Why Isnt Techincs 1200 Considered Audiophile?

Technics is known for its rock solid build quality low wow flutter, low noise rock steady speed, great torque and powerful motor so why isnt it given the accolades as a musical turntable?
The 1200 is a DJ component not designed for audiophile use and it sounds like it in particular the arm is quite substandard. It is a very rugged and reliable component which of course is a basic requirement for use by DJ's but for the money it is easily bettered by any one of many turntables properly designed for use in a a Music Reproduction System.
This tread just may be fun, buckle up!
Do you mean the original SL1200 mk1 ?
It’s pretty old, but if you will watch this video you will see than John Grado still use one of these at grado labs to check the cartridges. In fact it was a hi-fi turntable that pioneers of the deejayin start using in the 70s in NYC on block party jams.

Later another hi-fi Technics became the industry standard, it was SL1200mk2 with +/- 8% pitch control and new Technics tonearm. It was not made for the DJs, but served professional DJs till today. In fact they made a million copies and it was a champ of turntables on the global mass market until it was discontinued not so long ago. This turntable can be upgraded by any user who would like to transfer it to a high-end by replacing a stock tonearm and armboard, footers, wires, or even power supply. Actually it’s better to buy SP-20 (made in 1976), this is what i compiled for a friend.

Technics true High-End turntables were made since the 70s for broadcast industry, models like SP-10mkII (which i’m using) and SP-10mkIII (from the 80s) considered a High-End today. Tonearms like EPA-100, 250, 500 or EPA-100mkII or professional version of the EPA-100 are amazing tonearms, they are highly regarded today, especially the rarest EPA-100mkII ($2-3k).

Now we have SL1200GAE, SL1200G and SL1200GR and they are high-end turntables, many people are blown away by the quality, they are completely different from older Technics turntables, but still can be upgraded with better tonearms. I'm not happy that they looks like an old SL1200mkII (i believe many people too), but seems like the quality is top notch. This is a new source for removable armboards which looks like the original, but made for different tonearms.

If you want the reference there you go: https://theaudiophileman.com/sound-vision-2018-technics/
official prices is UK should be about:
8000 pounds for SP-10R
and 14000 pounds for SL1000R

 the arm is quite substandard
Hmmm - but is the rest of the TT "up to snuff" ?
- because Jeff at Audiomods believes it is - if you add one of these...


I have an Audiomods Classic II arm with the bead-blasted finish and it is a superb addition to any TT.

A friend has the 1200 with the Series Five arm built for the 1200 and he loves it


I think with an Audiomods arm, the 1200  is well into audiophile teritory.

Regards - Steve

The Audiomods is a tweaked Rega tonearm, there are many option for SL-1200mkII and it depends which cartridge are you gonna use. Also detachable headshell is a nice option. 

I'm still not sure which model of turntable the OP is tying to discuss, but Technics tonearm is not bad at all, the old one cost just $150 new, do you know any other tonearm for $150 that will give you same quality? Fluid damper from KAB is easy to add, and when i tried Technics EPC-205c mk4 cartridge on the stock toneam it was amazing. 
The Technics is one of a number of audio components that measures well (by certain industry approved standards) and sounds, well, not so good.  The quick answer is that means you're not measuring the important stuff.  With a light platter the constant checking and correcting micro speed changes imparts a particular coloration and timing distortion.

Michael Fremer put it well when he wrote:

"Regulating a direct-drive motor's speed with a phase-locked loop produces tight speed control and measurably low levels of wow and flutter, but the motor's constant, ultra-high-speed hunting and pecking as it over- and undercompensates in the attempt to produce a consistent speed can create a jitter effect in the mid-treble to which the human ear is particularly sensitive, adding a hard, brittle texture to music. That describes the sound of Technics' now-discontinued SL1200 series of direct-drive turntables, and explains why, despite their high build quality and relatively low price, few are used in serious audio systems, though some listeners claim that these 'tables can be modified to improve their sonic performance."

Certain direct drive TTs have overcome that problem principally with very heavy platters imparting a strong fly-wheel effect.  They are very expensive though going back to the Goldmund, and more recently the VPI and others

As with most things, hearing the problems may depend on associated components and the discrimination of the listener.
melm, Is this like the Emporer's New Clothes?  Only the most discerning are able to see that he is not naked.  Or that the SL1200 is not as good as it sounds.  
This is a great turntable. Definitely audiophile quality with the right cartridge.

