Technics SL-1200

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Technics SL-1200
InventorMatsushita Electric
ManufacturerTechnics (a brand of Panasonic Corporation)
Available1972–2010, 2016–present
WebsiteTechnics SL1200

Technics SL-1200 is a series of direct-drive turntables originally manufactured from October 1972 until 2010, and resumed in 2016, by Matsushita Electric (now Panasonic Corporation) under the brand name of Technics. S means "Stereo", L means "Player". Originally released as a high fidelity consumer record player, it quickly became adopted among radio and disco club disc jockeys, thanks to the direct drive, high torque motor design, making it initially suitable for pushbutton cueing and starting of tracks on radio and in dance clubs. Beside these features it had a so called pitchcontrol, which allowed the user to change the turning speed of the record (also BPM: beats per minute) gradually from -8% to +8%. This feature was specifically interesting for DJ's who were mixing two or more records with each other, especially in dance clubs. The turntable is still extremely popular with audiophiles.[citation needed]

When the use of slipmats for cueing and beat-mixing (and scratching) became popular in hip hop music, the quartz-controlled high torque motor system enabled records to be mixed with consistency and accuracy. A primary design goal was for hi-fidelity, but having good build quality, control over wow and flutter, and minimized resonance made the equipment particularly suitable for use in nightclubs and other public-address applications. Since its release in 1979, SL-1200MK2 and its successors were the most common turntables for DJing and scratching.[citation needed]

1200s are commonly used in recording studios and for non-electronic live music performance. More than 3 million units were sold. It is widely regarded as one of the most durable and reliable turntables ever produced. [weasel words] Many 1970s units are still in heavy use.[citation needed] In the autumn of 2010, Panasonic announced that the series was to be discontinued.[1][2] The Technics brand was discontinued at the same time, but relaunched in 2014, focusing on higher end and more expensive products. The company was aware that Technics was expected to eventually make turntables again,[3] so at the 2016 Consumer Electronics Show, Panasonic announced that they would return in two models named "Grand Class": one a limited run of 1200 globally (1200GAE), and the other a consumer product (1200G). A lighter and less expensive 1200GR model was announced. The more affordable and DJ-oriented SL-1200 MK7 followed in 2019.[4]

At the London Science Museum, a Technics SL-1210[5] is on display[6] as one of the pieces of technology that have "shaped the world we live in".[7]


SL-1200 features include:

  • Magnetic (no wear), direct drive (low slip) mechanism.
  • High torque (1.5 kgf·cm or 0.15 N·m), which means the platter spins at the desired speed almost immediately (0.7 seconds to reach 33 ¹⁄₃ RPM from standstill), and rapidly reacquires the desired speed, without "overshooting", if the platter is dragged or nudged. This aids beatmatching.
  • High torque (3.3 kgf·cm for SL-1200G & SL-1200GAE)
  • High torque (2.2 kgf·cm for SL-1200GR)
  • High torque (1.8 kgf·cm for SL-1200MK7)
  • Low wow and flutter (0.01%) i.e. the platter stays within 1/100 of 1% of the desired speed.
  • Heavy base (2.5 kg), and increased isolation of platter from base, reduced the likelihood of feedback or stylus jumping.
  • Variable pitch control, allowing the rotational speed to be adjusted from -8% to +8% (for the purpose of beatmatching). Option to select -16% to +16% added (M5G/MK5G/GLD, GAE/G/GR & MK7).
  • High reliability: many examples of SL-1200s lasting well over 15 years of heavy use and withstanding physical shock without functional impairment.
  • S-shaped tone arm: No longer popular on high end hi-fi turntables.
  • Dimensions MK1: 45.3 cm (w) x 36.6 cm (d) x 18 cm (h)
  • Dimensions MK2: 45.3 cm (w) x 36 cm (d) x 16.2 cm (h)
  • Weight MK2: 11 kg (net, unboxed without lid)
  • Weight G/GAE: 18 kg
  • Weight GR: 11.5 kg
  • Weight MK7: 9.6 kg[8]
  • Voltage: 220 V / 110 V (selectable)
  • Pitch Control: +/- 8% or +/- 16%
  • Starting Time (MK2): 0.7s
  • Rotation Speeds: 33-1/3 & 45 rpm
  • Rotation Speeds: 33-1/3, 45 rpm & 78rpm (MK4 MK7, G & GR)


