Legendary audio brand Technics is brought back from the dead, but don't hold out for a turntable yet
Panasonic has revived the Technics brand, launching a host of new high-end audio products. The company cited fast broadband speeds powering a return to high-quality audio, with file sizes no longer an issue, as the reason it was launching its new product range.
As you’d expect from a brand that’s all about high-end audio, the new Technics isn’t pulling any punches from its new product line-up. First up is the reference series, which will set you back a cool €40,000.
This includes the Stereo Power Amplifier SE-R1, Network Audio Control Player SU-R1 and Speaker System SB-R1. All three components are designed for the highest-quality digital decoding and playback.
Starting with the SE-R1, this stereo amp has the new JENO (Jitter Elimination and Noise-shaping optimisation) engine, which is designed to eliminate jitter and output a smoother, cleaner waveform. A high-speed silent linear power supply and battery-driven clock generator are also included.
Inputs consist of a Technics Digital Link Input (a new high-quality, high-speed digital interface), 1x XLR and 1x RCA analogue inputs. Bi-wired speaker outputs provide the connection to the speakers of your choice.
With the SU-R1 network audio player, it’s all about producing the highest-quality sound. It has separate digital and analogue amplifiers, a high-quality digital filter and supports the Technics Digital Link. It will, of course, play high-quality file formats, including support for FLAC, WAV and AIFF up to 192KHz/24-bit.
The final piece in the high-end set is the SB-R1 floor-standing speaker set. These stereo bi-wired speakers each have four 160mm long stroke cone type woofers, one 25mm carbon graphite dome tweeter and one 160mm Flat type midrange.
While the reference set will be out of the price range of most people, Technics also announced a lower-cost premium range of products, although the whole lot will still set you back ¢4,000. These include the SU-C700 stereo amp, ST-C700 network audio player, SL-C700 CD player and SB-C700 stereo speakers.
The SU-C700 has only regular S/PDIF digital inputs (optical and co-axial), rather than the Technics Digital Link. However, the amp still has the JENO engine. With the ST-C700 you get standard digital outputs, plus support for high-resolution audio formats, including WAV, AIFF and FLAC at up to 192KHz and 24-bit.
With the SB-C700 bookshelf speakers, you get a smaller and more compact package. Each speaker has a 19mm aluminium dome tweeter and a 160mm flat type woofer.
We got chance to listen to both system in a specially prepared listening room, with a set of pre-chosen jazz and classical tracks. Initial impressions where great, with both systems pumping out clear, well-defined, well-balanced audio. It’s with the Reference system that you really get the full effect, though: we could hear every bit of detail, from the subtle noise of drum brushes to the sound of fingers moving across strings. It’s very close to being there for the recording.
The new kit is set to go on sale in the UK in December. And, before you ask, there are no plans at the moment to bring back the turntables.