Technics Launches SL-1000R and SP-10R Direct Drive Reference Class Turntables at CES 2018

AnalogPlanet got invited to ta pre-CES Show opening launch of the new Technics SL-1000R and SP-10R Reference Class turntables and the sound was impressive! This was the first time these turntables were shown working and the sound based on about an hour of listening on the eve of the show's opening day was impressive!

The SP-10R is a 'bare bones" version of the new Direct Drive turntable, while the SL-1000R is a fully equipped turntable plus 10" versions of the Technics "S" shaped tonearm built into a custom aluminum base capable of supporting up to there arms.

We will have more to say tomorrow but for now the sound was really impressive. The SP-10R, which is the 'table and outboard motor controller ready to be "dropped into" the old SP-10's plinth will sell for $10,000, while the same "guts" packaged in an aluminum plinth with 10" tonearm will sell for $20,000.

More details tomorrow!

nagysaudio's picture

Incredible time to be an audiophile. These will probably be the best turntables in the world at any price.

Martin's picture

More details and a review.
This looks really interesting.
I was looking before at a VPI direct drive. This may be an alternative.

A $10,000 and $20,000 Technics turntable. In 2018.
Who would have thought?

jtsnead's picture

Going from a VPI Prime to the SL1200G I have no regrets and can appreciate vinyl play back more

11PEDRO's picture


11PEDRO's picture


rexlibris's picture

I guess I'll keep playing the lottery.

bfwiat's picture

Having worked in studios and radio stations in my youth I was always around SP10mk2s and finally acquiring one 6 years ago I can tell you that the performance (with matching EPA100 arm or SME) is as good as master tape and reliable as anything man made and mechanical.

This new version looks like it will be absolutely state of the art and capable of playing music to an astonishingly accurate level.

As I can not afford the new model it seems that drooling and being happy with my SP10mk2 are going to have to keep me happy :)

Ortofan's picture

... an SME 20/12. Which to choose?

nagysaudio's picture

SL-1000R of course.

Ortofan's picture

... you would ever see SME exhibit one of their turntables fitted with a Technics tonearm?

nagysaudio's picture


Dorian Workman's picture

You said it three times, you must have been really impressed!

Rumblestrip's picture
Rumblestrip's picture

I guess Michael's Grammarly plugin failed him in Vegas. :D

JanS's picture

Nice to observe Technics installed Ortofon SPU's in the Tonearms.

Rudy's picture

It looks as though the rear tonearm has a DS Audio optical cart mounted to it. That is the only cart I heard last year at an audio show that really stood out. This was the only cart I've ever heard in recent years that tracks as well as the Shure V15VMR. Its effective tip mass is among the lowest out there due to the construction of the cartridge (there are no coils, magnets or iron attached to the end of the cantilever to weight it down).

nagysaudio's picture

SL-1200G with Ortofon 2M Black. Probably the closest anything has ever gotten to the master tape sound.

Luke's picture

Hi Michael, can you share any info you might have on the arm? A lot of people getting in a funk about it just being the same as the one on the SL-1200GAE but that seems unlikely to me - surely must be a serious upgrade on that arm? (even if it does look the same). Also, do you know if it will come with plinth only? (i.e. a package without the arm) so that you can fit an SME for example? Thanks.

nagysaudio's picture

longer arm. So it's not exactly the same.

Luke's picture

Yeah, I noticed that. I wonder if there's other (hidden) upgrades as well - like an SME 309 vs SME V or Rega RB202 vs RB2000... i.e. better materials (the one of the SL-1200GAE has quite a bit of plastic for example) as well as better manufacturing tolerances and better bearings etc. If one considers the plinth and arm alone on the SL-1000R cost the same as the SP-10R - I'd expect something pretty amazing!

nagysaudio's picture

is very underrated IMO. I currently own a Gyro SE and both of your mentioned tonearms, Michell branded RB202 with van den Hul rewire, Michell VTA adjuster, and Tecnoweight. As well as the SME 309. I have matching arm boards and several 2M Black cartridges and can swap these tonearms in and out with ease.

