TECHNICS SL-G700 Network/SACD Player > Applause Award, Stereonet
Technics CD player, SACD player, network streamer and DAC is a really interesting product – but I can’t help but feel that we are witnessing something that fifteen years from now, will feel akin to one of those old hybrid VHS/DVD video recorders from the mid-nineteen nineties. In other words, it’s a super-clever do-everything design – but very much of its time.
BEHIND THE MASK
Take the casing off the SL-G700, and you’ll see a pair of Asahi Kasei Micro AK4497 DAC chips; good news for me personally as I’m more of a fan of these than I am the ESS family. They have a clean but enjoyably musical sound, with feint shades of the old mid-eighties Philips TDA1541’s character, if anyone is old enough to remember these. The sound is much smoother of course, especially with the Discrete AMP Module digital filter that uses low noise transistors and thin-film resistors, rather than an op-amp. Then there’s a thorough power supply arrangement, and even the clock gets a special ‘Battery Driven Circuit System’ to isolate it from the mains supply noise. An ultra-low jitter clock is fitted. The analogue output section has its own dedicated power supply, again using discrete transistors with no ICs.
The SL-G700 has a distinctively Technics house sound – clean, crisp, dry, detailed and sinewy, this network player is a highly capable performer at the price. Perhaps this shouldn’t come as a surprise to me, as I know from personal experience that the company puts an awful lot of time into voicing its products. This is no exception, the result being that you feel like you’re listening to something more expensive than it really is.
What strikes me most about the SL-G700 is its clean, crystalline tonality. Digital sources at this price are quite variable, to be honest, but this one doesn’t put a foot wrong. Cue up a well-recorded SACD such as Roxy Music’s eighties classic Avalon, and you’re instantly struck by its copious amounts of detail allied to very low noise. There’s very little in the way of digital mush or hash, and at the same time, the tonal balance is exceptionally even. As far as this track goes, that meant a good, strong, firm bass, a smooth midband and a sweet and open treble; overall the sound was remarkably devoid of colouration and sounded sophisticated and svelte.
Pretty much an unalloyed success, I’d say. Given its brief – to be a do-it-all design that plays as many file formats as you one reasonably can in 2020, the Technics SL-G700 scores highly. It sounds clean and detailed yet surprisingly engaging too and is very well built – being closer to ‘baby high end’ than ‘jazzed-up budget’ fare. My only beef is its rather ‘generic Japanese’ display, but that won’t put most off. If you’re caught between formats, with sizeable CD and SACD collections and lots of hi-res on a NAS drive, it’s hard to think what better machine to bring all these files together.
– David Price | July, 2020 | Stereonet