Technics Spurns DJs Fandom, Prefers Selling To Hi-Fi Elite

There’s no doubt that DJs and hip-hop culture created a fanatical obsession and reverence for the legendary Technics SL-1200 turntable. When a relaunch was announced for the record player’s 50th anniversary, DJs balked at the massive price tag. Revealed in a New York Times article this week is the truth: Technics doesn’t seem to think DJs are worth marketing to.

The Technics-1200G Sticker Shock

When Panasonic announced at CES almost exactly one year ago that the legendary 1200 was being resurrected, DJs went nuts. It seemed a sure sign that the company had heard the requests of thousands of DJs who wanted the turntable to return after the last model went out of production in 2012.

But the reality of the redesign and relaunch was that Panasonic wanted to sell their turntable to an entirely different class of consumer. It’s an incredibly boutique, small-run product, as the New York Times notes in their article:

“Only 20 [turntables] are assembled a day, with most of the work done by hand. Each unit’s record platter is checked by lasers and human workers to ensure perfect balance. A specially developed machine drills tiny holes at strategic points in the undersides until they spin just right. These days, such deliberately crafted products are simply too costly to compete for a mass market.”

This intense and slow manufacturing process guaranteed that the price would be well beyond the original Technics. At the current price of $2,800, a pair (for DJing) would cost DJs $5,600.

Who Technics Is Really Targeting


It’s almost painful to read – but Technics’ leaders simply don’t care about DJs as a target market. In fact, they find them “problematic”:

“Our concept is analog records for hi-fi listening,” said Hiro Morishita, a creative director at Technics. “D.J.s are fine, too, but as a marketing target it’s problematic. We don’t want to sell the 1200 as the best tool for The 1200 is the 1200.” – New York Times

In the last two decades of DJ culture, it’s unlikely you’ll find a better naturally marketed product than the SL-1200. It’s the ultimate tool for vinyl DJs. But instead of creating a “prosumer” product, Panasonic went completely towards luxury:

“Panasonic calculated, the SL-1200’s core customers were not numerous enough, or rich enough, to make reviving the Technics brand financially worthwhile. It needed to reach wealthy, older audiophiles who would spend extravagantly on gear — not only the turntable, but also the amplifier, speakers and other equipment that the company markets alongside it.”

[…] “Listening to records is like tea ceremony, or flower arranging,” said Michiko Ogawa, director of the Technics division. She added that music recorded by live musicians showed off Technics’s hi-fi qualities best. – New York Times

What Does The DJ Turntable Market Look Like?

At the same time as Technics has dismissed the DJ market, the pro audio industry seen growth in turntable sales numbers. Even despite a number of “low-cost” turntables coming into the market, the overall dollars spent on turntables continues to climb yearly.

Here’s a graphic we put together using industry dollar sales data of turntables (specific numbers are withheld as the data itself is confidential). This is a monthly chart – from November 2013 until late 2016, with a linear trend line added:

These sales aren’t Technics turntables, either. A majority of the models sold that account for this dollar growth are 1200-lookalikes that are DJ-budget friendly like the Pioneer DJ PLX-1000/500.

Low-cost players made for digitizing vinyl like the Numark TTUSB, Audio-Technica’s AT-LP1200USB also hold some of the market.

We don’t have Panasonics’ sales data – but the New York Times article notes that it might not even designed to be a profitable product:

“The company does not disclose sales numbers, but said an initial set of 300 special-edition SL-1200Gs, made available online when sales restarted this year, sold out in 30 minutes. Even at nearly $3,000, the turntable may not make any money for Panasonic, instead serving as a loss leader for other Technics products.”

Read the full New York Times article about Technics’ lack of concern about the DJ market. 

dj turntableshi-fimarketingpanasonictechnicsturntable marketvinyl
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  • Traktor Tips

    Quite clever psychological marketing in my mind. Make the buyer think they’re not good enough or rich enough to own one (cos theyre a DJ) which pushes them to want one even more! Tricky but clever!

  • Juan Martin Velez Linares

    To be honest, I get their point. Sure, there are a lot of rich DJs nowadays, but all they ever do is plug a USB stick into an overpriced CD player and put on ultra_set.wav. Maybe if the DJ elite still used vinyl… but nah, these days those guys are too busy throwing cakes and talking on the mic to even try to learn skills that turn playing back the latest 128bpm banger into an actually interesting and stimulating experience. I don’t like Technics’ decision either, but they’re right. DJs just don’t care enough about vinyl anymore to justify a product marketed to them.

