What is Technics thinking?

Lots has been said, both pro and con, about the new Technics turntable.  Description here -


Some are excited about the potential, given the upgrades since their last production table/arm, the venerable SL-12XX series.  Others see it simply as an excuse to raise the price significantly of the 1200s.

In my view they shot themselves in the foot.  They copied the model number of their best selling table (I can only imagine in the hope the familiarity will carry over) and also ended up with a very similar appearance.  Given the information on all the upgrades over their prior model, the similarities make it appear like something less than what it might be.

Technics had a room at THE Show Newport and that was my first chance to see a SL-1200GAE.  The fit and finish appeared to be very good but it did look like a "polished up" SL-12XX.  I ask the Technics rep why they didn't do more to distinguish this as a new model, given their efforts with engineer upgrades.  He said he could understand my question but then really didn't offer a reasonable explanation.  After describing all the components which had been redesigned/upgraded from the prior model he offered a demo.  However the room was crowded and the remainder of the system was completely unfamiliar, so no fair impression could be made.

I believe it should have had a more unique model designation and more might have been done to the physical package so it didn't look so much like the prior model.

Some really good points. I thought they would go in the direction of the SP-10, or the SL-1000.  I'm sure that would have caused them to miss their targeted audience as the price point would have been at least double of what they are asking now.

The SP-10 was such a good table. A good friend still uses his 1970 model without any issues after all these years.. Certainly says something about Technics build quality.


Have you guys seen what artesian fidelity has done to one of the technics turntable's?, and they are asking  $29,000.00 for their modified table,  now that's stupid money. 
As an owner of an SP10 Mk3, I have no problem with Artisan Fidelity.  Their workmanship and engineering are superb. Now, whether any amount of workmanship and engineering done to create a plinth are worth the premium they charge is not for me to decide.  If you add in the rarity of a Mk3 and consider their target audience of wealthy audiophiles and consider the cost of turntables that compete with their product in terms of sonic excellence, it makes sense, perhaps. It will undoubtedly make sense to whoever buys it.

Maybe they figured that they have already sold over 2 million tables that looked very similar so why not stick with a sure thing?

Andy, maybe so.  But weren't those priced around $600?  Can the new one be a "sure thing" at $4,000?!?

pryso OP810 posts06-24-2016 1:44pmAndy, maybe so.  But weren't those priced around $600?  Can the new one be a "sure thing" at $4,000?!?

Bitcoin went up by more than 100times in 5 years since started trading so according to that proportion, so the new one at $4000 seems to be reasonable.
But weren’t those priced around $600? Can the new one be a "sure thing" at $4,000?!?

If the below report is correct the first 300 units of the 1200 worldwide were sold out in Japan in 30 minutes. Not bad for a reengineered version of an icon that has been brought back to market at 4 grand!
Your post really has to do with the aesthetics of the TT and not the advanced engineering. I guess it really comes down to if one likes the looks of a SL-1200MKII. Two million people did before this reintroduction. So for those that do, Technics made the right call and made a classic even better.

Personally I like the look and coupled with the undeniable improvements and lab reports I have read, this would be on my short list if I had a budget of 4 large for a new TT.

paraneer, perhaps I was not clear.  My issue was not just "really to do with the aesthetics".

The point was that after apparently a significant effort in engineering upgrades, Technics failed to provide much differentiation by model number or appearance.  That led many to assume it is a simple "reintroduction" of a basic, popular model at a much higher price.  It seems to me, and a few others, they might have done more to present this as a truly new model.  I don't own any stock in the company so it should not matter to me but I suspect this hinders their potential market. 

Shot themselves in the foot??  First run sold out.  
Looks: I am glad they have retained the iconic styling.  You may not like it - others will.
Price:  Seems fair given the performance.  Actually I have an SL1210 Mkv.  I have spent about at least 100 hours of work on everything: - Aftermarket power supply, tonearm, bearing, chassis, wiring, platter, mat, clamp, feet.  Cost of parts - definitely north of 4K.

