Panasonic has unveiled a spectacular new vinyl turntable at CES 2016 in Las Vegas.
The new version of the iconic Technics direct-drive record player, first announced at IFA in Berlin in 2015, is a reflection of the recent explosion in vinyl record sales, the company said.
At its CES press conference, Panasonic showed the new player in detail for the first time, and confirmed that it will take the classic 'SL-1200' name of the original players still lauded by DJs. Released under the Technics brand -- itself relaunched in 2014 alongside a pair of extremely expensive audio systems, after being officially killed just years before -- the focus will be on high-end quality, and a high-end price.
Two versions of the player will be released: a limited Technics 50th Anniversary 'Grand Class SL-1200GAE' will come first, in summer 2016 (limited, naturally, to 1200 units). A non-limited Grand Class 1200G will follow before the end of 2016. Both will be expensive, audiophile-grade devices, even though they are still largely aimed at DJs. Prices were not announced but are expected to reach several thousand pounds.
At a technology show where entertainment news is otherwise dominated by 4K TV, streaming audio and digital music systems, Panasonic said that the players were a direct response to the recent revival of vinyl record sales, which increased by 56 percent last year in the UK alone, according to the British Phonographic Association.
The new SL-1200 will overcome problems with older analogue direct-drive turntables, Panasonic said, including removing degradation in sound quality caused by small vibrations of the motor and rotational speed, known by audiophiles as 'cogging'.