  • Kangaroo Caucus

    They are raising the bar. Not one super oem table comes even close to the build quality of the original SL1200. They all (Pioneer included) use cheap circuitry, and low quality switches. Sure they have high torque but, they dont have the speed stability of Technics. While the G and GAE were waaaay over what DJs can afford, I think the SL1200GR will hit the mark with DJs who insist on tank grade build quality. The torque is higher, platter is heavier and sound quality and isolation is improved over the MK2-6. I personally will take the chance

  • Joseph_Rose

    Audiophile + Direct Drive? No.

    • Kangaroo Caucus

      It is not the1960s. Direct drive has come a long way.

  • Zachary J Drummond

    This reads so salty.

    • Theo Bishop

      The pitch fader on this unit is like silk although the browser encoder is weak! (you can barley feel the clicks as you turn it and can easily slide off your highlighted track you want to load) resulting in loading the track above or below the one you have highlighted which is really annoying!
      And i wish they had a separate knob for start and stop speed.
      Otherwise this is a awesome deck.

  • exposed

    and they’re right… better buy some outboard gear or plugins and get making your own music. DJs have a right to existence, but they’ll always be second to actual music making ppl. and fuck hifi anyway… real monitors are superior in every way. real as in ATC or NEUMANN and not crappy krks or other consumer bs marketed as “studio monitor”

  • Anthony Thomas

    Actually Techniques DID make a DJ market 1200 for those with a short ass memory. But then the market moved to digital; CD’s as a working DJ you didn’t have to carry heavy aluminum and steel turntables with you and records anymore.

    Dam hipsters have re-ignited the vinyl market. Who cares sounds like a fad to me what happens when they marry, start families and start moving that sh*t around? Unlike DJ’s who bought the originals as business proposition.

    So why whine about a product with limited shelf life? You really want to go back to carrying turntables and records around?

  • Paul Huryk

    While the original 1200 was sold when introduced as an audiophile unit, it didn’t sell until DJs started using them.

    At the price point they are targeting in 2017, there are probably a dozen much better choices for an audiophile – brands such as Rega, VPI, Pro-ject and others make units that will bury this 1200 in terms of sound quality – the only target such an item needs to hit.

    Maybe if they eliminated the DJ items on the unit and put a better tonearm and platter it might be able to compete – as it is, no.

  • CUSP

    Don’t you love it when arrogance meets ignorance? There’s quite a bit to be angry about if you want to dwell on it, but I’m choosing the “I don’t give a fuck / not my pig, not my farm” option.

  • Sven van Bavel

    Reloop is the brand to go for these days for turntables. They still have a vision in vinyl and do really creative things. The rp-8000 for example with midi functionality. I own a pair of rp6000’s for over 10 years and still work as they should. Also own a synq xtrm1 super OEM for in the living room also works superb and would love to have a Stanton str8-150. No technics Fuck You and fuck off! It wasn’t audiophiles that made you big! Watch the Netflix documentary on hiphop, it was them not audiophiles!!

  • Dubby Labby

    Crafting Katanas in the age of smartphone
    where Hipsters had replaced the Samurai lords.


    • akswun

      lol…. looks like you sold all your records just to buy those GAE’s….. also… +1000000 for the classic house. Glad you kept the good stuff.

      • guest100


      • Matteo Cassano

        Ahahahaha Fortunately not I have almost 10000 vinyls in another room 😉

      • Oddie O'Phyle


    • Noname

      Do you rent this space? Are you in Italy? Greetings from Switzerland!

    • DJ alt.rock

      That’s a dope spread you have there. I’m jealous.

  • guest100

    What a coincidence 😉 Technics just announced the 1200GR model, half the price of G(AE).

    • Noname

      Pitch +/- 8% and 16%. For very exigent audiophiles.

  • 11Fletcher

    Nothing really new here, Panasonic never really make their product for the DJ market. The Technics was mostly buy by DJ in the 90s but it wasn’t the product’s target when it was released. Otherwise the change they made would have been in that direction.

    They had a product that was for hifi use, DJ start using it, they make some mixer to go with it and some sponsorship, but that’s it. Never change the product to please that target who was happy already with that.

