As much as the world loves the iconic Technics SL-1200, it was found to be lacking in a few DJ specific areas in comparison to more recent turntables. 8% pitch is pretty limiting for the more adventurous, and a lack of MIDI stands out in a MIDI driven world. But established modder DJ Backtrack is undaunted by such limitations (see his Vestax PDX 2000 MIDI mod), and has developed a kit that allows anyone to add ultra pitch and MIDI to a regular 1200.
WHAT IT DOES
Backtrack’s mod delivers 8, 16, 25 and 50% pitch changes via a boss mode combination of 33 and 44 button presses. The modes are identified by LED colour changes and flashing states. And with the same method, the mod brings MIDI pitch control (like the later Vestax PDXs), with a full two octave pitch controllable via a 5 pin MIDI port.
That sound you just heard was the collective jaw drop of the turntablist community and the thud of wallets against screens.
DJ Backtrack explains a little more:
I have tried to make the Technics go slow for many years. There has always been an issue below -20% where the platter starts to stutter.
Not until KAB USA (Kevin) released his 16rpm mod was there a solution. The three caps that has to be exchanged changes the filtering and makes it possible. Here is what Kevin said:
“That quote relates to the motor PLL in order to achieve 16rpm.
It was the one thing that others did not seem to know about. Others that tried to do this in the past.
My first involvement with this was developing a 16rpm mod for a university that used it with a curing oven to precisely rotate parts inside the oven.
That was back in the late 90’s.
That knowledge came in handy when this new dj request came along. That and some new technology that makes it rather easy to produce a stable, variable oscillator.
What you are doing of course, is far more refined.”
There are no patents or anything involved but Kevin is getting little money for every sold unit because it could not have been done with out his findings.
The USB port is there just to make support easy. With the Vestax mod I had to replace boards if there was any bugs. Now its just to plug in and send a new firmware file.
For modders, this is a doddle and full instructions are provided here. But for those less adept with a soldering (which for the record has an L in it) iron, it is recommended that some more skilled with resistors and wires carry out the necessary mods. The instructions are very clear, but as someone who is capable, you really don’t want to be unsoldering the wrong thing, or indeed attaching wires to other wrong things.