We’re sad to report that the Technics 1200, after a long and protracted illness, was finally put to sleep in November 2010. After beating off the challenge of CDJs, courtesy of Pioneer’s imperious 1000 range, the ailing turntable was finally laid low by a seriies of computer viruses, most notably Serato and Traktor. It had previously beaten off various attacks by companies such as Vestax and Numark at a time when its position in the world was seen as unassailable. That now seems a remote and different time.
Although the first Technics 1200 was born in 1972, it was only with the MK2’s launch in 1979 that it began its long and unassailable reign as the world best and only professional DJ turntable. Prior to its rise, the world was a different place, dominated by the beautiful Thorens turntable, which had a pitch shift, but was so fragile it had be mounted from the ceiling to avoid feedback (and spilt lager, presumably). There were other turntables, too, like the functional but inferior Garrard, but none quite as practical, solid and sturdy as the Technics 1200. It was its build quality, with a solid plinth made with cast alloy and rubber, that made it far less prone to feedback as well its durability in testing rave conditions that made it the natural choice of turntable for professional DJs. It was a behemoth. It was the Hummer of record decks, though somewhat more loveable.
Legendary British DJ Froggy, who sadly died in March 2008, brought the first pair into the country. “I went over to New York and I’d heard about a new version of the 1200 that they had out, the MK2. The deck was quick: it had a hi-torque motor in it. That changed the whole industry.” In fact, so coveted were the turntables that the winners of the DMC World Mixing Championships, sponsored for many years by Technics, were awarded a pair of gold decks, the Elgin Marbles of mixology. Get a pair of those and you were halfway to becoming the Beastie Boys’ tour DJ.
DMC founder Tony Prince commented,“It feels like a funeral, but we won’t be burying this baby for many years to come.” He’s not wrong. Expect to see them on eBay for upwards of a grand within ten years. Gone, but never forgotten.