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Technics’ New State Of The Art Turntables Feed Our Enduring Love For Vinyl

technics, turntable

If you Google ‘Why We Love Vinyl’, you’ll be able to choose from no less than 157 million posts articulating why spinning records on a turntable continue to captivate us.

So much so, vinyl sales will grow to $40m in 2020 as music lovers continue to enjoy the tangible and emotional connection they feel when they go through that physical act of playing their favourite 12 inch record.

The ritual of pulling the record out of the sleeve, placing the record on the turntable and waiting for the needle to drop is for most of us what it’s all about. Then, of course, there is the album art. I, for one, will never forget the Bat Out of Hell album jacket.

Vinyl  Bat Out Of Hell
Meat Loaf Bat Out of Hell album

Still to this day, I enjoy the search…in old record stores that is if you can find one and at the local markets. Rarely would this happen without an animated discussion about a musician or a song which even decades later can stir up emotion deep from within. It’s easy to wonder why we all love records so much: Is it the nostalgia? Or, is it the ritual? Of course, many would say it all comes down to the sound. And some would simply say: All of the above.

One thing for certain is the latest launch of Technic’s new turntables which were unveiled in Sydney last week had the DJ’s rocking their stuff as they tested the latest that Technics had to offer.

Spearheading the new range is Technics Grand Class SL-1200G Direct Drive Turntable which is designed to deliver a ‘warm sound quality of analogue vinyl discs’.

The high-quality sound realised by the Signal/Noise ratio and high rotation accuracy of the direct drive system employed in Technics turntable products is what audiophiles love about it.

“The passion and detail that goes into creating revered Technics products encompasses both superior technology and a timeless design, with precise construction and craftsmanship to create the centrepiece of any music lover’s listening environment,” enthused Aaron Waters, Product Marketing Manager – Audio and Video, Panasonic.

Technics turntable range includes:

Technics Grand Class SL-1200G: $6999 RRP

Technics Grand Class SL-1200GR/SL-1210GR: $2749 RRP

Technics SL-1500C Premium Class: $1999 RRP

About the turntable lineup

The SL-1200G delivers against the central claim of Technics products – the Technics Definitive Sound, which is synonymous for the highest dedication towards music. Launched globally in 2016, the SL-1200G combined Technics‘ traditional analogue technology and advanced digital technology. Its outstanding performance literally rocked the hi-fi market and redefined the reference for direct-drive turntables. 

Parts from the SL-1200G were newly developed to create the SL-1200GR/SL1210GR, such as the coreless direct-drive motor and precise motor control technology, high-rigidity platter and high-sensitivity tonearm. This ensures audio enthusiasts using the SL-1200GR can enjoy music with the rich, robust sound of analogue records.

The SL-1500C inherits the brand’s high-end sound quality concept and has a host of original Technics technologies, such as a coreless direct drive motor and high-sensitivity tonearm. To simplify the playing of analogue records, the built-in Phono EQ connects to a wide variety of devices, including the Technics OTTAVA wireless speaker range. The SL-1500C also comes equipped with a high-quality Ortofon 2M Red phono cartridge. The SL-1500C is a complete turntable system designed for a wide range of users, even outside of strictly dedicated audio enthusiasts.

Grand Class SL-1200G: Technics Definitive Sound

SL-1200, turntable
The passion for vinyl records is only going to get bigger

Overcoming analogue issues of the past

In conventional analogue turntables, sound quality was degraded by tiny vibrations of the motor and rotational speed fluctuations, known as ‘cogging’. However, by combining the knowledge and expertise gained as the originator of direct-drive turntable systems, the SL-1200G can eliminate this ‘cogging’ effect with a coreless direct-drive motor. Any potential minute motor vibrations are suppressed even further by high-precision rotary positioning sensors guided by a microprocessor-controlled system.

The SL-1200G provides the smoothest possible rotary control by the use of an encoder at the bottom of the motor which detects the precise rotating angle. Furthermore, a twin rotator construction reduces the bearing load while maintaining high torque and also limits minute vibration during rotation. This makes it possible to reproduce the warm sound and subtle nuances of musical expression engraved in analogue record grooves and craved for by vinyl lovers.

Broadcast industry beating three-layered platter

The SL-1200G has a three-layered construction consisting of a rigidly combined heavyweight brass and aluminium die cast platter, and deadening rubber covering its entire rear surface. This eliminates unnecessary resonance, achieving high rigidity and vibration damping. The smooth rotational stability and inertial mass even surpasses the Technics SP-10MK2, the direct-drive turntable standard used in the past by broadcast stations worldwide.

