Enjoy the Music.com has spilled much cyber-ink on the Grand Class Technics SL-1200GAE direct drive turntable ($4000). Unless you've been living in a hidey-hole for the past few years, you know that vinyl is making a grand resurgence. Chad Kassem's Acoustic Sounds and Quality Record Pressings (see video) is running many shifts and adding new LP pressing machines to simply try to keep his backlog from getting too deep! Ok, so direct-drive is generally considered to be for DJ use, and belt drive is for Hi-Fi use, yet in the 1970s when Technics invented direct-drive turntables their performance and reliability were first recognized by broadcast stations. High acclaim was then received by audiophiles. The high-precision rotation and absence of S/N ratio degradation were particularly attractive to these users. The high torque and reliability of direct-drive were recognized by DJs, and direct-drive turntables became the standard in the club scene.
Direct drive turntable systems have been beloved by Hi-Fi enthusiasts since their birth in 1972. However, one problem that direct-drive systems have always faced was sound quality degradation caused by 'cogging', or tiny vibrations of the motor and rotational speed fluctuations. However, by combining the knowledge and expertise gained as the originator of direct-drive turntable systems with a newly developed coreless direct-drive motor without iron core, this 'cogging' can be eliminated. Any potential minute motor vibrations are suppressed even further by high-precision rotary positioning sensors guided by a microprocessor controlled system; a feature unique to the new Technics turntable. The Technics turntable aims to provide the smoothest possible rotary control by the use of an encoder at the bottom of the motor which detects the precise rotating angle.
Furthermore, a twin rotator construction reduces the bearing load while maintaining high torque and also limits minute vibration during rotation making it possible to reproduce the warm sound and subtle nuances of musical expression engraved in the analogue record grooves and craved for by vinyl lovers.
The turntable has a three-layered construction consisting of a rigidly combined heavyweight brass and aluminum die cast platter, and deadening rubber, covering its entire rear surface. This eliminates unnecessary resonance, achieving high rigidity and vibration damping. The smooth rotational stability and inertial mass even surpasses the Technics SP-10MK2, the direct-drive turntable standard used in the past by broadcast stations worldwide.
The tonearm employs a lightweight material (aluminum for the SL-1200G and magnesium for the SL-1200GAE) which has been cold drawn to improve the characteristics of the material and increase the dampening effect. In addition, high initial-motion sensitivity is attained by employing the traditional Technics gimbal suspension construction with the horizontal rotation axis and the vertical rotation axis intersecting at a single central point, as well as high-precision bearings using a cut-processed housing.