Capital Audiofest 2017: Technics dismantles the competition

Model Credit: Michael Trei

The Story

You remember Technics right? The creators of many great mid-70s super-receivers and of course the ever iconic “DJ workhorse” the Technics SL-1200 direct drive turntable. Now a bit of trivia for you: Technics’ first product was a sealed two-way loudspeaker produced in the 1960s. I bet you wouldn’t have guessed that. I didn’t. I attained that information from Bill Voss directly, he is Technics’ business development manager for the U.S. market. Bill’s masterful understanding of how to engage showgoers during Capital Audiofest was real pleasure to witness. Seldom at audio shows do you see attendees asking lots of questions, lingering over product, and following a marketeer pitch with such willing attentiveness. Good show!

Bill further guided us through various points of design that separate Technics from their doppelganger competition. Firstly with their C700 Series monitors, that may look like a second cousin to other popular hi-fi brand’s own offspring, but when dismantled and shown for what it is, it’s anything but. The star of the room for me was the SU-G700 DAC Integrated Amplifier released in March of this year that was also powering the system. A reference class iteration of the previously released SU-C700 DAC Integrated Amplifier. At first glance the new SU-G700 gives notice that a sleeker aesthetic approach was taken compared to it’s less capable C700 Series relative, while maintaining it’s more pleasurable feature sets it also carries over and updates a lot of the same ground breaking technologies like JENO Engine jitter reduction and Load Adaptive Phase Calibration amplifier-to-speaker correction. This all new class of integrated comes in at a higher price tag but also brings with it more higher power, lower noise floor, and better noise isolation. This truly is a statement piece of hi-fi kit delivered from an already iconic brand.


The Sound

Bill did the talking, and his lovely and talented assistant Marissa did the DJ’ing. Not to say that she was crab scratching [1] like Mix Master Mike, but was in charge of queuing up the day’s records. We began with Johnny Hartman’s Once In Every Life on vinyl, and for two reasons I could not for the life of me tell you if I were listening to the SB-700 bookshelf monitors (in system #1) or the new Grand Class series SB-G90 tower speakers (in system #2). One: the bass hadn’t kicked in yet, and two: the soundstage was too tall and wide for a point source loudspeaker. You’d think being able to echo-locate the source of the music would be easy, but it’s not. Surely as time passes the bass comes in and I now know it’s the towers that are in control. I love it when a large speaker doesn’t sound large until the music requires it.

Moving on to something from the Vaporwave [2] genre, 新しい日の誕生 by artist 2814, I am transported to towering cliffs of tightly defined bass and gentle waves of smoothly rolling electronic symbols. This large sense of scale and bass comes from only one place — power. I am evermore convinced that this SU-G700 is not from the Technics of more recent decades. The noise floor like stated above is fantastically low, while dynamics are speedy are lofty. Meanwhile the new 1200 spins away, comfortably taking my time with it.

[1] Crab (scratch) A crab is a type of scratch used by turntablists. It is made from a combination of moving the record on the turntable by hand and quick movement of the crossfader.

[2] Vaporwave is a microgenre of electronic music and an Internet meme that emerged in the early 2010s. The music typically features a fascination with the 1980s and consumerism.


The Systems

Technics SU-G30 Network Audio Amplifier $3,999.99 USD
Technics ST-G30 Music Server / CD Ripper $4,999.99 USD
Technics SB-C700-W Speaker System $1699.99 pr USD
Technics SL-1200G Turntable $3,999.99 USD
Ortofon 2m Black $755 USD

Technics SU-G700 Digital Integrated Amplifier $2,499.99 USD
Technics SB-G90 Floorstanding Loudspeaker $4,999.99 pr USD
Technics SL-1200GR Turntable $1,699.99 USD
Ortofon 2M Black PnP $839 USD

Technics SC-C70 All-In-One Hi-Fi System $999.99 USD
Technics EAH-T700 Premium Headphone $1,199.95 USD

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