    Now the platter patent is not Technics exclusive anymore (since some years) so every other brand can build the same kind of turntable with the same platter (or even better), so Technics lost the thing that made them unique, so the decision to go to make a more expensive product is totally understandable, as it’s hard to beat Pioneer on the marketing field, and you can’t make a come back doing the same thing since the 70s, unless you do it with more quality, which mean higher price.

    And if you compare the actual price to the price in the 80s (even 90s), it’s kind of the same, with inflation and higher salary taking in considaration.

    So yes, nothing really new here.

    • Dubby Labby

      Nailed it.

    • Kangaroo Caucus

      The new Pioneer tables are cheaply made with low grade curcuits and switches. The PLX1000 sells for 700 when it rightly should sell for 450 with the rest of the junk super OEM. Technics is the table you buy when you want to get 20 or 30 years from a product. The GR will bridge the gap between the G/GAE and DJs.

  • deejae snafu

    because there are so many more rich , pencil necked audiophile nerds, than there are DJs? they might want to hire some marketing people that actually know how to sell stuff……but thats none of my business, im using vestax tables…gg technics

  • Ben W

    Wow usually I’m pretty positive but I have to say something on this one. This article is biased and close minded.

    First off, stating that they “don’t want to sell the 1200 as the best tool for DJing” doesn’t mean they don’t want to sell it for DJing, it means they want to keep the definition open so they can sell it for other purposes as well. If you read that without the bias of everything being about you in your DJ world you could see that.

    Furthermore, they announced the 1200GR at CES 2017 which is going to be a lower cost version, at most likely is perfectly catered towards the DJ market. Many companies make a high end version of a product first to establish quality and show what they learned from R&D. They said they won’t be making much of a profit if any on the 1200G, this is because the plan all along was to have the 1200GR be a success. Sorry but this post is not news it’s whining.

    • kebzer

      Boomerang marketing. They tried to dip their toes in the super hi-end, didn’t sell, now go back to DJs with a “budget” model. Well, they’ve already caused a lot of damage and developed bad breath with DJs, I want to see how exactly they will try to sell this GR variation. Good luck on that.

      • Dubby Labby

        Hype was made by djs themselves. Technics was Technics never done nothing than add tiny features (and let’s forgot sldz1200) and the myth was grow under purism fanatism (meanwhile turntables like Vestax, Numark and so were for poor-djs from 1999 to Technics close) being a bubble (and still is for second hand).
        It’s a pity but it’s a fair deception since Technics never promised a “Return of the King” or almost not as Djing King Turntable. Take my comment with Love since it’s not a flame just my humble opinion.

      • guest100

        Didn’t sell? GAE sold out within a blink of an eye and G had just landed on the market. When did they noticed it doesn’t sell and developed this “back to djs” GR turntable? lol It was even hinted last September by Tecnnics.
        I’m totally with them. It took hell of a time audiophiles to get rid of the silly idea it’s a dj only turntable so this approach is logical. Main tt market is audiophile now not dj. Still best tt around for djing. And at this price you can’t complain much knowing how much Pioneer charges for a flagship cdj. Clubs will be all over this tt.

      • Kangaroo Caucus

        Didn’t sell? 30 minutes to sell out

  • Linz&Mars

    So Panasonic are going to pretend that dj’s haven’t made the 1200 desirable?!?
    How about you call it something other than 12XX and see how sales go.
    People be crazy!

  • Glen Olah

    This reminds me of when the board of Apple in their infinite wisdom decided to get rid of Steve Jobs and pursue what they imagined were more profitable strategic directions. A path that included more power and control for their insipid egos. After almost bankrupting the company, with their tails between their legs, they went whimpering back to the true visionary and master architect, begging him to take the helm once again and lead them back into technological and financial salvation. They had entirely misunderstood the focus. or end vision of the world that the company had been created for and the consumers who would be created and grow along with the company. People don’t like to be told what to do and think and buy, they don’t like to think of themselves as consumers – people like to grow and create, initiate new models and traverse new paths so as to inspire development. And with a loyal partner alongside as ones development unfolds, is satisfying and promotes confidence…

    Michiko Ogawa’s days are surely numbered with his apparently elitist and out of touch attitude. I do hope he enjoys his tea ceremonies and flower arranging whilst listening to audiophile music on his (direct drive with pitch control!?) turntables in his retirement.

