Technics has announced it is reissuing its classic SP-10 as the Reference Class SP-10R, a model that parent company Panasonic is calling the brand’s “most premium analog, direct-drive turntable to date.”
Panasonic displayed the SP-10R prototype at IFA 2017 in Berlin, and its high-end features see it falling in line with the brand’s turn toward audiophiles in recent years. At first glance, the turntable is simply beautiful to look at, with a weighty 7KG platter for stable rotation made of brass, aluminum, and rubber. It has a separately housed power supply that’s a departure from most turntables’ all-in-one design, meant to minimize hum and vibration. It also features an updated model of the coreless direct drive Technics has featured in other models (like the SL-1200G), which eliminates a rotation irregularity called “cogging” that can occur with traditional direct drive motors.
All this means the SP-10R sports an incredibly low wow and flutter rate — a measurement of how consistently the turntable sustains pitch and avoids distortion — of 0.015 percent. (To put this in perspective, a good turntable should have a wow and flutter at or under 0.25 percent.) The company also says the SP-10R has the world's best signal-to-noise ratio at 92db. While this is way above what other premium turntables offer, most average listeners can’t really hear a significant difference in a signal-to-noise ratio beyond 60db (we’ll save this debate for the audiophiles).
Panasonic says commercial launch for the SP-10R is set for summer of 2018, and it will release the tonearm and other components at a later date. It has not revealed how much the new SP-10R will cost. However, if recent Technics models labeled “affordable” give any indication (its new SL-1200GR is $1,699), expect the SP-10R to create quite a dent in your wallet.