I think they are thinking we sold tons of 1200s. I think they are thinking tons of people had this table and now years later some of those people are going to have done well and can afford this. 

They are thinking we are not going to sell as many turntables in 2016 so lets make some improvements and up the price so that they can sell far fewer tables and still make money. Now they don't have to service 50k units now they service and support 10k units and still make a ton of money.

There will be no confusion. People who can piss away 4k without a second thought are not confused. They had one of these and now want a new one that looks cooler, sounds better and has a modern look. 

The people who have to save or sacrifice will do the research and not be confused when they pull 4k out of their pocket.

I have no idea why people are so concerned with Technics "mess up". Seems like a pretty sound decision to me. Don't be mad its expensive. Save up and buy it or don't but they are not going to have trouble selling these.
"There will be no confusion."  Sorry, I don't agree.  I've read too many comments saying in effect that Technics simply raised the price of their DJ table to an unreasonable level.  Those folks fail to realize the SL-1200 was designed as a consumer product to begin with (but that's another story) and seem to be unaware of the extent of the upgrades in the new model.  So they are confused.

As it turns out, the SL-1200GAE may be a bargain at $4K in the context of today's market.

Kimber cables had only affordable choices till fairly recent where they've tasted the smell of high-end 'upgrades' and designed their high-priced line of products. Same happened with AudioQuest, WireWorld and Tara Labs.
The component manufacturers also follow the same pattern in to the great profitable industry aimed to convince foolish children of rich parents by introducing their "flagships" into the market. 
Tomorrow Magnavox will also introduce their new high-end deck or some modern R2R player that will cost 4-digit figure -- You never know.

Please remember CAPITALISM is about PROFIT and not about JUSTICE -- pay fee and go free.
no they are not confused. They want to complain on the internet which is the trend now. They have not taken 5 minutes to read anything about the table. Those people are not really looking to buy the table just complain about the price without a lick of info. 
The review (incl. Paul Miller's lab test) in the June 2016 Hi Fi News and Record Review should put to rest the idea that this is just a rewrap twice baked version of the originals. This 1200GAE is a new table period. The just plain G will be a little different than the AE -but also not related in more than control placement and styling to the original series. I anticipate that most of the original 1200 will be collected -valued for their rarity rather than performance. But once we get past that - we'll see what the market is willing to pay for the mass market utility version. As a big fan of the SL-1200XX? of the past -I'm gonna think about one of these !
My 6 month wait is over, my Technics SL-1200GAE shipped today from Hi-Fi Heaven in Green Bay, Wi. Jim received 5 turntables (all sold)  but he is promised more. I suggest calling him to get your name on the waiting list, as no doubt some people will renege at the full purchase price.

I was 16 when the SL-1200Mk2 was released back in 1978, it was a big seller because it was sold from Pro Audio Venue's, Appliance Stores, and HiFi Expos at deep discounts. These Expos traveled town to town and set up in large Arena's, offering a 'cash and carry' feeding frenzy. While most of the gear sold was low end junk, the 1200Mk2 was authorized (or maybe not) to be sold in these outlets. Many of my friends walked out the door with one for as little as $200. Without a doubt the best bank for the buck in Turntables back in those days. 

Myself, I waited till I joined the Air Force in 1980 to purchase the so-called HiFi version, the SL1600Mk2, which was fully automatic and sold only in authorized dealerships.  There was a big stigma on the automatics sounding inferior, so Technic's made the 1700 (semi-auto) and 1800 (full manual). However just like the new SL-1200GAE, the multi-voltage black SL-1610MK2 table had some unique upgrades that the other tables didn't. Two of which was a titanium arm tube holder and hand selected bearings. As far as I know these 'upgraded tables' where sold only through BX/MX base exchanges an Audio Video Club's at international military bases. Mine still works perfectly to this day!

