October 23, 2014

Technics SL-1200: DJ Times' "Coffin Report"

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Grandmaster Flash & the Furious Five album cover
G. Flash waxes not so misty water-colored memories of the 1200

The Technics SL1200 turntable is confirmed dead–dood,  morte, tot, guasto–despite speculation that it’s just another rouse by Panasonic to stir demand and sell more units.

In DJ Times’ attempt to get confirmation, we were reminded that a reporter trying to get information from Panasonic might have better luck getting on-the-record waterboarding confessions from the CIA. It’s pretty corporate over there in Secaucus.

But, after being passed around the company for the better part of an afternoon, we did get a confirmation, of sorts. According to Nicole Russell from the Panasonic Direct Sales department, “We are no longer selling or producing any versions of the Technics SL-1200 turntable.”

And that’s that. News of the demise of the Technics 1200s has reverberated around DJ nation, and we’re going to be posting some of the responses in our series, The Coffin Report: Technics 1200

Grandmaster Flash told DJ Times the following:

“As first purchaser of the economical Technics turntable, the Belt Driven SL-20, which was a ground-breaking experience that helped me to create the ‘DJ tequnique’ that EVERY DJ uses, but to discontinue the Warrior Table the 1200 is a tragedy to me.” Says Flash. “Here’s my analogy: There are turntables that are like a hot new chick—she looks good, she feels good, and THEN there’s the 1200, which is like your WIFE, your GIRL, your EVERYTHING. She’s also hot, but you KNOW her, you TRUST her, she’s reliable, hardly ever let’s you down. So, to me, they will be missed.”

The ALL CAPS and “tequnique” spelling are Flash being Flash.

DMC US Champion and former DJ for Beck, DJ Swamp, had this to say:

“When I was really young I had tried scratching on other turntables for years and I was always like, ‘How do they do it?’ It wasn’t until I went to a guy named DJ Phil’s house and he let me get down on the 1200’s and it all made sense to me. From that point on I knew I had to have the Technics 1200’s and to this day I still haven’t found anything better to scratch on, and believe me I have looked and tried.

Swamp went on to tell us about buying his first deck at Lentine’s Music in Cleveland after working at Wendy’s all summer. “I didn’t get the second one til about 2 years later. When I got 2 that’s when I became absolutely obsessed and possessed.”

”But I won’t miss it,” he says, “I don’t miss anything because they’re still the only turntables I can perform with. It may change the game as far as just showing up at the club and people having what has been the standard for so long but most of the equipment I use has ceased being manufactured. If anything it will make it more special and vintage. You can’t buy any of the secret weapons I use new at the store this just makes it official.”

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