There was quite a bit of buzz all week at CES about the new Technics SL-1200MK7 turntable. The proposition perhaps sat in a more inviting manner than even the new audiophile-oriented SL-1500C table did.
The 1200MK7 is more of a DJ-targeted turntable, and the first update in a long while to have a price tag closer to a grand at $1200. Let’s not forget that a DJ actually needs two tables to do the job properly, which puts some of the more recent Technics releases in this category in a somewhat spicy cost bracket for a pair.
Finished in a full black-on-black (on-shiny-things) retrofit, the SL-1200MK7 is a coreless direct drive design which still holds much of the original elements of the series. Boasting a heritage of durability and reliability, the platter is equipped with two layer structure and improved vibration damping. A micro computer actually controls the motor tech to allow for optimal performance with both regular rotation and DJ scratching techniques. The platter can be spun in the reverse direction and also includes a pitch control slider on the right side. Chassis is constructed of die-cast aluminum and ABS mixed with glass fiber for long hauls and less than sober breakdowns.
There was no pitch control slider on the audiophile SL-1500C ($1,400 target) but the design is also a coreless direct drive motor and two layer structure platter. At the end of play, users can take advantage of a defeatable auto lifter feature – if so inclined. Additionally, the table comes with a built in phono stage (compatible with MM carts) with its own dedicated power supply. Finished in the classic silver, the SL01500C also includes an Ortofon 2M Red cartridge which it is already set up for straight out of the box use.
On the digital side of things Technics was also debuting a new SACD and music streamer. The Grand Class SL-G700 ($3,500 target) proudly decodes MQA, native DSD and even offers Google Chromecast compatibility. Apple Airplay, Spotify and Tidal are also on the current lineup with possible additional options available via firmware updates at a later date.
In a separate room off to the side of the 29th floor suite at the Venetian, we found two new wireless headphones from the Panasonic-owned company. The wireless trend was heavy handed at the show but despite the direction that many audiophiles take, mainstream consumers are slowly adapting to the idea. An early peek at the two headphones reveal LDAC and AptX-HD support to a 40mm “Composite Performance Film” diaphragm. The EAH-F50B starts with a target cost of $400, while the noise-cancelling EAH-F70N will run you another $50 (target). For your extra cash you get a 3-mode ANC, a wearing sensor (music stops/starts as you take the headphone on/off) and ambient sound enhancer/passthrough. The rated impedance for each headphone is 26 ohms, which can be accessed through a detachable cable should the need arise.
We also had the pleasure of running into singer Lyn Stanley in the room, who un-coincidentally had a fresh test pressing of her newest album along with her. The new record is London Calling: A Toast To Julie London and is available as a double vinyl special edition. Interested parties can check out the pre-order direct from her site.