    • Linz&Mars

      And then Steve died and now Apple’s vision is skinnier devices (sometimes with less functionality – I’m looking at MacBook Pro!)
      Feel a little shafted by Panasonic… and a lot disappointed in Apple.

        • Anthony Thomas

          Whatever my PC’s don’t crash when mixing, never have.

          • deejae snafu

            i wasnt being sarcastic m8, i believe in PCs

          • Ezmyrelda Andrade

            Computers are good.. People that don’t understand why their computer is crashing are.. ungood.. a linux computer is the same as a windows computer, and it’s the same as a mac.. They are hardware running software.. There is no “PC master race” Just users with more or less knowledge and users that optimize their computers purpose more effectively.

          • deejae snafu

            actually you are wrong, mac run same intel chips as PC for double the cost..and I have personally had more bugs and BS behavior from my MBP/OSX than i ever have on my PC. the true food chain looks like this :
            PC>MAC>CONSOLES… i wont speak to linux since it is technically PC based. you get the most for your money, most customization possibility, most upgrade potential, most software choices, from PC. PC MASTER RACE!

          • Ezmyrelda Andrade

            OMG the number of ways you are ignorant in this subject is astounding. The cost regarding the chip itself is irrelevant. If you personally have had more bugs and issues from an MBP/OSX that would be a personal issue. I’ve had multiple PCs, I’ve had multiple macs and every issue I had I could follow back to a very specific cause. Not one of the issues I’ve had with a computer had anything to do with platform.

            Your statement “i wont speak to linux since it is technically PC based.” Speaks volumes about what you are not informed of concerning computers.. At this point. “PC”, Mac, and Linux are indistinguishable hardware wise. They all run on intel chips.

            Throwing consoles in the mix further muddies the issue. Consoles are gaming machines by definition. Period. The topic was technology dogma. Despite their proficiencies in certain areas dogma about which is better for computing is ridiculous. They all have productivity software, they all have gaming software, they all have graphics suites, they all have audio software. Success with anything on any of the three platforms has nothing to do with that platforms worth.

            As for being worth more for the money.. I don’t have the time to be able to afford PCs any more.. If I bought a prebuilt it would be obsolete before I knew it, If I built my own again I would have to do research on compatibility, pay for shipping and handling several times for different pieces, and deal with every single compatibility issue on my own to deal with all the different hardware suppliers. Upgrades are also of dubious importance. I did my diligent research, and chose a mac mini 2012.. When I was able to I maxed out the ram and installed an ssd. I feel no need or requirement to do any further upgrades. I bought it because I ultimately wanted a production and DJing computer.. It hasn’t once failed me and I see no reason why it would stop filling that function in future…

            I get it.. You are super jazzed about PCs.. So what though? Technology dogma is stupid because computers are awesome. Knowing a bit about the windows platform and fuck all about OS X, Linux, BSD, arduino, raspberry pi.. That’s not super awesome..

          • deejae snafu

            you must honestly have no life to post a reply like this….

          • Ezmyrelda Andrade

            Believe whatever you need to so you can make yourself feel better.. makes no difference to me.

          • deejae snafu

            your problem is, you are clearly so ready to argue, that you are arguing points that are irrelevant to the OT and to any of my points…seriously , go outside. I was simply stating you get the most for your money with a windows system.

    • Dubby Labby

      I’m agreed but timeshifted. The description fits more where Technics left production and now the return of the Steve. If something is really similar is how selling expensive and classy phones has make forgot macpro users. Think twice about it.

  • kebzer

    This statement from Panasonic execs must be the dumbest attempt to market the 1200 higher than it can reach. As others already said, Hi-end enthusiasts won’t go near a direct drive TT, no matter what. Also, the presence of the pitch fader is proof that they got a “Plan B” in case they won’t sell in the hi-end market and they will have to retreat back to “problematic” DJs. Actually, the pitch fader is another no-go for Hi-ends, as it is a potential source for additional variations in wow/flatter. If they were really aiming only to them, they would have deleted the pitch right away.

    Well, Panasonic, here’s a big FUCK YOU. I will be very pleased when depreciation hits your new TT and you wake up back to reality and the norm of 700 bucks TTs.

    • ?The Other Denzel?

      Remember, this isn’t just music, this is business…

      The reason Technics have the standing they do, is that most dj’s are still using the original pair of tech’s they bought when they started out. Selling a product with only 1 market cycle per customer is the very definition of problematic…

      Would Mcdonald’s still sell big mac’s if every one of their customers was completley satisfied with the one burger they bought in 1987?

