On a cold dead wintry January night, with a blanket strewn over your chest, you’re just about to hit add to cart on that second-hand $350 SL-1200 you’ve been eyeing for just about a while now on Ebay when until - a WhatsApp message pops up.
It’s a link to an article - “Panasonic has just released another rebranded version of the SL-1200,” one hinted to be a cheaper alternative by several publications and would be targeted at “audio-enthusiasts.” Slowly you start to believe you might just be able to afford this.
In 2016, the rebirthed SL-1200’s price was met with some dissatisfaction from consumers who balked at the $4000 price tag, with the company explaining that the development cost in the modern day was just not the same as what they could achieve with in the 70s, stating that the “original 1210 turntables were manufactured for so many years” and thus “the manufacturing process had got to a very low cost.”
Justifying that hefty price tag, Technics stated then that “they’ll have to invest in all the tools again,” with the price now much higher than in the 1970s.
Speaking with What Hi Fi? In an interview last year, Technics CTO Tetsuya Itani stated then that they’ll start thinking about a more affordable model and would have to “study” first.
The just-launched version of the iconic audiophile behemoth - (Panasonic Technics SL-1200GR) might just be that turntable Itani had hinted at in the previous year.
While the retail price has yet to be announced, Technics has released their tech specs and features for the latest 2017 model, with the aluminium die-cast platter weighing 2.5 kilograms and a motor said to incorporate the same technology enhanced during the expansion of Bluray devices.
The latest model borrows the same “twin rotor direct drive motor” Technics used in the SL1200G model (of 2016), a development that claims to eliminate the cogging prevalent in many direct drive systems.
They’ve also expounded on the tonearm bearings for this model, claiming the “high-initial motion sensitivity of 5mg and less is achieved through manual assembly and adjustment by skilled Japanese artisans.”
Panasonic were also very focused on the build quality in their press release, mentioning using a body with a two-layered construction to ensure “high rigidity,” something to think about when considering the long-term benefits of such a turntable.
All in all, the price will be a major deciding factor into whether you’ll be wanting be picking this one up. Our guesses is that it’ll be significantly cheaper but probably not in the region you might expect it to be.
Stay tuned for updates.