High dampening tonearm

The tonearm employs a lightweight magnesium material which has been cold drawn to improve the characteristics of the material and increase the dampening effect. Technics’ numerous listening trials have shown that magnesium is sonically superior compared to aluminium. In addition, high initial-motion sensitivity is attained by employing the traditional Technics gimbal suspension construction with the horizontal rotation axis and the vertical rotation axis intersecting at a single central point, as well as high-precision bearings using a cut-processed housing.

Supplied auxiliary weights support a wide variety of cartridges 

You can change the cartridge to match the music genre and feeling in order to enjoy different types of sound. The SL-1200G includes two different auxiliary weights to support a wide variety of cartridges. Combined with the standard balance weight which supports cartridge masses of 5.6-12g, the small auxiliary weight increases this number to 10-16.4g, while the large auxiliary weight supports cartridge masses of 14.3-19.8g.

Four-layered cabinet construction

A hairline-processed, 10-mm-thick top panel of immaculate aluminium has been added to the previous three-layered construction of aluminium die cast, Bulk Moulding Compound (BMC) and insulator feet consisting of absorbing, complex silicon-rubber – similar to the SL-1200GAE. This four-layered construction combines high rigidity and high vibration absorption, all with a premium finish and feel.

Grand Class SL-1200GR/SL1210GR: Rich, robust analogue music in a new standard Direct-Drive Turntable

About the SL-1200GR

The Grand Class SL-1200GR Direct-Drive Turntable System for audio enthusiasts is a standard model inheriting the technology of the SL-1200G, which was developed as a reference direct-drive turntable for the next generation. 

This model is available in two designs – the silver SL-1200GR and the black SL-1210GR.

Coreless direct-drive motor achieving stable rotation

The SL-1200GR inherits the same design philosophy as the SL-1200G with the new development of a single-rotor, surface-facing, coreless direct-drive motor, resulting in the elimination of cogging. The SL-1200GR’s rotation control, which verifies and corrects the precision of the motor, uses the latest motor control technology cultivated in the development of Blu-ray devices, just as used by the SL-1200G. In addition, the electrical circuitry has been tuned to ensure the newly developed motor of the SL-1200GR achieves maximum performance.

Turntable Platter – pursuing rigidity and vibration damping characteristics

The platter achieves high-rigidity and vibration-damping characteristics by using a two-layer construction with deadening rubber applied to the entire rear surface of the aluminium die-cast. This eliminates the unnecessary resonance that is otherwise relayed to the record, thereby producing clear sound. To increase the inertial mass and to reduce vibration, the shape of the aluminium die-cast portion was optimised by simulation. At 2.5kg (including the rubber mat), the SL-1200GR platter is 0.8kg heavier than that of the previous SL-1200MK5. Also, the back surface of the platter features strengthening ribs to improve rigidity. Increasing the surface area of contact with the deadening rubber achieves damping characteristics that are more than twice as good as those of the SL-1200MK5.

Tonearm achieving high initial-motion sensitivity

With its gimbal suspension construction, the tonearm bearing section of the SL-1200GR uses a cut-processed housing that employs high-precision bearings, as in the SL-1200G. The high initial-motion sensitivity of 5mg or less is achieved through manual assembly and adjustment by skilled Japanese artisans. This enables the grooves etched into the records to be accurately traced. Gold-plated phono terminals and ground terminals for detachable cables are provided below the tonearm, so a wide variety of cables can be selected. Also, the use of metal shielding construction inside the case reduces the effects of external noise.

High-rigidity body and high-damping silicon insulators for beautiful sound and isolation from various vibrations

The SL-1200GR ensures high-rigidity by using a body with a two-layered construction solidly unifying the BMC and the aluminium die-cast chassis. For the insulators supporting the body, as with the SL-1200G, the SL-1200GR uses special silicon rubber that ensures both high vibration damping characteristics and long-term reliability. Vibration in the horizontal direction is absorbed by reinforcement with cylindrical tubes using microcell polymers. While inheriting the technology of the SL-1200G, the insulators have been modified to specifically suit the characteristics of the SL-1200GR.

