Vinyl sales in the United States exploded last year, up 52 percent in the first half of 2015, according to the Recording Industry Association of America, and have overtaken streaming in terms of revenue. In response, Sony and Panasonic have announced new turntables at CES 2016 in Las Vegas.
For the 50th anniversary of the SL-1200, which is beloved by audiophiles and DJs alike, Panasonic said Technics is releasing two new “Grand Class” models: the aluminum-cased SL-1200G and the magnesium limited-edition SL-1200GAE, of which only 1,200 will be made. Panasonic had ceased production of Technics turntables in 2010. The new SL-1200s include a modern makeover to help alleviate some long-term issues inherent to the classic models.
“Direct drive turntable systems have been beloved by HiFi enthusiasts since their birth in 1972,” the company said. “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.”
To eliminate cogging, Technics added a coreless direct-drive motor, along with a microprocessor controlled rotary positioning sensor. Other improvements have been made to the tonearm and cabinet construction. The limited edition Grand Class SL-1200GAE will be available this summer, while the Grand Class SL-1200G will be available in late 2016. There was no word on pricing at press time.
Sony Electronics unveiled its PS-HX500 turntable, which enables users to convert music from their records into high-res digital audio files. The new PS-HX500 turntable will be available this spring. Sony did not share pricing information.
Originally published at Reverb in January 2016