Monday, January 18, 2016

Heard About the New Technics SL1200?

Have I heard about the new Technics SL-1200 yet?

Why yes, I have. I just returned from the 2016 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, where I was representing two of my brands (Opera and Unison Research). My room on the 29th floor of the Venetian was right across the hall from the Technics room. I noticed that on set-up day, so once the show began I immediately headed over to get the scoop.

I'm not going to go into much detail here, because I plan on writing an entire article on the new limited edition Technics SL-1200GAE turntable that was debuted to the world just a few steps from where I sat for four days. But I did sit and listen, and here are my initial impressions:

1. I was disappointed to see that the new 1200 looks just like the old one from a distance. But the insides are all new. This is a radically different turntable from the classic 1200, with lots of new engineering ideas inside. The new 1200, as a result, is a LOT heavier than the old one.

2. Yes, it's going to cost $4000. I scooped the price when I went into the room and asked how much. The Japanese gentleman from Technics replied, "We think $4000, but we're wondering if that's too much." Within an hour, the press at the show started reporting the MSRP as $4000. The audio world collectively groaned, although turntable guru Michael Trei said that a more basic model would eventually debut at about half the price.

3. I sat down and listened to it in an all-Technics system. (Technics has been introducing some very intriguing high-end audio gear over the last year or so.) To put it succinctly, the new 1200 sounds like a $4000 'table. It possessed none of that dark, closed-in sound of the older model. It sounds wonderful in every way. I heartily approve.

I'll get into more detail in a future Vinyl Anachronist column for Perfect Sound Forever.

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