The Technics SL-1200 MK2 MK3 MK4 MK5 MK5G M5G MK6 LTD & GLD are a series of turntables manufactured since October 1972 by Matsushita under the brand name of Technics. S means “Stereo”, L means “Player”. Originally released as a high fidelity consumer record player, it quickly became adopted among radio and club disc jockeys. Since its release in 1978, SL-1200MK2 and its successors have been the most common turntable for DJing and scratching. The MK2 presented several improvements, including to the motor and casing. Since 1972, more than 3 million units have been sold. It is widely regarded as one of the most durable and reliable turntables ever produced. Many of the models manufactured in the 1970s are still in heavy use. Rappers have referred to the turntable in pairs as “1200s”, “Tee 12s”, “Technics”, “Tec 12s”, “wheels of steel” and “the one and twos”. In the autumn of 2010, Panasonic announced that the series was to be discontinued due to marketplace conditions.
According to notable journalist Tom Terrell of NPR, the Technics 1200 SL direct-drive turntable is “the most important musical instrument of the last two-and-a-half decades.”
At the London Science Museum, Technics SL-1210 is on display as one of the pieces of technology that have shaped the world we live in.