TECHNICS SL-1000R Turntable Superlative Accomplishment
One company that has returned to the fray, after several decades of quiescence on the vinyl front, is Technics, the Japanese firm that was once an omnipresent force in turntable design and widely viewed as the progenitor of direct drive. Now, under the stewardship of its parent company Panasonic, it’s once more offering a number of turntables at different price points, with the direct-drive SL-1000R at the top of its lineup, what Technics calls its “Reference Class.” The ’table features a separate motor controller, and can be customized to accept up to three tonearms.
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I asked him, for example, whether noise transmission from the motor wasn’t an insuperable problem. He was having none of it. According to Itani, “the transmission of noise is not a problem with direct drive. It’s only a false rumor from the unreasoned negative campaign of the ‘belt lovers.’ The electro-magnetics from the circuit are very low and attenuated in the plinth. There is no effect upon the cartridge or phono cables. If you have some doubt about the transmission of the motor, please show me the proof.” For good measure, he added that there is no way to match the rotational precision of direct drive: “No one in the industry has ever achieved such a sophisticated servo system for a turntable.”
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The only caveat I would offer is that the Technics errs on the pristine side, which is to say that it is very uncolored and precise. Careful cartridge matching is a must with a ’table of this quality. Some listeners may gravitate to a fuller-sounding cartridge like a Koetsu with the SL-1000R. But the overall performance of the Technics is so compelling, particularly at its price point, that it represents a superlative accomplishment. As Itani put it in his concluding remarks to my questions, “Please check the sound quality of the SL-1000R. You will find it has very high S/N and produces every micro-dynamic of the music, without any hint of `transmission noise.’” How right he was.
– Jacob Heilbrunn | Jun 19th, 2020 | The Absolute Sound