What was unique about this line of Technics direct drive tables was their sprung loaded plinth. This proved advantageous in Audio Dorm Wars when solid plinth tables popped there stylus clear out of the groove from all the thunderous bass shaking the floors. Later in life I discovered this same tuned suspension was one of the reasons the SL-1610MK2 outperforms the SL1200Mk2. I also own a special Japanese Edition SL-1200MK2 Gold, so I speak from direct knowledge. There is no doubt in my mind, the SL-1610Mk2 is still the direct drive turntable to beat.

The linear tracking tables that followed this line where clearing inferior sounding. Technics bet the farm on Linear Tracker's but nobody wanted them. I always wondered what they have would have produced had they not wasted their time on that technology. 

Imagine my surprise at CES 2016 when I stumbled on the new Technics SL-1200GAE sprung loaded table.  Wow, this is the table they should have released in 1983 ... better late then never Technics!!!

I'll report back after i get good listen. 

I realized today that it’s been many years since I been so excited about acquiring an audio component ... I really am jonesing for this thing.

However I do agree with you Pryso that Technics should have called it by different model number. Besides the useless pitch control it really has nothing in common with the SL-1200 turntable. Under the hood it’s a brand new ball game.

Logically it should have been called the SL-2100. (As is a 21st Century Turntable)

Later if they wanted to reissue the SL-1200, it could be called the SL-1200NC.
(As in New Century)

In the end I guess it doesn’t really matter what they call it, or what features they include. My purchase decision logic was quite simple ... I get it ... so I got one!

I just hope it lives up to my expectation's.
I think this TT is quite impressive, and can appreciate the homage, but $4K is a joke. A very very bad joke. It may be great, but will it slay all other TT's at the $4K mark? I think not even close personally.
It may be great, but will it slay all other TT’s at the $4K mark?
We all are entitled to our opinions, but from the audition I had, I believe it can slay many. And if one wants a new Direct Drive turntable, then yes, it will slay all other 4K tables on the market. Name me one high end TT available today that is Direct Drive and priced at 4K other than this one? There are none.
My 6 month wait is over, my Technics SL-1200GAE shipped today from Hi-Fi Heaven
Congrats Bill. I look forward to your review. Also, what cartridge will you be using with this table?

Well there is no shortage of available SL-1200's, that's for sure. I'd put an SME 10" arm and a Herbie's mat on a 1200MK5 and call it a day, but that's just me.
If you love technics that much and willing to spend 4k why don’t you buy used SP10mk2 with custom plinth of your choise and tonearm of your choise (all for less than 4k for sure)? With custom plinth it’s easy to swap the tonearms. Everybody knows how good is this deck.

I use a pair of SL-1210mk2 from 1996, even fully upgraded version (rewired, w/silicone tonearm damper, isonoe feets) can’t compete with my SP-10mk2 with EPA-100 tonearm. I also have rare Technics SP-20 which is also way better than upgraded SL-1210mk2.

You don’t need 4k to buy Luxman PD444 for example which is a great direct drive, probably best design ever made for 2 tonearms. I have one and i’m happy with it.

If i ever need another technics it will be SP-10 mk3

Let me start by saying, I’m not writing this for some ego trip, I’m just hoping people can save some money, make more informed decisions, and gather some insight from my turntable experiences. While I really didn’t want to names names on this forum, for the benefit of the players who want to get a better grip on what I’m saying ... here goes.

I agree the solid plinth SL-1200MK2 tables don’t sound as good ... yes even with every mod you can throw at it. Best bang for the buck with the SL-1200’s is to solid silver wire the arm and leave it alone. Most of the other mods are just sound changers IMO, not improvements. My suggestion if your on a budget, save your money and acquire a "used’ Ultra Hi-End cartridge. Mark my words, that combo will still slay some giants!

