The Technics SL-1200 Mk II (Mark 2) is the standard DJ Turntable, and has been since its release in 1978. Its features include 33/45 record speed playback, 8% pitch control, anti-skating and motor-brake. Other models exist (see below), but the Mark II is standard.
The original Technics SL-1200 Mk II, released in 1978, was not developed for DJ use as we know it today. Instead it was developed for commercial applications such as the recording and broadcast industry. Because many radio disc jockeys at the time were also contracted out to play public events, many brought along their Technics SL-1200 Mk II, along with other studio equipment. Night clubs at the time did have DJs, but many played on existing consumer models and could not live up to the abuse of the nightlife industry. Although night club DJs at the time were not particularly abusive to their equipment, nor required many features on the turntable, the ability to simply back cue a record and instantly starting the song at the right moment were pivotal requirements for the night club DJ, which led to the eventual adoption of the Technics SL-1200 Mk II as the night club standard.
The DMC rules specify that two SL-1200 Mk II turntables are to be used, without any modification, so that the competition is fair. The prize for winning the DMC battle for world supremacy is a pair of gold-plated SL-1200s.
- The original SL-1200, released in 1972, was marketed as a hi-fi turntable.
- The SL-1200 Mk II, released in 1978, has a silver finish. With this model, the motor and shock resistance were improved, a ground wire was added, and the rotary pitch control was changed to a slider style control. This is now the base model and is the oldest still in production.
- The SL-1210 Mk II is the matte black version of SL-1200MK2. It used to be unavailable from official Panasonic dealers in the United States, until the SL-1210MK2PK -- a US-only. piano-black (glossy) model -- was released.
- The SL-1210 Mk III (1989) has a matte-black finish like the 1210, gold RCA plugs, and a small gold-foil Technics label on the back.
- The SL-1210 Mk III D (1997) adds a quartz lock button which resets pitch to 0 immediately.
- The SL-1210 Mk IV (1997) has no quartz lock but does have a 78 RPM speed and a reverse function. All of the hardware is plated with platinum. It was only available in Japan.
- The SL-1210 Mk V increases the range of anti-skate settings from 0–3 grams-force (0–30 mN) to 0–6 grams-force (0–60 mN).
- The SL-1210 Mk V G was launched in Japan on 1 November 2002 (together with the MK5) and is a special 30th-anniversary edition of the SL-1200. This model has the ability to switch between ±8% and ±16% ranges for adjustment. It also featured blue target lights and blue pitch-number illumination.
- Finally, there are the limited edition gold finishings of the SL-1200LTD (1998) and SL-1200GLD (2004) models, the latter also having a blue instead of the usual white target light. The SL-1200LTD is based on the Mk III D and the SL-1200GLD is based on the Mk V G.
- The SL-1200MK6 (2007) model (currently only available in the Japanese market). This turntable will ultimately replace the MK2, MK3, and MK5 models. There are no major improvements to the MK6 series, other than ROHS compliance with it's electronic circuitry and components. The only significant improvement over previous models is the Oxygen Free Copper wire used in the tonearm. Previous models utilized tin plated tonearm wires. In addition, a blue LED target light has been installed.