TECHNICS SL-1500 v The Absolute Sound
At this point, everyone knows Technics is back.The venerable Japanese turntable manufacturer’s SL-1200G dropped several years ago to near-universal fanfare, and the company has since released several less expensive ’tables. But it’s the non-DJ-styled SL-1500C ($1199) that feels like the most exciting of the lot. Its price is the most accessible, of course, and it retains many of the bones of Technics’ upmarket decks. Despite its simplistic appearance, the 1500C is packed with serious tech, including a new coreless direct-drive motor, which is a huge selling point, along with a built-in phono- stage and a very solid tonearm.
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Diving into listening, I started out with the stock Ortofon 2M Red, but used my Triton II phonostage instead of the built-in phono preamp. I started with Bella Donna by Stevie Nicks, recently reissued through Vinyl Me, Please, remastered from the tapes by Ryan Smith. I’ve always been a fan of Nicks’ raw, gritty, husky voice, and it really shines on Bella Donna. Through the 1500C the midrange was clear and crisp, with Nicks sounding forceful and precise. The reverb on her voice hung just long enough; the attacks and decays felt sharp; overall I found myself very pleased. In particular, on the track “Edge of Seventeen,” Nicks’ rough voice belted into a really gritty and fantastic growl. That awesome guitar riff kept grinding along in the background, keeping pace with the solid drumming. Overall things were crisp, sharp, and focused.
– Drew Kalbach | Sep 22nd, 2020