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Object of Desire: Technics SL-1210GAE Limited Edition Direct Drive Turntable

To celebrate its 55th anniversary, consummate audiophile Technics is releasing a limited edition turntable based on the much-acclaimed Grand Class SL-1200.

Technics was launched in 1965, and skyrocketed to fame when it released its now-legendary Grand Class SL-1200 turntable seven years later. The feted turntable range was marketed as an audiophile’s dream record player, but quickly gained traction among professional DJs and sampling musicians.

Key to its initial popularity was the SL-1200’s motor’s ability to keep spinning at the correct rotations-per-minute (RPM), even when DJs jiggled the record to and fro on the platter – which was how New York-based DJs like Grand Wizard Theodore and Afrika Bambaataa’s fiddling with the records led to the invention of the classic record scratch. More than that, the SL-1200s were real workhorses with extremely long service lives.

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Since then, Technics has expanded its offerings – including some eye-popping, ultra high-end hi-fi turntables with equally eye-popping prices – to comprise speaker systems, digital amplifiers and headphones.

To commemorate the 55th anniversary of the brand, Technics is releasing a limited edition direct drive turntable that’s a call-back to what made the brand a household name – although they’ve decided to stick with a jet black colour scheme, that’s proven popular with a few older iterations of the product, instead of classic silver. It doesn’t lack for class though, as its top panel, buttons and tonearm all sport the meticulously anodized black brushed hairline finish giving it a svelte and glossy look.

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With only a thousand of these wholly made in Japan, including a number of processes completed by hand to ensure unerring quality in the final product, the top panel of every SL-1210GAE features a special badge embossed with a unique serial number.

The deck is protected by a specially developed gel-like material that insulates the turntable from external vibrations (think booming, bassy speakers at your favourite club). The high-density zinc insulator in the deck’s housing not only ensures unparalleled long-term reliability, but enables the user to reproduce music undisturbed with nuance and finesse all night long. This insulation is also present in the high-end, S$28,000 edition of the turntable – so you know you’re getting your money’s worth with this product.

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The coreless direct drive motor eliminates cogging, a degradation in sound quality caused by rotation irregularity, while its twin motor construction allows the torque to remain high. This also reduces minute vibrations during rotation, further enhancing sound quality. The end result is exactly what you’d expect: the ability to produce detailed sound reminiscent of analogue vinyl records.

The turntable platter is also exceptionally stable, with a trio of a brass top plate, aluminium die-cast core and solid rubber coating working in tandem to eliminate resonance and provide excellent stability for the deck. Turntables are also carefully calibrated in the factory using high-precision instruments, which, along with other details like a lightweight, high-sensitivity tonearm and brass-milled, gold-plated sound terminals for easy attaching and detaching of cables make for an exceptionally resilient and high-performance turntable.

If you’re looking to get into the DJ scene – whether as a past-time to while the remainder of Phase 1 away, or as a side-gig – you can’t seem to go wrong with any iteration of the SL-1200. So why not a limited edition one – especially one with such a luxurious build and excellent finish?

S$5,600. Click here for more.