The SL-1200 was the most influential turntable.[9] It was developed in 1971 by a team led by Shuichi Obata at Matsushita, which then released it onto the market in 1972.[10] It was adopted by New York City hip hop DJs such as Grandmaster Flash in the 1970s. As they experimented with the SL-1200 decks, they developed scratching techniques when they found that the motor would continue to spin at the correct RPM even if the DJ wiggled the record back and forth on the platter.[9]

Legacy models[edit]

Original model (1972)[edit]

The original SL-1200 from 1972
The Technics EPA-120 tonearm was standard equipment on the original SL-1200 and was significantly different than the tonearm introduced with the MK2 and subsequent models.


The SL-1200 was introduced in 1972 as an evolution to the popular SL-1100. It was dubbed "The Middle Class Player System". It was delivered in two different versions: The SL-1200 came with a tonearm section. The SL-120 came without a tonearm section. An SME tonearm was the usual choice for the audiophile.

MK2 models (1979-2010)[edit]

The SL-1200 Mark 2 was introduced in 1979 as an update to the SL-1200. It represented a culmination of Technics Turntable Innovations. It was dubbed as "The Middle Class Quartz Direct Drive". It soon found its way into discos as well as radio stations for airplay because of its vibration damping ability and resistance to feedback, and eventually it became popular with pioneering hip-hop DJs. Following their established formula, Technics offered different model numbers in Europe: the 1200 (silver) and the 1210 (matte black), which were equipped with switchable dual voltage (110V or 220V) power supplies. Initially, there were only silver models (all named 1200 MK2) in official distribution in Japan and the US (Single voltage of 100V/120V accordingly). However, later the 1200 was available in both silver and matte black finishes (in Japan, the introduction of the MK3 in 1989 marked the first official introduction of a black version). Since 1997, the MK2 had the pitch slide potentiometer changed from 6 pin to 8 pin mounting with part number SFDZ122N11 and later from 20k ohm to 22k ohm, part number SFDZ122N11-1 up until late 1996. After which part number SFDZ122N11-2 was the preferred option which had a +/- 0.5mm quartz travel lock, much shorter than previous versions. This meant that the null point on the centre voltage tap was slightly bigger thus removing the quartz lock conflict. The difference can be seen in the following video demonstration:

The earlier MK2 models 1978-1983 or so also have a different construction in the rubber base of the turntable. These turntables were made with a base that was completely rubber, whereas the newer version has 2 separate parts: rubber outside and a bakelite inlay that makes it considerably easier to take apart.


Released in summer of 1979. this model came in both silver and matte black. The matte black version was available for a limited time in the US market in a 2 pack SL-1200MK2PK.[11] Technics improved the motor and shock resistance and changed the rotary pitch control to a slider style. This became the base model and is the oldest whose production continued until 2010. The older version of this model that was sold from 1979 until around 1983 has a large 4-inch-diameter (100 mm) plate where the RCA and ground wires enter the unit, while the newer version has a smaller 2-inch-diameter (51 mm) hole in the rubber where the RCA and ground enter. International versions of the SL-1200MK2 included switches for line voltage and frequency beneath the platter.


Technics SL-1210MK2, black metallic

This model came in satin black metallic finish and is nearly the same in function as the SL-1200MK2, although some of the circuitry inside is updated to use fewer types of pots and resistors.[12] The Technics 1210 series also had a switch to change between voltages on the underside of the platter. It was unavailable from official Panasonic dealers in the United States.

MK3 models (1989-1997)[edit]


Released in 1989, has a matte black finish like the MK2, gold RCA plugs, and a small gold-foil Technics label on the back. It was destined only for the Japanese market.


Japan only, factory gold RCA cables, black or silver finish. Pitch reset button. Released in 1997.[13]


Released in 1997, a silver finish like the MK2 (beside silver finish, there are copies with "champagneish" color), a detached dust cover (no hinges), a recessed power switch to prevent DJs from accidentally turning the deck off during use, and no self-locking detent ("click") at the zero point of the pitch adjustment slider, allowing more precise control of pitch near that point. It has a reset button that sets the pitch adjustment to 0, regardless of the actual position of the pitch adjustment slider. In addition the M3D series has unique details: the brand and model label is printed in a single line instead of two; and the stroboscopic light is red with a slightly orange tone. This model also introduced a slot near the counterweight allowing for storage of a second headshell. The M'K'3D was designed for Japanese markets While the M3D without the K was European/US.


