We’re big fans of Technics’ turntables. Being Panasonic’s luxury arm for audio gear, however, we have to admit, many of their record players are just out of our price range. If you’ve felt the same way, you might be happy to learn that the outfit just released a new entry-level turntable in the form of the Technics SL-1000C and while, it’s still far from the most affordable record player out there, it might put it within reach for some folks who’ve been wanting to upgrade to that legendary Technics sound.
The idea behind this is simple. Technics sold a fair amount of the SL-1500C model, which paired a gaggle of hi-fi features with a competitive price point. This time around, they’re looking to capture even more of the resurgent vinyl consumers out there by incorporating many of the elements found in their more expensive models with an even more accessible price.
The Technics SL-100C runs on the same iron-coreless direct-drive motor used in the outfit’s SL-1500C model, with special tuning that, the outfit claims, will deliver a highly stable and precise rotation for 33.3, 45, and 78 RPM records, while retaining all the elements that allow it to avoid clogging and speed inconsistencies. That motor spins a two-layer platter that combines deadened rubber and die-cast aluminum, housed on top of a high-rigidity cabinet that mixes ABS plastic with glass fiber, while spring and rubber insulator provides the necessary layer to minimize vibrations.
The company’s long-running S-shaped aluminum tonearm makes its way here, too, rounding out the signature Technics aesthetic, complete with a high-precision bearing and the same gimbal suspension as the 1200 series. To help limit wear on the stylus, there’s a built-in function that will automatically lift the tonearm as soon as the end of a record is reached, then return it to its cradle all on its own. There is, however, the option to turn this off if you prefer manual control of the tonearm.
The Technics SL-100C uses an Audio-Technica AT-VM95C cartridge, along with a conical stylus, an aluminium cantilever, and aluminum coil, a combo that’s, admittedly, inferior to the more expensive models in the outfit’s range, which was probably necessary to achieve the desired lower price point. Technics does point out that it should still deliver the “sonic finesse” necessary to satisfy discerning music fans’ tastes. To accommodate other phono cartridges, the tone arm can be adjusted within a 6mm range, so you can swap in your preferred cartridge of choice in its place.
Another cost-cutting area is the lack of a phono stage, so users will need to source a phono preamp if their main amp in the media cabinet doesn’t have one onboard. There’s also no pitch fader like the other “C” models in the range, so there are some tradeoffs you’ll have to live with for that more budget-friendly price.
Speaking of price, how budget-friendly is this thing? Well, not that much. The Technics SL-100C has been announced for Europe, where it’s priced at €899, so that’s still a good $1,100 if you’re looking to get it when it drops stateside.