Poor Jeff at Audiomods. He does everything he can to prevent his unique arm from being incorrectly, mistakenly described as a "tweaked Rega", yet some continue to do so. Why? That is akin to describing a custom-designed, hand-built automobile, onto which the builder has installed, say, BMW wheels, as a "tweaked BMW".

Jeff personally designed, and himself hand-machines, every single piece of his arm, with two exception: KLE Innovations RCA plugs (fantastic!), and the arm tube, which he sources from Rega. The Rega 303 arm tube (which receives drastic re-engineering and machining from Jeff) is the only, repeat ONLY Rega part used on the Audiomods arms (two models available). Does having the Rega arm tube make the Audiomods a "tweaked Rega"? Only if you ignore the fact that Jeff machines the arm’s unique bearing assembly (with ceramic ball bearings), yoke, variable-mass/constrained layer-damped counterweight, anti-skate, turntable mount that provides arm height and VTA/SRA adjustment (with optional micrometer available), internal arm tube stiffening and very-high quality silver or copper wiring, arm rest---all of his own design, and far different from Rega’s. All this info and more are available for viewing on the Audiomods website, so there is no excuse for the arm to continue to be mischaracterized as a "tweaked Rega". With the sole exception of the arm tube, and that single part alone, the Regas and the Audiomods couldn’t be more different.

Got it?!


I know this tonearm, i remember when Zu Audio released their ZU SL1200 mod with Rega RB-1000 tonearm back in 2011: https://www.zuaudio.com/low-voltage/2011/03/zu-sl-1200-turntable.html 

Later the RB-1000 was replaced with a better Audiomods tonearm, but the armwant is still from Rega. Maybe it's not correct word "tweaked rega", but i new toneam with drilled Rega armwand. Anyway Audiomods was fine for Zu DL-103 low compliance cartridge. This is the oppisite to the Technics stock tonearm designed for mid compliance MM and many other tonearms than can be installed on SL1200mkII for higher compliance cartridges. As i said it depends what cantridge the owner is gonna use with the arm. Do you find this Audiomods toneam attractive ? I'm not, sorry. 

@chakster, I have to agree with you on the looks of the Audomods. All those holes drilled into the arm tube (admittedly for a good reason, and apparently providing a substantial benefit) is quite unsightly, especially in the matte finish-version. Pretty ugly. The polished version looks much better. But if you can see past that, the arm is really well engineered and built. A great value in a pickup arm, for those who value value ;-). Another kinda ugly, but high value arm, is the TransFi Terminator, also hand-built by a Brit. They are really good at record players, aren't they?
@bdp24  when it comes to Technics i'm fine with my EPA-100mkII Boron Titanium with Rubby Ball bearings with the lowest friction, VTA on the fly etc. I think it's hard to beat by any new tonearm at $5k range (i've never tried more expensive new arms than my Reed 3p "12). Anyway a shoort version of Reed tonearm could fit in the SL1200GAE, but the EPA-100mkII can't fit. 

I think the best vintage tonearm for inexpensive old SL1200/1210mkII is Victor UA-7045 which is normally under $750 in perfect condition or even lower.    
The SL1200G is a pretty audiophile turntable.

Although it looks like the older version, its a complete from-the-ground-up new design.

We've mounted both the regular and 12" Triplanar tonearms on the new SL1200s with excellent results.

This is one of the most speed-stable machines in production. It is also well damped (including the platter) against mechanical vibration. So it is an excellent platform. I feel that the arm and platter pad are its weak points, but the arm is a whole lot better than its predecessor being made of better materials with better tolerances.
@clearthink technics wasnt made for djing
@vinny55 even with Studio 54 budged, the belt drive Thorens turntables were in the dj booth in NYC in the 70s disco era, some of the first djs used belt drive Technics SL-23 first, before they became "real djs" and soon realized what they need to develope their skills, SL-1200 mk1 was expensive back in the days, the mk2 became industry standard in the 80s.

