Technics update from CES – confirmed price. Ouch.

Technics SL-1200GAE (4)

Obviously we’re all talking about the momentous news from the CES show floor, but some questions remain, from our perspective the cable connections and the price. There are many rumours floating around, but thanks to our old friend Louis Dorio from Ortofon, we’ve got some clarification. Brace yourselves, for good and bad news is coming.

Quoting Louis directly and using his photos with kind permission:

So, according to the lead engineer on the new 1200 from Technics Japan, the only difference to the base is the top metal layer, making it 4 layers instead of the former 3. The motor is coreless, which is better for speed stability as it is said to eliminate any cogging effect. It is a 9 pole motor instead of 12 pole. The arm is still stainless steel bearings, but the machining process has been improved to reduce friction. Same arm geometry. The pitch control is now fully digital, but the engineer could not tell me the gradient. The platter is now 40 pounds because if the brass layer. Another thing to help with speed stability. Removable RCA cables on this, and a 78rpm function like the MK4. The chief engineer claims that the table is a full rebuild with much less in common than the former models than ever before.

There are torque and break adjustments under the platter, and a USB port for service purposes. So there goes your home servicing, it looks like.

The limited edition model will sell for $4000 MSRP, and when that is done, the non limited model will *also* be 4000.

Wait what? Limited edition is $4K and then $4K for the regular edition? That sounds completely wrong, so I asked for Louis to confirm for me. This came back:

Yes both will be same price, confirmed with both Japanese and American Technics reps.

That’s crazy, but if I’m honest not unexpected. As I’ve mentioned in comments in the original story, Technics is being promoted as an audiophile brand, and for the new 1200 to sit happily in with the rest of the range, it has to be priced into thousands. But $4k really puts it outside the realms of sanity for DJs. But it can’t be marketed as a DJ turntable anyway because audiophiles wouldn’t soil their hands on DJ gear.

That said, there’s part of me that feels that this is Panasonic throwing out a ridiculous price to gauge reaction. We won’t be seeing the G model until the end of the year, and a lot can happen in that time.

I have no doubt that the limited edition will sell out almost immediately, and that some DJs will have their names down on a pair. But after that? Unless that price is dropped to $1299 at the most, it’ll be clear that Panasonic may well be using the DJ scene to get the word out, but have no intentions whatsoever to support the DJ scene. Hell, we didn’t buy enough to keep it going first time round, and it’s not DJs leading the vinyl revival either.

So unless that price for the regular model drops dramatically, it looks like the bottom won’t be falling out of the second hand market any time soon, and if anything will boost demand. And small refurbishing businesses can prosper as well.

Technics SL-1200GAE (6)

Not that it really matters now, but both RCAs and power are now removable cables. Somehow, that doesn’t make up the price difference. But now we know.


Assuming that this $4K price remains, will you still buy a pair? And if so, why?