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Technics recently introduced the SL-1200GAE Direct Drive turntable as a replacement for their renowned SL-1210 Mk2. Timestep offer an upgraded version, the EVOke, with SME IV magnesium arm – pictured here – and external  power supply. Noel Keywood talks about the new Direct Drive motor.



The new Technics looks similar to the outgoing one, but internally it is a very different beast. Where the SL-1210 Mk2 was designed for DJ use, its replacement is a dedicated hi-fi design, with a commensurate price increase from £450 or so to £2700 for the introductory Limited Edition GAE suffix version. But why the same 1970s prosaic arm, and why a switch-mode power supply that produces interference?  Timestep have quickly stepped in to offer potential buyers their EVOke version that we review in our forthcoming September 2016 issue. 



The SME IV tapered magnesium tonearm sits on a custom Timestep mounting plate.


This preview isn't a full review, instead it looks closely at the motor technology, and is aimed at all those who are interested in the controversial aspects of Direct Drive, especially ‘motor cogging’ – something even Technics feel obliged to mention in their literature. This is a demon that refuses to sleep, it seems, swirling around Direct Drive turntables ever since they were introduced as an explanation for what’s perceived as inferior sound to belt drives. We have used a Timestep Evo SL-1210 Mk2 for many years now, so have plenty of experience of the outgoing model, including the effect of bearing modification, enabling us to compare its replacement in depth. 



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