Direct Drive SP-10 was made in Japan in 1969 and broadcast turntable for radio DJs was SP-10mkII, but club djing was born later on in the 70’s disco era and not with a Technics. 
I can't hear the "jitter" on my Technics 1200 MKII and I have listened very closely.  So far as I know, there are no measurements that even prove the "hunting and pecking exists on the 1200.  I suspect that to some extent the myth was promoted by belt drive manufacturers and dealers.
The turntable can be improved with some aftermarket additions but is fine as it is.  Best table ever?  No, but, in its day, one of the best under $1000.  Just as the 1200G is one of the best now under $5000.
Here is a link with measurements for a 1200 specifically addressing the jitter issue. There are others online as well:

They adopted it as a dj table
@andysf the mk2 was the pinnacle of the 1200 series?
You can find SL1200/1210mk2, mk3D, mk4 (with 78rpm), mk5 ... and SL1200 gold ltd ... They are all have the same sound with minor changes in functionality of the pitch contol, a little bit better wires etc, but it’s all based on mk2. Price for them in Japan today is about $150-350 (used) depends on condition, except the collectible gold ltd models and rare mk4 (which plays 78rpm as well). For this price you can’t buy a better DD turntable. In the rest of the world the price is about $400-500 (used) and still nice for those who needs a complete turntable. They made 3 000 000 units of the SL1200mkII. I wouldn’t buy them for $500, for about $1200 everyone can buy much better sp10mk2 or sp20 for about $700.

But the SL1200GR, G, GAE (coreless motor) is completely different beast, the lowest price for a brand new GR is about $1700? But the G is better for double price. You can read Steve Guttenberg’s review: https://www.cnet.com/news/the-new-technics-sl-1200gr-turntable-for-djs-or-audiophiles-or-both/
I always get a giggle at how sl1200 mk11 owners over sell the virtues of these tables. Sloppy arms , and too much rubber in the base sucking the life out of the analog sound and the noise from a lesser bearing mounted on a motor with all the electronic noise and power supply right there singing along with the over correcting circuitry . But.................... 
For the price back in the late 70's and early eighties they actually were not a bad table comparably speaking when reality isn't strained and embellished to be more than what they were/are.
Popular with DJ's for durability and price has made people incorrectly state they were made and designed as such, but they were not. They actually were marketed as a "hi fi consumer table", who's durability , low cost and ease of use
made them very popular for DJ's and an easy sell for the average consumer. 

I have seen and heard the new SL 1200GAE , and other than being made to look like a MK11, it ends with the looks. Substantially better table in *all regards*. Just like Jeff's Audiomod arm is , and other than using a Rega arm tube, nothing about it says Rega when it plays music. I still consider his arms one of the few real/true bargains when it comes to price vs value/performance in audio.  
A true bargain (under $1200) is Technics EPA-100 and many more vintage Japanese tonearms made by SONY, JVC Victor, Denon, Micro Seiki, Audio Craft, SME etc, but people love to talk about some new ugly arms made in garage by some enthusiasts, seriously, the Audiomods is one of the ugliest tonearms ever made, do you think it’s better sonically than EPA-100 for example or better engineered than producsts from Victor Laboratory? Rega is another example of the ugly tonearms on the market. And why do you think the Audiomods is better than new Technics tonearms that comes with GAE?
"Regulating a direct-drive motor's speed with a phase-locked loop produces tight speed control and measurably low levels of wow and flutter, but the motor's constant, ultra-high-speed hunting and pecking as it over- and undercompensates in the attempt to produce a consistent speed can create a jitter effect in the mid-treble to which the human ear is particularly sensitive, adding a hard, brittle texture to music. That describes the sound of Technics' now-discontinued SL1200 series of direct-drive turntables, and explains why, despite their high build quality and relatively low price, few are used in serious audio systems, though some listeners claim that these 'tables can be modified to improve their sonic performance."

The problem is that ultra-high-speed hunting isn't real.  Never happens. 

I'm fine that he doesn't like it.  Couldn't care less, really.  No need to make-up imaginary problems to justify a position. 
Who "thinks the Audiomods is better than (the) new Technics tonearms that comes (if it's multiple Technics tonearms, it should be "come") with GAE"? Not me---I said no such thing. Geez, false quotes are becoming really rampant on AudiogoN, aren't they?
@jpjones3318Where do they come up with these assesments high speed hunting nonsense
The 1200mk2 is a good fit for me. I never have compared it to other than my Rega P2- maybe a blessing!

But I don’t enjoy farsting with gear, at all, not even a little. I like that it’s adjustable on the fly, sets up with an overhang gauge, and plays steady. 

For the $250 plus a At120 cartridge, I have in it, it’s a fit...

