UTSUNOMIYA, Japan — In the sofa-appointed listening room of a factory north of Tokyo, hi-fi fans can listen to vintage vinyl records on a sound system costing $45,000, including a sleek silver turntable. Musical choices include rock — the Eagles’ “Hotel California,” sounding warm and vivid through four-foot-tall speakers — jazz and classical.
Not on the menu: hip-hop.
Or disco. Or the thumping, floor-convulsing sounds of modern techno or house music, which helped make the record player at the center of this audiophile’s paradise famous.
The turntable, the Technics SL-1200, may not enjoy the name recognition of, say, Fender electric guitars or Steinway pianos. But if you have watched a D.J. scratching furiously behind a rapper in the last few decades, you have almost certainly seen one, or, more likely, a deftly manipulated pair.
“It’s the go-to,” said Darby Wheeler, a documentary filmmaker whose recent series for Netflix, “Hip-Hop Evolution,” keeps avid SL-1200 spotters busy. The turntables pop up everywhere — on concert stages and album covers and in the studios of genre legends like Grandmaster Flash.
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