The Technics SL-1210MK7 Direct Drive Turntable with EAH-DJ1200 DJ Headphones - now available in Australia.

We’ve been asking for years now why Australia hasn’t seen any of the shiny Technics products which have reached other markets since Panasonic revived the brand in 2015 with some new upmarket turntables, after prematurely mothballing the marque some five years earlier. It was never quite clear whether it was limited supply, a lack of confidence in the size of the Australian market, or just Panasonic Australia not wishing to start up a revived brand which was behind the non-arrival.

But no worries, the brand is now back in Australia, and it’s good to see Panasonic saying that the brand will be released through “selected audio specialist retailers” rather than the larger electronics chains.

The initial release will include four turntables, two pairs of headphones, and the attractive Ottava series of wireless speakers.

The turntables
Yes, all hail the return of the legendary Technics DJ deck in the form of the latest SL-1210MK7 Direct Drive Turntable (above and top), with this model available through DJ audio specialist Store DJ. Interestingly for a device likely to be used in low-light conditions it sports a new all-black design with black buttons and a black tonearm, though the LED light can illuminate in red or blue. Otherwise it inherits the traditional design of the SL-1200which launched in 1972 and went on to sell 3,500,000 units, though of course there have been numerous improvements along the way, including a new coreless direct drive motor to overcome the possibility of cogging (micro-variations in speed from the steps in DC servomotors) and other sound-enhancing technologies. It also features new DJ play functions, such as reverse playback when the speed selector button and Start/Stop button are pressed simultaneously.

The SL-1210MK7 will be priced at $1749.

The remaining three turntables leverage the SL-1200’s popularity but are aimed at audiophiles and music lovers rather than DJs, though still retaining the Direct Drive system.

Top of the heap is the Technics Grand Class SL-1200G at $6999, delivering what the brand calls ‘Technics Definitive Sound’. It was launched elsewhere in 2016, using three-layer platter construction heavyweight brass and die-cast aluminium with deadening rubber covering its rear surface. The tonearm employs a lightweight magnesium material which has been cold drawn to improve the characteristics of the material and increase the dampening effect. The plinth cabinet has four layers — a hairline-processed 10mm-thick top panel of aluminium added to the previous three-layered construction of die-cast aluminium, BMC and silicon-rubber insulator feet consisting of absorbing, complex silicon-rubber.

Parts from the SL-1200G were newly developed to create the Grand Class SL-1200GR (silver) and SL1210GR (black), including the coreless direct-drive motor, motor control technology, platter and  tonearm. This ensures audio enthusiasts using the SL-1200GR can enjoy music with the rich, robust sound of analogue records. Both models are priced at $2749.

The fourth model is the SL-1500C, described as ‘Premium Class’ (below Grand Class), “designed for a wide range of users, even outside of strictly dedicated audio enthusiasts”. Again there is a coreless direct drive motor and high-sensitivity tonearm, also here with an auto-lifter at the end of the side and built-in Phono EQ to make onward connection easier, including to the Ottava wireless speaker range. The motor control technology is interesting described as “refined through the development of Blu-ray disc products”, a nice crossover from the parent company. The SL-1500C comes equipped with a high-quality Ortofon 2M Red phono cartridge, and will retail at $1999 in Australia.

For details of the new turntables, plus the headphones and Ottavas, head to www.technics.com/au/  (not, note, www.technics.com.au).