I have an 80's JVC QL DD 100% original turntable that sounds great. I have definitely heard better, played with equipment that is probably 100% better than what I have. But it is accurate and reliable. It wasn't the best TT available and sell for way less than they are really worth. Mine is one owner and in 100% mint condition for the age. It doesn't speed hunt and is 100% on the money for accuracy.
I am not trying to take sides here (although I do have a Technics DD that is not even 1200), but is the jitter that theoretically or maybe even practically exist in these Technics turntables really that much worse than a stretching belt or some other reason (speed inaccuracy?) that made people invent direct drive in the first place?

Is the fact that DD usually reaches the speed, jittery or not, sooner than the belt drive important to anyone? It is to me, but I am curious what others feel.

To add a bit to arguments about the history, Technics 1200 was embraced by the DJing community because it made DJing possible. It was built fairly tough and it was direct drive. It was invented for everybody's music reproduction, but had advantages that DJs of the era liked. Initially, there was no conspiracy or a secret plot. Try scratching with your fancy non-jittery belt drive and see how far you will get.

It may be, I am quite sure it actually is, that SP 10 etc. is better than 1200, but buying one today for those mentioned $1200 gets you a motor with included platter. It is no problem for those who do not mind tweaks, combinations of parts, and so on. However, if you are not too keen on setting it by trial and error, Technics 1200 may give you simpler solution you will be able to live with from the moment you bring it home. Sound may be different, if everything said so far is true, but may be good enough to enjoy without waiting to achieve the right combination of parts involved.

Disco I went to in the 1980s had Thorens 126 Mk III, two of them. They were bulletproof according to the DJ who played them. Still, he never pushed the platter back and forth quickly.

Michael Fremer has established himself as some kind of a turntable guru of the world and, no doubt, he is deeper into it than most of us. He has his fans and I often read his writings despite being far from his fan. However, I wonder if an alternative guru would agree with him most of the time.

Beauty is in the eye of the buyer so some will find that Audiomods arm pretty. My first reaction was "how do you clean dust from all those holes?" It may not be important for the sound, or does it add something to compliance etc., but it would surely annoy me to oblivion.
@glubson, Jeff drills holes in his Audiomods arm tube as part of his efforts to remove the resonances inherent in the stock Rega tube. He also removes the black paint, and adds three internal stiffening discs. He then wires the arm with the customers choice of pure silver or Cardas copper, and installs the great KLE Innovations RCA plugs. He machines all the other parts (of his own design, far better than the stock Rega’s) out of aircraft-quality aluminum and stainless steel. Two models available, both bargain priced (495 and 645 British with copper wire, about 50 more with silver).
I've had the  SL-1600MK2 since the early 80's.  I bought it while stationed in Germany and paid $249. This thing is built like a tank; it is not a "DJ" turntable and cost more than the SL-1200 even thought they look and function about the same.  It's still going strong and sounds "audiophile" enough for my ears - and budget.  

Based on my research and comments on this site, I do plan to buy an Ortofon 2M Black cart to replace my Pickering XV-15 cart.  Not sure what to expect in sound improvement, but for the price difference alone I'm sure it will be better.  
"A true bargain (under $1200) is Technics EPA-100 and many more vintage Japanese tonearms made by SONY, JVC Victor, Denon, Micro Seiki, Audio Craft, SME etc, but people love to talk about some new ugly arms made in garage by some enthusiasts, seriously, the Audiomods is one of the ugliest tonearms ever made, do you think it’s better sonically than EPA-100 for example or better engineered than producsts from Victor Laboratory? Rega is another example of the ugly tonearms on the market. And why do you think the Audiomods is better than new Technics tonearms that comes with GAE?

Yes , as a matter of fact I most certainly do. Better isn't always a complexity or just highest cost thing, its how effective it is vs the cost input used to do the job. In this case, yes , clearly the Audiomod arm is a better performer at a better value , period. It has solid engineering in its design to reduce many issues that effect all arms and offers great adjustability for the price of most static entry level arms. The fact you feel the need to belittle something by calling it "made in a garage by some enthusiast", in a negative shade or base its ability on your subjective opinion of looks , like it or not shows a child like bias with no experience to back it up. Its about performance and value when it comes to this end of market, and some , this being one of them embarrasses some pricier arms and competes with many of the prettier, known and accepted better arms.
Some of the better sounding no bs products have often been designed and built by enthusiasts out of the garage fed up with price and performance levels. The popularity and praise the Audiomod arm receives from not only professional reviewers but a sea of happy owners, well kind of makes your view less on experience and more a blind bias.  Its nice to see the appreciation for some of the engineering of the past when sales justified investment by manufacturer ( and many with large losses in a brand name war, something many fail to recognize its impact) and then passed on to higher end consumers,  but, reality speaks a different view in the era we now live in. Looks are a very subjective thing and I'm pretty confident given the choice of looks or performance but not both , here, all would choose performance . 
To remind you , this is exactly what I did say about the new SL 1200 GLE...

