In 2016 Technics brought the SL-1200 back from the dead with its special edition GAE model. It obviously paid off, as three years on, at CES 2019, Panasonic unveiled the SL-1200MK7 (which is the SL-1210MK7 in the UK).
Visually, the MK7 stands apart from its other counterparts with an all-black design and matte finish. There's no silver buttons to be seen here, as these are finished in black, as is the tonearm and counterweight. It gives a very distinctive look to this classic DJ turntable.
As has always been core to the SL series the MK7 is a direct drive turntable. However, the new motor is coreless (there's no iron core in the stator), which Panasonic says helps avoid 'cogging' for a more accurate and stable rotation without any slip-ups in speed.
High torque is a must, with the MK7 said to match the response of the earlier MK5 model, but the newer model allows for torque and braking adjustment. It's not an on-the-fly adjustment, though, the four levels of TQ and BK adjustment have to be adjusted using tiny switches beneath the platter itself. So you'll have to setup the response as works best for your style – whether you want immediate start/stop or a slightly longer start-up and pitch-down when hitting the start/stop button.
There are other control switches beneath the platter too. Want those red lights on the pitch control, reset, 2x double-up and platter light to turn blue? No problem: switch the LED switch and go blue instead.
Pitch control is the +/-8% standard, including the +/-16% '2X' adjustment switch. Rotations of 33rpm, 45rpm and 78rpm are supported (the last by pressing both 33/45 buttons together – although this can be deactivated using another switch beneath the platter). The pitch has no 'dip' at the zero marker, it fluidly slides from end to end and is a digital control for total precision (like the MK5 model, really).
The MK7 also introduces a reverse play function. Press-and-hold the 33/45rpm button(s) and hit the start/stop button for the platter to spin in reverse at the set rpm. Not likely to be massively useful for many DJs, but we did hear Cut Chemist using the feature at the Technics launch party in Las Vegas on 7 January 2019.
In addition to the rigid die-cast aluminium build, the MK7 has detachable phono and power cables to avoid damage, meaning they can be replaced should there be any issues.
So how much cash will you need to buy a pair of these beauties? Well, it's anticipated to be in the £899/€999/$1200 ballpark for a single deck.