Say hello to a better way to listen to vinyl with the anticipated release of the Technics SL-1000R, the new flagship of Technics' decks with its own S-shaped tonearm and external power supply.
We received a huge palleted delivery in Edinburgh yesterday, that required the combined manpower of three of us just to move into the store. Opening it up, we were in absolute awe at the sight we set our eyes on. This colossal turntable took a fair amount of time to properly unbox and get plugged in, but we finally got the results we were looking for.
The SL-1000R is set to retail at £13,999, with the SP-10R at £7,999. See the review of our first impressions below.
Today we had the pleasure of testing the best direct-drive turntable in the world. Okay, I know that’s a bold statement to make by a single UK retailer; however, this claim is being backed up by independent reviews and will soon be by our customers. First, let me clear up any confusion surrounding the new Technics. It is not one, but two turntables. Seen in the pictures is the SP-1000R. This is option number one. It’s a well-built monster of a turntable taking two strong lads to safely lift the 88lbs/40kilo beast from its packaging cage and place safely on our main rack. The SP-1000R comes with Technics’ magnesium tonearm; a beautiful 10” precision engineered tonearm (modified version from the tonearm found on their limited-edition SL-1200GAE). Like most high-end turntables, the SP-1000R is not supplied with a cartridge. We tested it with a Dynavector XX-2 – a modest cartridge in comparison to the cost of the turntable, but we never heard the XX-2 reproduce music so well. If more tonearms are what you fancy, then the SP-1000R can accommodate your desires. On the left-hand side and on the back of the turntable you will see a small cut out. Both cut outs can be removed, allowing the turntable to utilise up to three tonearms. The extra armboards are not included and can be ordered separately for around £999 each. I suspect most people will be happy with one or two arms to host different cartridge combinations.
The second turntable option comes in the form of the SP-10R; this of course is part of the SP-1000R. The SP-10R consists of the platter insert, much like the Garrard or Technics SP-10 of yesteryear. Also included in the SP-10R is the power supply. The magnesium tonearm, armboard, and the solid aluminium plinth are not included. When Technics first presented this to us, I asked a rather naive question, “Who is going to buy half a turntable like the SP-10R…?”. It turns out, as explained to me by a few of my senior staff members and the Technics representative, that having custom built plinths were all the rage when the original SP-10 MK2 and the SP-10 MK3 hit the audiophile market. So, I beg you to please excuse my 31-year-old self for not knowing, but as they say…you learn something new every day. Many clients had custom built plinths to match their home’s interior, furniture, and many of these custom plinths gained a reputation for how they positively influenced the sound of those legendary decks. There’s good news here for those of you who are married to your existing plinth. If you are lucky enough to own a custom plinth for your SP-10 MK2 or SP-10 MK3, you can now upgrade your turntable with the SP-10R. Technics made sure that the previous SP-10 models and the new SP-10R had the same shape and screw positions. They even considered the power supply, ensuring it was the same size as the previous models’ PSUs. This makes this possibly one of the easiest upgrades for those who already have an SP-10 MK2/MK3.
There are several companies still making custom SP-10 plinths, including Artisan Fidelity, who make some absolute beauties. How these plinths effect the sound, I’ll have to hold off on passing judgement until I hear one. So, for now let’s get back to the SP-1000R.
Set up is reasonably straightforward. The platter is put into position using two handles that are screwed into the top of the platter. Once the platter is in place, the two handles are used to line up the three bolt holes with their corresponding holes. The platter is then secured. The power supply doesn’t feel as hefty as the rest, and I was surprised how little there seemed to be inside it – sometimes simple but effective is the best way forward. The power supply connects via an umbilical cord from the main unit. The tonearm cable is easily attached. With a quick raid of our service room for the right tools, height adjustment, tracking weight, cartridge alignment/overhang, azimuth, and anti-skate were straight forward. Within no time at all we were up and running.
The platter is just beautiful, made by a combination of aluminium, brass, and tungsten weights. To get this 18lbs/8kilo platter spinning up to full speed takes an impressive quarter of a second. However, much like a 0-60mph time, who really cares about the start up speed, we are looking for audio performance here and at £14,000 (without a cartridge) it needs to be beyond expectations. Spinning up a record, the first thing that grabs you is how it doesn’t sound like any other turntable on the market. It sounds…different. All the warmth and surface-noise you’ve come to expect from listening to records doesn’t exist on this deck. My immediate impression was that I didn’t like it, it felt almost like I was listening to digital. This was a similar feeling I had when I first listened to the new SL-1200G at £2,999. Yet I was intrigued. Something the SP-1000R was doing sounded good. Something that pleased my ears.
Within a couple of tracks, my first impressions were vanishing into the beautifully produced music. The details it was extracting and resolution it drew out were superb. The imaging of instruments and timbral accuracy were…how can I say… just right! Every instrument and vocal was purposefully presented in their correct place and size. The background was just black, allowing quiet passages to be well-conceived without distractions, not a whisper of background noise. The dynamics were perfectly portrayed without any distortion. Within no time at all, I was just sitting back and enjoying track after track – which isn’t normal for me when I listen to turntables. Usually I get distracted by surface noise and lose interest in the music. This simply didn’t happen with the SP-1000R. The turntable completely disappeared, much like SME’s Model 20/3, but the Technics went beyond anything I’ve heard from the SME.
During my listening session with the SP-1000R I looked over at my two other reference turntables, the AVID Acutus and the Linn Klimax LP12, with mixed emotions. I love the LP12, it’s got character, personality, and everything sounds like “proper” vinyl. The AVID has scale and substance over the entire frequency range and is undoubtably one of the best turntables ever made. The Technics is something totally different. It’s quiet and doesn’t add anything to the music, it simply presents the music as it was intended to be heard – no more, no less. And isn’t that what we’re all seeking?
I don’t want to get into the belt drive vs direct-drive debate here. I just wanted to field my initial impressions. Ultimately both camps have a strong following, and it’s up to you to decide what best suits your listening preferences. All I’d say is I’m fortunate enough to sit beside what is considered three of the world’s best turntables; the Linn Klimax LP12, the AVID Acutus and the Technics SP-1000R. Which one is right for you ultimately depends on what you like and what synergises with the rest of your system. It would be my pleasure to let you hear them for yourself, so you can make up your own mind.
We offer EU wide delivery and installation on all our products, along with a range of cartridge recommendations from Lyra, Dynavektor, Koetsu and Ortofon.
For more information about Technics click HERE
AC 100 V, 50/60 Hz
10 W (power on), 0.05 W (power off)
Dimensions (width × height × depth)Main unit:
531 × 188 × 399 mm [SL - 1000 R (with dust cover)]
365 × 109 × 365 mm [SP - 10 R (without dust cover)]
110 × 84 × 350 mm
Approx. 40.2 kg [SL-1000R (with dust cover)]
Approximately 18.2 kg [SP - 10 R (without dust cover)]
Approx. 2.1 kg
33 1/3, 45, 78 * 1 rpm
Aluminum die-casting · Integrated brass, Diameter: 323 mm, Weight: Approx. 7.9 kg
Speed adjustment range
0.39 N · m (4.0 kg · cm)
Wow · flutter
Tone arm part [SL-1000R only]
Universal S-shaped tone arm static balance type
PHONO (DIN jack) × 1 ※ 2