Technics
Native name
テクニクス
IndustryElectronics
Founded1965; 57 years ago (1965)
HeadquartersKadoma, Osaka, Japan
Key people
Fumio Ohtsubo, president
ProductsDJ sets, headphones, synthesizers, turntables
ParentPanasonic
Websitetechnics.com

Technics (テクニクス, Tekunikusu) is a Japanese brand name of the Panasonic Corporation for audio equipment. Since 1965 under the brand name, Panasonic has produced a variety of hi-fi products, such as turntables, amplifiers, receivers, tape decks, CD players and speakers for sale in various countries. It was conceived as a line of high-end audio equipment to compete against brands such as Nakamichi.

From 2002 onwards products were rebranded as Panasonic except in Japan and CIS countries (such as Russia), where the brand remained in high regard. Panasonic discontinued the brand for most products in October 2010, but it was revived in 2015 with new high-end turntables.[1] The brand is best known for the SL-1200 DJ turntable, an industry standard for decades.[2]

History

Technics was introduced as a brand name for premium loudspeakers marketed domestically by Matsushita in 1965. The name came to wider prominence with the international sales of direct-drive turntables. The first direct-drive turntable was invented by Shuichi Obata, an engineer at Matsushita (now Panasonic),[3] based in Osaka, Japan.[4] It eliminated belts, and instead employed a motor to directly drive a platter on which a vinyl record rests.[5] It is a significant advancement over older belt-drive turntables, which are unsuitable for turntablism, since they have a slow start-up time, and are prone to wear-and-tear and breakage,[4] as the belt would break from backspinning or scratching.[6] In 1969, Matsushita launched Obata's invention as the SP-10,[5] the first direct-drive turntable on the professional market.[7]

In 1971, Matsushita released the Technics SL-1100 for the consumer market. Due to its strong motor, durability, and fidelity, it was adopted by early hip hop artists.[5] The SL-1100 was used by the influential DJ Kool Herc for the first sound system he set up after emigrating from Jamaica to New York City.[8]

It was followed by the SL-1200, the most influential turntable.[9] It was developed in 1971 by a team led by Shuichi Obata at Matsushita, which then released it onto the market in 1972.[4] It was adopted by New York City hip hop DJs such as Grand Wizard Theodore and Afrika Bambaataa in the 1970s. As they experimented with the SL-1200 decks, they developed scratching techniques when they found that the motor would continue to spin at the correct RPM even if the DJ wiggled the record back and forth on the platter.[9]

As the upgraded SL-1200 MK2, it became a widely used turntable by DJs. A robust machine, the SL-1200 MK2 incorporated a pitch control mechanism (or vari-speed), and maintained a relatively constant speed with low variability, which proved popular with DJs. The SL-1200 series remained the most widely used turntable in DJ culture through to the 2000s.[5][9] The SL-1200 model, often considered the industry standard turntable, continued to evolve with the M3D series, followed by the MK5 series in 2003.

Despite being originally created to market their high-end equipment, by the early 1980s Technics was offering an entire range of equipment from entry-level to high-end.

In 1972, Technics introduced the first autoreverse system in a cassette deck in its Technics RS-277US and in 1973 it introduced the first three-head recording technique in a cassette deck (Technics RS-279US).

In 1976, Technics introduced two belt-driven turntables for the mass market, the SL-20 and SL-23. The principal difference between the two models was the additional feature of semi-automatic operation in the SL-23, along with an adjustable speed control with built-in strobe light. They offered technical specifications and features rivaling much more expensive turntables, including well-engineered s-shaped tonearms with tracking weight and anti-skate adjustments. At the time they were introduced, the SL-20 and SL-23, which sold for $100.00 and $140.00 respectively, set a new performance standard for inexpensive turntables.[10]

The Technics brand was discontinued in 2010, but reappeared at the 2014 German consumer electronics trade fair IFA. In January 2016 on the occasion of the 50th Anniversary the Technics SL-1200 came back with the Technics SL-1200 G.[11]

Notable products

Early 1960s

Late 1960s – early 1970s

Mid-1970s

Late 1970s

Early 1980s

1980s Technics SU-V5 stereo amplifier
1980s Technics SU-V5 stereo amplifier

Mid-1980s

1990s–2000s

During the 90's, Technics launched a successful series of mini hi-fi systems (SC-EH series, SC-CA SC-CH series and SC-DV series with cd player and surround sound) and in the late 90's, the very successful series of micro hi-fi systems, SC-HD series (SC-HDV and SC-HDA, for series with dvd player and surround sound). These were manufactured until 2004, and after that, until 2005, were named Panasonic for the short time they were still kept in production after Technics brand was phased out. Technics had also created a 60+1 disc changer in 1998 under the model line SL-MC (excluding the last model, the SL-MC7, that being a 110+1 changer) that ran until 2002[19] across a total of 8 models before being shut down, the last 60+1 mechanisms being featured in Panasonic Mini-HiFi systems. The Technics badge was then relegated to turntables in 2005, including the low cost SL-BD20/22 manufactured well into the 2000's, and some higher quality headphones and speakers, although the same model names appeared under both Technics and Panasonic names in some countries, for a while. From 2002 onwards, receivers which once were known as Technics, were rebranded as Panasonic. Technics stopped manufacturing separates (cd players, cassette deck, tuners, amplifiers) in late 2001, but remained for a while in the home cinema market, with both dvd players and receivers and speakers until late 2002, when these were renamed Panasonic. From 2004 on, except turntables, a series of headphones, and some dj equipment, all audio products were by now bearing the Panasonic name, rather than Technics. Also, by 2004, both SL-BD20/22 turntables were phased out. The two subwoofers listed below (SST-25/35HZ) along with the SST-1 Loudspeakers, weren't intended for home use but are quite at home there as long as have room for them. Use in a small room can result in drywall damage and a fish tank should not be in the same room. They were actually intended for large venue such as theater, ballroom or outdoor use. Both were passive sub-woofers that came with a separate amplifier.

