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The SL-1200 is business as usual on the outside but the changes Technics has made internally have ensured that it is the best all round version of the iconic turntable yet.


  • Excellent sound across a huge variety of material
  • Beautifully made
  • Easy to use with some excellent additional features


  • No cartridge or phono stage as standard
  • Odd placement of the power socket

Key Features

  • MotorDirect drive motor with Delta Sigma Drive
  • SpeedElectronic speed and pitch control


Ask a normal, non-audio obsessed person to picture a record player and there is a good chance that the device they come up with is a Technics SL-1200.

Since its debut over fifty years ago, Technics has shifted several million of them and it has become a genuine icon. Resurrected in 2016, and priced at a more premium level, it has enjoyed considerable success and now, the GR model; the more affordable of the two hi-fi orientated tiers has been given a refresh to become the imaginatively named GR2.

At first glance, it looks like very little has changed. Technics has wisely not played about with the distinctive and handsome external design but there are some significant revisions to how it works internally.

For a few purists, one of these changes is A Big Deal that has had the Internet rather worked up but it’s part of a wider selection of changes based on the data that the company has accrued from the time it has been on sale. Even so, changing a award winning recipe is not without risks. Is this a genuine step forward or would you better off buying one of the GR2’s few million ancestors instead?


The SL-1200GR2 is available in the UK for £1,799 from a selection of UK retailers. It has a US retail price of $2,200 and it is available in Australia for $3,299. It is available in silver (SL-1200) and black (SL-1210) for the same price and all versions are sold without a phono cartridge supplied as standard. 

The SL-1200GR2 is the middle of a three tier line up of 1200 models. Below it is the SL-1200Mk7 which is aimed more at DJs both aspiring and established and above it is the SL-1200G, which looks similar but features substantially more complex engineering and materials in its construction. There’s no shortage of competition to the Technics at this sort of price point but almost all of these are belt driven and don’t have some of the features that the Technics offers as a matter of course.


  • Iconic industrial design
  • Electronically adjustable speed and pitch control
  • No cartridge or phono stage

Technics has done nothing other than change the name next to the Technics badge for this latest turntable and this is entirely deliberate. The SL-1200 can legitimately be called a design icon. Other than some of the… imitators… of it available at a variety of price points, it looks and feels like nothing else on the market in 2024.

This is tied into a set of features that cemented the 1200’s role as the original DJ deck. The 1200GR2 has electronic speed adjustment, with 33 and 45 rpm given their own buttons and 78rpm being selected by pressing both at the same time. The platter has a series of strobe markings on to confirm that it’s spinning at the correct speed too.

Technics SL-1200GR2 speed selection
Image Credit (Trusted Reviews)

As well as these fixed speeds, you can adjust the fine pitch that the Technics rotates at (originally to handle mastering errors but just as invaluable when getting two tracks to sync up via mixer). You’ll also find a pop up cuing light to help you set a cartridge down in low light conditions. These features combine to make the Technics feel a world away from more stripped back rivals.

Something that may or may not count as a feature but certainly warrants mention is that the GR2 feels more substantial than the older model; which was extremely well made in its own right. The way that the Technics is bolted together feels both substantial and carefully done. The arm is the nicest feeing example of its type I can remember testing.

Technics SL-1200GR2 s-shaped tonearm
Image Credit (Trusted Reviews)

While the SL-1200GR2 is well specified, it is important to stress that it does not come with a phono cartridge pre installed and neither does it have a phono stage built in so both of these will need to be taken care of before you can use it. At this price point, this is far from unusual but if does mean that the retail price you see at the top of the page is not the final price of getting it up and running.

Another area of the Technics that is something of an annoyance is that the mains socket is under a lip at ninety degrees to the rear panel making it an absolute pig to fit which does slightly spoil a turntable that is otherwise a pleasure to install and setup.


  • Delta Sigma drive and uprated PSU
  • S Shaped tonearm with detachable headshell

The one unifying feature of all 1200 models from the original 1972 version onwards is they make use of direct drive. This means that the motor acts directly on the spindle of the turntable without an intervening belt or idler in the way. The advantage of this is absolutely rock solid pitch stability which means that things like strings and long piano notes sound more convincing.

As I’ve already noted, the GR2 looks basically the same as the outgoing GR which in turn looked like pretty much ever other Technics SL-1200 ever made. The big difference between the new model and its ancestors is lurking inside the plinth. Technics calls it Delta Sigma Drive and it is about the control of electricity to the motor.

Technics SL-1200GR2 top down view
Image Credit (Trusted Reviews)

Delta Sigma drive uses pulse width modulation (effectively a form of digital) to control both the timing and synchronisation of the electricity reaching the motor. When combined with a power supply that has also been revised and improved to be quieter and less prone to vibration.

Technics claims that far less unwanted noise and interference is reaching the platter. Why does this matter? The motor on a turntable is the only point where electricity reaches the unit as the arm is completely passive, relying on the tiny amounts of electricity generated by the stylus moving.

