Technics New 1200 Turntable, Integrated & Speakers – CES 2017

by Rafe Arnott

Technics unveiled a new trio of products to play nicely together, and probably annoy DJs who seem to scoff at the idea that the legendary SL-1200 could be used for anything other than scratching. The longstanding Japanese electronics manufacturer had what the company is referring to as the new standard version of the venerable 1200 (which was up to MK V iteration before being discontinued a few years ago) in rotation at CES up in The Venetian Hotel. This reborn deck is monikered SL-1200GR (don’t confuse this model with last year’s reference-level SL-1200G), and is expected to have an MSRP of around $2,000 USD.

The 1200GR shares a lot of DNA with the 1200G, but at half the cost, savings had to come from somewhere in the reference model to meet the projected price point. Engineers decided that a different model of the high-torque coreless direct-drive motor that the G sports would work just fine in the GR, and if you look at the weight of the two ‘tables – 25 lbs for the GR, vs. 40 lbs for the G – they saved money by saving weight. I was told by a company representative that a lot of weight was saved in the platter, and the plinth/chassis with changes to the damping materials in the sandwich construction. Visually the turntables are practically identical, but picking either up would be a quick reveal if you weren’t sure which was which.

The good people in the high fidelity division of engineering for Technics are no slouches, and if you have a revered, and long-loved turntable, it makes sense to have an integrated amp with a phono stage to pair it with for prospective customers. Enter the SU-G700 stereo amplifier. This VU meter-toting integrated amp outputs 70 watts into eight ohms, has an onboard DAC that handles up to 32bit/384kHz PCM, and, DSD. Got a lot more than just a 1200 ‘table to hook up? No problem. Connectivity comes in the form of four digital connections (two optical, two coaxial) and two analog.

The final piece of this new Technics troika is the transducer. In this case it’s the SB-G90 which is a black-cloaked three-way with 88dB efficiency, but with a 4-Ohm impedance so you’re going to need something with a bit more grunt (SU-G700 perhaps?) to handle the work. The G90 has specially-designed cabinets that feature individually enclosed driver baffles integrated into the core structure of the speaker cabinet for maximum rigidity. The two 7-inch bass drivers sport aluminum woofers, and the speaker’s aluminum tweeter is mounted directly in the throat of the midrange driver. That tweeter arrangement, design, and structure allows for a frequency response of 27Hz to 100kHz so expect the top end to be smooth indeed.