Product Type: Technics turntables
Newest Review: ... 16.2 cm and weighs just 11 kg. I now have this hooked up in my studio to my Denon amp and I love it to bits. The first thing that I notice... more
When they're gone, they're gone!!
Member Name: Stardleg
Advantages: Built like a Swiss watch
Disadvantages: Should be treated like a Swiss watch.
These decks are now out of production, so if you're interested, my advice is to buy them now as their value is only going upwards. They may have been designed almost forty years ago, but that design is so good that it has stood the test of time. Essentially the innards are made from top quality components, as are all the external components, explaining why these are the default choice of turntable for virtually all DJ's. I've had my 1200's for ten years now and they haven't missed a beat. My only gripe would be the target light. When I first got my decks the target light would move into position with a smooth, damped motion, however after a couple of weeks they lost this action and come up with a bit of a clang. Other than this my 1200's have been perfect.
I would advise anyone who is considering buying a set of these to do so now, as they are gathering value. However as they have gone out of production, any retailers that have any new stock left tend to be charging exorbitant prices. Many independent retailers are selling second hand ones and the small ads are full of them.If you are lucky enough to find a retailer with unopened stock at a price of £350 or less per turntable, my advice would be to snap them up.
To everyone else considering buying a set, here's some advice to avoid you getting stung:
1. At present it is a buyer's market, there is plenty of choice if you are patient and keep looking. Try to get the most pristine set you can and remember to haggle; most people will only part with their beloved Technics when they absolutely have to.
2. Check that the gimbal (pivot) for the tonearm has no play in it, as it can be a pain to sort. Even if the gimbal does have play in it, it will most likely still track pretty well, but when it is in proper nick, you will be able to carry out insane scratching and it will never leave the groove.
3. When checking the gimbal, check the tonearm itself. Look for any dents or dings, as they will affect the audio quality. A new tonearm is around £60 and about the same to have installed. If the tonearm is dented and the gimbal isn't tight, walk away.
4. Ensure that the cartridge fits snuggly into the tonearm and has no play in it as this is an expensive fix. Likewise, avoid like the plague, any decks which have coins stuck on top of the cartridge. This absolutely destroys the needle, but more importantly will give you an insight into the sort of life the decks have had. (Some stylus/cartridge manufacturers make small weights designed for placing on top of the cartridge which resemble a 5 pence piece, but close inspection will usually distinguish these from actual coins).
5. Check it is still calibrated. Start the turntable and move the pitch to zero (ensuring the green light comes on when you do). Now look at the strobe light (the light with the power switch on top) where it lights up the edge of the platter. The second row of dots should be completely motionless. If you are buying a pair, run them both simultaneously, and then move both pitches to their slowest and fastest positions and check they are synced. If they aren't they will need to be dismantled and re-calibated, a job best left to the experts, or one or both of the platters will need to be replaced, at around £60 a go.
6. Move the pitch controller slowly away from zero in each direction. Check that the green light goes out as soon as it clicks out of the zero position. If it stays on with the pitch control moved even a tiny distance, the pitch control is knackered and needs replaced. I tend to find that 1200's with duff pitch controls have usually been ragged anyway.
7. Place a record on the platter and put the needle in the first groove with music on it. Press down on the record on the opposite side from the needle, there should be virtually no vertical movement on either side of the platter. While still holding the record on the opposite side from the needle, start the deck. Now start to scratch it back and forward. If the needle is going to skip it is most likely to do it when stylus is at the far edge. It should be able to withstand some pretty vigorous scratching (don't go daft) and not leave the groove.
8. Don't be put off by aftermarket phono leads. The original phone leads were a weakness and any aftermarket leads fitted will almost always be of superior quality. However as they are hardwired in, make sure they been installed properly. Do this by moving the leads around while you have the needle on a stationary record, and then listen for any crackling or "rustling."
9. Check that the earth lead is correctly attached as these are very thin and flimsy, and easily pulled out when moving decks around. Some decks have been modified so that they don't need an earth, but to make sure this has been done right, listen for any low frequency humming, with the needle both on and off a stationary record.
10. Unplug the deck and remove the slipmatt. On the platter are two holes through which you need to place the tops of your index fingers, with one thumb on the centre spindle. Now pull upwards to remove the platter. This will need to be be done with quite a bit of force so be ready for it to come free. Once you have the platter off, check the underside. You are wanting to check the iron core which runs around the platter. It is rare for these to be damaged, but it is brittle and if it gets chipped, it will affect the performance and precision of the deck, as it is this which the electro-magnets use to rotate and brake the platter.
11. Lastly, don't get fobbed off by sellers trying to explain away any short comings from their turntables. Whilst 1200's which have components which are a bit loose and slack will still function pretty well with and stay in the groove most of the time, a tight, well maintained set will operate just as they did when they came out of the box, and that means the only time you will touch the needle is to place it at the start of a track and remove it afterwards. My 1200's are ten years old and it is a very, very rare occasion when the needle skips.
Remember all Technics turntables are built like a Swiss watch, but like a Swiss watch, if treated with a bit of TLC, will last a lifetime, so when judging a potential purchase, set your standards high and don't worry if you don't use them a lot, because as I mentioned earlier they are no longer in production, so they are an asset which will only increase in value.
Summary: Often imitated, never equalled.
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