The James Hunter Six:
Something's Calling/ Talking About My love
Within the House of Soul, the Daptone Staff is affectionately referred to as “The Hate Crew,” a name they have earned from their years of ruthless evisceration of anything which doesn’t meet their impossibly idealistic expectations. Armed with rolling eyes and barbs of sarcasm, they are the true guardians of the Daptone Sound. The problem is, this new James Hunter single has turned them all into adorable little kittens. They spend all day mewing to the ballads and scampering about to the uptempo cuts instead of selling records. In an effort to save the company, label Boss Neal Sugarman declared a “Hunter Free Zone,” but when he tried to pry the test pressing of Hunter's latest single from the office turntable and replace it with something a bit more hate-able, the needle slipped and dropped back into the grooves of “Something’ s Calling,” irreversibly morphing him too into a small playful kitten. Meow, James Hunter. Meow.
Technics 1200 returns, but is it worth $4000,-
The Technics SL-1200 may have become an industry staple but the turntables, originally developed by Matsushita in Japan in 1972, and recently announced as returning to the market in 2016, were never envisioned as the life and soul of the rave.
Before production ceased in 2010, variations on Technics SL-1200 were the consistent, go-to standard for DJs and audiophiles. Respected for their almost indestructible build and high torque motor, the players were initially designed exclusively for hi-fidelity lounge listening. Yet their initially unique ability to shift pitch with ease saw them have a second life in clubs. Both house and especially hip-hop owe a huge debt to the versatility of these machines, now considered instruments in their own right thanks to pioneering DJs such as Jazzy Jeff through to DJ Shadow and Jeff Mills.
Despite selling over 3m units in its lifetime, the 1200 reached the end of the production line as something of a niche concern, given the all conquering rise of the MP3, and the lasting appeal of the CD album format for casual consumers. But as vinyl sales have enjoyed a renaissance over the past five years, spiking over the last 18 months, manufacturers have started to offer vinyl fans more turntables to choose from.
Given the burgeoning commercial demand, it was unsurprising when Panasonic this week announced their plans to revive and update the classic Technics design for 2016. Catalogued as the SL-1200G, its designers have ensured a few fixes that are said to improve the turntable’s analogue sound. Tiny vibrations known as “cogging” are to be eliminated by “high-precision rotary positioning sensors guided by a microprocessor controlled system”. Furthermore, we’re promised that “a twin rotator construction reduces the bearing load ... Making it possible to reproduce the warm sound and subtle nuances of musical expression.” This is not a mere Spotify alternative.
Later this year, audiophiles and DJs alike will have to pay $4,000 per unit for the SL-1200G. They’ll pay even more if they want to drop the redesigned needle over the summer, when Technics release the “Grand Class” line, limited to yes, 1,200 editions. But the world has changed since the SL-1200 largely became a denizen of Craigslist and eBay. Specifically, it’s only become more digital.
Chris Klassen is marketing director at Turntable Lab, a New York physical and online record store, who have embraced the new vinyl market with a wide range of “beginners packages”, as well as offering expert advice on maintaining and trading older systems. Klassen is optimistic about the player’s chances in a suddenly crowded market.
“Most of us here have a DJ background, so we’ll recommend a 1200. But it’s a different world for new users,” Klassen says. “Since they’re getting into it now, they’re coming into a world where turntables already have USB and recording capabilities. They’re not aware of this market that’s existed for years, which is the Hi-Fi listener. I see people have already been complaining on our Facebook post about the super high price, but I don’t think they understand the lineage of it.”
Jonathan Danbury, Technics’s audio specialist, and a figure heavily involved in the upcoming relaunch, is naturally confident in the player’s ability and relevance.
“Obviously there are various analog to digital converters you can buy at different prices, with software that enables you to rip vinyl if you wanted to,” Danbury acknowledges. “But we kept those areas separate to maximise the quality and performance of the 1200.”
Quality and performance are the key terms in Technics’s well-versed pitch, with Danbury stressing the company’s desire to manufacture a “spectacularly beautiful, great sounding, analog replay device”. But beneath the admittedly “iconic design” of the new 1200, is there anything not yet equalled by rivals such as Sony (who this week also announced a new digital player, the PS-HX500)? How much of Technics’ appeal is rooted in pure nostalgia?
“A lot of the engineers at Technics have moved on to other areas or retired, and we actually worked with some of the older engineers who’d developed the original turntable, to bring their knowledge back into the company,” Danbury elaborates. “It’s very much been re-engineered from the ground up to avoid any problems found with early generation, direct drive turntables. The motor and the platter have been completely redesigned. The process has taken over a year to do.”
Realistically, only a limited number of music fans will be able to spend $4,000 on a record player, and even fewer of those will be bedroom based mixmasters. DJ software companies such as Pioneer have cautiously strayed into the market, with decks that closely mimic the look and feel of classic Technics. But if the 1200 maintains the gold standard, then does anything else come close?
“Initially, we were really impressed [with the Pioneer decks]”, Klassen recalls. “But the cold hard facts are that they’re not built exactly like a 1200. The other side of that is, the entry level DJ is coming in from a world where it’s just been digital. It just feels like the need for any vibration dampening isn’t there right now, because DJs are playing digital files.”
V-Rocket Radio new website
It's our pleasure to release the brand new V-Rocket Radio website alongside a new logo design, comments and more ideas are always welcome.
We are Glad to present a New DJ/Collector at V-Rocket Internet Radio!
Palo Santo is a well know DJ with a background in Rare Sounds from all over the World.
Listen to him " Li ve " Friday from 8pm !! cet time scedule.