The Technics 1200 – An Audiophile’s Table

by Rafe Arnott

Technics, and their 1200-series of turntables always cause audiophiles anxiety for some reason. For many it is their perceived DJing heritage which somehow translates into the 1200 not being taken seriously as a ‘proper’ turntable in certain circles – which couldn’t be farther from the truth in my opinion.

The whole reason the 1200 was originally adopted by DJs in the late 70s until the present is their bomb-proof design/construction, and probably most specifically – their incredible high-torque motor which can spin up the heavy aluminum platter to speed or stop it dead in seconds.
I’ve owned a 1200 MK IV, and I can tell you it’s every bit an audiophile ‘table in sound, and looks. Attention to detail throughout the IV’s chassis, platter, isolation feet, tonearm, and switches was second to none, and the latest incarnation on display in Chicago right now – the 1200G-R ($1,699 USD), and 1200G-S ($3,999 USD) continue that heritage albeit with completely redesigned, and upgraded motors, chassis, platters, tonearms and electronics. The new 1200s look almost identical to the older models, but the truth is they are a completely different beast with much attention paid in their revamp to sonic performance. Weight also comes into play between the G, and S model with 15lbs separating the two, mostly in the chassis, and platter.

The new ‘tables were being fed into Technics’ latest stereo integrated amplifier – the SU-G700 ($1,599 USD) which also features a built-in phono stage. Also on display was the company’s ST-C700 ($1,099 USD) network audio player which now boasts MQA support within Tidal, which is available as a very nice firmware upgrade for current owners of the unit. Technics was showing off a number of loudspeakers in the room including the SB700-W, and K-series models (both $1,699 USD/pair).
Anyone in the market for a replacement turntable should make the time to give the 1200-series ‘tables a serious listen, and see them for yourself in person. These new models are competitively priced, and I think will give many audiophiles pause, and an opportunity to rethink any assumptions they have made regarding the 1200, and its place as a reference benchmark for sound quality.