SL-1500C Premium Class Direct Drive Turntable System: Technics sound quality concept and built-in Phono EQ

SL-1500C, turntable

About the SL-1500C

The SL-1500C inherits the brand’s high-end sound quality concept and has a host of original Technics technologies, such as a coreless direct drive motor and high-sensitivity tonearm. To simplify the playing of analogue records, the built-in Phono EQ connects to a wide variety of devices. The SL-1500C also comes equipped with a high-quality Ortofon 2M Red phono cartridge. The SL-1500C is a complete turntable system designed for a wide range of users, even outside of strictly dedicated audio enthusiasts. The turntable is available in black or silver.

Coreless direct-drive motor achieving stable rotation

The SL-1500C inherits the same high-quality sound found in Technics’ high-end turntable models. It uses a single-rotor, coreless direct drive motor in which the stator has no core and eliminates the rotation irregularity called cogging. In this motor, the magnetic force of the rotor magnets was improved to the highest possible level, and the gap between the coreless stator and rotor magnets was optimised, thus achieving high torque performance equalling that of the SL-1200MK5 while eliminating cogging. Furthermore, the motor control was optimised in accordance with the platter weight. As a result, the SL-1500C has realised high rotation accuracy and high performance, and eliminated the need for parts replacement and maintenance. 

High accuracy motor control

In the direct drive system, the motor is connected directly to the platter so that the motor rotation speed becomes the rotation speed of the phono record. Therefore, it is extremely important to control the drive motor’s rotation speed to ensure stability. The SL-1500C utilises the latest motor control technology refined through the development of Blu-ray disc products. Furthermore, the FG coil pattern of the full-circumference detection FG system was improved to achieve more detailed measurement of platter rotation speed.

Highly sensitive tonearm accurately reads the signal stored in the record groove

The tonearm, which is responsible for accurately reading the signal by tracking the groove on the phono record, is a static-balance universal S-shape tonearm, another Technics tradition. The tonearm tube is made of lightweight, high-rigidity aluminium. The bearing section of the gimbal suspension construction tonearm consists of a machined housing and high-precision bearing to provide high initial motion sensitivity. 

Two-layer platter with improved vibration damping performance

The platter on which a vinyl record is placed features a two-layer structure with deadening rubber on the entire back surface to eliminate unwanted resonance in the aluminium die-cast platter. The platter offers high rigidity and outstanding vibration-damping characteristics to prevent harmful vibration from being transmitted to the record and therefore delivers clear sound.

High rigidity cabinet and high damping insulator for thorough shut-out of all vibrations

The aluminium die-cast chassis is rigidly integrated with a special material consisting of ABS mixed with glass fibre to achieve a two-layer construction. The combination of this special high-rigidity material and a metal chassis raises the rigidity and vibration-damping performance to higher levels, resulting in a robust cabinet for beautiful sound reproduction.
The insulator is comprised of a spring and rubber to provide optimal frequency characteristics. This not only assures high sound quality and superb howling resistance, but also effectively shuts out external vibrations under high sound level conditions.

Built in Phono EQ enables connecting to a variety of devices

The SL-1500C has a built-in phono equaliser amp compatible with MM cartridges so it can be connected to an audio product that does not have phono input terminals. The dedicated power supply for the phono equaliser is isolated from the power supply for the motor and control circuitry to reduce the effect of noise. Furthermore, the shield structure suppresses the effect of external noise. As a result, high-purity signal amplification is realised. Using the SL-1500C and the audio equipment you have, you can enjoy music from a vinyl record in high sound quality.

Phono Cartridge (Ortofon 2M Red) included

The supplied universal head shell is mounted with an Ortofon 2M RED cartridge. Thus, you can play a record immediately after purchasing the SL-1500C. The tonearm height can also be easily adjusted within a range of 6 mm to enable the use of various other phono cartridges. Using the auxiliary weight that comes with the product, a cartridge weighing 14.3 to 25.1 g (including the supplied head shell) can be used.

Auto lifter minimises wear on records and stylus

When the tonearm reaches the end of the record, the auto lifter automatically raises the tonearm. This prevents unnecessary wear on your valuable vinyl records and stylus, thus allowing you to enjoy playing records more comfortably.

Robyn Foyster

Written by Robyn Foyster

Robyn Foyster is an award-winning journalist and former Editor-In-Chief of The Australian Women's Weekly. She is also the owner and publisher of Women Love Tech, Game Changers and The Carousel. Robyn is the owner and founder of a tech business called AR tech, where she helped create the world's first AR community shopping app called Sweep and her team produced the 2018 Vivid app. She is a speaker and a judge of the Telstra Business Awards and Mumbrella Awards. Robyn is passionate about supporting women in STEM.

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