"I have seen and heard the new SL 1200GAE , and other than being made to look like a MK11, it ends with the looks. Substantially better table in *all regards*"

Looks were used as a comparative to the original, not a slight to appearance. Most vinyl users I know always consider looks an added bonus, certainly not  mandatory because it is after all in the eye of each. Its humorous in my view when products and companies not made in decades by companies no longer around  in an era likely never to be repeated are brought up to support belittling the products of today. Always the cost of today's being "overpriced". The irony or humor , for me is , most that float that dream, is they have no idea just how much it would cost to remanufacture those yesteryear units today. The same prices for the better tables scoffed as overpriced, now!  Add,  a fraction of interested consumers to buy them in this century,and no brand wars going on to pour money into them at a loss as most are owned under a few umbrellas of "name brands".
That and most who tout the bygone vintage units never bought them when current because they were "too expensive and not worth it" , then.  But now , alas , they are better and far cheaper than what's new currently. The argument never changes, just what side people land on over time it would seem.  Sorry , its irony and hypocrisy makes me smile being one who owned the units of old when current. They were very good then, now in my opinion , very overpriced used and unless fully refurbed both mechanically and electronically they are not anywhere near their capability or reliability and many one chip away from the waste bin. When they are, properly done,  the price puts them against current, slightly used offerings that can outperform them. I like the fact that some have really taken the effort to keep some vintage units working to spec and also modified, isolated  , and bettered these units. Those enthusiasts eh, out in their garages and basements, the guys mocked and belittled when its not something that pro bias of ownership would change ones view with actual experience, or so it seems. Lets not forget, it was those same "garage enthusiasts" that brought mods forward to the table in title here taking out much of the weakness's possible making it a better option for some looking for Direct Drive and reasonable performance at a very reasonable price and ease of use to own. Like the Audiomod arm brings to the table. These two mated are actually pretty reasonable sounding at costs less than some mid level entry tables.
Why knock effort, value and undeniable performance for a segment of the hobby you likely are in at yourself..............Options that bring value and performance are a good thing especially when its not just a perceived or biased thing that a section of consumers seem quite happy to own and happily use. You don't have to be biased by ownership or preference to appreciate value and effort as an option as one more choice for those looking now, or belittling those that are and who's experience trumps ones  opinion based on of all things, looks...............

Kudos to all the "garage enthusiasts" who bring products to market that bring value and performance forward. Many of the best products in audio started out just like that...................  

The drive method argument is an old tired one. All methods have their virtues and their faults and their own sound. Its a preference as to what sounds best to the owner and what faults can be overlooked, not heard by some or massaged out and what faults will be over embellished from non ownership bias......


I suspected that holes on Audiomod arm were there for some purpose, but I have no real technical knowledge to even start speculating what the purpose could be. Before, I took it for granted that holes are there to make something better. Now, I know what the intention is. I do not doubt it is a fine arm and my comment about dust in the holes was more about being annoyed by the dust I could have a hard time getting out than it was about dust impacting the sound. However, I did stretch my imagination to the minuscle levels I sometimes read discussed in the audiophile press and, although I do not believe it matters, thought of someone some day for some reason saying that after two years of use the dust that collected in the deepest corner (are there corners in those holes?) changed some weight/resonance/another property of the arm and impacted the sound on the level previously unimagined. Again, I doubt it matters at all, but science of these things gets so finicky that it seems like anything could fly and be taken seriously. Audiomod arm got enough praises in this thread alone that, if I were looking for an arm and I did not dislike the overall look of it (in fact, I do not care about holes that much), I would seriously consider buying it. Regardless of if the person making it does it from pure enthusiasm or because his only intent is to make a lots of money. Is it done in garage, living room, or sterile environment of an operating room, would not influence my choice.

Thanks for your quick, but helpful, explanation of the arm and thinking behind it. I really appreciate it.

