The first article in the gear section must be about the most lasting, and adored peace of gear that is out there. It is a series of Technics turntables, that started with SL-12. 1200 1200 is the silver one, 1210 that is the same one but finished in black, and manu revisions that came in the following years (MK2-MK6), and even the limited series that have been made (SL-1200LTD, SL-1200GLD), are all based on almost the same mechanics, different only in details, with no excessive functions added.
First series came out in the October of 1972, and there are units still in use today! That alone is enough to say about the quality of manufacturing. Direct drive, magnetic (no wear) motor has proven to be almost indestructible, the tone arm stays tight almost forever, the pitch fader is changeable, and is the only part, aside from the cables that is subject to wear and tear.
This series of turntables is important cause it has set the standard for all DJ turntable, in the means of stability, motor strenght, playback quality, and for the most important thing for all beatmatching DJs, the pitch precision. The evidence for this is that Pioneer, the most powerfull DJ gear producing company made a clone of the famus Technics 1200 some 42 years later, and many DJs consider it to still be inferior compared to Technics classic.
Sadly, in the year on 2010, all vinyl enthusiasts out there were disappointed, when the Panasonic company made the following statement:
Panasonic reactive statement - Production of analogue turntables has ceased
Panasonic has confirmed that it ceased the production of its Technics-branded analogue turntables this autumn.
After more than 35 years as a leading manufacturer of analogue turntables, Panasonic has regretfully taken the decision to leave this market. However, Panasonic will continue to sell headphones under the Technics brand.
We are sure that retailers and consumers will understand that our product range has to reflect the accelerating transformation of the entire audio market from analogue to digital.
In addition, the number of component suppliers serving the analogue market has dwindled in recent years and we brought forward the decision to leave the market rather than risk being unable to fulfil future orders because of a lack of parts.
Panasonic employees who have been working on the analogue turntable range have been redeployed elsewhere within Panasonic - many of them continuing to work in Panasonic´s Audio Video Business Unit.
One more curiosity about this peace of gear. How often do you hear that there is a petition going on to restart the manufacturing of some commercial product? That is exactly what started few years ago, and is still going on today with some 27000 signatures so far. The Panasonic company has allegedly set the target at 35000. Lets see if we can restart the production of this gem of engineering!
You can sign the petition here.