The Technics SL-1200 are a series of turntables manufactured since October 1972 by Matsushita under the brand name of Technics. Originally released as a high fidelity consumer record player, it quickly became adopted among radio and club disc jockeys. Since its release in 1978, SL-1200MK2 and its successors have been the most common turntable for DJing and scratching.
The MK2 presented several improvements, including to the motor and casing. Since 1972, more than 3 million units have been sold. It is widely regarded as one of the most durable and reliable turntables ever produced. Many of the models manufactured in the 1970s are still in heavy use. In the autumn of 2010, Panasonic announced that the series was to be discontinued due to marketplace conditions.
The SL-1200 series was developed as a special project by Technics parent company Matsushita in an attempt to solve many of the problems related to the difficult task of turntable design. The task included minimizing acoustic feedback, unwanted resonances, wow & flutter and speed errors. This was achieved by designing a remarkably heavy plinth made of a non-resonant composite sandwiched between a cast alloy top plate and a solid rubber base. In addition, the adjustable rubber-damped feet ensure that the Technics SL-1200 series are well-insulated against acoustic feedback, which can be a serious problem when operating a turntable in close proximity to PA loudspeakers (a common situation for DJ’s).
The drive system designed by Matsushita is of the direct-drive variety rather than the more commonly found belt-drive type. This design was developed in order to virtually eliminate the problems of wow and flutter and produces a very quiet turntable which, for a direct-drive turntable, has minimal motor and bearing noise, (although the bearing rumble does tend to become characteristic in well-used turntables). This was partially achieved through the fact that the SL1210/1200 was the first (and only) turntable to actually make the platter a part of the motor mechanism as opposed to just being attached to it via screws or magnets as is the case with most direct-drive turntables.