The new SL1000R and SP10R are definitely stars of the show in this room. Both debuting early this year at CES and creating a serious buzz for being a throwback to the SP-10 of yore. As well as advancing turntable technology, Technics is breaking away from norms altogether.
Starting with the more robust SL1000R direct-drive turntable, I want to focus on the four layer platter composed of Tungsten, Aluminum, Brass and Rubber. When Bill described it as superbly balanced and with nearly non-measurable flutter, I chuckled. He then proceeded to lift it up by the 17-pound platter by demo-handles and show me the underside – he then had me hold it firmly in my hands which removed the smirk cleanly from my face. Carrying on from there, off to the side of everything was the outboard speed controller, which on it’s small face includes presets for 33, 45, and 78 RPM. Along with the presets are variable speed and pitch adjustments which fraction down into the 1/100ths. Going back to the ‘table, I noticed the plinth has a notification light that lets you know when the platter isn’t set to spin perfectly at 33.33 rpm, which is a nice feature to have, so that your Technics dealer won’t be getting late night phone calls from customers who are wondering why their records sound funny. Blessed are the finicky.
Moving on to the SP-10R it becomes apparent what’s missing: It’s the plinth. The SP-10R is made ready to retrofit into older plinths from the SP-10MK2 and SP-10MK3. The tonearm and cartridge are also up to your particular choosing and objections. The SL1000R – rest assured – comes with a plinth and tonearm, but also with the option for additional tonearms, totalling three if desired.
At the core of these tables, lies the core-less (pun intended) direct-drive motor. Dolled up and spec’d out already, the motor is lifted directly from the SL1200GR, further refined and implemented in the SL1000R and SP-10R to meet much higher tolerences.
Don’t ask me the specifics of what happens next, but from the table to the amplifier some digital something takes place, involving “PWM” if I am not mistaken and the end result at the speaker is like high-res digital with the occasional pop, and to be fair, it also has some of the magic that I find in good vinyl playback systems. Maybe it’s the best of both worlds. It sounds fantastic and full. The RIAA curve has to be manipulated here, because it just doesn’t sound like it has been employed. This is truly a foreign land.
Several of the Ben Webster tracks that have been playing while I was in the room are familiar from my last visit with Technics at CAF. Now with the new turntables, larger amplifiers, and speakers. I’m feeling that this room will be hard to beat for the rest of the show.
Technics Reference SE-R1 Digital Basic Power Amplifier $16,999.99 USD
Technics Reference SU-R1 Network Audio Control Player $8,999.99 USD
Technics Reference SB-R1E Speaker System Black (each) $13,499.50 USD
Technics SP-10R Reference Turntable $9,999.99 USD
Technics SL-1000R Reference Turntable System $17,999.99 USD