I have also had extensive experience with SL-1200MK5. I do not find the stock 1200MK5 tonearm to be inferior to either SME 309 or to RB202. And the new magnesium tonearm in 1200G is even better. Bass performance is best on SME followed by Rega and then Technics. But Technics does the midrange and the presence region the best. It sounds very alive. SME has the worst presence region as it sounds very damped. It's very controlled and mechanical sounding in that region. Rega is somewhere in between.

I've heard several dozen by now original master tape recordings or first generations dubs. From high budget productions to locally recorded smaller jazz events. Strictly speaking tonally, Technics with MM cartridges (never MC) gets closest to the master tape sound, but lacks a bit of detail and bass extension. SME gets the tape's bass extension and high frequency detail, but fails at midbass, midrange, and especially presence region. And once again Rega is a mixture of both.

One last thought. Direct drive turntables sound closer to original recorded tape than belt turntables.

Michael Fremer's picture
First of all, please consider Rega arms. They may mostly like identical but they are NOT. Bearing tolerances make an enormous sonic difference. The new arm here is longer and made of Magnesium like the one on the limited edition 1200.... there are those who think this is "the same' arm as on the original 1200. WRONG.
Luke's picture

Thanks Michael, I'm a happy current user of Raga arm. I'm curious to know some specifics about the new Technics arm - at $10000 for the arm and plinth, I'm just wondering where the expense is going (when you consider the SL-1200GAE with the magnesium arm cost $4000 in total) I presume this new arm has many improvements over the SL-1200 magnesium arm?

ATB's picture

Technics 1200g And Technics 1200GAE have the same magnesium tone arm. The difference is the finish.

ATB's picture

Technics 1200g And Technics 1200GAE have the same magnesium tone arm. The difference is the finish.

garysaudio's picture

The arm board cannot be removed with the arm on the 1000R table, they do not supply an arm board so you can remove the arm on the table this means you have to live with the arm on the table in the prime location and relocate the arm you want to use on the back or left side of the table. This is a deal breaker for me and all the people I have talked to. I got this info from someone at the show.

vinyl listener's picture


Rudy's picture

Can't wait to hear this one. I'm betting they'll bring this to AXPONA in April. Any indication if it will play 78 RPM? A multi-arm table is perfect for that.

Hergest's picture

You can see from the speed control buttons on the front left of the deck that it does 33, 45 and 78 rpm.

garysaudio's picture

Ortofan I agree with you, we will never see a KUZMA, SME, HELIX, TECH DAS or any other high end table with a Technics arm on it. Everyone I have talked to that has seen this arm on a $20000 table is laughing.

Anton D's picture

Was this laughter at the Jeff Albertson convention?

nagysaudio's picture

made some of the most advanced tonearms of all time, using titanium and boron tubes and ruby bearings. Take a look at EPA-100, 250, 500. These new turntables and tonearms are absolute state of the art at relatively reasonable prices. Panasonic is one of the biggest electronics companies in the world. They spend millions of dollars on research and development and can hire top engineers. These are not mass market consumer turntables, but statement pieces.

Today there are endless garage companies charging $100K for very poorly engineered products. I'm sure Panasonic will be pleased if their tonearms are not associated with most of them.

miniguy's picture

In the photos I have seen without a record, they show a bare metal platter that doesn’t seem to have a central depression for the record label. If this is true, is there a mat Technics supplies that has this provision?

nagysaudio's picture

with the rubber mat. Technics is displaying the platter without the mat so that people can see the brass top plate.

garysaudio's picture

nagysaudio Toyota has billions of dollars and so called great engineers and people died from sticking accelerators. Just because you have a lot of money does not guarantee a great product. Robert E. Green who is highly respected said in the 1200G review in the Absolute Sound the arm on the 1200G was not up to the standard set by the rest of the table. I know of no one or have read of anyone wanting to put a Technics arm on any table. Lets just see how many SP-10R tables they sell compared to 1000R tables they sell if they do not sell a blank arm board for the 1000R in it's prime arm location

nagysaudio's picture

want and do use Technics tonearms in their reference systems, such as EPA-100, 250, and 500. They sell for over $1000 when available. That's many times their original value. They are also more valuable than the legendary SME 3009 and other vintage arms. EPA-100 MKII is one of the most technologically advanced tonearms ever made. I know of no manufacturer today who uses unobtanium material such as boron arm tubes.

