Technics SL-1200GR2 and SL-1210GR2 Turntables Boast Digital Tech
The next-gen Technics 1200GR range sports a unique direct drive motor design, utilising digital technology to improve analogue sound.
Technics invented the direct drive motor design in 1970 with the SP-10 turntable, and the storied Japanese company has continued to develop the technology ever since, improving rotational stability, vibration reduction, and enhancing signal-to-noise ratio to deliver even better performance and sound quality.
The latest iteration of the 1200GR series, the SL-1200GR2 and SL-1210GR2 turntables (silver and black versions, respectively), replaces the SL-1200GR model launched in 2017.
The new deck features an anti-cogging, iron-coreless direct drive motor. While this mitigates uneven rotational movement that hobbles some direct drive motors, Technics has turned to its in-house digital expertise and proprietary technology to further improve the analogue source's performance by borrowing from the company's fully digital products.
We are told that the 2023 SL-1200GR turntables employ delta-sigma (ΔΣ) modulation – a method of 1-bit D/A conversion enabled by Technics' proprietary full-digital amplifier technology, JENO Engine. This, says Technics, produces a perfect sine wave.
Frank Balzuweit, Senior Product Manager at Technics Europe, told StereoNET:
We looked at how we have improved signal precision in our digital audio components, especially at the reference amplifier SU-R1000 (reviewed here), which optimises vinyl analogue signals using complex digital technology… It's been our goal to take our direct drive technology and take it to the next level in terms of precision. This was achievable by reducing motor vibration through optimising the driving sine waves via the PWM signal generation using Delta-Sigma (ΔΣ) Modulation, as employed in our full-digital amplifiers.
It has been heavily hinted that Technics is so confident in this new motor approach that it will be applying the tech to future turntable models.
Every amplifier – even those tasked with ensuring rotational stability – requires a reliable and clean power supply. To that end, the SL-1200GR2/ SL-1210GR2 benefits from a multi-stage switching supply operating at over 100kHz. Additionally, unwanted noise is said to be cancelled by a circuit borrowed from the reference SL-1000R turntable. This noise-cancelling process is similar to active noise-cancelling headphones, where the detected noise signal is inverted and injected back into the circuit.
Technics has retained the two-layer platter (die-cast aluminium and heavy rubber for damping) and a two-layer chassis (die-cast aluminium and BMC (bulk moulding compound) from the SL-1200GR2's predecessor. The S-shaped tonearm and adjustable insulator feet also make a return.
However, we are informed that the SL-1200GR2 / SL-1210GR2 features better colour-matched parts and a new finish, while styrofoam packing has been eschewed in favour of eco-friendly shaped cardboard.
The new Technics SL-1200GR / 1210GR2 turntables are available from late-October, priced in Australia at $3,299 RRP.
StereoNET’s resident rock star, bass player, and gadget junkie. His passion for gadgets and Hi-Fi is second only to being a touring musician.
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