To say that I was excited to get my hands on a pair of new Technics SL-1200 MK7 turntables would be an understatement. As the UPS driver dropped two big boxes on my porch, I literally flashed back to 1983 when I bought my first set of Tech 12s. Since then, it’s been quite a journey.
In 1983, I had worked all summer to save up enough dough to buy a pair of SL-1200 MK2 decks from Boston’s Sid Stone Sound & Light – one floor down from the venerable Spinoff roller rink near Fenway Park. Technics 1200s, for many of us, will forever represent DJing. And as I unpacked the new 1200 MK7s, I had a somewhat existential experience.
This feeling came as a juxtaposition to the weeks leading up to unboxing, as I had perused the world of online reviews and saw concerns about the new units lacking modern conveniences (MIDI controls/USV outputs/internal grounding) and that they delivered a somewhat underwhelming feature set given their price tag.
In some cases, I agree with these quibbles. Technics could have done more to re-enter the modern turntable market, with a set of features more worthy of where technology sits in 2019. But I also see many of these criticisms coming from a very narrow point of view – one that shows that most of these DJ/writers came up in the age of Super OEM tables – and in many cases, they seem to miss the point.
(FYI: Super OEM turntables are rebranded 1200s clones, usually offering high-torque/direct-drive motors and S-shaped tonearms, and sold at a more appealing price. Hitting the market once Technics ceased production on the SL-1200 in 2010, Super OEM units usually offer a different feature set from the original Technics units. Depending on the brand, those features could include wider pitch ranges, USB connectivity, etc.)
It should be said that the power of the Technics brand is immeasurable. For me, logic goes out of the window when talking about Technics turntables. It is iconic. It is comforting. It is something that has been passed down through generations. Human nature plays such a strong part of any buying decision and, as a marketer and a DJ, I understand this implicitly. No matter how much torque, or functionality, or funky colors or buttons your Super OEM turntable has, it will never be a Technics SL-1200. Period, full stop.
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