Buying Guide to The Best Technics Turntable

The direct-drive and belt drive turntables invented by Technics are praised highly by audiophiles and DJs in the form of the SL-1200 Series, and there have been numerous requests to bring the turntable system back to life. There are two sets of production for this brand, a belt-drive, and a direct drive mode. The direct drive model was made for the convenience of hosting DJ’s and the belt drive mode was more for Hi-Fi usage with Best Technics Turntable.

One of the best technics turntables for DJ is the direct drive on the SL-1200 Series, and the belt drive is for Hi-Fi use. When Technics invented direct-drive turntables in the 1970s, broadcast stations were the first to notice their performance and dependability. Moreover, the SL-1200 series was considered to be one of the best vintage Technics turntables. Among these, the technics SL-10 stands out the most. Many other vintage Technics linear tracking turntables, such as the SL-M3, SL-15, SL-7, SL-QL1, and SL-5, are also worth considering.

The Technics Turntable models come in a variety of series. The origin of SL-1200 which was first introduced in 1972 later proceeded with introducing 8 new model series along their line. With the original model of SL-1200, they later released series of MK2, MK3, MK4, MK5, MK6 and with the latest 20th and 21st-century releases of MK7 and Grand Class series.  

Technics Turntable SL-1200 Original vs Technics Turntable 1200 MK7 – At a Glance:

Specifications
SL-1200 Original
SL-1200 MK7
Driver Mode
direct drive
direct drive
Turntable Speeds
33-1/3 & 45 rpm
33-1/3, 45 rpm & 78rpm
Cartridge Type
Moving magnet
Moving magnet
Braking System
Electronic brake
Electronic brake
Type
Turntable - semi-automatic
Turntable - semi-automatic
Power Supply
220 V / 110 V
AC 110-240 V, 60 Hz
Power Consumption
14 W
8 W
Pitch Control
+/- 8% or +/- 16%
+/- 8% or +/- 16%
Rotation Speeds
33 - 1/3 & 45 rpm
33 - 1/3, 45 rpm & 78rpm
Weight
24.3 lbs.
21.2 lbs.
Specifications
SL-1200 Original
Driver Mode
direct drive
Turntable Speeds
33-1/3 & 45 rpm
Cartridge Type
Moving magnet
Braking System
Electronic brake
Type
Turntable - semi-automatic
Power Supply
220 V / 110 V
Power Consumption
14 W
Pitch Control
+/- 8% or +/- 16%
Rotation Speeds
33 - 1/3 & 45 rpm
Weight
24.3 lbs.
Specifications
SL-1200 MK7
Driver Mode
direct drive
Turntable Speeds
33-1/3, 45 rpm & 78rpm
Cartridge Type
Moving magnet
Braking System
Electronic brake
Type
Turntable - semi-automatic
Power Supply
AC 110-240 V, 60 Hz
Power Consumption
8 W
Pitch Control
+/- 8% or +/- 16%
Rotation Speeds
33 - 1/3, 45 rpm & 78rpm
Weight
21.2 lbs.

The Technics Turntable SL-1200 Original and their series.Overview and the what and whys that you should look out for:

A little about the Technics Turntable SL-1200: An Overview.

First introduced by the Matsushita Electric Company presently known as the Panasonic in 1972. The company has launched a new mid-priced hi-fi turntable under its Technics brand. A departure from the belt and idler drive turntables of the day, It had a brushless direct-drive engine with high torque, a heavy vibration-damped chassis, and a low mass, S-shaped tonearm suitable for the modern high compliance cartridges of the day. Only the SP10, the world’s first direct-drive turntable, launched by the same company just two years prior, could match its specifications, a turntable that had quickly become the standard for broadcast and recording applications. This turntable was, of course, the Technics 1200.

Moreover, the SL-1200 is noted to have the Audio-Technica VM750SH which is the best cartridge for Technics 1200 original. The Original SL-1200 still to date holds the reputation of being the best technics turntable from the 70s.

PROS :

  1. The tonearm is well made, and tracks warped vinyl better than almost anything
  2. Lack of wow & flutter due to the platter being directly driven by the spindle shaft motor
  3. Due to having variable pitch control, it is considered the best technique turntable for home use.

CONS:

  1. When playing records that have been poorly mastered, there is some low-frequency lateral resonance, but it’s well below audible frequencies and easily filtered out.
  2. Lack of automatic turn-off
  3. It does not have all the cool electronic features and software syncing capabilities of newer turntables. (It will still connect to a mixer and can be used with any DJ software.

Read: Let’s Compare Ortofon 2m Red and Blue vs Bronze

A little about the Best Technics Turntable SL-1200 mk2 series: An Overview.

