Hip-hop and all the things it has influenced—from digital dance audio to modern pop and R&B—wouldn’t be the exact with no a single remarkable instrument: the Technics SL-1200 turntable and its impressive immediate-drive motor.
Released in 1972 but perfected with 1979’s MK2 model, the 1200’s distinctive layout made turntable methods attainable. Pioneers like Grandmaster Flash, breakbeat inventor Kool Herc, and scratching trailblazer Grand Wizard Theodore made it the go-to deck for DJ culture, very first in their ’70s South Bronx avenue jams and then in the downtown Manhattan golf equipment, in which hip-hop received prevalent interest.
In 1969, Shuichi Obata of Technics’ father or mother firm, Matsushita (now Panasonic), built the SP-10, the very first turntable driven by a immediate-push motor rather of a rotating belt. When Obata perfected his immediate-generate technologies with the 1st 1200 a pair of a long time afterwards, he didn’t have hip-hop DJs in mind—they didn’t exist still. But the genre’s early innovators shortly designed moves produced attainable by the 1200’s significant-torque direct push. With no breaking belts to stress about and virtually no lag in startup time, the turntable freed DJs to stick to their instincts and start out constructing the tools of their trade: the scratching, backspinning, breakbeats, and extra.
“You will need a fairly sturdy motor to transfer a report back and forth with out slowing down the platter,” states producer, DJ, and Fools Gold Information cofounder A-Trak. The 1200’s immediate generate did just that. Steve Cohen of New York City audio shop In Dwelling Stereo adds that the 1200’s torque received it back again up to speed quicker than others. “It had the most velocity balance, and top-quality rate and rhythm to likewise priced belt-driven turntables,” he explained.
By 1979, Obata was working with New York DJs to make the 1200 MK2 even much more of a combine magician’s good friend. While the previously product experienced an evenness of pace that made it ultra-exact, the MK2 allowed users to bypass that computerized speed regulation employing a pitch-control slider. That designed it easier for DJs to alter a single record’s pace and sync it with an additional, perfecting the foundational system of beatmatching.
And the MK2’s molded rubber– insulated, die-solid aluminum human body manufactured it much less susceptible to vibrations, suggestions, or breaking in two. This was a must have to DJs heading into the battleground of a are living general performance. “It’s built like a tank,” claims A-Trak.
Technics introduced a dozen updates of the 1200, but Panasonic discontinued analog turntables in 2010, perceiving lower desire for vinyl. But soon after outraged DJs gathered 27,000 signatures on a petition to deliver the 1200 back again, Panasonic relented, resurfacing the 1200 in 2016 and releasing one more update in 2019, the MK7.
It is been 50 years because Obata produced the immediate-drive turntable. Its legacy is a profound a single, and versions of the 1st 1200 are however the instrument of preference among the leading DJs. “The 1200 nonetheless performs a huge role in turntablism,” says A-Trak.