This model is the same as the SL-1200M3D except with a matte black finish like the MK2.

MK4 models (1996)[edit]


The SL-1200 Mark 4 was introduced in 1996. It was an update to the SL-1200MK2. It was available only in Japan and priced at around $650. It has a matte black finish. This model is aimed at the hi-end audiophile market rather than DJs. It is the last model made with the detent ("click") in the neutral position (+/- 0%) of the pitch adjustment slider. In addition to the existing 33 RPM and 45 RPM buttons, the MK4 added a 78 RPM button. It is designed to be used with regular removable RCA cables (along with a removable ground/earth cable) rather than having hard wired RCA cables like all other 1200/1210 models. The tonearm was different from those in the previous models as it was made from titanium.

Technics SL-1200 MK5 playing a record

MK5 models (2000-2010)[edit]


Released on 1 November 2000, this has a silver finish like the MK2, an increased range of anti-skate settings (from 0–3 grams-force (0–30 mN) of older models to 0–6 grams-force (0–60 mN)). The 1200MK5 also has the voltage selector under the platter like the previously improved upon '1210' models. Height adjustment can be set between 0 and 6mm. It carries over many of the improved upon features of the MK3D like the lack of 0 crossing quartz lock for better pitch control & the added spare cartridge holder. MK5 models have a removable lid as opposed to the MK2 and MK3 removable hinged lid. The MK5 is the last 1200 model to retain an analog, Quartz-clock based pitch control. Brake speed can be adjusted by using a small screwdriver in a hole located below the turntable plate.


SL-1210MK5 has a black finish [noir] like the MK2, and is 'functionally' exactly the same as the SL-1200MK5. [Not to be confused with M5'G']


Released in 2002,[13] 1200MK5G [Not to be confused with MK5 models] The G model was the first Technics turntable to introduce a 'digitally controlled' pitch adjustment. With previous pitch ranges between + and - %8. The m5G added +-%8 Value With the 'addition' of a +-%16 button. Also added was the use of an LED globe on the target light (Previously incandescent) See 1210m5G for more detailed changes.


Released on 1 November 2002, this has a glossy black finish with silver speckles. It was a special 30th-anniversary edition. It was initially launched in Japan only (together with the MK5) but then became internationally available. It switches between ±8% and ±16% ranges for pitch adjustment, and the pitch control is digital which will be the standard for all 1200 models from this point on. It also features blue target lights and blue pitch-number illumination. The brake strength potentiometer, although still located beneath platter, can now be adjusted, unlike previous models, using a small plastic knob. Minor improvements over Mk2, Mk3, Mk4, & 1200LTD include improved tonearm mounting and oxygen-free copper wire, improved vibration damping in the body, improvements to pitch control accuracy and better LEDs. Available as 120 volt model for the North American market.

MK6 models (2007-2008)[edit]

  • SL-1200MK6-K & SL-1200MK6-S (released in February 2008 in Japan) with minor improvements including improved tonearm mounting and oxygen-free copper wire, improved vibration damping in the body, improvements to the pitch control accuracy and better LEDs. -S model has a silver finish like the MK2.
  • SL-1200MK6K1 Released on 12 December 2007 (in Japan) as a special 35th-anniversary Limited edition of 1200 units.[14] It consisted of a standard black MK6 packaged up with a booklet and gold record.

Special models[edit]

These were limited edition versions, with 24 karat gold plated metal parts including tonearm and buttons. Many "non-official" special models of the SL-1200 and SL-1210 appeared over the years, mainly given away as prizes for turntablism, most notably the DMC World Championship, who awarded the winner a pair of 24K gold plated Technics turntables. Due to the customisation trend that has grown in the DJ community, many local events or competitions gave away custom coloured or finished units.