BillK's picture

The "sticking accelerators" in Toyota vehicles were due to people stacking floor mats and the pedal getting stuck atop the mat. Despite there unfortunately even being some deaths, no forensic examination of the vehicles involved ever found a reason for a "stuck" pedal other than floor mats or - as was the case with Audis in the 1980s - pedal misapplication where someone "stomping" on the brake was actually applying the gas.

dmgrant1's picture

Does anyone know about the arm pods for the extra 2 tonearms on the 1000r? Are they somehow attached to the plinth or do they stand alone? I also see in the Technics brochure that they refer to using either and Ortofon or SME tonearm on theses pods. Are your choices limited to those brands for the extra tonearms the 1000R can accomodate? Just wondering.

nagysaudio's picture

it looks like they simply bolt on to the drive unit from the bottom with two mounting screws. The drive unit with an armboard can be used naked without the plinth. I'm assuming Technics will either custom cut the armboards for whatever tonearm you specify, or will sell blank boards that can be milled later by the end user.

zimmer74's picture

The video interview conducted by Mikey seems to indicate that you can place any arm/armboard you like in the conventional position on the 1000R. The main armboard is shown removed in the video. However, you probably have to buy the Technics arm as part of the package.

hulahoopla's picture

Thank you Mikey...I am sure these 10K/20K turntables will reproduce all of the poor quality sound found on some of the vinyl pressings from the 1960's & 1970's.

kramkajs's picture

I'm the original owner of an SP10 MKII with the original wood/rubber/obsidian plinth. I've never listened to an SP10 MKII on another plinth but I've read some harsh remarks about the original. I always found the sound just fine but with nothing to compare to. Thoughts?

BTW, the tonearm I mounted on it (and still have) is the original Infinity Black Widow.

Michael Bear Arlt's picture

I remember (back in 1996) buying my SL-1200MkII turntable at Brandsmart on the Palmetto in Miami for $500 new back the box after motor on my Systemdek died. It's still going strong. The first thing I did to it was remove the 1200's tonearm and install the Systemdek's Jelco arm along with a armboard. Who would want a Technic's stock tonearm? That arm sounded terrible though the Krell system at Audio Encounters who did the work, flat & congested fits the sound of the original arm. I'm ready to remove the Jelco and install a Rega. I can't understand why Technics is charging $10,000-20,000 for tables that were originally for pro use, and $3,000 for a DJ table. I know Technics improved the arm and motor... but four gees? Meanwhile every consumer turntable company has a 1200 clone for sale, some sell for around $250. For the price that Technics is charging for a SP-10, I could buy a VPI Scout, Ortofon Red, and give Acoustic Sounds the order of a lifetime. I wonder when Technics decides to reissue the plastic base p-mount monstrosities of the 80's and 90's, how much are they going to charge for them.

BillK's picture

Technics literally redesigned the entire table from scratch, especially the motor which is now at least somewhat comparable to the zero cogging motor VPI used in their $30,000 Classic Direct.

Just because it looks the same doesn't mean the engineering is, and if you don't want to pay the big bucks for either of these you can pick yourself up an SL1200G and get most of the same sound quality for only $4K.

You can read Michael's take on that table here:

ferrari275's picture

kramkajs, Honestly do yourself a tremendous favor and ditch the Obsidian plinth, its detrimental to the sound of the Technics direct drives, both Mk2 and Mk3. Used to own one many years ago with a Technics Sp10Mk3, then moved into a Artisan Fidelity Panzerholz plinth, no comparison. Did not realize how sterile the Obsidian was until this point. From there moved up the ladder again with the NGS incarnation. Another level entirely, and I run 15ips tape as well as some serious digital for comparison. Will try the Technics Sp10r next.