At CES 2019 Technics Introduces Elegant SL-1500C Coreless Direct Drive Turntable

At CES 2019 Technics expanded its turntable line with the introduction of the SL-1500C "complete" turntable with built-in MM phono preamplifier as well as a new SL-1200MK7—the company's first new standard DJ turntable in approximately 9 years.

The SL-1500C eschews D.J. functionality (pitch slider, cueing light, platter strobe marks, etc.) in favor of a smart, simplified look but with a built-in MM phono preamplifier and a pre-installed Ortofon Red MM cartridge. The phono preamp's power supply is carefully shielded. A specially optimized for the platter's weight motor drives the coreless direct drive motor. The built-in phono preamplifier can easily be bypassed. Both the plinth and the the platter have been carefully damped. The familiar "S" shaped tonearm (9-1/16th/230mm effective length) is of aluminum and features high precision gimbaled bearings and an "auto-lift" at the end of record. The $1399.00 (tentative) price should make this an attractive option in the under $1500 price class, especially considering the built in phono preamp and Ortofon Red that's easily upgraded to the 2M Blue simply by changing the stylus.

The new $1199 (tentative price) SL-1200MK7 "professional DJ turntable" incorporates a new coreless direct drive motor and increased DJ functionality including reverse playback for hidden satanic message playback ease. The new 1200 features sliding pitch control and 78rpm playback.

Technics cautiously re-entered the turntable market a few years ago and while the company tightly controls sales numbers, the continued expansion of the line sends an unmistakeable message!

Tom L's picture

...that a better cartridge than the Ortofon Red isn't included with a $1399.00 turntable. Don't get me wrong, I have a Red in my upstairs system and it's a decent performer but this table deserves better than a $99.00 cartridge.

BMRR's picture

I was curious about this so I went to the Needle Doctor web site and looked at turntables in the $1200-$2000 price range to see what kinds of cartridges they came with (if any). MoFi UltraDeck+, $2000, no cartridge. Rega P6, $1600, no cartridge. Pro-Ject PerspeX, $1800, no cartridge. Sota Comet, $1750, no cartridge. Pro-Ject 2Xperience SB, $1600, no cartridge. Music Hall MMF-7.3, $1400, no cartridge. Pro-Ject Classic SB, $1500, comes with Sumiko Blue Point No.2. Sota Moonbeam IV, $1250, no cartridge. Thorens TD 295, $1300, comes with Ortofon 2M Blue. Pro-Ject RPM 5 Carbon, $1500, no cartridge. Marantz TT-15S1, $1500, comes with Clearaudio Virtuoso V1.

I'm not really a fan of the 2M Red but it appears Technics is including it as a "starter" cartridge that will be good enough for someone who wants to start playing records immediately, and it has an upgrade path via the Blue, Bronze, and Black styli. They could have opted to not include a cartridge at all and the $1400 price still would have been perfectly reasonable. Instead they threw in a basic cart to get you going. I don't see the harm. :)

Michael Fremer's picture
While you can upgrade from Red to Blue with a stylus swap, you cannot go to Bronze or Black that way.... and don't forget this includes a built in phono preamp. I think it could be strong its' price point..
BMRR's picture

I know Ortofon advises against it, but is there anything physically preventing someone from putting a Bronze stylus on a Red body (or vice versa)? My understanding is that there are only very minor electrical differences between the Red/Blue and Bronze/Black bodies, mainly related to silver coils in the Bronze/Black vs. copper coils in the Red/Blue.

PAR's picture

Aside from different motors the bodies of the oM bronze and Black are made from a better material than the less expensive models (Lexan).

No reason why one shouldn't put a black stylus in a red body from a physical fit point of view. However to me the cost differential of doing this makes no sense. A 2M Black stylus costs 450 euro. A Red cartridge costs 110 euro. Total 560 euro. A complete 2M Black with better body and motor costs 600 euro. If you've got 560 euro I'll bet you have another 40. Prices are Ortofon Shop ones.

I would also point out that the Bronze with a Replicant stylus and the Black with a Shibata one are not suited for some budget turntables as you need full arm adjustability. I would also think them not ideal for DJ use either should this new Technics 'table be partially aimed at that market.

PAR's picture

oM should, of course, read 2M.

BMRR's picture

The 1500C arm has height adjustment, and it's aimed at the hifi market, not the DJ market.

OldschoolE's picture

From what I have seen the Project 2Xperience SB and Classic SB and RPM 5 Carbon ship with carts. I believe they come with Sumiko Blue Points. I think 99% of Project tables ship with carts, Heinz is good about that, if not somewhat generous. He is good people. If there are retailers selling those tables sans cart, perhaps someone should tell ProJect.

BMRR's picture

Needle Doctor is one of Pro-Ject's preferred sellers in the US and I suspect they sell more Pro-Ject turntables (especially the high-end models) than most other US dealers. I'm sure there's nothing underhanded going on.

