Technics Grand Class 1200 SL-GAE


After much research and being tired of tinkering with turntables, I picked up a Technics Grand Class 1200-SL-GAE.  My initial takeaways are bulleted below.

  • This is in a different league than the earlier 1200s. 
  • The unit is a substantial 50lbs in aggregate. 
  • The platter is a work of engineering art.  The fit and finish is to super-tight tolerances. 
  • It's nearly impossible to get this thing to skip with footfall or even by knocking the unit. 
  • It tracks wonderfully (at least with an Ortofon 2M Black and Dynavector 20XH)
  • Soundstage is good but maybe not as deep as other tables in the $4k range.  I'm not sure.  I need to listen and play with it for a bit. 
  • Imaging is fantastic and competes with tables north of $5k. 
  • Musicality is superb.  I've own British tables for 20 years (1996-2016) and even with their flaws they were musical.  This table has it. 
  • The sound has a clean, behaved bombast to it.  It's like digital, but with the smoothness of vinyl.
  • The features are great and their application and execution is so nice.  Adjusting VTA is ever-so-simple and can be adjusted in moments with quick comparison to musical passages. 
  • Tracking force mirrors, almost exactly, my electronic scale. 
  • Backgrounds are quiet and black.  
  • Above all, this table really boogies.  It makes belt drives that I've used (and that's many) seem sleepy. 

While music is fluid, it could be more "wet" or "liquid" ...if that makes sense to you.  Now, I'm no professional reviewer and I just like what I like.  

One thing that's super nice is how the record seems snugly resting on the mat, deep on the platter.  I've never experienced that with my Rega, Linn, Roksan, or Origin Live.  

I was seriously considering a new Luxman table, just south of $7k.  I'm not sure what I'm missing, if anything. What I know about these Japanese tables is there is a commitment to engineering like you see in Lexus or Acura automobiles.  Everything is ever-so-smooth and over-engineered. 

I'm going to buy a few extra headshells and set up a few cartridges and enjoy some time comparing and contrasting.  

The rhythmic drive of this table is phenomenal.  I'm running it through a Manley Chinook phono stage into a Primaluna Dialogue HP integrated, feeding PSB Imagine T2s.  Part of me wants to bring up my Kef LS50s from my basement system and let the Technics have at it. 

PS  Disclaimer: Yes, I've heard some crazy tables in my time and, No, this is not the end all be all.  But, it certainly competes in its price class, which is an issue raised by many people who have seemingly never heard it--based on their statements on forums.  




jbhiller
This table is on my wish list and I want to mate it with an Audia Technia ART9 cart. If anyone is using this combo please chime in.
I would love to here that too, lancelock.  I thought those were only available overseas or are difficult to nab.  

The only real problem with this piece is I could buy a bunch of carts and have them set up perfectly in separate headshells and just set them in with a few adjustments.  Dangerous for the checking account.  
Galen Carol Audio sells them and his website says that he has a few "slots" available.

Dave
 I believe LP Gear in Nevada sells them as well.

Technics knocked this one out of the ballpark. I only wish they had not chosen to make it look like the older SL1200s as people tend to think its the same thing; instead its really much closer to an SP10MkIII.
Ralph, I appreciate your input since it agrees with my post here about what was Technics thinking?  I still don't find the logic in their naming or cosmetic design.

Unfortunately I've only seen/heard one once, at THE Show Newport, but could not realize much of an impression.  It was a totally unknown system playing unfamiliar music in a very crowded room.  I can only say that fit and finish looked very good.

@jbhiller 

I was seriously considering a new Luxman table, just south of $7k. 

Their top of the line LUXMAN PD444 is much cheaper, amazing deck for the money and the best vintage japanese deck for 2 tonearms. One of the best design ever made in my opinion.   
I just pulled the trigger and purchased the SL1200GAE. Galen Carols last one. I will find out by how much it outperforms my VPI Scout 1.1
Has anyone here tried the manual torque setting on their 1200GAE/G?
Yes.  I needed to use the exact size mini flathead screwdriver--2mm--to make the adjustment.  I have mine set very low, almost near it's lowest torque setting. I can see that it takes the record just a bit more time to get up to speed with this lowered setting. It's only noticeable if you watch closely. 

I think it sounds like there's a bit more air in the top end with the torque set to manual and turned down low.