DJ equipment – learn about the turnables

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Thomas Edison invented the phonograph on August 12, 1877 and the rest, as they say, is history. Sure, a lot happened in between but here’s all you need to know: last year the Chicago Tribune reported that 105,000 analog turntables and between 500,000 and 700,000 vinyl records sold throughout the United States. And those numbers are supposed to stay on track over the next five years. So, analog isn’t going anywhere in the immediate future. It is getting expensive to find and buy records containing new music to play on them, however, so keep mowing those lawns and save up all of your extra lunch money because analog isn’t getting any cheaper.

The most popular line of turntables sold around the world is the Technics sl 1200 series turntable. The design was patented in the 70s and its still rolling strong, so what does that tell you? Its become the industry standard, meaning you’ll find them at most bars and clubs you plan to play out at, so accept no imitations.


The Technics sl1200 is the flagship turntable for today’s disc jockey. Its the champagne of record players, and it knows it. What sets this bad boy apart from the competition is its robust design and dependability. Nobody wants a wobbling dud when their reputation is on the line, and the 1200 comes through in the clutch. If you’re in the market for some analog turntables, do not waste your time and/or money on anything other then Technics. Vestax makes a decent turntable but it costs about the same as the sl1200, so what’s the point? There just really isn’t much of a comparison to the Technics name in the world of turntables. If you end up going with some other brand, you will more then likely walk away wishing that you had just put the money down up front on some 1200s. So do yourself a favor…

Now when it comes to Technics turntables, they all pretty much look and cost the same… but there are a couple of different models that you should be aware of, before taking the plunge:

Technics sl 1200MK2
The premier turntable for at least 20 years. This piece of equipment lived a full and happy life, and can still be purchased new today.  There’s really nothing wrong with this turntable, except that they don’t cost any less then the newer versions. So unless you just found a sweet deal on eBay for a set of MK2s, you will probably want to roll with either the M3D or MK5 and their enhanced features.

Technics sl 1200M3D
Commonly called the MD3 or MK3. The M3D carried the torch for the Technics line-up by sporting an upgraded design and packing in a few extra features to include:

   – The power button was sunk so you can’t accidentally turn it off
- A quartz Lock button that immediately returns the pitch to zero
- The pitch control doesn’t click at zero (this matters when matching beats close to 0 pitch)
- Each deck comes with a mat
- They lost the hinges on the dust covers

DJ equipment   learn about the turnables

Technics sl 1200MK5
The next generation… the MK5 contains all the upgraded features of the M3D, plus an improved tonearm construction which is designed to reduce skipping while back cueing (scratching); and a user friendly brake adjustment so you can customize your stopping time more easier.