Gear Icons: Technics

In Praise Of The Turntable Behemoths

It just wouldn’t be a DJ special without mentioning Technics. So integral are the brand to the culture of DJing and vinyl that it’s near impossible to mention one without the other. Go into any DJ booth, crate-digging record store or anywhere that deals in the playback and manipulation of vinyl and chances are you’ll find a pair of SL-1200’s or 1210’s, emblazoned with the brands perfectly understated serif logo.

However, Technics are much more than just a brand: they are a symbol of a greater movement, a reassuring presence in the booth and a scene identifier all rolled into one. Their products have continually informed and shaped the direction of popular music over the last 50 years, even being displayed at the London Science Museum as ‘a product that shaped the world we live in’. Products like the new SL-1210MK7 only reaffirm the companies continued reputation for excellence.

 

Originally starting out as a loudspeaker manufacturer in 1965, it was in the burgeoning home Hi-Fi market where Technics really came to prominence, getting in on the ground floor of the direct-drive revolution by releasing the world’s first Direct-Drive turntable, the SP-10, in 1969. This was followed closely by the release of SL-1100 and, perhaps most crucially, the SL-1200 in 1972, known by many as the most influential turntable of all time. Affordable, bombproof and capable of withstanding the kind of rigorous physical manipulations that were previously impossible with belt-driven models, these radical new designs quickly gave birth to what we now know as turntablism, redefining the role of the DJ in popular music and giving birth to dozens of genres of club music, while playing a pivotal role in the birth of hip-hop.

 

As the years passed, Technics continued to refine their product line and captivate the DJ world, with classic releases like the SL-1200MK2, SL-1210MK2 and SL-1210MK5 only strengthening the brands dominance in the rapidly evolving scene.

 

The legendary manufacturer are back in a big way with the new SL-1210MK7, the latest incarnation of the iconic 1200 line and the next turntable to carry-on the Technics name in the DJ space.

 

 

It’s often said that after World War III, there'll be nothing left except cockroaches and SL-1200's, and with the weight of the world's vinyl resting firmly on its decks, the new SL-1210MK7 definitely does not disappoint. Featuring Technics’ famed Direct Drive motor technology, the likes of which have been continually refined and developed by the brand over the last 40 years, the running gear on the new 1210MK7 faithfully upholds the excellence delivered by previous incarnations of the storied product line. With its Coreless Direct Drive Motor eliminating the cause of potential cogging and subsequent replacement of components being bolstered by a rock-solid chassis/platter construction, the new look Technics 1210MK7 definitely brings something special to the new generation of vinyl enthusiasts.

 

Another feature that is sure to bring a smile to longtime DJs, or anyone who has struggled to find continuity from one turntable to the next, is the SL-1210MK7’s ability to have the motor customised to the user’s desired settings. Lifting up the platter reveals switches for adjusting torque and brake speed, parameters that can be tweaked in-line with the user’s personal taste. These fine adjustments were made possible thanks to technology from Panasonic Blu-Ray drives, a nod to how far the line has come from its humble beginnings till now. The new reverse playback function only further opens up the creative options available here, echoing the line’s history as the ultimate tool for creative expression.

 

Thankfully, the trademark S-shaped tonearm is still present, with its unique design and quality engineering providing the same fluent motion and smooth, stable playback as generations past. High precision bearings in the lightweight arm provide stability and reliability, even under the most vigorous scratching applications. Other classic features include the pop-up stylus light a bright and durable white LED and the hypnotic strobe light which has been a staple of the series since the first generation 1200. Something that is sure to get a kick out of fans of the series is the SL-1210MK7’s ability to set the strobe to red or blue, making for a much more personalised disc-spinning experience.

 

The original success and sheer cultural domination of the 1200 in the DJ world has always been in its incredible build quality, groundbreaking technical capabilities and egalitarian pricepoint. Having been a decade since the previous incarnation of the 1200, new users and Technics die-hards alike will be impressed by the refined character of the SL-1210MK7.

 

A legendary presence in the DJ world and a very fitting inductee into Mixdown’s ‘Gear Icons’.

 

Find out more about Technics via their Australian website

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