I’ve also owned a fully decked out SP-10Mk2, yet my SL-1610Mk2 with a solid silver wired arm ... and no other mods ... sounds better. Why you ask, "the tuned suspension"! Eight years ago I came to the conclusion direct drive tables need sprung tuned suspension for optimum performance. You can play with solid plinth’s on DD tables all you want, all you get is different sounding turntables. Do I too want a professionally sprung tuned SP-10Mk3 ... ohh you bet ya!!!

Now enter into our imagination the 2016 factory tuned suspension Technics SL-1200GAE. (I like Chakster having already sampled the goods)

Well there’s no doubt in my mind, the $4k SL-1600GAE will dance all over any belt driven tables at or near that price. It may very well dance all over most turntables on the planet. Bold statement but consider I also own a $20k TW Acustic table with upgraded power supply and Graham Phantom arm. Yet already my 1979 silver wired SL-1610MK2 goes toe to toe when playing $4k plus cartridges. That’s a big revelation my friends, I like most players, never even considered using ultra Hi-End MC cartridges on lowly DD Technics tables. Major oversight! Another hidden benefit of the 1610Mk2 is that its fully automatic, after 4 fingers of Scotch, the last thing I want to be doing is handing a $4k cartridge. (A common occurrence around my place)

Speaking with the Technics engineer at CES 2016, he claimed the new Direct Drive motor specs on the SL-1200GAE falls somewhere between the SP-10Mk2 & SP-10Mk3. Wow! Couple that with a factory sprung tuned suspension and all the other improvements. Well now you can see why I’m so excited about acquiring this turntable.

Nothing else like it on the Planet!

Initial evaluation with my Technics SL-1200GAE (Scheduled to arrive on July 6) using 3 distinctly different cartridges.

  1. Technics EPC-205CMk4 Moving Magnet
  2. Ortofon Vienna Moving Coil made for the German Market
  3. Kondo IO Moving Coil with S9 Step-up Transformer

Phono amp will be a "retubed" Zesto Andros 1.2, into a Solid Silver Wired passive TVC preamp, into my Kondo Ongaku amp, wired to a pair of Bastanis Apollo open baffle speakers.

Later I will also try the SL-1200GAE with my Cryo’d Sony TA-A1ES amp to bring the price point back down to earth a bit. The Sony A1ES Class A amplifier itself being an under the radar Giant Killer!
I have scanned 3 pages of audio review from 1986 for rare Technics 205CMk4 cartridge. If anyone interested, you can find them inside picture gallery here and read. 

Before anyone marches off and purchases a Technics 205CMk4 cartridge understand it is one of the most finicky MM cartridges ever made. Part of the reason I use one for evaluation purposes.

It’s been awhile, so I set one up last night on my backup SL-1600Mk2 to prepare for next Wednesday’s ... "arrival". Tweaky, but no big drama with a proper protractor & Technics veritable arm. The 205CMk4 also demands a stellar phono amp or they can sound thin. However once on song it sings like a Canary, closest MM to a MMC (madman moving coil) I’ve ever experienced.
The Kondo IO & S9 step-up on the hand would sing glued to a lead pencil played through a string tied to a tin can.
To finish a thought, I really like the Ortofon Cadenza series and they happen to match up nicely with all the Technics Direct Drive tables mentioned above. Especially with solid silver rewired arms.

While I realize very few players have experianced this odd couple, IMO together they represent the best value in analog. Scour the used market for these gems and its almost like stealing candy from a baby.

While I like all the Cadenza colors, the Black & Blue work magic in my system.
Just don’t beat me up over my choices.
What was Technics thinking?

Mainly that the same folks who are willing to shell out 3k for a record weight would be the ideal customers for their new TT.

Check it out...incredible.