The SL-1200 Mark 2 was introduced in 1979 as an update to the SL-1200. It was later diversified into 3 different models, the Technics Turntable SL – 1200MK2, SL-1210MK2, and SL-1200MK2PK. Because of its vibration-dampening ability and resistance to feedback, it quickly made its way into discos and radio stations for airplay, and it gradually became popular with pioneering hip-hop DJs. Technics sold two separate model numbers in Europe, 1200 (silver) and 1210 (matte black), both of which were fitted with switchable dual voltage (110V or 220V) power supplies.  

However, the later inventions of MK2 models allow for the MC Audio-Technica ART-2000 (limited edition) as its cartridge, which is known to be the best cartridge for technics 1210 mk2.

Pros:

  1. The Technic Turntable MK2 is best for professional DJs due to the installed direct drive.
  2. The Mk2 series has a notable advantage in weight which is 31 pounds. Since it absorbs the vibrations from the speakers, this is a feature that provides improved sound quality.
  3. The MK2 series is considered to be the best technic turntable for home use. The people, which are involved in the world of sound and pay an extraordinary level of detail when it comes to achieving the perfect sound, are satisfied with Technics 1200 mk2.

Cons:

  1. Technics Turntable is not developing a new tonearm for this turntable series and It’s an out-of-date feature that won’t appeal to audiophiles. Therefore second-hand users have to replace or change the tonearm for the SL-1200mk2.
  2. The Mk2 is just as expensive as the latest Mk7 series turntables, also there is not much available in the market.

A little about the Best Technics Turntable SL-1200 MK3 & MK4: An Overview.

The Technic Turntable SL-1200 MK3 series are made only for the Japanese market with 4 diversified models. The SL-1200MK3, SL-1200MK3D , SL-1200M3D and SL-1210M3D. With the first model released in 1989, it was very much identical to that of MK2. The second mode SL-1200 MK3D was also for the Japanese market only, which came in factory gold RCA cables with a black and silver finish. Released in 1997 the third of the model SL-1200M3D has no self-locking detent at the zero points of the pitch adjustment slider, allowing more precise pitch control near that point recessed power switch to prevent DJs from accidentally turning the deck off while in use; and no self-locking detent at the zero points of the pitch adjustment slider, allowing for more precise pitch control near that point.

In 1996, the SL-1200 Mark 4 was issued. It was a new version of the SL-1200MK2 and the only version of mk4. It was only available in Japan and Southeast Asia markets. Rather than DJs, this model is targeted at the high-end audiophile market. It is the last model made with the detent in the neutral position (+/- 0%) of the pitch adjustment slider. In addition to the existing 33 RPM and 45 RPM buttons, the MK4 added a 78 RPM button.

Pros:

  1. Quick startup for both the Mk3 and Mk4 model series. In the 1970s, having the ability to start-up in less than 0.07 seconds was a fantastic thing to have.
  2.  People who follow Technics’ work have never been disappointed by a creation that is made to last, and some of the characteristics aren’t found in other turntables.

Cons:

  1. The connection might get weak in the time period. In the event that the RCA conductors need to be replaced, they are not readily available.
  2. The users are disappointed in the lack of pitch adjustment beyond 8% and its developers aren’t willing to change it

Read: Choose The Best One Between Audio Technica LP60 or LP120

A little about the Technic Turntable SL-1200 MK5, MK6, and MK7: An Overview.

The 20th and 21st-century models of Technic turntables were marked as the SL-1200 MK5, SL-1200 MK6, and SL-1200 MK7. With SL-1200MK5 released on 1st November 2000 with an increased range of anti-stake settings. The MK5 also has a removable lid with magnets unlike the other ’70s and 90’s series of Technic. The MK5 modes came in various versions such as SL-1200MK5, SL-1210MK5, SL-1200MK5G, and SL-1210MG.

The Technic Turntable SL-1200 MK6 comes in 3 variations. Sl-1200MK6-K, SL-1200MK6-S and SL-1200MK6K1. The first 2 models were released together at once in Japan in 2008. The MK6 focused on very minor improvements including improved tonearm mounting and oxygen-free copper wire. The MK6 materials improved vibration damping within the body of the deck. Both the models were later discontinued in late 2010.

The Technic Turntable SL-1200 MK7 is the latest 21st-century technics turntable. The MK7 DJ turntables were the first new Technics mainstream DJ turntables in nearly a decade. The MK7 models, unlike their audiophile counterparts, are manufactured in Malaysia rather than Japan. The term “QUARTZ” is no longer written on the plinth or dust cover of the MK7 and Grand Class models.

Pros:

  1. The Technic Turntable MK7 provides high efficiency, such as rotation accuracy and powerful torque, does not require component replacement, and provides long-term reliability.
  2. The motor for the Technic Turntable MK6 is a concept without a heart, with magnets uniformly spread across the platter. which is not to be found in the older version of SL-1200.

