The Differences Between Technics 1200 and 1210


Technics 1200’s are known as some of the best direct-drive turntables in the industry. The record player has dominated the industry for decades, leading as a benchmark to follow for competition. But what is the difference between the SL-1200 and the slightly more expensive SL-1210 models? Let’s find out.

The Technics SL-1200 and the SL-1210 are both acclaimed models of record players. Highly similar in many features, the SL-1200 has more features a DJ will like than the 1210, geared to the audiophile.

Being such a versatile and respected base platform, the Technics 12xx lines of turntables have garnered the respect of DJs and audiophiles alike. Technic has done its best to distinguish two versions of the classic 1200, each suited to an individual audience.

I’ll go through all the features and point out the similarities between the new Technic turntable models available on the market. That way, you’ll have all the information you need to know, so let’s just dive right in and get this record spinning.

Current Models of Technics 12xx

It’s easy to get misled by the denizens of net experts, especially in forums. Everyone loves company, so everyone thinks they know, and everyone thinks their model is the best. But, I’ve got some news for you – there are many models in the Technic 12__ series, four to be exact.

There are more if we’re talking historically, but in terms of new equipment, this is what the current lineup of the 1200s (including 1210s) that you can get from Technic.

  • SL-1200G – The standard model 1200 direct drive record player.
  • SL-1200GR – 1200G with upgraded motor, motor control, platter, and tonearm.
  • SL-1200MK7 – The DJ’s choice model with reverse play function.
  • SL-1210GR – 1200G with upgraded motor, motor control, platter, and tonearm (black).

As you can see from the list I put together above, the four current Technic 12xx series of turntables are slightly different.

When we compare all the specifications, the two turntables, the SL-1200GR and the SL-1210GR, are indeed the same, save for the color of the body. That and a typically hefty price difference at the cash register also.

The components are the same, but when we compare the other 1200 models, we see that there are indeed some pretty significant differences between a 1200 and 1210. Let’s look at those features that differentiate the models.

Features Comparison Between The Technics SL-12xx Models

If you were trying to distinguish between the models of Technic turntable, you likely happen upon several forums where everyone with an answer seems to say that the 1200 and 1210 are the same. That would be inaccurate. I’m going to clear this up.

When laid out side by side, the features and differences of models show the clear and distinct differences of turntable models. Take a look at the table below.

 

Technics SL-1200G

Technics SL-1200GR

Technics SL-1200MK7

Technics SL-1210GR

Speeds

33 ⅓, 45, 78

33 ⅓, 45, 78

33 ⅓, 45, 78

33 ⅓, 45, 78

Reverse Play Function

  

Yes

 

Platter Weight

7 15/16 lbs (3.6 kg, incl. Rubber mat)

5.51 lbs (2.5 kg, incl. Rubber mat)

4 lbs (1.8 kg)

5.51 lbs (2.5 kg, incl. Rubber mat)

Platter Characteristics

Brass and Aluminum diecast combined

Aluminum diecast

Aluminum diecast

Aluminum diecast

Starting Torque

2.2 kg x cm

2.2 kg x cm

1.8 kg x cm

2.2 kg x cm

Start-Up Time @ 33 ⅓ RPM

0.7s

0.7s

0.7s

0.7s

Overall Weight

39.7 lbs (18 kg)

25.35 lbs (11.5 kg)

21.2 lbs (9.6 kg)

25.35 lbs (11.5 kg)

Available Colors

Silver

Gunmetal Grey

Silver, Black

Black

Power Consumption

14 Watts

11 Watts

8 Watts

11 Watts

The features comparison takeaway is that the G and MK7 models are quite different, even on the same base platform. The GR models are identical save for color and likely price.

Given the GR models are the same, let’s look at what makes the G and the MK7 stand out in the crowd.

Aside from the apparent feature allowing one to reverse the direction of the platter, there are some other unique differences between the models of Technic record player that are noteworthy.

Starting Torch And Platter Weight

Two more distinct differences between the Technic 1200 models are the weight of the platter and the initial torque.

I find it quite interesting that the initial torque of the DJ version of 1200 is the least powerful of the bunch. However, it is relative to the decrease in weight. A more substantial torque might cause records to slip on the slipmat making for weird and broken beginnings.

Although it might be an idea to attempt upgrading to a higher torque motor, you might have to consider adding weight to the platter to counter any slip from over-torque.

Weight

The most significant difference between Technic 12xx models is the overall weight. The G model comes in at a lofty 39.7 lbs. Let’s just call it 40 pounds; it’s a beast. It’s solid. It’s not going anywhere in a hurricane-force wind. It’s a monster of stability.

Now compare the large beast G model to the MK7 DJing rig that comes in at just over half the weight of the G at 21.2 pounds. It’s literally near half the weight. The unit sacrifices some of the stability that comes with weight in exchange for the portability factor taking weight in as a primary make or breakpoint.

Power Consumption

I found this to be particularly interesting, although not unexpected. The power required to maintain the stable momentum of the platter is relative to the weight of the platter and the speed of rotation. Assuming a rotational speed symmetry, different power requirements to maintain velocity are understandable with different weight platters. The heavier the platter, the more energy is required to maintain velocity.

Everyday Prices Of Technic 12xx Turntables Online

The prices of models seem a little out of whack with reality. It’s more accurate than not when comparing the prices of the SL-1200GR and the SL-1210GR. It’s virtually the same machine in every way but base color.

  • Technics 1200MK7 is commonly sold for $999.00 to $1550.00, depending on where you purchase.
  • Technics 1210GR $1699.99 is a standard price to find the 1210GR retailing.

Bottom Line: What’s The Difference?

The difference between the iterations of Technic 12xx turntable varies in weight of both platter and overall unit. This platter weight difference explains the difference in power requirements. The only model with a reverse direction feature is the lightest of the turntables, the SL-1200MK7.

The other difference between these models is the price.

Which Model Of Technic Turntable Should I Get?

Deciding which model is pretty straightforward. First, if you are going to scratch or DJ with it, you should likely consider the MK7. The feature to reverse with the flick of a switch is pretty cool. It offers the ability to include many special effects moments that would be pretty difficult to accomplish otherwise.

The trade-off for the MK7 is the lightweight platter and overall weight. The heavier the player, the more stable, so the MK7 is the lightest of the bunch.

If the clear sound is what you’re after, I’d recommend the GR model. It’s upgraded from the G but has a lot of great features built-in. However, you just can’t beat the stability of pitch with a heavier platter like that of the G model.

Other Options For The Technic 12xx Series Of Turntables

Do you remember the muscle car fad of the 90s and the street racing fad of the 2000s? Whether you do or not, the point is that when a fad gets popular, and a brand or a few brands are at the center, then aftermarket parts become readily accessible.

The world of the Technic 1200 is no different from the muscle cars of old in that there is no shortage of aftermarket upgrades.

You could find a great deal on an older Technic 1200GR and upgrade the motor or the cartridge. Many upgrade the tonearm, and most people have their favorite slipmat if DJing is your interest.

The long and short of it is that upgrades are plentiful, so you could grab a $1000 turntable, add $500 in upgrades and have a turntable that would rival any or most $3000 models.

Sources

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