The Coffin Report
A Generation of DJs Reminisce & Lament the Demise of the Technics SL-1200 Turntable
This past October, The Tokyo Reporter broke the story that Panasonic would be halting production on the Technics SL-1200 turntable, along with an analog mixer and a pair of headphone models. After 35 years of production and 3.5 million units sold, the iconic turntable that fueled a nascent DJ industry and ultimately defined a musical culture would no longer be manufactured.
“Panasonic decided to end production,” the company said in a statement to the publication, “mainly due to a decline in demand for these analog products and also the growing difficulty of procuring key analog components necessary to sustain production.”
Of course, looking at the Panasonic website, which offered confusing information about the status of the SL-1200, DJ Times had to attempt to get its own confirmation Stateside, if possible. In doing so, 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.” That about covers it, right?
So… with that bit of info, we asked a variety of DJs for their quick thoughts and fond memories about the late, great Technics SL-1200 turntable:
“I don’t think there’s a DJ on this planet that doesn’t remember getting their first set of 1200s. And shame on you if you don’t.”
– DJ OBaH, Dubspot, NYC
“I miss the warm analog sound! I miss the tactile experience. I miss seeing the grooves and knowing where a breakdown was with one glance.”
– Jeannie Hopper, Liquid Sound Lounge, NYC
“It’s like a death. I remember seeing Cash Money playing in Paris in 1986 when he was the DMC champion. He had the small Gemini mixer and he was doing tricks with his hands on the turntables that made me say, ‘That’s going to be my job for life—I want to be a DJ!’”
– Bob Sinclar, Yellow Productions, Paris
“I remember my first turntable. That’s right—turntable, singular. I bought it from Turntablelab.com, got the homie price, set it up and was proud of myself. Then my roommate, a DJ with more experience, showed how to set it up properly—flipping weights, twisting the stylus—all for better use. Then I put on my first record—my dad’s Salsoul Orchestra vinyl.”
– Herbert Holler, The Freedom Party, NYC
“Nothing will ever compare to the feeling of rubbing a record sleeve against your knee until the plastic burned away—slipping out a new slab of vinyl and slapping it down on a shiny Technics 1200 platter. Long live the wheels of steel.”
– Paul Dailey, DJ Times, Boston