SL-1200LTD (1995)[edit]

The SL-1200 Limited Edition was introduced in 1995 commemorating two million units in sales. Only 5,000 units were made. Due to popular demand, an extra 500 units were said to be made at the end of the production run.[13] Like the MK3D, it has a pitch reset button, but differs in that it also has a self-locking detent at the zero position of pitch adjustment. This model has a piano black gloss finish and gold-plated hardware. It was priced at about US$1200.

SL-1200GLD (2004)[edit]

Released in 2004, another limited edition model, with only 3,000 units manufactured. 500 released in Japan with the rest split between the US and International markets. It is based on the MK5G model, with blue (instead of the regular white) target lights, a piano black gloss finish, and gold-plated hardware. It was "created to commemorate the 3 Million turntables sold by technics in the last 30 years".[15]

Current models[edit]

Grand Class SL-1200 Series (2016-2020)[edit]

A Technics SL-1200G with the platter removed reveals the top of the newly designed coreless direct drive motor assembly. The platter has no magnet ring on the backside, but is directly bolted onto the motor assembly instead using three flathead bolts.
A Technics SL-1200G turntable with the platter removed reveals the top of the newly designed coreless direct drive motor assembly. In contrast to older models, the platter has no magnet ring on the backside, but is bolted directly onto the motor assembly instead, using three flathead bolts.

Development of a completely rebuilt SL-1200 from the ground up with the intent to create a new system for Hi-Fi use and to redefine the direct-drive turntable reference.


Announced in January 2016 CES in Las Vegas, released in October 2016, SL-1200 Grand Class, an aluminum bound turntable with a high–damping matte magnesium tonearm, a four–layer turntable cabinet, three-layer platter, complete with a microprocessor and the use of a newly developed coreless twin-rotor direct-drive motor with no iron core with rotary positing sensors to eliminate cogging, as well as providing 78 rpm speed compatibility.


An SL-1200GAE (2016) with an Ortofon pickup instead of the original

Announced in January 2016 CES in Las Vegas, released in April 2016,[16] SL-1200 Grand Class 50th Anniversary Edition - A Limited edition of 1,200 units.[17] Same as above, but high polish tonearm tube finish and different viscous material in the turntable feet. Both the G and GAE had an approximate MSRP price of £3,100 / €3,499 / $4,000.[18]


On 28 May 2020, Technics hosted an online launch event to reveal the SL-1210GAE as an alternative for the cancelled High End Munchen 2020 event at which they initially planned to reveal it.[19] It is their 55th Anniversary Edition turntable - A limited edition of 1,210.[20] Each unit has a plaque on it with its production number engraved in it. The SL-1210GAE is the black counterpart of the SL-1200GAE and is the same in every aspect except the color and the additional feature to turn off the strobe light. It had an approximate MSRP price of €4,499 [21][22][23]


SL-1200GR model from 2019 (on display, without magnetic cartridge)

Announced in January 2017 CES,[24] the GR model is a stripped-down budget version of the G, cutting the price tag more than half at an approximate MSRP of £1,299 / US$1,700. It differs in body construction that it uses a more traditional cast aluminium design similar to the older decks and a one-piece cast platter which brings an overall weight difference between the G/GAE. The G/GAE and GR both use what are essentially the same 9-pole motor. Whereas the G has twin rotors, the GR has a single rotor, giving it less torque. The GR differs from the G in its use of a feedback generator coil system (as used in the original SL1200) instead of an optical encoder[citation needed].


This is the same as the SL-1200GR except with a matte finish.

MK7 models (2019-2023)[edit]

The MK7 models were launched as the first new Technics standard DJ turntable in approximately nine years.[25] The MK7, along with the Grand Class models, no longer have "QUARTZ" printed on the plinth nor dust cover.


Announced in January 2019 CES, the new model inherits the traditional design of the same series in all black and maintains the same operating ease, reliability and durability, while newly adding a coreless direct drive motor and other sound-enhancing technologies. It also features new DJ play functions and features, such as reverse playback, adjustable starting torque and brake speed, detachable terminals for power cable and phono cables (which was previously only available on the MK4 model), an option to select the strobe light indicator from red to blue (the 33/45 lights, 0-pitch reset light and the X2 pitch range light also change to match the color selected), and a new push-type structure for the white LED stylus illuminator.