Shun Mook Audio LP Clamp - legendary record weight - The Best of the Best.
Billallen, You are certainly entitled to your conclusion that direct-drive turntables "need" a tuned suspension, but there is a legion of direct-drive aficionados who would disagree with you. Yes, it's important to isolate any turntable from environmental disturbance, but most "direct-drivers" think that is best done by the liberal application of mass, using materials that are as non-resonant as possible. The problem with designing a built in suspension that really works is that the torque of the direct-drive motor tends to want to induce the plinth to rotate in the direction opposite to that of the platter.  A suspension based on springs or the like cannot resist that unwanted effect.  High mass firmly anchored does the trick.  From what you wrote, it would seem you have made your observations based on comparing the performance of one or two Technics tables of relatively light weight/low mass.  You might come to believe in the superiority of high mass/no suspension, if you were to do more experimentation.  My SP10 Mk3 sits in a 100-lb plinth of slate and hardwood.  You could put something like a Minus K air-based isolation platform UNDER such a construct, if needed. I don't perceive the need in my listening room.

Lewm,  your sp10 mk3 didn't come like that stock did it?, where did you obtain slate and hardwood of this type, or where did this turntable body come from? 
Billallen10, do you,  or any one else know much about the sl 1600mk2 turntable?, I need help.
My Technics SL-1200GAE Turntable finally arrived this morning & I’ve been listening all afternoon.

I posted a slide show on You Tube.

I swung for the fences and mounted my Kondo IO, while the IO is my favorite cartridge, I mainly choose it because it’s the least fussy of my 3 evaluation cartridges to setup. For kicks I started by using the included Technics headshell and interconnect cable, which is ridiculous with a 10K cartridge I know, but hey, I’m curious how they compare to my references.

First listen was Depeche Mode Personal Jesus on both 33 1/3 & 45 speed 12" LP’s. Speeds are dead on from the factory while playing these albums with the pitch reset button "pushed on". On the scope the needle is tracking dead center in the groove and the VTA knob is easily adjustable on the fly. Antiskate works as advertised.

From unboxing, assembly, setup, to my first listen ... so far everything has exceeded my expectations. Worth every penny! What more can I say, this robust $4k turntable just looks, feels, smells, and sounds damn good. Hell, I might even try tasting it later tonite.

Stay tuned for further observations.

Dear Audiolabyrinth, Apart from current offerings from Win Tinnon (Saskia) and OMA, I don't think there ever was a commercially made slate plinth for anything.  The original OEM plinth for the SP10 Mk3 was a nice one made of obsidian (I think).  I've never seen one in the flesh, let alone owned one. For the Mk3, I then had a blank slate slab cut for me to my specs (20X23X3 inches, I believe), with chamfered corners and honed flat on both surfaces. (A company in PA will do this.)  I then found a template for cutting the slate on-line as a pdf file. I had the slab shipped to a water-jet company in York, PA, and they cut the holes for the Mk3 chassis using the pdf file to program their water-jet.  Then I commissioned a carpenter to make me a base using cherry wood.  I bolted the bottom of the slate to the cherrywood base by drilling holes in the slate to accommodate threaded inserts, which I epoxied in place. Five or six hefty bolts.

I had already by this time gone through similar processes to make plinths for an SP10 Mk2, Denon DP80, and Lenco L75, so I had the process down pretty well by the time I found a Mk3.  Except that none of the first 3 plinths received a cherrywood base, just all slate. 

Strange feeling! Maybe because i’ve been using Technics SL1200mk2 on radiostations, in the clubs and at home for more than 20 years (because of my work). I still don’t understand why their luxury Porsche looks exactly like restored and polished classic Fiat.

P.S. Peronally i’m extremely bored of this design.
Will stick to my SP10mk2
What is Technics thinking?

IMO, they were thinking. Audio-Technica and others have a niche market for “Utility Turntables” (UT). With Pioneer’s decision to get in the game with it’s own UT, Technics may have felt they could do better and at the same time make a little money. The sales figures, reviews and customer comments appear to show they hit the nail on the head. Also, I think the timing was perfect.