The only thing I should change in your post to make it my post is turn Technics SL 1600 MK II into Technics SL Q2. I know that nobody would consider it an "audiophile" turntable but is, as you say, "audiophile" enough for me and has been for 37 years or so. It was expensive to me then, we saved money for a while to buy it, but for 37 years of use it seems quite cheap now. Every now and then I browse to check if there is anything else out there I could waste my money on and I am yet to find something that I would replace my Technics with. I got it when I was 15 or 16 and 37 years of memories no new arm or fine non-jittery highly-praised machine could touch. Perfect it is not, perfect for me it is. The only one that comes close is Dual 1225 with Shure cartridge. The most musical turntable that ever was.

Speaking of old machines that outlived their life expectations, why do true audiophiles not insist on playing music on "period equipment", but instead attempt to make everything "better"? There are performers of classical music that proudly advertise they play on "period instruments". Why is some Stradivari so well-respected a few hundred years from the moment it was produced? Couldn't it be replicated these days with all the technology and science that we have? I have no answers, just a few thoughts.

The Technics 1200 is a fine TT! I have the mkII. They are worthy of a good cartridge! Nothing wrong with speed stability, either! I don't feel that the new version is worth its high price! 
Sorry I didn't realize that the new 1200 comes in 3 versions! $4K seems high for the TOTL. But the 1200GR at $1700 is certainly more affordable - and should sell better! 
@roberjerman @has2be how much better musically is the new 1200 to the mk2?
The new Technics 1200 series tables are indeed "audiophile" quality.  In their respective price brackets many will find they are quieter (less groove noise, tower ticks and pops) than the belt driven competition.  My listening tests also demonstrated excellent imaging and stability (picking out sounds from within the stereo image).  The feature set is convenient as well;  these are easy to live with turntables that can be adjusted easily, have a removable headshell for changing cartridges, and have a convenient and easy to use dust cover.  Certainly better turntables can be had, but they will cost much more and be a lot fussier to operate (and will need to be placed in a correspondingly higher end system to reveal the improvement in sound).

Audiomods was designed for MC cartridges, you can not change effective mass of this tonearm without detachable headshell, so there are some limitations. For MC users it’s fine, but there is another new tonearm on the market available in "12 or "9 inch with two different counterweight and detachable headshell for very reasonable price with top quality bearings. This is Thomas Schick tonearm made in Germany, few year ago the price was about 1200 euro for "12 inch! The most ellegant tonearm on the market, you can ignore how the product "looks like" if it’s not important for you, for me it’s important as much as the quality. This is my Schick "12 on SP-10mkII. It was nice tonearm for low compliance cartridges like SPU and Denon (it was designed for them), but for all my MM cartridges and for some LOMC like ZYX i prefered Technics EPA-100 on the same turntable.

If you will check the specs of Technics EPA-100 you will find out why Matsushita tonearms are better. Don’t forget its unique counterweight designed to use cartridge of different compliance, except heavy ones. But even for heavy once there is a ring weight as an option.

Now i have EPA-100mkII tonearm with armwand made of Boron Titanium. It’s a different price category. Try to find anything like that from the DIYers like Audiomods. That’s why the research and access to a better materials was important for Japanese gians like Matsushita. It’s impossible to imagine that someone at his garage like Thomas Schick or Jeff Audiomods will get the access to Boron Titanium or something like that for a small quantity of tonearms they are making. I don’t think those DIYers can compete with Micro Seiki, Technics, Sony, Audio Craft or any other big manufacturers from the 70s/80s. And those arms from the big manufacturers are in the same price (today) or very close to the small manufacturers like Audiomods, Schick etc.

Everyone is free to make a choice.

@vinny55 and all

 An old Technics SL1210/1200 mkII, mk3D, mk4, mk5 or SL1200 LTD Gold are not an audiophile turntables, they are HI-FI turntables, each of them can be improved by the user.

The ONLY Technics audiophile turntables (all in one) are SL1000mkII or SL1000mkIII if we’re talking about classics here.

SP-10mkII, SP-10mkIII drives are audiophile quality
EPA-100, 250, 500, EPA-100mkII are audiophile tonearms
EPC-100c mk4, mk3 or EPC-205c mk4... (or p-mount, or universal versions) are audiophile cartridges
Obsidian plinth made onyl for audiophile tunrtables

As you can see the ultimate Technics products sells separately, so the audiophile can buy what he need (drive, tonearm, cartridge).

The all in one turntables are not audiophile, they are hi-fi for much lower price, no matter which model.