OldschoolE's picture

That is why I wrote in response, kind of correcting and questioning. It would be rare indeed if something like that were going on. It can and does happen, but rare and not with good or authorized retailers, ever. They would be out of business if it were.

isaacrivera's picture

Premounted Ortofon 2M Read, bypassable built-in phono and headphone amp with volume control.

gbougard's picture

but no direct drive

isaacrivera's picture

And I would like to read MF's review of the actual performance of this DD. At this price point, I expect all of the problems of DDs to be more prominent. Specially on a TT conceived as a plug and play.

isaacrivera's picture

Premounted Ortofon 2M Read, bypassable built-in phono and headphone amp with volume control.

J.D.'s picture

Glad to see technics/matsu coming around after a few years. $1200 introductory Msrp probably equates to a grand on the street and after a couple years settling to like 799 or so. Which seems appropriate. Compelling, even.

But without the strobe dots, it just looks wrong.
Like an albino snow leopard or something.
C'mon technics. Polka dots & moonbeams, please.

BMRR's picture

The SL-1500 MkII didn't have dots either. It makes sense that the successor to the 1500 MkII would also lack them.

Alex sound's picture

Successor in name/model# only. The original 1500mkII had full pitch control and an electronic/digital pitch with digital display. I had one, gave it to relative who was a "DJ" or thought he was. This was back in 89. don't know what happened to it.

Hoodat's picture

I don't want to spend *anything* for a phono preamp and cartridge that I won't use. Hopefully they come out with a basic model w/o those things. I think anyone who would spend that kind of coin on a turntable, would have their own preamp and cartridges they'd want to use with it.

Jack Gilvey's picture

"the continued expansion of the line sends an unmistakable message!"

Yes it does! Wonder if people still think the vinyl resurgence is due to hipsters that don't even play records? Panasonic doesn't play games.

TechnicsAA's picture

Technics has made the turntable playable straight out of the box. Good for millennials for sure, especially with the build in phono preamp. I just hope future evolutions of this model will offer some audiophile tweaking ( replace the tonearm, stylus,...) and perhaps delete option for the phono preamp? Basically, have the turntable come without all that or make it custumizable from the factory.

wgb113's picture

It will fit nicely into the surround-based system in the family room where our receiver doesn’t have a built-in phono pre. Hoping it comes in closer to $1000 though.

I’ve been very happy with my GR that I’ve owned since they were released.

BMRR's picture

Surprised and happy to see them bringing back the SL-1500. I have an original SL-1500 from 1976 and it's still going strong after 43 years of service. The only maintenance I've ever done to it (if you can even call this maintenance) is oiling the spindle bearing every few years. That's it. The motor still runs completely silently and keeps perfect speed.

With that in mind, I won't be needing an SL-1500C because my original SL-1500 shows no signs of stopping, but I'm glad to know I could buy a brand new replacement if mine was stolen or something. ;)

Hackmartian's picture

It seems very strange that the 1500 is costs MORE than the 1200 considering how stripped back it is in comparison and how inexpensive the included cartridge and phono-amp are. For the price of the 1500, you could buy a 1200 and add the Ortofon Red and any number of circa-$100 phono amps that will likely out-perform the built-in Technics unit (Schitt Mani, U-Turn Orbit, etc) while still getting the pitch controls, cueing light, and 78 RPM playback. Perhaps
the stated price-points are reversed?

BMRR's picture

What is the basis for your comment that the internal preamp is inexpensive or that it will be outperformed by $100 preamps? Thus far I haven't seen any specs for it and certainly haven't read any reviews of it.

Hackmartian's picture

Admittedly, I don't know how well the internal preamp will perform, but I'm basing my assumption on the fact that they made the preamp MM-only, totally bypass-able and paired it with an $99 entry-level cartridge. The Schitt and Orbit have tested very well in their price-range, and the Schitt allows MC as well. I'm not judging the Technics' internal pre-amp as inherently bad, just saying that for the same money, you could have the more full-featured 1200 and have enough money left to buy the same cart and a choice of outboard preamps that would very likely match, if not exceed, what comes with the pricier 1500.

Ortofan's picture

... Concorde 40 Anniversary cartridge.

dolsey01's picture

Give me a G/GR Class 1500 without an arm/cartridge or preamp priced at 2499-2999.

J.D.'s picture

---indicates to me that Technics is finding a market for their iconic SL product once again. And is sensibly broadening the range to accommodate their core constituencies. And that with time (-COME ON !-) they may release a straight-no-chaser model for audiophiles.

All the performance aspects, modular armboard perhaps, maybe even an outboard speed control/ power supply + umbilical option.

But not the onboard phonostage, or supplied cartridge, or anything usb or whatever. Nor the pitch slider or cuing stuff from DJ land. Just: SL CLASSIC. There you go matsushita, free consulting & brand advice.

L4matsf's picture

I am excited to find a decent, new turntable with auto lift-off. However, I less enthusiastic about paying for another phono pre-amp when I have several already and probably of higher quality. Rather pay and be offered a higher-end cartridge at the time of purchase, or have a reduction in the acquisition price. Suggest a no-cartridge, no pre-amp, lower cost (naked) alternative...