Well we didn’t see this one coming. Panasonic, the company behind the recently discontinued Technics SL1210, today announced that it is relaunching its emblematic turntable of the past 30 years… as a digital control surface for all major DJ software, including Traktor, Virtual DJ and Serato.
The new DT1210 will look and feel exactly the same as the traditional SL1210, but will have a built-in 24-bit/96kHz sound card and will output either line or phono-level signals, allowing it to be used with all standard DJ mixers.
The only giveaway that it is any different at all from the original turntable is the small USB jack on the back, and the fact that it doesn’t have an earth lead – plus its futuristic blue LED pitch control and surface light, similar to the Vestax VCI-100 Mk II DJ controller.
“We have seem other companies make digital inroads into the DJ box, but nobody has yet established a digital standard, after five years of uncertainty of our own making,” says the company.
“But there’s still physical space for turntables in every DJ box. By making the Technics 1210 work with all current DJ software, we think we have the industry standard for the next 30 years in our hands and can put an end to this controllerism and CDJ confusion.”
Technical details are still scarce, but it seems a small driver – already built in to Windows, OS X, iOS and Android – allows the new control surface (which apparently has semi-permanently attached control vinyl, a little like the Stanton SCS.1 system) to work “out of the box” with Midi-mappable DJ programs on any of these platform.
A & B-sided vinyl supplied for true four-channel DJing
In a clever twist, you’ll be able to physically turn the control vinyl over, just like turning over a record, for full four track DJing. It even works with djay for iPad, meaning iPad DJs can just roll up and play with no more gear necessary past a pair of headphones.
The surprise move will be welcomed by turntable purists, as if it is a success, it means that digital DJing will retain the look and feel of vinyl for the foreseeable future, making the skills that purists feel are being lost immediately relevant again.
However, it spells trouble for controller and CDJ manufacturers, as it means that the turntable in general and Technics in particular may well regain and keep their throne as “the way DJing is done”, at least in club DJ booths.