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Technics’ new premium turntables will start at $10,000

Technics’ new premium turntables will start at $10,000


Spendy, but a good value for their build

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Technics SP-10R
Image: Panasonic Corporation of North

Panasonic has formally introduced the newest additions to its Technics turntable line at CES: the SP-10R and the SL-1000R. The original SP10 was launched in 1969 and was the first direct drive turntable. Panasonic says this new edition of the resurrected SP10 “reach[es] new levels in near flawless sound.”

The SP-10R was originally shown as a prototype at IFA 2017, where the company called it the brand’s “most premium turntable ever.” This final version only has a few differences from the earlier-shown prototype, but everything is still made with noise reduction and accuracy at the forefront. The platter clocks in at 7.9 KG with a 10mm-thick brass weight that’s laminated to the aluminum die-cast platter. There’s also a rubber layer attached to the rear surface that helps to eliminate any unwanted vibrations and a coreless direct-drive motor. All this results in the SP-10R having a low wow and flutter rate — a measurement of distortion caused by irregularities in how the turntable plays sound back — of 0.015 percent.

The SP-10R has the world’s highest signal-to-noise ratio

If all that wasn’t enough, the SP-10R’s control unit is separated from the main unit and provides a voltage supply via a technology Panasonic calls an “unwanted noise reduction circuit.” As the company stated last year when the turntable was first announced, all these precautions and features give the SP-10R the world’s highest signal-to-noise ratio, a measure of the level of a desired signal to the level of background noise. If you’re not familiar with a lot of these terms Panasonic is touting, they basically all amount to a very premium level of stability and precision when playing vinyl.

The thing about the SP-10 series is that it was always sold as just a motor unit. If you want to actually play records on it, you’ll still have to get additional components like a tonearm. But, a nice feature with the SP-10R is that its shape and screw positions have been designed for backwards compatibility. It’s interchangeable with other models in the SP-10 line, so owners of previous versions can continue to use their turntable base and turntable.

New Technics turntable models
Image: Panasonic

The other turntable introduced today by Panasonic is the Technics SL-1000R. If you’re looking for a more all-in-one system, it might be more appealing. The SL-1000R has an S-type universal tonearm, and the base for it is integrated with the turntable. There is the ability to mount additional tonearms on the sides, in case you desire alternative options (for say, a mono signal or something for specifically playing 78s).

A rep for the brand told me the SP-10R will retail for around $10,000 and the SL-1000R for around $20,000. There is no indication on delivery date.