I own a Technics SL-1210 MKII and it saddens me that if my 1210 dies, I may not be able to afford one of their new TT’s. Yet, I am happy to see Technics back in the game and making products worthy of displaying that well respected Technics logo.

What is Technics Thinking? ( Panasonic Corporation )

For starters the Panasonic Executives had to be convinced that the Technics Brand could once again turn a profit. No small feat considering the inertia involved in starting a project of this size.

It’s obvious by their own words that the new Technics Executives all have a passion for music. Something we all have in common ... or there would be no dialog here.

Here is a deeper look (30 min) into the new Technics Company.

I for one am glad that Technics is back.

thanks for a link to this long Technics Company video, great experience.

A close look at the video above should dispel any myth that the the SL-1200GAE has much to do with the original. This being most obvious to those with intimate knowledge of the plastic guts inside the original mass produced SL-1200.

The direct drive motor is a brand new design, the hybrid platter is 3 times heavier & spun balanced. The arm while also similar looking, is actually a new design with new tooling, notice how it sits inside its own sub assembly. The plinth is twice the weight and rests on machined tuned sprung feet. This table is more the evolution of the SP10MK2 with a SL1200 wrapper.

If you stop the pictures in my slide show you’ll can see even more details. The platter is now screwed down to the motor. There are now 2 aux weights, you can balance cartridge/headshells up to 28.5 grams. Notice there’s even a USB input under the platter to upgrade the software inside the table. If the 1200G turns out to be the last turntable Technics ever builds, then perhaps it strikes the perfect balance.

Visual appearance aside, more importantly it sounds like a brand new design. While it’s going to take me a while to get my head wrapped around the sonic performance of the 1200GAE, its safe to say there’s serious potential.

Last night I couldn’t get the Kondo IO on song mounted to the stock Technics head-shell. With some tweaking I was able to get the Ortofon Vienna/magnesium head-shell to sing. By this I mean music was playing in my room ... not HI-FI.

Right now the table is coming off a bit hot in my system but I will get it dialed in and report back with results.

Thankyou lewm for the post, very informative,  however,  seems audiophiles on this thread do not talk much,  not sure why?, I have 37 years experience with audio 😎
Lewm, do you know a lot about the technics sl-1600 mk2 ?, pm me if you do,we will take this off thread,  since it is off topic to what's said here,  cheers 

For billallen and others, maybe I should explain my reason for starting all this a little further.

I own a SP-10 Mk 2 and a SP-15, I'm a fan of Technics.  My interest in DD motor units and Technics in general was renewed a few years ago by discussions of the surprising quality of the SL-12xx series and how a few mods could take them even further.

Once I joined the Technics camp I found it disappointing that so many dismissed the SL-12xxs as "DJ tables" rather than being considered a reasonable cost option for a decent home system.  Apparently they didn't realize the SL-1200 was designed for consumer audio and only years later discovered and adopted by dance club DJs, a situation which allowed the tables to remain in production much longer than they might have otherwise.

So when word spread that Technics was about to introduce a new model I was glad to see that even if I would not likely be a customer.  Once the SL-1200GAE was introduced much of the talk focused on the price increase and the assumption it was just a polished up version of the discontinued SL-12xx series.

My point all along was that Technics might have avoided the confusion by choosing a different model designation and making a little more effort to change the appearance.  All this may be overcome in time by positive reviews and enthusiastic owner comments such as your own.  I was pleased to read your favorable initial report.


seems audiophiles on this thread do not talk much,  not sure why?

depends on the thread, look for Raul's thread :)  
Well said Pryso.

Here is a list of all the vintage Technics turntables.

Oh baby, the mighty SP-10Mk3.

Yup ... somebody has already modded the SL-1200GAE.

I can't seem to find a link to the June 2016 HiFi News & Record Review of the SL-1200GAE. Anyone? Apparently it's very positive. 