I’m not talking about newly released technics turntables here, i’ve never tried them. 
Brand new Technics reference turntables can be discussed in my thread:

Jeff at Audiomods is a professional machinist, hardly what I would call DIY. I would guess he could get his hands on some Boron Titanium if he so desired. I actually like products made one at a time by an artisan like Jeff. Roger Modjeski of Music Reference personally makes each of his amplifiers one at a time on a workbench, yet is still able to sell them for less than many assembly line products offered by larger high end companies. It’s a matter of good design and engineering (an amp exhibiting marginal stability costs just as much to manufacture as one that is unconditionally stable), and knowing where to spend the money to reap the greatest sonic benefit. Roger installs transformers of his own design in his amps, not ones he buys off the shelf like most amp makers. If you pay him extra, he'll even personally hand-wind the transformers he puts in the amp he makes you.
What makes a turntable "audiophile" and what makes it "hi-fi"? Is there any tangible, or maybe measurable, thing we should be looking/listening for? Some specification, feature, etc. I am not trying to argue, but the question came to me after reading the statement about "audiophile" and "hi-fi". Could it happen that "audiophile" of 1978 is merely "hi-fi" in 2018? Should it be judged on its merit for the time it was produced? I am sure that early SL 1200 does not fare that great when compared to current designs, but was it, at least, somewhat "audiophile" when it came out leaving SP 10 and similar ones to be "ultra high-end" or something like that?

In the end, they are all just machines trying to reproduce heavily modified and altered sound, frequently even electrically produced in the studio (think syntheseisers, electric guitars). Who knows what sound did Kraftwerk program their electronics to make in 1970s and here I am, buying yet another version of The Man Machine and different cartridge to make it sound "better".

In fact, what does the definition "audiophile" mean altogether? Maybe this is not the best website to ask that question.
I think this IS the best place to ask that question, particularly because, in this context, it is the ideal example of what that overused and abused word means. So, I'm here to defend Technics DD tables. I have owned/own, "high end" VPI, Rega and Thorens tables and now have two SL1200IIs and the new SL1200GR. Do they compete sonically with the others listed above. Yes. Do they "sound better?" Maybe, maybe not. What I do like is their build quality and very low noise without those awful, wearable belts. And "cogging problems" are a myth perpetuated by jealous belt drive enthusiasts. Yes, my Aries 2 sounds great with a Lyra Delos, but it does not provide the drive and dynamics of the 1200s with a Nagaoka MP200, Grado Sonata, Ortofon Black, Stanton 881S or Pickering XSV 3000 or 4000. I know because I own all of these carts and run them through a Manley Steelhead preamp. The arms on these are fine and well engineered. They may not be SME IVs or Vs but they have excellent bearings and I find no untoward resonances from them.

DJs adopted these tables because they are so well built. They were not originally designed for DJing. The slider speed control is on there because, with a quartz controlled DD, you can do that! It was for musicians who didn't want to have to retune their instruments in order to play to recordings. Now that's innovation and convenience. From my point of view, it's sheer genius. So let's stop dragging 1200s down and what everyone knows is the most robust, bang for the buck TT on the planet, ever. Oh yeah, those drive systems are what are used to power the cutting lathes! Nuff said.
I think when you could buy the SL1200 MKII in 2009 for $399, (straight from the factory in Osaka Japan) it may have been one of the all time best deals in audio
Outstanding post Steve!  


thanks for your post. It is nice to see that someone has had more references than most of us have and can look at it as objectively as it comes. I suspected that what you wrote about the Technics 1200 was just that way, but the list of the turntables I have had experience which is neither that broad, nor that recent.

I do not try to defend SL 1200 in any way, but am surprised that a number of people on this website seem to think it was designed as a DJ turntable (somewhere a little above this post is my earlier post throwing clarification of that matter) while it was not. For a dwindling number of us who remember those days, it is as clear as a day. yet, it still gets perpetuated as a "DJ turntable". Most of the Honda Civics were not racing cars by initial intention but you will see some racing on the street anyway.

Having said that, is there any way you could compare old 1200 with new 1200 GR? Even better, if you could briefly compare 1200GR with your other turntables. I am considering one because it is....direct drive. Cogging and jitter be damned, it is just much more convenient.
glupson -
Appreciated your 1:48PM 5/4/18 comments (as well as those from Stevecham in response). I’ll contribute in the form of an acronym my own profound insight to the question of why the Technics 1200 isn’t considered audiophile: WGAS.