Since 2014

Developed version of the professional turntable SP-10 (1969) for Vinyl, Technics SP-10R (2018)
Developed version of the professional turntable SP-10 (1969) for Vinyl, Technics SP-10R (2018)

Panasonic Corporation relaunched the Technics brand in late 2014, mainly because of increased market interest in high end hi-fi, and also due to renewed interest in vinyl. The brand was relaunched with a series of amplifiers, speakers and micro hi-fi systems, but no turntables were yet available. The turntables were relaunched in 2016.

As written above, in 2016, on the occasion of the 50th Anniversary of the SL-1200, Technics came back with the SL-1200 G.[11] About 2017 a remarkable digital amplifier, the SU-G700, was announced.[13] Among their most successful products are the newly launched SL1500-C turntable series, and the Ottava micro hi-fi series, and also their active speakers series. The SL1200 is also successful. Technics SL1500-C was launched as an alternative to the SL1200 series, being aimed at home use rather than DJ use. It has a quartz speed stabilizer, also it has no variable pitch and has no stroboscope for speed adjustment. Like 1200, it is manual; it only has an arm lift feature at the end of the record, which can be deactivated. It is available in silver and black versions. It has a built-in preamplifier, which can be completely deactivated if not needed. It also has a heavy damped platter. In the tradition of Technics, SL1500-C is a Direct Drive turntable. It is different, however, from the SL1500 models from the 1970s and it is not manufactured in Japan like its bigger brothers, the SL1200 and the SP10, but in Malaysia. In 2021 the production of all Technics turntables was moved to Malaysia. Although Technics previously manufactured a series of belt drive turntables (mainly cheaper versions), no new belt drive turntables from Technics are available now, and it seems that Technics will not launch a new belt drive series.

See also

References

  1. ^ "Panasonic gives Technics a new spin but no sign of coveted turntables". Reuters.com. 3 September 2014. Retrieved 19 February 2022.
  2. ^ "Panasonic's Technics revival has a new direct-drive SL-1200". Engadget.com. Retrieved 19 February 2022.
  3. ^ Billboard, May 21, 1977, page 140
  4. ^ a b c Brian Coleman, The Technics 1200 — Hammer Of The Gods, Medium
  5. ^ a b c d Trevor Pinch, Karin Bijsterveld, The Oxford Handbook of Sound Studies, page 515, Oxford University Press
  6. ^ The World of DJs and the Turntable Culture, page 43, Hal Leonard Corporation, 2003
  7. ^ "History of the Record Player Part II: The Rise and Fall". Reverb.com. Retrieved 5 June 2016.
  8. ^ "History of the Record Player Part II: The Rise and Fall". reverb.com. Retrieved 5 June 2016.
  9. ^ a b c Six Machines That Changed The Music World, Wired, May 2002
  10. ^ "Vintage Technics Database". Retrieved 2011-03-08.
  11. ^ a b technics.com News – Die Wiederauflage eines Klassikers, (German).
  12. ^ hifiengine.com 2020, Technics SL-P2 (englisch), retrieved 13 Mai 2020.
  13. ^ a b connect.de 8. August 2017, Technics SU-G700 im Test (German).
  14. ^ 松下電器ラジオ事業部50年史 [50 Years History of Radio Division.]. Matsushita Electric Industrial Co. Ltd. (not for sale) – The brand name "Technics" was formed in the conversations between Naraji Sakamoto (audio product designer of Panasonic) and chairman of Kawamoto Musen (a home electronics dealer in Nipponbashi, Osaka).
  15. ^ Dahl, Axel. "Technics C01 on thevintageknob.org". Thevintageknob.org. Retrieved 19 February 2022.
  16. ^ Dahl, Axel. "Technics SB-F1 on thevintageknob.org". Thevintageknob.org. Retrieved 19 February 2022.
  17. ^ "Technics SY-1010 Analog Synthesizer". Synthesizer Database (sequencer.de).
  18. ^ "SY-DP50 catalog (clip)" (in Japanese). Technics.
  19. ^ "Technics Digital Players & Recorders". vintagetechnics.audio. Retrieved 2022-04-16.
  20. ^ "Technics WSA1 Digital Synthesizer". Synthesizer Database (sequencer.de).
  21. ^ "Technics SX-WSA1". Sound On Sound. May 1995. Archived from the original on 6 June 2015.
  22. ^ "Technics SX-WSA1". Sound On Sound. December 1995. Archived from the original on 6 June 2015.
  23. ^ "Technics SX-WSA1R". Sound On Sound. December 1996. Archived from the original on 7 June 2015.
  24. ^ "Technics WSA1". Future Music. No. 38. December 1995. ISSN 0967-0378. OCLC 1032779031.
  25. ^ Technics SX-PR902 Service Manual. Matsushita Electric Industrial CO., LTD. 1998. ORDER NO.EMID981697 A4.
historical products
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