Technics launches "entry level" SL-100C turntable
Panasonic's luxury audio gear maker Technics has unveiled a new Premium Class turntable called the SL-100C that the brand is calling an entry level model. It's still expensive, just not as pricey as its siblings.
After hibernating for a few years following a dip in sales, Panasonic relaunched Technics as a high-end audio brand to much fanfare in 2014, and we first got news of a new turntable the following year. That turned out to be a very expensive reworking of a DJ favorite, the SL-1200.
Other variations on the vinyl-spinning theme have followed, including an update to the SL-1500 model first introduced in the late 1970s. And that premium turntable is one of the models that lend many of their core features to the new entry level SL-100C.
"The huge success of the SL-1500C, offering a fully featured package for the dedicated hi-fi enthusiast, with all the core Technics turntable technologies, has shown we have hit the mark within a popular and competitive turntable class," said Frank Balzuweit of Technics Europe. "The demand for this high-quality ‘plug-n-play’ turntable – having exceeded our own expectations – is still undiminished even to this day. However, there is still a strong appetite from the market to deliver a similarly attractive package at an even more affordable price."
The SL-100C turntable benefits from a solid two-layer chassis to keep vibrations from spoiling the analog party, and features an iron-coreless direct-drive motor that's designed for consistent and smooth rotational speed delivery for 33.3, 45 and 78 RPM records. The motor spins a two-layer diecast aluminum platter with vibration damping that tips the scales at around 2 kg (4.4 lb), and the S-shaped aluminum tonearm completes the Technics aesthetic – there's also an auto return function included that will lift the tonearm at the end of a record and return it to its cradle, to help limit stylus wear, though this feature can be disabled if manual control is preferred.
The cost-cutting exercises include opting for an Audio Technica VM95C moving magnet cartridge with a conical stylus as opposed to the Ortofon Red cartridge in the SL-1500C, for example. Technics does say that the cartridge choice for the SL-100C should still offer enough "sonic finesse to satisfy the demands of real music lovers" though. The new turntable also lacks its own phono stage, which means that users will need to source a phono preamp if the hi-fi amp in the living room doesn't have its own.
For the moment, US availability hasn't been confirmed but the SL-100C goes on sale in the UK and Europe from July for £799, which is pricey but "entry level" for a new Technics turntable.
Product page: Technics SL-100C