Cons:

  1.  The MK5 has less efficient pitch control, thus it might not be crowned as the best technics turntable for DJ.
  2. There is not much of a difference to be found on the latest 21st century MK7 models. As it does not offer much of an upgrade, but rather only allowing better audio capability and reduction in resonance.

Read: Make your Home Stereo with Turntable

Key Features of SL-1200 models.

Cartridge: There is a massive spike in demands for the SL-1200 models due to their reputation for DJ use. Therefore the best cartridge for the SL-1200 models also plays an important role. The Audio-Technica AT95E is considered to be the best DJ cartridge for the technics 1200 series.

However, for home use, the Audio-Technica VM750SH is considered the best stylus for the technics 1200 series, because of the tapered aluminum housing that eliminates unwanted vibrations. For the 1210 series, the Audio Technica ATN440MLA could be considered the best stylus for the technics 1210 series.

Phono Preamp: The Rega Fono MM MK3 is notably the best phono preamp for technics 1200. With the fine handling of timing and dynamics, MK2’s award-winning sound now has a greater dynamic range and clarity, improving an already outstanding performance. The best-sounding phono preamp on the market. However, the Edwards Audio Apprentice MM has is also being considered for the technics due to its good timing and dynamic range, hence be the best amp for technics 1200.

Mat: The SL-1200 technic turntable has aThe rubber mat that fits into a lip around the edge of the platter, allowing the lip of LPs to be seen to hang over the edge. This allows the main part of the record to make good contact. Therefore the recommended best turntable mat for technic is the pure sound rubato.

Needle:  The legendary battle needle with ultra-high skip resistance and ultra-high output, then the Shure M44-7 Standard DJ Turntable Needle can be considered the best needle for the technics 1200 series. However, the Audio-Technica AT-VM95E/H is the best needle for Technics SL-1200 mk2 series.

Other Key Features.

  1. Magnetic (no wear), direct drive (low slip) mechanism.
  2. High torque(1.5 kg cm or 0.15 N·m), If the platter is pulled or nudged, the platter spins at the desired speed almost instantly (0.7 seconds to hit 33 13 RPM from standstill) and quickly regains the desired speed without “overshooting.” This helps with beatmatching.
  3. The technics turntable has a low wow and flutter (0.01%) (The platter retains the optimal rotational speed.).
  4. The SL-1200 are less likely to skipping and feedback due to the heavy base (2.5 kg) and increased separation of the platter from the base.
  5. Variable pitch control, allowing the speed to be adjusted from -8% to +16%
  6. The Technics Turntable has high levels of dependability and longevity for example the 1200s series are lasting decades. 

Comparisons of subtle differences between the SL-1200 models.

  1. The Technics Turntable MK2’s pitch fader has a zero point that clicks into position. 
  2. The Technics Turntable MK3 and MK4 are only published in Japan. 
  3. The Technic MK4 is the only model with reversible RCA cords and the only one with 78RPM as an option.
  4. The control knob on the Technics MK5 and Technics M3D is recessed, making it more difficult to unintentionally turn off. The pitch fader does not have a release. They also have a button that disables and locks the pitch change at 0%.
  5. The pitch fader on the M5G can be adjusted from -8 to +-16 percent.

Comparisons of Technics Turntable SL-1200 series with other dominant competitors.

Technic SL1200 MK2 Vs Pioneer DJ PLX-1000

The Pioneer DJ PLX-1000 and the Technics 1200 MK2 have virtually identical dimensions and weight, which is no surprise considering that the Pioneer DJ PLX-1000 is based on the Technics 1200 MK2. The PLX-1000 is slightly heavier, which is a positive thing because it decreases the chances of the needle skipping due to bumps, thumps, and bass vibrations.

The pitch range of the regular Technics 1200 MK2 pitch fader is +/- 8% of the song’s tempo. This is sufficient for basic beat matching and vinyl spinning without the use of digital pitch correction. The Pioneer DJ PLX-1000, on the other hand, has two additional pitch fader ranges: +/- 16 percent and +/- 50 percent. This allows for more drastic tempo changes, and the Pioneer DJ PLX-1000 has an advantage here due to its selectable tempo ranges, as well as a “Reset” button that cancels any pitch adjustments made.

Technic SL1200 MK2 Vs Audio Technica LP-120

The Audio Technica turntables are manufactured in several of the same factories as the 1210s. The ATLP140XP has a number of high-quality components. The ATLP140 is a direct drive turntable with a heavily damped platter that reduces record vibration. The device has a good weight to it as well. The ATLP140 has more torque than its predecessor, giving it a more original Technics-like feel. The anti-resonant die-cast aluminum chassis of the SL-1200MK5 allows for non-“click” pitch control for smooth-sliding, quartz-locked, continuously variable pitch adjustment. This is essential for matching dance music tempos and convenient for pitch correction on records that have been poorly mastered.

