On Dec 7, 2010, Panasonic announced
the end of production for the 1200 series.
KAB will continue to offer
modification services for the many pre-owned units that remain in captivity.
Over 1 million were made producing a seemingly endless supply on Ebay and
elsewhere. You can read more about the Modding Process by clicking
Looking for an audiophile quality turntable
and doing price comparisons? STOP.... The turntable you are about to read about
embodies technology that would take literally millions of dollars to create
today. Further, the casting, machining and material science used in this deck
are economically out of reach of today's audiophile turntable companies. It is
called market economics, it's an important
component when determining value, and I hope you will read on. Click here to read the tale of one customer's trek from
1200 through the audiophile jungle only to return to the 1200!
The KAB Special Edition version of the Technics SL-1200
MK5 is especially customized for home use. We replace the DJ mats with the
Technics heavy super mat and we also re-install the dustcover hinges, and
perform a full pretest QC inspection. A $75+ value.
Technics developed the 1200 series 24 years ago to be the standard for broadcast
and professional use. It's precision performance and unusual build quality
enable it to easily compare to hi end 'tables costing 10 times as much. Let's
start with the 3 layer body construction. It is very important to the neutral
sonic character of the 1200. Click here for Technical
drawing of body. Called a constrained layer design, the three disimilar
materials, in intimate contact, form a solid base that is incapable of
supporting resonance. You may not be taking your 1200 to the disco, but isn't
it comforting to know that the engineers who designed it gave some thought to
that environment. And if a turntable can perform in a 100+ dB sound field, you
can be sure it will be spectacular in your living room.
The motor drive system is rock solid and incredibly accurate. It is an
optimally damped, direct drive system using a 3 phase
12 pole motor with zero crossing drive for extremely quiet rotation, and a
self validating frequency generator right on the platter. As the integral
platter magnet rotates past the frequency generator coil, a distortionless sine
wave is produced representing the exact movement of the platter. This ensures
tightly controlled rotation reflected by the amazingly low wow and flutter spec
of 0.01% . The spindle bearing , anchored to the
cast aluminum base, is a massive 1/4" polished stainless steel shaft closely
machined through a 1" long bronze bearing.
This servo drive system responds "just in time" to both
static and dynamic stylus drag. It follows
strong amplitudes so well that there are no audible changes in speed. The pitch
of a loud crescendo stays constant as it fades away. The same cannot be said of
most belt drive systems. This sort of sophisticated circuitry can be expensive
to develop. Why, it can cost $100,000.00 or more to develop a single
Application Specific Integrated Circuit like those
found in the 1200. There are 2 LSI ASIC circuits and 1 MSI PLL in the Technics
1200 drive system.
And remember, the reason rumble is so low in
the 1200 is precisely because of four things.
1. Rotation occurs at exact
2. The power to the motor is infinitely controllable, and is
very very low in normal use.
3. The power is applied at the most rigid part
of the platter system: the spindle.
4. Unlike a belt drive system that tugs
on the spindle bearing, direct drive systems have equal forces acting on the
bearing resulting in longer life and much quieter bearing noise.
The platter is itself a non-resonant
5 Lb affair. Made from cast aluminum, precision machined, and damped with hard
rubber on the bottom . Built in strobe display indicates exact speed at a
glance. The top mat is 17 Oz. alone and is properly shaped to accept 45 rpm
singles as well. 45's are thicker in the middle then on the groove surfaces and
flat platter mats cannot support them properly.
is one of the great examples of the Gimbal Bearing system, the rotational
center of which is precisely defined at one point. Designed at the height of
the first audiophile revolution in the late '70's. When the demands were 3/4
gram tracking forces and the requirement to trace groove modulations to 45 Khz
(remember CD-4?) The 1200 tonearm is a low - medium mass arm with precision
bearings , polished to a finish of ± 0.5 microns, featuring 0.007 gram
friction. The arm base utilizes a uniquely machined
brass ring featuring a 3-step, deep, hi speed
thread machined into it. Just like a camera lens focus ring, this produces a
high precision VTA adjustment. The threads are sealed with a damping grease to
give a nice feel to the adjustment. Interconnect cable features a very flexible
foamed polyethylene dielectric to minimize the passage of vibration up to the
tonearm. Cables are a major pathway for vibration to enter the tonearm and
color the sound. The solid brass counterweight is calibrated in grams, properly
decoupled and has a nice solid feel to it. Adjustments are quick and reliable.
Ditto for Anti-Skate which uses the progressive spring tension method. Easy to
adjust, even when the record is playing.
One last thing, those
audiophile pressings we so cherish? well many of them are cut on systems using
the Technics SP-02 lathe platter drive system. How about that? You can search
google to see who uses it. It's nice to know you can have a player that
knowingly has something in common with the master disc!
This should be your turntable if:
- You are sensitive to pitch variation. Especially in
- You need isolation from acoustic vibration
- You crave the kind of rock solid stability that
digital offers, but with the musicality of vinyl.
really should be your last turntable!
All necessary cables are supplied including a
detailed owners manual. Your turntable is carefully packed, double
boxed and shipped UPS to you.