This is the same as the black SL-1200MK7, but intended for the European market. A silver coloured SL-1200MK7 was introduced in 2021.[26]


Available from September 2020 globally, the SL-1210MK7R is a limited edition version of the SL-1210MK7 produced in collaboration with the Red Bull BC One international breakdancing competition. The SL-1210MK7R comes in Red Bull livery with red headshell, gold-coloured tone arm and decals.


In honor of its 50th anniversary, Panasonic released the SL-1200M7L, a new limited edition version of the MK7. The M7L is available in seven colors – black, red, blue, white, green, yellow and beige – with each featuring a handful of nice touches. All seven colorways come with an anodized tone arm and slipmat with a gold-colored Technics logo. Each one also comes with an engraved serial number. Panasonic plans to only sell 12,000 units of the SL-1200M7L.


Technics will release a new limited edition SL1200MK7SP turntable in very limited numbers for the fall-winter 2023, in collaboration with streetwear brand, Supreme. The core unit is identical to the 1200MK7 but features a white plinth and accessories such as headshell, buttons, power switch, anti-skate, tonearm weight, tonearm height adjuster and pitch slider knob. It sports a metallic Supreme badge on the unit’s body as well as a Supreme logo on the slipmat. Lastly, it features a Technics logo featured in Supreme's iconic red on the dust cover.

Design strengths[edit]

Two SL-1200M3Ds set up for DJ battle, or scratching, mixing. An Allen & Heath 4-Channel with Effects Mixer sits between the two turntables, allowing shorter travel during battles, or competitions.

The SL-1200 series was developed as a special project by Technics parent company Matsushita in an attempt to solve problems related to turntable design. The task included minimizing acoustic feedback, unwanted resonances, wow and flutter and speed errors. This was achieved by designing a heavy plinth (base) made of a non-resonant composite sandwiched between a cast alloy top plate and a solid rubber base. In addition, the adjustable rubber-damped feet insulated against acoustic feedback, which can be a serious problem when operating a turntable in close proximity to loudspeakers (a common situation for DJs). The underside of the platter is coated with a 1.2mm layer of rubber to reduce ringing and the platter design is reliant on the use of the supplied 2mm rubber mat. Most users remove the rubber turntable mat and replace it with a slipmat for mixing. However, without the rubber mat, the platter is prone to resonance at 250 Hz when used near a large club sound system.

The drive system designed by Matsushita is direct-drive rather than the more commonly found belt-drive type, a less expensive design. The direct-drive design, which was developed to reduce wow and flutter, produces a very quiet turntable that, for a direct-drive turntable, has minimal motor and bearing noise, (although the bearing rumble does tend to become characteristic in well-used turntables). This was partially achieved through the fact that the SL1210/1200 made the platter a part of the motor mechanism.

On the underside of the platter a large magnet is placed over the spindle, surrounding the coils and forming the motor drive, thus eliminating loss through power transfer. The SL-1200 utilizes a Frequency Generator Servo Control Quartz Lock system that is claimed to produce the most accurate and consistent speed possible. The system is immune to static and dynamic stylus drag which otherwise cause unwanted speed variances that change the pitch and tempo of the music.[27]


On 1 November 2010, Panasonic made the following statement on the DMC World DJ Championships home page.[28]

Panasonic reactive statement - Production of analogue turntables has ceased
Panasonic has confirmed that it ceased the production of its Technics-branded analogue turntables this autumn.
After more than 35 years as a leading manufacturer of analogue turntables, Panasonic has regretfully taken the decision to leave this market. However, Panasonic will continue to sell headphones under the Technics brand.
We are sure that retailers and consumers will understand that our product range has to reflect the accelerating transformation of the entire audio market from analogue to digital.
In addition, the number of component suppliers serving the analogue market has dwindled in recent years and we brought forward the decision to leave the market rather than risk being unable to fulfil future orders because of a lack of parts.
Panasonic employees who have been working on the analogue turntable range have been redeployed elsewhere within Panasonic - many of them continuing to work in Panasonic's Audio Video Business Unit.

