We've seen a couple of reports on message boards that seem to indicate that the iconic Technics SL-1200 and SL-1210s may be about to be discontinued. If true, it would be a surprise, as both models represent iconic turntables and are widely considered the industry standard in nightclubs.
The rumours appear to originate from a New Zealand DJ shop called DMC World, which says on its product page: "Panasonic (the manufacturer of Technics) have announced that production of the world famous Technics SL-1200 and SL-1210 DJ turntables will stop at the end of February 2010".
The turntables have been around for more than 35 years, and are featured in the London museum of Science and Technology as an important step in how music has been played and presented over the last century. Their popularity has ensued due to their tank-like construction, high torque and effective insulation from acoustic feedback.
Another DJ shop - storedj.com.au - reportedly told recipients of its email newsletter: "You hear parents talking about where they were when they heard that JFK was shot, or that man landed on the Moon. For DJs, this news will come with similar surprise. The gracious founder and mother of all DJ equipment, the Technics SL-1200 is being put to bed and will no longer be produced".
And an Australian dance music website, inthemix.com.au, has a quote from a Panasonic spokesman - Ian North - who says: "It is a sad day today but due to low sales globally in analogue turntables a decision to stop production has been made on Technics Turntables. For Australia this means we will receive our last shipment in March".
There's a few question marks over this story - "Why?" is the biggest. Even though DJs are increasingly shifting to CD players and computers to mix on, the 1200s always appear highly on DJ shops' best-seller lists thanks to their reputation, and despite their sky-high price.
Also, the rumour appears to come exclusively from down under, so the withdrawal could be limited to the Antipodes. We've contacted Panasonic's press office for clarification about what's going on, and we'll update this post when we hear more.
UPDATE: Panasonic has come back to us with a statement, but it unfortunately doesn't yet say much. See the full details here.