Technics SL-1200GAE Review

Technics SL 1200GAE

If you have ever played a record on a turntable at a party, or been to a nightclub. The chances are there was a Technics SL-1200 Series at the heart of that music.
It been around for years (1972) and with good reason. They even have one in the Science museum in London. This is a beast of a machine. Rock solid build and great sound (not the best though). It’s always been a simple piece of kit my master. As its direct drive, the platter and pitch are easily manipulated and it has a low flutter (which means it stays within 1% of the desired set speed and being simple and well thought out is probably the key to this being widely accepted in the DJ community.
The very last release was in 2004 Technics SL-1200GLD. 3000 units released. There was 1500 released in the US and another 1500 Worldwide. Panasonic later released the sad news of the discontinuation of the product in 2010.
All was lost until the recent announcement of the resurrection of the SL-1200 in the new guise of the SL-1200GAE. It was announced at the CES 2016 in Las Vegas and again just another small release of just 1200 (coincidence or not) into the now thriving Turntable niche market. No doubt these will be snapped up straight away.
As soon as you turn on the record player it oozes reliability from just the look and feel of it. The platter is probably solid enough to be danced upon (not recommended, I sprained my ankle) and you could swing off the arm.
The layout will be familiar to the SL-1200 veterans, start/stop button, speed selection and the target popup light, all in recognisable positions. You’ll also notice a new x2 button just above the pitch slider, this will increase the pitch control from +/-8 to +/-16. This is in line with other turntables of the same cost.
Another additional feature in the gold plated phono cables and ground terminals. As we know the earlier decks were hard wired causing real issues when replacing broken parts
Most of the parts on the player are swappable, which means this greatly reduces the servicing costs, and if you’re brave enough then even changing the smallest part is relatively easy.
The sound in very good indeed with huge s/n ratio and low flutter, it’s like you’re getting more music than normal out of your deck. The silences are deadly silent due to the elimination of tiny vibration by working with the rotary positioning sensors, which in turn is guided by a digital system of microchips. An excellent match between digital and analogue. It gives out a rich and warm sound from any of your favorite vinyl.
If you can afford it, you know you’re going to buy 1 or maybe 2 of these. Whether it’s the shear brilliance of the product, its robustness or it pedigree, or it could be down to simple nostalgia, this icon of the DJ ing world deserves a place in da club.

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