Re-launch petition[edit]

Due to the increasing popularity of vinyl by DJs, a petition has been underway (and a petition page on Facebook)[29] for the re-launch of the Technics SL1200/SL1210 series turntables.[30] As of September 2015 the petition had 27,000 supporters, while 35,000[citation needed] is the target Panasonic requested. On 5 January 2016, Technics agreed to relaunch both the SL-1200G and the SL-1200GAE [31]

Resuming production[edit]

At the 2016 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, Panasonic announced it would be resuming production with a new line of turntables,[32] beginning with the Limited Edition SL-1200GAE [33]

At the 2019 Consumer Electronics Show, Panasonic confirmed future production of a new turntable respectively the SL-1200 Mk7 in matte black, adding new features, fixing known issues with previous models, and all new lighter construction of aluminium and fiber glass.[34]

See also[edit]

Audio-Technica ATLP-120


  1. ^ Dead spin: Panasonic discontinues Technics analog turntables - Oct 2010
  2. ^ "Technics Analogue Turntables Discontinued".
  3. ^ Audio Test Magazin: Interview with Tetsuya Itani, CTO & Chief Engineer - June 2019
  4. ^ Gizmodo: Panasonic Returns the Technics 1200 Turntable to Its DJ Roots With the new MK7 - July 2019
  5. ^ "The Rise And Fall Of The Technics 1210".
  6. ^ Technics SL-1200 / Technics SL-1210 Shaped Our World - May 2010
  7. ^ Pair of quartz synthesiser direct-drive turntables, 1999 - 1999
  8. ^ "Technics MK7".
  9. ^ a b Six Machines That Changed The Music World, Wired, May 2002
  10. ^ Brian Coleman, The Technics 1200 — Hammer Of The Gods, Medium
  11. ^ "SL-1200MK2PK archived product page". Archived from the original on 2004-06-15.
  12. ^ SL-1200mk2 and SL-1210mk2 service manuals
  13. ^ a b c "SL-1200 ‒ Heritage - Technics".
  14. ^ "SL-1200MK6K1 product page".
  15. ^ Panasonic Corporation of North America. "Technics* SL-1200GLD Sweepstakes". Archived from the original on 2004-08-10. Retrieved 2018-11-25.
  16. ^ "Technics SL-1200GAE turntable sells out in 30 minutes". What Hi-Fi?. 13 April 2016.
  17. ^ Patel, Nilay (5 January 2016). "The Technics SL-1200 turntable returns".
  18. ^ "Price tag Technics SL-1200G and SL-1200GAE confirmed". 31 October 2016.
  19. ^ "Technics announces SL-1210GAE turntable w/ Nagaoka JT-1210 cartridge | Darko.Audio". 2020-05-28. Retrieved 2020-06-18.
  20. ^ "Technics Audio USA". Technics USA. Retrieved 2024-02-10.
  21. ^ "New Limited Edition Technics SL-1210GAE Looks and Sounds Great". Analog Planet. 2020-06-08. Retrieved 2020-06-18.
  22. ^ "Grand Class Direct Drive Turntable System SL-1210GAE Hi-Fi Audio | Technics". Retrieved 2020-06-18.
  23. ^ "Technics 1210GAE news page". Technics. Retrieved 28 May 2020.
  24. ^ "Technics wastes no time in updating turntable, unveils Grand Class SL-1200GR at CES". Digital Trends. 8 January 2017.
  25. ^ "Technics Introduces the New, Long-awaited Direct Drive Turntable SL-1200MK7".
  26. ^ Stereonet: Technics SL-1200MK7 DJ Deck Announced - April 2021
  27. ^ SL1200MK2 Service Manual. Specifications. Speed Change Due To Load Torque: 0% within 1 kg-cm
  28. ^ "DMC World DJ Championships".
  29. ^ "Technics sl1200 Fanpage - Facebook". Facebook.
  30. ^ synthhead (10 April 2014). "Should Technics Bring Back The SL-1200?".
  31. ^ "The legendary Technics SL-1200 turntable is back and better than ever". Ars Technica. January 6, 2016.
  32. ^ Liszewski, Andrew. "The Technics 1200 Turntable Is Back".
  33. ^ "Grand Class Direct Drive Turntable System SL-1200GAE Hi-Fi Audio - Technics".
  34. ^ "Technics unveils new SL-1200 MK7 turntable". January 7, 2019.

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