Exclusive: Technics Brings Sync Button To Turntables

Abril Primero
Read time: 2 mins
Last updated 1 April, 2016

The high price tag of the new Technics turntable range can now be revealed to be due to an amazing new feature – sync!

Ever since they were announced by Technics a few weeks ago, DJs have been wondering why the enormous cost of $4000 for not even two, but simply ONE of the new generation of Technics turntable. Thanks to an eagle-eyed reader in Japan, we can reveal the reason, something Technics has kept silent about until now: The new Technics SL-1200G/GAE Turntables will have sync built in, which doesn’t need any software to work, and will work with all vinyl.

According to our source: “The way it works is that the turntables are linked via a single, simple minijack lead, like a mono headphones lead – the same type used to autostart CDJs with faders. There’s a chip in each turntable that analyses the peaks in the music, like DJ software does, and it sends an electronic ‘tick’, similar to a metronome click, down the lead to the other turntable.

A special chip (bottom left) attached to the platter motor both reads the musical peaks of the actual vinyl being played, and adjusts the speed of the motor to keep the tunes in sync.

“When the DJ hits the ‘sync’ button with a track playing on both decks, the Technics ‘lines up’ the clicks and adjusts both the speed and the phrasing of the turntable. The pitch fader is motorised, like in a studio mixing desk, and so it actually moves when this happens. The whole thing works a bit like a car adjusting the engine speed with cruise control on.”

“The best bit is that this all happens behind the scenes – the turntable appears completely normal to anyone who doesn’t know, and indeed, even the way of activating the sync function is novel – the little button that used to pop out the surface light turns sync on and off, the surface light itself popping in and out by simply pushing it hard to unclick its fastener.”

The small button bottom left in this picture turns sync on and off, and the reset button (right) can be used as a “tap” to help the turntable with BPMs it can’t work out.

Later in the article, the Technics engineer added: “Really, sync is such an easy thing to implement – after all, DJ software has had it for years – that the only challenge was the mechanics of adjusting the platter speed once we’d got the turntables talking to each other.”

What we think

With EDM apparently on a wane and people calling out DJs for being button pushers, turntable DJ sets are on the rise. This technology, while expensive, should help DJs who don’t have manual beatmatching skills to play DJ sets with real records on real turntables.

The light built in to the on/off switch can pulse to show the DJ the beats visually, according to our source.

It may annoy the purists, but with Pioneer adding sync to CDJs and now sync arriving at that last bastion of purism, the turntable, it really does look like sync will soon be on everything, giving DJs the chance to use such equipment without first mastering manual beatmatching.

Apparently, there is an option to have the on/off light subtly flash in time to the beat as a visual aid to mixing too, for DJs who don’t want to go the full sync route but do want some help due to being hooked on waveforms from DJ software.

Video demo?

We can’t confirm this, but a rumour has it that a number of prototype pairs are already out there being roadtested with EDM DJs eager to get on real vinyl – including at this Dimitri Vegas and Like Mike gig from late last year, where the duo mysteriously switched to vinyl for no apparent reason mid-set.

• This was a guest post by DJ Abril Primero. Find out more about her at her website here.

What do you think? Does the idea of having sync on turntables excite you? Do you think it makes them worth $4000? Will this technology “bubble down” to more affordable decks? Please share your thoughts below.

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