Optimising vinyl playback with digital technology? That’s the message coming from Technics as it announces the SL-1200GR2 and its black (Euro) variant, the SL-1210GR2. The second-generation editions of the Japanese company’s mid-tier direct drive turntables promise smoother, more accurate/stable platter rotation. This is executed by a new motor system that uses a digital amplifier to convert a digital PWM signal to analogue at its output, which then generates the sine wave that turns the platter.
From the press release: It’s “a method of high precision 1bit D/A conversion which is part of the signal procession in Technics’ full-digital amplifiers that use our proprietary technology JENO Engine. By this approach, consequently given the name ΔΣ-Drive (Delta Sigma Drive), a perfect sine wave is generated, and motor vibrations are radically reduced.”
And with such improvements, comes the self-reflection and admission that what went before wasn’t necessarily optimal: “Looking back to the 1970s, the motor control sine wave signal was generated by an analogue RF oscillator, the precision of which left room for smoother rotation. After the revival of the Technics SL-1200 turntable in 2016, the new SL-1200GAE – along with the much-improved motor by an iron-coreless stator – inherited a new motor control based on PWM for D/A conversion, using a microcontroller including a sine-wave ROM. This added a remarkable impact on the whole rotational precision and helped achieve lower motor vibrations. However, despite this approach, the sine wave for motor control was still not 100% accurate.”
Every digital amplifier – even those charged with rotational stability – requires a good power supply. In the SL-1200GR2/SL-1210GR2, Technics has put a multi-stage switching supply that operates at over 100kHz and whose unwanted noise is cancelled by a circuit borrowed from the reference SL-1000R turntable. This noise-cancelling process is similar to that of active noise-cancelling headphones where the detected noise signal is inverted and injected back into the circuit.
Not everything in the GR2 is new. The second generation models maintain: 1) the twin-layered bottom chassis that puts a layer of BMC (Bulk Moulding Compound) on top of a layer of aluminium for robust vibration resistance; 2) the twin-layered platter whose aluminium structure is damped by heavyweight rubber; 3) the S-bend aluminium tonearm with detachable headshell and 4) a quad of insulating and height-adjustable feet.
However, the overall design of the SL-1200GR2/SL-1210GR2 apparently features better colour-matched parts and a new finish. The packaging also dispenses with the previous generations’ styrofoam in favour of shaped cardboard.
Pricing on the SL-1200GR2/SL-1210GR2 has been set at US$2199/€1999 – that’s four hundred dollars and two hundred Euros more than the first-generation models. Shipping is set to begin in December.
Further information: Technics