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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 here.

   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 platter speed.
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.

This tonearm 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 long fades.
  • You need isolation from acoustic vibration
  • You crave the kind of rock solid stability that digital offers, but with the musicality of vinyl.

This really should be your last turntable!

Fully Upgradable:
All necessary cables are supplied including a detailed owners manual. Your turntable is carefully packed, double boxed and shipped UPS to you.


  • 33 45 RPM
  • Direct Drive System - Quartz Locked
  • F G Servo Control
  • Variable Speed 8%
  • W&F 0.01% Free Spinning
  • W&F 0.025% Wtd.
  • Peak W&F 0.035%
  • Rumble -80dB
  • Tracking Force 0-4 grs
  • Anti Skate Force 0-3 grs
  • Tracking Accuracy
    2.3 degrees outside groove
    0.32 degrees inner groove
  • Cable Capacitance 100 pF
  • Effective Mass 12 grams
  • Dimensions 17 x 15 x 6"
  • Shipping Weight 35 Lbs

   Spec's can tell an awful lot. It's a shame so many Hi End companies have chosen to withhold this vital performance info. The Hi End magazines too should be ashamed for not testing the turntables they "review".

   The Frequency Generator Servo Control on the SL-1200 MK5 produces a distortionless sine wave, allowing a tightly controlled rotation with wow and flutter of 0.01%. Unlike most belt drive systems, it is completely immune to both static and dynamic stylus drag.

   The Tonearm bearings , polished to a finish of ± 0.5 microns, feature very low friction of 0.007 grams and the turntable body is a 3 section constrained layer non resonant affair. The Cast 5 Lb Platter system is damped both underneath and by the 1 Lb top mat.

For the tweakers, the Technics interconnect cable contributes 90 pF and the wire in the turntable and tonearm wand contribute 10 pF for 100pF total capacitance. So the interconnect rating is 2pF per inch or 24 pF per foot.

  • 1 Year Warranty
  • Hinged Dust Cover
  • 33-45 RPM
  • Cast 20 Lb Base
  • Non Resonant Base and Platter
  • 8% Adj. Speed
  • Target Light
  • Damped Cueing
  • Very Low Bearing Friction
  • Leveling Feet

   The really great features to take note of with the SL-1200 MK5 are, I believe, the rotational accuracy, tonearm precision and overall build quality. Click here for Technical drawing of body.

   When a record is playing, the tonearm should be level and parallel to the record, not angled down or up. The adjustable tonearm height in the Audiophile Standard lets you optimize this setting. It is especially useful when using cartridges of different heights.

   Another neat feature is the variable speed which is looped within the quartz synthesizer. This means that the variable speed settings are just as stable and accurate as the fixed speed settings. A benchmark found only in the Technics 1200 drive system.

Lastly, a standard MK5 comes with a hingeless dustcover and a thin rubber mat. Not the KAB SE version here. We re-install the dustcover hinges and include the Technics super mat instead. So if you bought a MK3D or MK5 on the street, you really should get these two accessories, especially the mat, to restore the performance of your 1200 properly. KAB has a wide array of 1200 accessories on the accessories page.

MORE 1200's

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PHONE 908-754-1479
FAX 908-222-3442