This is an old post that didn’t get posted for some reason.
Well, this is going under ‘Eras ended’ .. Still carting my MK1’s around with me from 1988.. I wonder if my nieces and nephews will ask me one day what those big heavy silver things under the bed are..
Panasonic will discontinue its famous SL-1200 record-player after 38 years of service. The SL-1200, a favorite of DJs around the world, is fading away due to a lack of demand, and the difficulty of sourcing some analog components needed to make it.
The SL-1200, currently in its Mk6 incarnation, was never the best sounding turntable (although it was originally designed as a home hi-fi component): What it was is tough. Packed into cases to travel to gigs, or just sat in a club DJ booth soaking up abuse as nonchalantly as the DJs nostrils sucked up coke, the SL-1200 would last pretty much forever. This made the SL-1200 the turntable of choice for club-owners, and by extension every single DJ in the land knew how to use it.
Pushed out by smaller, better and often cheaper alternatives, and then by digital music (an iPod is a lot easier to carry to a gig than a record-bag, although it offers less opportunity for smuggling in drugs), the deck has been in decline for years. But should we mourn its passing?
Not really. While it was a reliable piece of kit, it never sounded very good. The inherently jittery direct-drive meant it was never destined for audiophile status, and the abuse from jobbing DJs meant that the stylus would be trashed in weeks, and not replaced for months after that.
Still, it’s a little sad to see such an icon retired, like the demise of the cassette tape and the on-again-off-again death of Polaroid film. On the plus side, you should still have no problem picking a pair up: I see various flavors of the SL-1200 in second-hand stores all the time, and they should keep working longer than you do. And if you’re a real fan, Panasonic hasn’t stopped making them just yet.
Dead spin: Panasonic discontinues Technics analog turntables [Tokyo Reporter]
SL-1200 Mk6 product page [Panasonic]
Photo: Rodrigo Senna/Flickr