The Vinyl Surface Disc for the Technics SL-DZ1200 Turntable transforms your digital turntables into the real feel of analog SL-1200MK2 decks.
Introduction: Back in 2003, Technics decided to go out on a limb and compete with the tabletop CD turntable world with the introduction of the Technics SL-DZ1200. Many users disliked the unit; but many users (such as myself) swear by these decks and their unmatched build quality and reliability. With the added feature of using only SD cards while performing sets these decks apart from the rest (over 200 tracks on one 1gb SD card). They have received mixed reviews over the years, but the Sensei Haus Technics DZ1200 Vinyl Surface Discs promises to make serious improvements to the usability by bringing the DZ1200’s that much closer to the #1 original analog 1200 decks. The problem that lies with the original silver slip discs that come packaged with the DZ1200’s is that they are a little too slick and slippery when compared to regular vinyl. It took me some time to get used to mixing and back-cueing on the DZ1200 since I am a 12yr vinyl veteran. The original discs also were very light and didn’t feel like “real vinyl”. The original discs quickly become dirty and even more slippery with continuous use. Now we will see how these new Sensei Haus Vinyl Discs stack up to their claims and to also see if they are worth the $100 price tag…
First Impressions: Telling someone that just spent about $700 for each new DZ1200 that they purchased to spend another $100 to make them that much more perfect may seem ludicrous. I am here to tell you that at first glance the packaging and presentation of this product is EXTREMELY professional and it actually makes me feel that these discs are worth the extra $100. You can tell that the people at Sensei Haus really pride their work and the overall arrangement is very important to them. The Discs come in seven different colors including Black, Blue, yellow, Red, Green, Purple, Clear, and limited Edition Gold. Of course I chose Money Green because it is one of my favorite colors! The vinyl discs come packaged in a sleeve that reminds you of how original vinyl is packaged when purchased…It is a nice touch to the overall scheme. These discs aren’t merely cut outs of original 12-inch vinyl to meet the DZ1200 specifications (they would be too heavy and the look would be off); rather than that, these discs are perfectly custom-manufactured from the ground up for the DZ1200’s made out of 100% REAL VINYL. They are flat on one side (to slip on the platter correctly) and grooved vinyl on the other side for sweat absorption and enhanced grip. The set of discs comes with cue indicator decals so you can put arrows or marks on the discs so you know where in the track. Also, within the package you get a 2007 DMC Championship brochure that actually features the Sensei Haus Technics DZ1200 Vinyl Surface Discs and gives them the DMC stamp of approval.
Scratching: After staring at the beauty of the discs for a while; I decided that it was time to do a little scratching. Right off the bat, the feel of these discs bring you right back to a familiar and TRUE vinyl feel that DJ’s have known for years. I can immediately feel the improvement to the deck that the added weight of the Sensei Haus discs possesses. Scratching is more accurate now that the discs are less slippery and I was instantly able to pull off the complex tears and chirps easier than with the stock silver slip discs that Technics supplied. The entire reaction of the discs to my manipulation is definitely improved. When I do motor off scratches or transitions, the added weight is a blessing! The platter will rotate longer and hold its speed longer as well. They also make using the braking function of the DZ1200 a bit more “realistic”. The startup speeds are unaffected by this added weight because the DZ1200 motor is almost identical to the SL1200 motor which is built to last and rugged enough to still do its job. The Sensei Haus discs definitely make improvements to the scratching aspect of the DZ1200 decks.
Mixing: If you aren’t much of a scratch artists and you use the DZ1200’s mostly for mixing; there is definitely still plenty here for you as well. If you beat match on a regular DZ1200 with the stock slip discs; then you know how difficult it can be to get the beat perfectly on-point with the other; especially if you are coming from an analog vinyl background. The reason for this is that the silver slip discs are simply too responsive to the slightest touch. The Sensei Haus vinyl discs are slightly heavier making them a little less responsive to your manipulations (which is desirable). With the Sensei Haus discs I can now easily slow down a track by using my finger on the vinyl without bringing the track to a complete halt. It is easy to speed up a track as well because it is now easier to grip the vinyl surface. On top of all that added function; the DZ1200 with the Sensei Haus discs can hold the tempo for a longer period of time which is very reminiscent of the analog SL1200’s performance while mixing. In short, you can ride the mix for a longer amount of time without making adjustments to the pitch control. The Sensei Haus discs definitely make improvements to the mixing aspect of the DZ1200 decks as well.
Conclusion: I simply don’t understand why Technics didn’t initially think of having authentic vinyl surface discs included with the machine in the first place. The Sensei Haus Technics DZ1200 Vinyl Surface Discs does absolutely everything they said it would do and more. They are definitely worth every penny of the added expense. They give the DZ1200’s a new look and overall feel. With the introduction of the Sensei Haus discs and SD card playback functions; the Technics SL-DZ1200 is given a new life extension that is sure to continue its legacy for some time to come and perhaps persuade some other users to move over to the Technics side of the digital turntable world.