We're long-time fans of the Technics SL-1200 (and 1210) turntable series. So when Panasonic announced that production of a 7th generation model in 2016 was about to commence we got rather excited.
At CES 2016 in Las Vegas, we got a first hand sampling of the SL-1200GAE limited edition model on the show floor. And it's a true reflection of the classic SL1200 design.
There are some new features of note. The blue LED lights of the on/off switch, 0% pitch reset and 2x pitch multiplier buttons are reminiscent of the SL-1210Mk5G, while the pop-up stem light opts for a more classic white projection across the platter.
An obvious stand-out feature is the brass-topped platter itself, which looks golden in colour, the lip of which can be seen even with a 12-inch record spinning.
Each SL-1200GAE will come with its individual number, with only 1200 units being made for worldwide distribution. The two decks we saw, which won't make it into that final run, displayed "0000".
When it comes to pitch control there's no "dip" at 0%, which makes for a fluid adjustment. We pitched up and down the scale, which felt every part as smooth and precise as any pitch-adjustable Technics deck we've used.
If you want to go all out and pitch those old skool records up or down by as much as 16% that's also possible by pressing the 2x button. This doesn't immediately double playback speed, instead doubling the pitch adjustment from 0-16% (so, for example +4% on the mark will equate to +8%).
There's technical data aplenty surrounding the new SL-1200G too. The new twin-roto surface-facing direct-drive motor is said to avoid 'cogging' - caused by the tiny vibrations of the motor and rotational speed fluctuations - thanks to rotary positioning sensors and a microprocessor control system for the best possible sound quality.
That's the Technics SL-1200GAE in a nutshell. We suspect audiophiles will be pleased with its arrival, although the limited edition run is likely to be snapped up in double-quick time - and there's no official word just yet of how distribution will happen for the summer launch.
The "standard" non-limited SL-1200G model will arrive towards the end of 2016, with a price that's anticipated to be close to $4,000. That's not as DJ friendly compared to its already expensive predecessors.