Technics SL-1200 is a series of direct-drive turntables originally manufactured from October 1972 until 2010, and resumed in 2016, by Matsushita Electric (now Panasonic Corporation) under the brand name of Technics. S means “Stereo”, L means “Player”. Originally released as a high fidelity consumer record player, it quickly became adopted among radio and disco club disc jockeys, thanks to the direct drive, high torque motor design, making it initially suitable for push button cueing and starting of tracks on radio and in dance clubs. It is still extremely popular with audiophiles.
When the use of slip-mats for cueing and beat-mixing (and scratching) became popular in hip hop music, the quartz-controlled high torque motor system enabled records to be mixed with consistency and accuracy. A primary design goal was for hi-fidelity, but having good build quality, control over wow and flutter, and minimized resonance made the equipment particularly suitable for use in nightclubs and other public-address applications. Since its release in 1979, SL-1200MK2 and its successors were the most common turntable for DJing and scratching.Producers, DJs and MCs refer to the Technics turntable as the “Tech 12s”, “the 1s and 2s” and the “Wheels of Steel”.
1200s are commonly used in recording studios and for non-electronic live music performance. More than 3 million units were sold. It is widely regarded as one of the most durable and reliable turntables ever produced. Many 1970s units are still in heavy use.In the autumn of 2010, Panasonic announced that the series was to be discontinued.However, at the 2016 Consumer Electronics Show, Panasonic announced that they would return in two models named “Grand Class”: one a limited run of 1200 globally (1200GAE), and the other a consumer product (1200G). A lighter and less expensive 1200GR model was announced.
At the London Science Museum, a Technics SL-1210 is on display as one of the pieces of technology that have “shaped the world we live in”