      • Kangaroo Caucus

        I think the SL1200GR is fine for DJs. They shloud be around 15-1600 each and I would love to pick up a set. Stuff rarely sells anywhere near the msrp. There are plenty or original SL1200 tables out there for those with limited budget.

  • jm2c

    I too find it a lil bit funny that 2.6k is “too expensive” for technics fanatics, since Pioneer is selling their flagship players to around the same price point. If you are not content with buying 1200’s second hand, which is a perfectly viable choice given the robustness and longevity of the players, then take a loan and put your money where your mouth is. Or perhaps your technics worship is waning, maybe you do not believe anymore?

    People are buying sport cars and motorcycles in their midlifes, for various reasons, but still do not want to splurge on REAL, PRIMO TECH1200’s?

  • AuralCandy.Net

    Panasonic management should commit a seppuku with a Technics tonearm to atone their shame 😀

  • Ezmyrelda Andrade

    yeah.. not going to fly.. rich audiophiles aren’t going to want to buy a 1200 for that much.. especially considering what their other options are.. They made a bad choice in snubbing the DJ market..

    • duncan

      HiFi nuts won’t go near direct drive either…

  • SweetGwendoline

    If DJs pay 2k+ for a plastic CDJ with a lifespan of approximately 2 years I think Panasonic is totally right with selling at that high pricepoint…

    • pixelbreak

      good point…and every 2 years they buy 4k+ on a new pair of slightly updated CDJs

    • kebzer

      You got a point, but to be fair, no CDJ would break in 2 years if it was used inside a bedroom, with only occasional club trips. Pio’s are probably the most brutally abused pieces ever. Even the mk2s were not beaten that hard cause people still had to be aware of needle skips, lol.

    • uneducatedgenerationgoFyoursel

      god i’m sooooooo sick of hearing this argument.
      go back to tweeting, and leave the business decisions to the grown-ups

  • Shaun

    I’ve had 1200s and 1210s since the early 1990s, and I love them. But wow. Panasonic could learn something from other companies about providing prosumer products. DJI springs to mind.

    • Deviant Bastard

      Same here, but I got mine in the late 90’s. 20 years old and still going strong. Sad thing is I have a 3rd 1200 that’s just collecting dust. I think I tried replacing the tone arm on it, but I couldn’t get it work right.

    • Jared Ross

      They did learn something. They realized that Pioneer has taken over the same market they they once dominated, but with products which last a fraction of the time, possess what seems like exponentially lower quality, and all at a much higher price point. Furthermore, they’ve learned that the DJ community will complain, but still buy it in effort to have the same club standard set up.

  • Dudu boi


  • Noname

    I’m curious about how profitable is the so called “hi-fi market”. How people are listening to music nowadays? They relaunched the same product (SL-1200), but addressed to a different public, for sure they don’t want their brand related to DJs…

  • Russell M

    Quick question. What’s the use of a pitch fader in a hi-fi market? Why was it originally invented?

    • bartykutz

      in the days of 78s (which the original 1200s couldn’t play without being modded, and i’m not sure if the new ones can either) speeds were less standardized so a pitch adjustment is useful to play back recordings at their natural pitch.

      • kebzer

        Indeed, but any audiophile would be crazy to mess around with the pitch, as it would alter the original recording press as is, which is exactly what they are looking for to listen to. If the press plant messed the pitch by 0.1%, it doesn’t matter as the record was released that way and this pitch variation might be what makes this specific recording a “special”.

        Hi-Fi nuts want to go as flat as possible in order to listen to the original recording as original as it can get.

    • guest100

      To fit a track into a given time slot (broadcast or movie scene),

      to match the pitch of a recording to a one of a live musical instrument (musician practicing),

      to correct a pitch imperfection embedded in a record due to a cutting lathe speed deviation,

      to enable fine speed adjustment on the turntable before quartz lock stability was invented.

    • Oddie O'Phyle

      It allows for compensation of drag variation on the vinyl as the needle gets closer to the center of the record. The dots on the side of the platter represent the the % of pitch that you are off. Doppler effect causes center row of these dots to show as you get to 0%.

      • Jason Karriker

        1200’s already have a closed loop control system to account for this. Drag your finger on the platter while watching the dots, and you will see it fight to keep platter angular velocity and position constant/correct.

  • Toecurl68