Updated: January 25, 2020 by Richard Cole
How record decks became the staple of DJ gear is just one more proof of human ingenuity. We always find alternative uses for equipment designed for completely different applications.
These days you will find less and less turntables being used in DJ world. Most DJs are slowly but surely switching over to CDJs even though a good turntable is still the standard. Speaking of which, there is one company that has built such a reputation among DJs that their products are considered the creme of the crop.
Those of you with some DJ experience probably know who we are talking about. Launched in 1972 by what is known today as Panasonic, Technics was a company that aimed to deliver supreme high fidelity audio equipment.
Technics SL-1210 Mk2 was recognized as one of the most influential pieces of technology in recent history. As it’s usually the case, that kind of reputation attracts a large crowd. It wasn’t long before some DJs got their hands on one, and discovered its potential for mixing music. Ever since, Technics SL-1210 Mk2 was regarded as the staple of any good DJ setup.
One thing that defines Technics products is durability and reliability. Offering this is exactly what has built them a large following they enjoyed all these years. On top of that, the performance was top notch as well. Technics SL-1210 Mk2 was the epitome of everything we have just mentioned.
It is the textbook example of a perfect turntable. Well, at least what used to be a perfect turntable before technological advancements rendered it somewhat obsolete.
Technics SL-1210 Mk2 is a very simple turntable compared to what is being made today. The controls have seen several revisions over the years which brought this thing closer to the DJ world. Technics recognized what kind of following this model has developed among the DJs, and they responded appropriately.
Overall, Technics SL-1210 Mk2 comes in a sturdy enclosure that screams quality in every way possible. No matter which element of this turntable you look at, you will see great build quality and craftsmanship.
With that said, the core of why this particular model became so popular with DJs lies within its direct drive system. What Technics designed was a bullet proof direct drive system that could take all the abuse from scratching and mixing. Due to its nature, you can control the pitch and handle the platter anyway you need to without experiencing any issues.
This turntable was also very good for modding, which is exactly what many DJs used to do. Another great thing about it was its weight. Being so heavy meant that it could nullify a lot of the vibrations what you experience when doing a live set. Technics SL-1210 Mk2 was never designed to be a DJ turntable, but it contained everything that makes a perfect turntable.
The main reason why Technics SL-1210 Mk2 became so popular among DJs is the nature of its platter. Remember, this was a hi fi audio device and as such came with no DJ specific features or anything along those lines. However, that platter and direct drive system made it one of the most legendary turntables in the business.
The reason for this was the feedback you get while manipulating the platter. It is smooth, somehow familiar and very predictable. You could count on getting the same result every time, without a fault.
Combine this with the weight of the unit, and you have a foundation that you know won’t move anywhere, will respond well to your input, and on top of all that, is capable reducing the vibrations during live performance. What more could you ask for.
Whether or not it’s the optimal choice for a modern setup depends on what you are looking for in a turntable. If you do live sets frequently and appreciate the a turntable that feels good under your hand, Technics SL-1210 Mk2 is probably going to be something you’d be interested in. Otherwise, there are a lot more feature packed models on the market.
What we like
Old school design and impressive level of engineering are what make the Technics SL-1210 Mk2 a turntable that will be used for years to come. Old school DJs who refuse to switch over to CDJs and other modern solutions, will just love this thing. It feels great under your hand, and responds accurately to your input.
What we don’t like
There isn’t really much, or anything at all that we can find as a flaw with Technics SL-1210 Mk2. Some would argue that it doesn’t come with all the cool bells and whistles, but those folks keep forgetting where the true value of this turntable comes from.
There is nothing wrong with wanting more features, but some things are better left untouched. In all honesty, its simple design has become a trademark of the Technics SL-1210 Mk2.
Turntables might be getting phased out by more modern solutions, but there is still a very large group of DJs who refuse to use anything else. It all comes down to the type of DJ we are talking about. You have those who are fascinated by older systems and techniques, while there are also those who are looking toward the future.
The existence of former is one of the main reasons why we still see turntables being made, and why Technics SL-1210 Mk2 enjoys a very high reputation even to this day.
There is an attitude within the DJ community that the only thing you can trust in your worst moments on stage is a Technics piece of equipment. That is a pretty great way to pay tribute to an awesome company.