Technics SL-1200GR2 headsell close up
Image Credit (Trusted Reviews)

Any unwanted energy reaching the platter is going to be picked up by the cartridge and affect the overall sound quality so the revisions to the 1200GR2, while invisible are rather important.

The arm in question, while benefitting from the improved feel already mentioned, is in keeping with previous models. The Technics has an S-shaped arm that has a detachable headshell where the cartridge attaches. This makes cartridges easier to fit and means if you have a big pile of old 78 records, you can fit a cartridge designed to play them and switch the Technics over to playing them very easily. It also accepts cartridges that attach directly to the headshell mount, which is a potentially useful feature too.

Technics SL-1200GR2 dust cover down
Image Credit (Trusted Reviews)

Sound Quality

  • Low end performance with depth
  • Energetic sound

It takes about half a side of an LP to begin to realise that Technics has achieved something rather special with the SL-1200GR2. All versions of this long running design have shared characteristics that are imparted by the direct drive system. The absolute pitch stability of the 1200GR2 can embarrass seriously high end designs, so even and accurate is the pitch.

Beyond this, there is an energy to the way that the Technics makes music that both distinctive and, for many of us, absolutely addictive. To hear the Technics tear its way through Poison by the Prodigy is to hear the track as it should sound; accept no imitations.

Technics SL-1200GR2 record playing
Image Credit (Trusted Reviews)

Much of this is down to the bass that the Technics offers. It’s far too simple to say that there is more bass than rivals, not least because most of them have plenty and too much bass isn’t generally a good thing. What you get instead is a low end that combines impressive depth and impact, with the agility to ensure that even complex pieces of music sound energetic and lively.

I’ve seen comments to the effect that what the Technics does is almost digital in its presentation but that’s an oversimplification; the Technics was doing its thing before CD came along.

The good news is that the 1200GR2 hasn’t messed about with any of these fundamental traits. To listen to Daft Punk’s Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger on the Technics is to experience it sounding fundamentally and absolutely ‘right.’ The energy and sheer drive on offer here is deeply and lastingly addictive and it ensures you are never simply a bystander to what the 1200GR2 is doing but are actively engaged in it.

Technics SL-1200GR2 pitch adjustment
Image Credit (Trusted Reviews)

Where this new model kicks on though is when you take the high energy dance music off the turntable and replace it with the lovely but entirely sedate Folklore by Taylor Swift. In days past, this would have sounded good but perhaps not great on an SL-1200. The pitch stability would have been epic but some of the delicacy that this music needs would be lacking; as if Ms Swift was suddenly the size of Travis Kelce.

On the GR2 though, every considered wistful and considered note is replayed without any of the muscular performance making itself felt. The performance is still rhythmically superb but it’s happening at the rhythm of the album itself and not being slightly forced by the ballistic edge of the Technics.

Technics SL-1200GR2 cartridge shell
Image Credit (Trusted Reviews)

There’s more too. The SL-1200 has never struggled to sound big; something with the effortless bass extension it possesses generally doesn’t. What the GR2 does is increase the perception of space around the material being played. Listening to Kraftwerk’s mighty album Minimum Maximum, the Technics effortlessly conveys a perception of the arena spaces it was recorded in and the huge crowds watching four middle aged German blokes standing stock still on the stage in front of them. It’s a subtle change but it greatly helps the sense of immersion in what you’re listening to.

These are useful steps forward over what went before and they make the SL-12100GR2 a more capable all-rounder than ever before. It doesn’t have this price to itself – there are some exceptional belt drive rivals that compete with it, but while I would find myself listening to the older model and looking wistfully at those other turntables and missing their delicacy, the new model more than holds its own.

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Should you buy it?

Strength in depth

The Technics is well made, well specified, a pleasure to use and now offers a level of performance that the older models didn’t hit. Everything that the design has done so well for fifty years is still apparent here but now matched to a delicacy spaciousness and out and out musicality that wasn’t there before. It’s an old dog with some very decent new tricks.

Not plug and play

The need to budget for (and fit) a cartridge makes the Technics a little more involved than some rivals at the price point. Some people (me for example) enjoy having the choice but it makes it a little more involved and costly to get up and running.

Final Thoughts

The SL-1200GR2 looks like every 1200 that’s come before it and it delivers the same addictive qualities as before. The changes under the hood though are enough to make this the most capable all-rounder the iconic design has ever been.

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We test every turntable we review thoroughly over an extended period of time. We use industry standard tests to compare features properly. We’ll always tell you what we find. We never, ever, accept money to review a product.

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Tested for several days

Tested with real world use


Does the Technics SL-1200GR2 come with a cartridge?

No cartridge is supplied with the Technics SL-1200GR2 so you’ll need to add your own to get the turntable up and running.

Full specs

Size (Dimensions)
Release Date
Turntable Type
Speeds (rpm)

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