From the full circle department: Lovers of the sound and experience of good ole vinyl records at the highest level, and who might have an extra, oh, $10,000 or $20,000 or so lying around, will want to check out the new Technics Reference Class SL-1000R/SP-10R turntable that will be available shortly.

Scarsdale, N.Y. audio/video specialty store Value Electronics staged a retail sneak peek for the new turntable Saturday, One of the first Technics SL-1000R units was presented to anxious fans, many of whom had heard the legend of the old pro-grade SP-10 that is now updated as the reissued SP-10R, the core of the SL-1000R.

Pictured at top: Technics’ Bill Voss (left) and Value Electronics’ Robert Zohn. 

To clarify, the SP-10R is only the direct-drive turntable motor system with a platter on top, minus the tonearm and a plinth on which to mount it.

The Technics SL-1000R is the full turntable system, with the new SP-10R at its heart and a classic pro-grade S-shaped Technics tonearm, both mounted to a matching plinth. Connected by wire is a separate power supply, off-loaded from the turntable to ensure no vibration or interference leaks through.

The suggested retail price for SP-10R is $9,999. The Technic SL-1000R will run $17,999.

Robert Zohn, proprietor of Value Electronics, said he will be delivering Technic’s first SP-10R that will be coming into the United States on Friday.

Like the SP-10 of the Seventies, the fully assembled system presents amazing performance specifications including bat-level low wow, flutter and rumble (signal-to-noise) performance from Panasonic/Technics’ long-acclaimed direct-drive technology.

“Direct drive has always been such a strong point for Technics because it was invented by Technics for turntables,” said Bill Voss, Technics U.S. business development manager, who added that DJ’s and vinyl enthusiasts had pleaded with Panasonic/Technics for years to bring back the SL-1200 series of direct drive turntables, which first hit shelves in 1972. The company responded and re-introduced a model in 2016 “because it solves so many problems. They sound so great and they don’t have the maintenance required of other technologies. You can just let it go all day long.”

Voss continued: “Nothing has the specifications that the new SL-1000R/SP-10R turntables have when it comes to wow and flutter and rumble, or signal to noise ratio.”

The SP-10R has .015% wow and flutter, and a -92 dB signal to noise ratio or rumble. One of the ways they achieved this in the past was to develop a massive platter and a motor that was so strong that folklore began that a person could virtually stand on it and turn.

Voss said the new design in the SL-1000R/SP-10R includes a coreless direct drive motor designed to address the so-called “cogging effect” that makers of belt-drive turntables pointed out was an audible effect produced by micro vibrations in direct drive motors. The effect results from the momentary shift in polarity between the north and south poles of the magnets used in the motor and platter of the direct-drive system.

Technics has long disputed that such a “cogging effect” is audible in its higher-end turntables, which have 11 pound platters and the like, but it developed a system around the new coreless motor that mutes the “micro vibrations,” perceived or otherwise, to take away any possible doubt in an audiophile’s (or competitor’s) head.

The latest upgrade also includes the use of the newly designed aforementioned high-torque coreless direct-drive motor with twin rotars, 18 instead of nine stator coils in two levels, a high-quality bearing, a 7kg (almost 15.5 pounds) brass, rubber and aluminum platter and Blu-ray circuitry to precisely control the speed and pitch. Gone is the use of old fashioned Quartz PLL used back in the turntable hey days.

The new turntable continues to have a separate power supply from the turntable to keep any chance of interference to absolute minimum.

Voss said a key change in the current models is the redesigned dual level 18 stator coils that are shifted 60 degrees offset.

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The power has been significantly increased, according to Voss. “We measured the torque in X amount of kilograms per centimeter–as it turns a centimeter has that much torque–and this is measured at a ton per centimeter,” he said. “That’s how much strength it has. It’s so powerful that they had to add another chunk of aluminium  [to the plinth] to stabilize it. That’s now like a 30 mm-thick chunk of aluminium stabilization, and when they mount it in the SL-1000R or the SP-10R they also had to put in a couple of layers of stainless steel, because when it does turn it could move the earth slightly, it’s so powerful (laughs).”

If that’s not enough, Voss said that where the center spindle goes into the motor Technics has placed a lubricant bath and a unique plastic bearing to further minimize friction that might create wear or sound.

“It’s almost like a perpetual motion machine,” Voss quipped. “It’s so free moving, I have a feeling these are going to be lasting 30 or 40 years just like many of the original Technics direct drive turntables did.”

For the in-store demo, Voss and Value Electronics set up a $100,000 Technics reference stereo system consisting of an SE-R1 High Resolution amplifer, SU-R1 Network Player/Preamp and SE-R1 High Resolution loudspeakers, along with the SL-1000R outfitted with a third-party moving-coil cartridge.

For the test, Voss used a range of vinyl records selected from his personal library, including an only recently opened copy of a Gerry Mulligan LP sealed since the Fifties, and a few favorites from the audience. The sound from each sample was beautifully flat, full and yet lacking any hint of shrillness in the highs that can mar CD performances.

For good or bad–depending on which side of the vinyl you sit–the system also reproduced the surface noise of the record including the occasional pop and click that true record enthusiasts relish, But they seemed much less annoying than I remembered. I guess that’s where $17,999 and 30 years will bring you: right back where we started.


By Greg Tarr


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