Technics turned 50 this year, and to celebrate they rolled out a brand new redesigned SL-1200 turntable (it's production had been discontinued since 2010). Nerds around the world rejoiced, drooling at the new High Sensitivity Tonearm, the 78 RPM option for playing speed (versus the former 33 and 45 RPM options), the new digital pitch control, et cetera.
But don't get too excited, because according to tech blogger Louis Overfiend, the manufacturer's suggested retail price is $4,000 a pop. You heard that right: the price of a halfway decent used car. That's for both the limited and non-limited-edition models, Overfiend says, a number that he claims was confirmed by both the company's lead engineer in Japan as well as its US representative. Overfiend even shared some candid photos of the new model that you can view above and below.
Why would anyone spend $4,000 on a turntable? Some commenters say that Technics is aiming for the luxury demographic with this new model, rather than compete within the field of mass-consumed mid-level products.
"This is an audiophile table," says commenter Bradley Field on an article for DJ Tech Tools. "It can be used to mix, but you have to pay the freight for the engineering and materials used in the new build…This is the space that the new Technics brand is aimed at, and compared to [other audiophile] tables, the new 1200 is a bargain."
Turntable Lab's marketing director Chris Klassen explained the demographic shift to The Guardian. "Most of us here have a DJ background, so we'll recommend a 1200. But it's a different world for new users," Klassen says. "Since they're getting into it now, they're coming into a world where turntables already have USB and recording capabilities. They're not aware of this market that's existed for years, which is the Hi-Fi listener. I see people have already been complaining on our Facebook post about the super high price, but I don't think they understand the lineage of it."
The company may also be capitalizing on the vinyl format's incredible resurgence. With HMV selling one turntable a minute this Christmas, Amazon reporting that turntables were its highest-selling product of the season, and Discogs exceeding $43 million in sales, there may be no better time for Technics to jack their price point. Would you drop four stacks on a deck? Feel free to fight about it in the comments.