technics 1200

First it was Polaroid with the film, then Sony with the Walkman line, now Panasonic announces in a statement to The Tokyo Reporter that they will discontinue audio products within their Technics line. Its a sad day for DJs, turntabilists  and vinyl audiophiles as the iconic Technics 1200 production will be no more.

“Panasonic decided to end production mainly due to a decline in demand for these analog products and also the growing difficulty of procuring key analog components necessary to sustain production.” the company said in statement issued to The Tokyo Reporter.

Panasonic said that sales of analog decks today represent roughly 5 percent of the figure from ten years ago. At present the company has no plans for putting analog turntables back on the market.

The SL-1200 series turntable, which enjoys a massive following in the DJ community and with vinyl audiophiles, had been in continuous production since 1972. Since then 3.5 million units have been produced, making the brand’s purple and grey logo (“Technics” written twice) an icon in clubs.

The Technics brand had achieved its widespread popularity largely due to its durable Direct Drive (via magnets) turning mechanism and its heavy 12.5-kilogram base (composed of what is known as the Technics Non Resonance Compound), which isolated the platter so as to reduce feedback and the chance that the cartridge would jump.

Japan’s DJ community was abuzz, notably on the social-networking site Twitter, following the announcement. Tatsuo Sunaga (dubbed “The Record Chief”) said in an email that the announcement was unfortunate.

“I’ve been using these products for around 20 years and rarely suffered a breakdown,” explained Sunaga, who is a club DJ, spinning jazz up and down Japan, and the author of “I’ll Take That Record!” — a chronicle of a three-year vinyl-buying spree. “This type of excellence is something not seen globally, and I think the fact that one doesn’t need to purchase subsequent models as being the reason for forcing the move.”

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Of course this only makes financial sense to a large company seeking profits, but I remember fondly saving up enough money to purchsae my first pair of tech 12s back in my Junior High days when I decided to start my very own mobile DJ service. There was nothing “cooler” at the time than to be able to “spin” records. To this day I still have my Technics turntables and a Vestax mixer. Looks like they will soon be collector’s items.

Vinyl Chickie

I also understand why some DJs would want to use CD/MP3/MIDI player-mixer combos that aid in the decline of analog products. They are lighter and more convenient. I can tell you first hand what a pain it is to lug around crates of heavy vinyl records that are prone to break or scratch. Oh and don’t leave them in the back  seat of your car on a hot summer day. While you can have almost an entire music collection on a USB stick or small CD wallet. You can’t carry 12 crates or records in your back pocket.

Still, inconveniences aside “spinning” and “mixing” vinyl records is truly an art form that not everyone can pull off. The good news is that there still is a good amount of these analog instruments out there and other companies like Numark and Vestax are still producing turntables. Rest assured that those of us who are addicted to analog vinyl records and its instruments will assist in its continued existence.

DJ Craze

One of my favorite DJs has to be DJ Craze. Actually got to see him in person a couple of times, the guy is amazing.

What do you think? Are you a DJ or a fan of vinyl? Type out some of your thoughts on the subject.

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