I sure don’t - and that’s not a shot at the OP...more a comment on the elusive enlightened state the right combination of gear produces (not to mention the appropriate monetary outlay) and which only certain self-annointed illuminati are allowed to enjoy.

you made me run to Google to look up your acronym.

I agree with assessment but original poster's question remains only partially answered. If it has a complete answer at all.

In my mind, think young teenager in early 1980s, SL 1200 still remains as some high standard of what I cpould not afford. In short, it is a high-class product. I am aware that there are many products these days that would blow it away, but that hypothesis it is not "audiophile" puzzles me. That is why I wondered what would make any turntable "audiophile" in minds of the people who surely seem to invest more emotions, money, and time in these topics than I do. I am still plenty happy with my SL-Q2, as non-audiophile as it is. Together with its EPS 207 and Ortofon OM 10 cartridges from, the latest, 1990. It produces the sound that it produced when it mattered and when Rolling Stones released Emotional Rescue and that is the sound that makes me tick. I am tempted to buy this new 1200 for curiosity and nostalgia sake, but not because I am or am not an "audiophile" (which I do not think I would be considered on this forum). As you said, WGAS.

Have not read the entire thread yet. Just arrived home with my new modded Technics SL1200G ( Thanks Ralph and Tri) with Triplanar tonearm and Lyra Kleos mounted. Very tired after a long drive. Will set it up in the morning.

Can hardly wait!!!
Glupson - At the risk of further discussion undermining my WGAS stance on the topic, I think you put your finger on the problem by pointing out the general vagueness of the term "audiophile" in asking what’s the objective/3rd party standard that must be applied to determine qualifications? I’ll nitpick and comment further that an audiophile is a person, not a device so the OP’s real question is, "Why isn’t the Technics 1200 acceptable to audiophiles?" or words to that effect - but this comes right back to your point. Looking up audiophile I see Wikipedia and Merriam Webster define it as a "hi fi enthusiast". Take the word apart and the parts can mean lover of sound. Those definitions impose pretty low "barriers to entry". Heck, I was probably an audiophile at 11 but didn’t know it listening to music on the AM band of a cheap Japanese transistor radio. Years later listening to a KAB mod’d. SL1210 playing vinyl that’s over 40 years old the device is different but the enthusiasm is the same. Unfortunate part is how’d the term get to be so closely associated with a bunch of effete, supercilious (thank goodness for an on-line thesaurus :) semi-informed, know-it-alls?! But like I said before, WGAS. Time to put on Side 2 (though I’m probably listening to something digital tonight).

I guess you and I are in the same boat except that your turntable is even older than mine.

However, it seems to me that, as time passed by, "barrier to entry" has gotten to be much higher than it should. The word remained the same, but the meaning evolved into full dedication to equipment and the price of equipment required to join the club seems quite high. Deep inside, I have a feeling that an overall "audiophile" as a person is someone who spends lots of money on equipment. Of course, "lots" is in the wallet of the observer. Maybe, time too. Eventually, to justify it all, smaller and smaller things start mattering. Cogging, color on top of capacitor, etc. Do not get me wrong, all of them may technically matter at some point, but I am willing to live with those imperfections. Does dismissing them as insufficiently important to me make me less of an audiophile?

In the end, I believe that SL 1200 does not qualify for an "audiophile" piece because of its, at this time in history, relatively humble origins and possibly technology (I am far from being capable and qualified to judge about that). Add millions produced which brought "coolness" factor further down and add the fact that they really ended up being so enthusiastically embraced by DJs who simply would not be allowed to have a clue about what "real fine music system" is. I think that all of those together sealed SL 1200's "audiophile" fate before anyone would even listen to them again. Wait, did I just come up with my own answer to the original thread question?

Sure, Thorens from 1950s, or whatever year they were, must be "audiophile". Maybe, some day I will give it a listen and hear for myself. 
It was not designed as a "disco" turntable for deejays, 3 000 000 copies sold since it was made. It's bulletproof quality with only one main disadvanage when it's used by deejays and this fact is a proof that it was not primary designed for dj use. The disadvantage is a bass feedback if the big soundsystem is near (in the clubs) because of the poor desing of the original footers. Because it was designed for a home use as a Hi-Fi component for relatively cheap / affrordable price. 

Zu Audio - the manurfacturer of amazing full range speakers, also  tweaked Denon cartridges for years, now they are tweaking new Denon DJ turntable: https://www.zuaudio.com/turntable