt-driven rivals insist we lift the platter and move the belt in order to switch between 33rpm and 45rpm.

    Find specifications below…

    Further information: Panasonic EU

    SL-1200GR/SL-1210GR Specifications

    Technology for Rotational Stability

    • Coreless Direct Drive Motor
    • High-Precision Motor Controller

    Construction for Vibration Tolerance

    • High-dampening Turntable Platter
    • Rigid Cabinet Construction
    • Silicon Rubber Insulator

    High Quality Parts

    • High Sensitive Tonearm
    • Gold–plated Detachable Terminals

    Technics Definitive Design

    Inherited SL-1200 Series

    Turntable Section

    • Type: Direct Drive Manual Turntable
    • Turntable Speeds: 33 1/3, 45, 78 r/min
    • Adjust Range: ±8%, ±16%
    • Starting Torque: 2.2 kgcm (1.91 lb-in)
    • Build-up Characteristics: 0.7 s. from standstill to 33 1/3 r/min
    • Wow and Flutter: 0.025% W.R.M.S.
    • Rumble: 78dB (IEC 98A Weighted)
    • Turntable Platter: Aluminum die-cast
    • Diameter332mm (13-5/64″)
    • WeightApprox. 2.5kg (5.5 lb) (Including rubber sheet)

    Tonearm Section

    • Type: Universal, Static Balance
    • Effective Length: 230mm (9-1/16″)
    • Overhang: 15mm (19/32″)
    • Tracking Error Angle:
      Within 2° 32′
      (at the outer groove of 30cm (12″) record)

    Within 0° 32 (at the inner groove of 30cm (12″) record)

    • Offset Angle: 22°
    • Arm Height Adjustment Range: 0 – 6mm
    • Stylus Pressure Adjustment Range: 0 – 4g (Direct Reading)
    • Head Shell Weight: Approx. 7.6g
    • Applicable Cartridge Weight Range:
      [without auxiliary weight] 5.6 – 12.0g  (14.3 – 20.7g (including head shell)
      [with auxiliary weight] 10.0 – 16.4g (18.7 – 25.1g (including head shell)
    • Cartridge Mounting Dimension: JIS 12.7mm, interval
    • Head Shell Terminal Lug: 1.2mmφ 4-pin terminal lug


    • Audio Output: PHONO  (Pin Jack) x 1, EARTH TERMINAL x 1


    • Power Consumption: 11 W (Approx. 0.2W (Standby)
    • Dimensions (W x H x D): 453 x 173 x 372 mm
    • Weight: Approx. 11.5kg


    John H. Darko

    Written by John H. Darko

    John is the editor of Darko.Audio, from whose ad revenues he derives an income. He is an occasional contributor to 6moons but has previously written pieces for TONEAudio, AudioStream and Stereophile. John used to live in Sydney. Now he lives in Berlin.

    Follow John on YouTube or Twitter


    1. What are the gorgeous Technics headphones pictured on the wall in the background of the video? I bet they’d go nicely with this turntable.

    2. Good to see they’re bringing back this classic turntable. For DJing with vinyl, though, I’ll stick with my old pair of 1200 mk2’s I think. They are so well built, solid and reliable I can’t see the purpose of buying a new pair. Even good second hand units can be picked up for around 3-400gbp.

      For a more refined, audiophile version I’d consider getting one upgraded, from Mastersounds for example, but I reckon I’d still buy second hand.

      • You guys have cool mod options there.. There’s also Time-Step that does extensive mods. I’d go for a more humble Funk Firm F5/II arm or The Wand arm though than the more pricey SME they supply..

    3. Everything’s better in black, I say. Can imagine some eclectic small club in the backstreets of Tokyo having three of those piped into an ARS Model 9000 mixer. Sound would obviously still depend on the tuning of the actual space, but boy would the console area look slick.

    PS Audio go inter-Stellar at Norddeutsche Hifi-Tage 2017

    Auf wiedersehen, DAP: the Chord Poly at Norddeutsche Hifi-Tage 2017