Thanks for your posts and impressions of the GAE, billallen10.  Im currently on vacation in Brasil, and hopefully my new GAE will be waiting for me when I get home in the start of august.  Hope the vacation goes fast:).

Sure, the HiFi News review was very good.  I guess it's not out on the net for free reading yet. 

I never thought I would ever have a DD TT in my house.  I always liked their bass control and attack, but they had their weaknesses in other areas. So for me this is a large step (up/down)? from my W&B Full Circle belt drive.

For cartridges, I have a few Ortofons laying around, a Rondo Blue and a Quintet Black. But I think I go for a Cadenza Blue.  Hell, maybe I bring in another item that never been into my house before, a MM? Just kidding.

I have a Musical Fidelity VYNL RIAA.  This is balanced all around, both in and out.  Input is balanced 5 pin mini XLR. Can any of you suggest a cable for the GAE with this configuration (RCA to mini XLR)? Difficult to find.
I am currently using a SL-1210 M5G with an Ortophon 2m Black MM and it sound amazing with no mods.  I am picking up my SL-1200 GAE this Friday and pairing it with a Lyra Delos MC.  Hope to set it up and do some listening on Saturday.  Excited to finally try it out.
Got to see an SL1200G "in the flesh" this weekend at the CAF in Rockville, MD.  Visual inspection suggests that it is much better built than the original SL1200; it has an almost jewel-like quality, even though the basic shapes are entirely borrowed from the SL1200.  Technics had its own room at the show, and the SL1200G headed up an all-Technics system.  Unfortunately, IMO, the speakers were tiny single driver "small box" units mounted on stands, the kind of speaker one might choose for a small apartment or home office.  Not the kind of speaker that can show off the excellence (or lack thereof) of upstream components.  However, I was favorably impressed with the 1200G.  Knowing that it uses a coreless motor is also a big plus, in my mind.

The Technics speakers aren’t single-driver; they’re 2-way coaxial. They also make a much larger and more expensive floorstander that uses the same driver. Kind of like KEF with the LS50 and Blade models, though the Technics floorstander is more like $10K instead of 30K. I agree, though, that the floorstander would have been more appropriate to demo the new SL1200G--assuming any of the floorstanders are available yet.

Also, the August issue of Stereophile has Herb Reichert’s column which features hands-on impressions of the GAE. He ranks it as equal or better to any other Stereophile Class B turntable. One thing he went on about is that where the original SL12x0 series didn’t have a particularly good spatial (soundstage and imaging) presentation, the new 1200GAE has it in spades--throws a big, precise 3D image. That’s a big change.
I got a good listen to the both the small coax SB-C700 and the SB-R1 towers. Both are impressive at their price points, $1700 & $13,500 respectively. One could add a REL sub to the SB-C700 speakers & SL1200G turntable and no doubt live happily ever after. 

I said it before and I will say it again, rewire the tone arms with solid silver wire & any of the SL1200 series turntables will preset an enormous soundstage. That is the achilles heel of the the 1200 series.

That said, I've been listening to my new 1200GAE all week with the Ortofon Vienna (Cadenza Blue). Comparing directly to my SL1200 "Limited" (Audio Note silver wired arm) does reveal some interesting differences. The soundstage is actually "smaller" on the GAE using the exact same cartridge. However I agree with Herb the GAE throws a more precise 3D image. For now I still prefer my 1600Mk2, interestingly it sounds closer to my 1200 Limited than to the new 1200GAE. Here I suspect the new DD motor & plinth in the GAE is doing something most excellent. 

While there's something new and right going on with the GAE, at the same time there's something a bit off! The initial "hotness" I described is mellowing after 30 LP's, but I can't seem to shake it completely. I'm starting to suspect silver plated copper tone arm wiring. Yuck!  Perhaps this bright overtone will work perfectly in your system ... wrong tone in mine. 

More break-in time will tell, but I am prepared to rewire the GAE arm.