TECHNICS SL-1000R

PW03.07.2019

Analog sources

The SL-1000R is a new statement turntable from the cult Japanese manufacturer. It is also one of the most neutral sounding tables with a firm grip on dynamics, rhythm and harmonies. It is not cheap but the people behind it know what they do and the result is a machine which truly is a reference. It also goes without saying that craftsmanship of the Technics is fantastic and only very few companies can afford to make such a beauty at such an asking price.

100% reference

Function and form

98%
Ease of use
93%
Sound
100%
Appearance

Technics opted for an external switching power supply with RPM control unit that can be placed anywhere in the rack as the mains cable is long enough.  It offers 33.3/45/78 speeds with a digital servo regulation with precision of 0.01 rpm.

One of the main trademarks of Technics is the direct drive with amazing torque of 0.39Nm – enough to prevent you to stop the heavy ca 8kg platter by hand. The platter is a sandwich of brass, aluminium and damping polymer, with 12 tungsten weights around its perimeter to achieve stable momentum. The rubber mat is a lovely Technics retro style. The whole motor assembly is mounted onto a thick cast aluminium plate and boasts of extremely low wow and flutter of 0.015% - a wet dream of any belt-driven turntable. Also the main body of SL-1000R is an aluminium slab, 30mm thick, sitting on silicone damping feet.

Technics does not include a headshell or a cartridge so I used my Transfiguration Orpheus and Ortofon MC Anna in the review. The five-pin arm socket is quite difficult to reach as it is buried down below the deck so experimenting with a toneram cable became a chore that I gave up soon. The magnesium tonearm is S-shaped and moves on a gimbal mechanism which works silky and smooth. All the settings like tracking weight, antiskating and VTA are easy to make and it does not take a genius to complete them with success.

Bass management

Weight
88
Slam
90
Articulation
92

Lows of the SL-1000R are about definition and textures rather than analogue warmth and weight. It does not mean that the Technics is lacking weight and body – quite opposite – but it means that everything is exceptionally balanced and the deck can provide bass resolution on top of that. Very few turntables are capable of such insights in deep registers, including my own TW-Acustic Raven One. Does it have something to do with the speed stability that makes the notes less smeared and more focused? I do not know but the SL-1000R can playback both acoustic bass and hard-hitting dancefloor anthems with more authority and control than many others.

Clarity & delicacy

Detail
97
Air
90
Transparency
91

The SL-1000R’s performance breathes self-assurance and stability. I could hear it both on voices and instruments. Cassandra Wilson’s Come On In My Kitchen (Blue Light 'Til Dawn, Blue Note) was one of the examples. The voice was delineated with detailed contours and lacked and softness associated with “vinyl” – it was sonorous, resonating and fantastically sculpted within the recording’s ambience.

The Technics engineers went to great lengths to make the noise floor of the SL-1000R as low as possible – the turntable’s quietness and the way the platter, bearings and all mechanisms operate do not interfere with the music. Thus every minute contrast is readily apparent and the music swells with details, textures and fine dynamics.

Tonal accuracy

Timbre
92
Dynamics
92
Temporal resolution
96

Tonally the Technics SL-1000R reminded me of top-tier Accuphase’s digital players. The sound was rich and colourful, however it never crossed the lined to become romantic and colored. It is a sort of luxurious and tangible without any obvious tint. Again, comparisons with my own TW-Acustic Raven One proved that it was the latter that showed a tint of roundness and warmth. It is amazing as both devices are plus minus in the same category and (so far) I have considered my table to be the reference in neutrality.

The Technics also bettered the Raven One in rhythmic drive and microdynamics which was not a surprise considering the aforementioned competences of the SL-1000R in delineating each note’s transient edge.

Spatial resolution

Holography
93
Soundstage width
93
Soundstage depth
93

Usually turntables have more distant perspective than digital that smashes everything into your face. With the Technics I had constant feeling that everything was just right. The soundstage was organic and naturally laid out. The images were very specific and of correct proportions. The set-up in my configuration did not prefer width over depth or vice versa. And finally, the playback was independent of how loud I listened – everything was stable, exact yet fluid, and very musical.

I can’t help myself but praise the SL-1000R for the remarkable achievement. Deep, dynamic, crystalline and complex performance, ease of settings and very modern and sleek look prove that the vinyl can be sexy and hi-tech at the same time.

Price as reviewed:416 000,- Kč

Recommended resellers

Horizon Trading Prague, Praha, +420 222 715 959

Associated components

  • Zdrojový komponent: TW-Acustic Raven One, Graham Phantom raménko, Transfiguration Orpheus vložka, Ortofon MC Anna, Ortofon Black MM
  • Zesilovač: Spectral DMA-150, phono Gruensch Reference Phonostage MCS
  • Interkonekty a reprokabely: MIT MA, MIT MA-X XLR, MIT V2.1 Oracle, Stealth Audio Hyperphono, Van den Hul The D-102 III Hybrid
  • Reprosoustavy: Wilson Audio Sasha W/P
  • Filtrace a síť: Furutech, Oyaide

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