Panasonic revealed that they were going to relaunch the Technics turntable line last year, which had been discontinued in 2010. The manufacturer unveiled its brand new Grand Class SL-1200G as well as its SL-1200GAE limited edition at Las Vegas' Consumer Electronics Show in January. Everything seemed dandy until What Hi-Fi? reported it's hefty $4,000 price range -- for the non-limited edition model. Technics CTO Tetsuya Itani gives an explanation of the price in a new interview with What Hi-Fi?, explaining that the new model is redesigned "from scratch" and that none of the tools in the manufacturers, except for the dust cover, were usable.
"Because the original 1210 turntables were manufactured for so many years, the manufacturing process had got to a very low cost. Now we need to invest in all the tools again, and the price now is much higher than the 1970s. We began to study just a few months prior to IFA, maybe summer 2014, for the new SL-1200. We learned that it was impossible [to make the same deck], as almost all the tools for manufacturing were gone or heavily damaged - only one "die" remained, and that was for the dust cover. All the documents were kept, all the drafts… but it was not the Technics way. If we have a chance to start from scratch, we should. With new technology, new theory - that is this guy [the SL-1200G]. So it’s a new model from scratch. Everything is new… except for the dust cover. The weight of the platter is nearly 3 times the old '1200, and we also have a new motor, which is a very important point of the new model. The feet too. It’s heavy, the old 1200 was more plastic.”
Itani hinted that they might consider dropping a cheaper model in the future. 1,000 units of 1200GAE will be released this summer and the 1200G is scheduled for late 2016.