Technic SL1200 MK2 Vs Rega-Planar 3

The Rega-Planar 3 can sound more ‘lively,’ but it sacrifices pitch stability, and (depending on the environment), it can necessitate more careful positioning. The Technic Turntable SL-1200 arm isn’t bad, but it is the deck’s weak point, as the drive mechanism on the plinth is the deck’s power. Rega turntables sound great in the mids and highs, but when compared to Technics SL-1200, they lack bass. Since it is a direct drive, the Technics SL-1200 has greater pitch control, as the motor does not slow down, causing the sound to waver (ie slow sounding warbling). 

The Rega with Groove Tracer Upgrades transforms a decent table into a fantastic one by enhancing bass definition. With the Rega, it needs to install a speed control system or the pitch will be off; Regas are notorious for spinning a little fast.

FAQs of Best Technics Turntable

This section is going to talk about some of the most asked questions all over the internet. What are you waiting for? let’s hop right into it!

Question: Which to buy?

Answer:  Considered by many to be the best ever, the Technics SL-1200 and its dark side variant the SL-1210 have garnered a legendary reputation in DJ circles and beyond. The SL-1200 original has a direct drive motor that was also very accurate and kept the playback speed consistent, this, in turn, reduced wow and flutter in the playback. Designed to adjust the playback speed in case of poor calibration, the speed adjustment dial was quickly adopted by DJs to help beat match songs together.

The Technics Turntable released in the 21st century MK7 stands out the most. Since the platter can be played in reverse or used to play back in reverse. These features plus removable power and RCA cables made for a dream turntable for DJ use, however sadly the MK7 is lighter and feels cheaper than the older models of Technics. However, the Technics Turntable MK7 is worth its price.

Question: What to look out for?

Answer: Pitch Control: Is it running properly? Check with the strobe that the platter is turning at the correct speed and that the speed changes as the pitch control is shifted.

Anti-skate Mechanism: The arm should be pulled away from the platter by the dial next to the arm bearing. Check that the arm base lock is in working order and that the lift/lower mechanism dampens the arm as it descends.

Platter Bearing: Remove the platter and ensure that the rubber underneath it is not coming away and that the magnet is not weakened by rotating it in both directions by hand.

Screws: Check underneath the turntable and platter for any missing screws, as this may suggest shoddy repairs.

RCA Plugs: These attach to the amplifier or mixer and may have loose links, resulting in crackling noises. So, if at all possible, listen before it is bought.

Arm Bearings: The arm should move effortlessly and the bearings should be free of play; this can only be determined by feeling.

Headshell: Make sure the headshell is securely clamped and that the screws underneath it are not loose.

Question: Why do most professional DJs still use Technics 1200 turntables? 

Answer: Many professional DJs use Technics in the club or on the road, in addition to getting a pair of 1200s at home. Sl-1200s are well-known and dependable. Even though CDJs and digital DJing have become popular, most clubs still have a collection of Technics 1200s in their DJ booth. The feel and drive of the 1200 platter cannot be reproduced by a controller in terms of output. The pitch control has an excellent response for beatmatching, and the powerful torque motor allows for precise scratching and mixing.

Furthermore, the style is awe-inspiring, similar to a great work of art. A DJ may own multiple controllers or mixers over the course of his or her career, but there’s a good chance they’ll all have the same pair of Technics.

Question: What are the differences between the Technics 1200 Turntable models?

Answer: Starting with the base Technics SL-1200MK2 (there was an SL-1200, but the MK2 is the unofficial start for DJ purposes), here are the following common models and their variants:

  1. SL-1200MK2(silver) / SL-1210MK2 (black)
  2. SL-1200M3D (silver) / SL-1200M3D (black) – subtracted dust cover hinges, added non-clicking pitch control (no click when set pitch control to 0), added pitch control reset button (overrides pitch control to go to 0), redesigned sunken power on/off (to prevent accidental power off), added shadow-design slipmat
  3. SL-1200MK5 / SL-1210MK5 – added additional adjustment controls to tonearm, re-designed LED target light
  4. SL-1210M5G – added glossy speckled black finish, increased pitch control range to +/-16% (vs.8%), switched to digital pitch control, changed to blue lights, improved tonearm

Question: Which one is the Best Technic Turntable?

Answer:  The Technics SL-1200 and its dark side version, the SL-1210, have a legendary reputation in DJ circles and beyond. Despite the fact that production of the Technics Turntable SL-1200 ceased in 2009, the Technics Turntable SL-1200 still stands out the most as the best for DJ use. The original SL-1200 has evolved over time to meet the demanding needs of DJs all over the world. It exemplifies Technics’ unwavering commitment to high-quality sound, technology, and design engineering.