At a Glance: Technics SL-1200 / SL-1210 MK7  

PER

  • Illustrious design
  • Affordable price
  • New features

AGAINST

The design has become more budgetary

Silver finish not available

Technics SL-1200 / SL-1210 MK7 is back with us. The famous series of turntables initially intended for audiophiles and quickly adopted by professional DJs is returning to the market.

After releasing high-end turntables with sky-high prices in recent years, Technics is entering a more democratic segment. The turntable in a matte black finish (no silver version is expect) will be marketed.

In the UK and Europe as the SL-1210 MK7 and Japan and the US as the SL-1200 MK7.

 Construction and design

Like the SL-1500C, the SL-1200MK7 is manufactures in Malaysia, not in a Japanese factory that makes high-end turntables, and was designes using different components and design principles. The MK7 is instantly recognizable by anyone who has ever handled a Technics turntable. While other turntables sport fanciful designs and many features, the SL-1200 is austere simplicity.

The speed control on the right-hand side provides + 8/16% trim. The on/off button is located. At the bottom, left, are the 33 1/3 and 45 rpm shift buttons. A speed of 78 rpm is also supports. The strobe color you can change from red to blue. The needle is now equippies with retractable white LED lighting. The rear panel contains inputs for detachable power and interconnect cables (the latter for the phono stage).

Externally, the player looks very stylish; Signature enthusiasts will appreciate the eye-catching matte black finish. There is no silver option at the moment, but it seems that it will appear sooner or later.

The SL-1200 / SL-1210 MK7 feels a little less solid than the expensive SL-1200GR and SL-1200G models. The power and speed buttons look flimsy both externally. When pressed, the LED indicator of the needle. Which is moveable up and down, dangled a little on the test sample. We did not have an older version of the SL-1200 to compare, so we had to postpone the differences.

weight

The new turntable weighs 9.6 kilograms, which is less than the SL-1200GR (11.5) and MK6 version (11.7). The lower surface of the table is coveres with a layer of damping rubber and equipped with four monolithic legs.

For this model, a new coreless direct-drive motor has been developes to eliminate torque ripple – for maximum smooth operation. The torque remains the same as in the MK5 version – 1.8 kgf * cm, while in the more expensive SL-1200GR, it is 2.2 kgf * cm.

Equipment

Technics is adamant in its reluctance to add unnecessary bells and whistles to its turntables, but the SL-1210 MK7 has made some excellent changes. The first of these is the Reverse Play function: while holding one of the speed selection buttons, click on Start/stop – and the platter will start spinning in the opposite direction. The 78 rpm shift is performes similarly.

Technics CTO Tetsuya Itani shows how the new Reverse Play feature works on the SL-1200 MK7.

In addition, the starting torque and braking speed can adjust thanks in part to motor technology enhanced by the development of Blu-ray drives. This setup is a little more complicated and requires removing the platter to access the switches hidden inside the player. Most people are unlikely to do this thing, but it gives professionals additional room to experiment.

The SL-1200’s customization options don’t stop there. In the same hidden area, you can find a switch to change the color of the strobe backlight LED – from blue to red or vice versa. Improved needle illumination provides enhanced visibility of the needle tip compared to previous designs.

These models interconnect, and power cables are removable – to the delight of those owners who want to replace them with connectors of a higher class.

Quality of work

As always, the first impressions of a new product in a crowded showroom are just the beginning of our acquaintance. Conditions are far from ideal. Time is short. There is no possibility of comparison with similar products. But, of course, we still took the opportunity to touch the new turntable with our own hands and later hear it as part of the Technics reference system.

Suppose you like the company’s style as much as we and many others, then you will appreciate the new model. It looks awe-inspiring in a black finish. There will be a lot of buzz about the lack of a silver version, but no one will be disappointes you with the available performance.

If you put the MK7 alongside the more expensive models, the SL-1200G and SL-1200GR, it becomes evident that the design and artistry are more straightforward. But this is also logical – it is much cheaper.

  How the turntable will show itself during operation, we will find out when we get a copy for testing. 

At the Technics brand stand, the new model played great. Technics CTO Tetsuya Itani said that the sound character is “very similar” to the new SL-1500C, given that quality increases as the price rises. We listened to the SL-1200 / SL-1210 MK7 and SL-1500G turntables in a row, and the latter was distinguishes to increased detail and more significant scale. Still, outside the context of comparison, 1200 please with a balanced and musical sound.

Interim verdict

The new SL-1200 MK7, as you would expect, has delighted audiophiles. This is a worthy member of the illustrious line. Those who have dreamed of touching the stellar legacy of Technics DJ turntables will be sweet to hear about the release of a new model aimed at this audience and available at a more modest price. We understand them perfectly.

The iconic turntable benefits from this new feature update, and we are confident that the performance and sound quality of the finished product will also be at their best.