Technics SL-100C Premium Class Direct Drive Turntable Makes Its U.S. Debut, and It’s Already in High Demand

Show of hands: How many of you had, or still have, a Technics turntable in your gear arsenal? Technics has just announced the U.S. market debut of its Premium Class SL-100C direct drive turntable, which was initially released in the EU/UK last year and is considered to be the burgeoning sibling of its vaunted class brethren, the Technics SL-1500C.

The Technics SL-100C is now available in the U.S. exclusively via Technics and Amazon for $999.99. Initial stateside demand for this ’table was so high that Technics is already out of stock as I type this, but a company rep tells me directly they are “expecting to replenish soon.” That said, there is limited pre-order availability through Amazon, so if you’re interested, you know what to do.


Here are the key features of the Premium Class SL-100C, which is said to have benefited from the earlier development of SL-1200 series models and the Reference Class flagship SL-1000R. The SL-100C has a coreless direct-drive brushless DC motor said to achieve “stable rotation free from cogging,“ an S-shaped aluminum tonearm, a two-layer platter, a high-rigidity cabinet and high-damping insulator for “smooth“ vinyl tracking, a pre-installed Audio-Technica AT-VM95C pickup cartridge that can be interchanged for potential upgrading, and an auto-lift tonearm.

Essentially, the SL-100C proffers a similar feature set as the aforementioned SL-1500C (which itself lists for $1,199.99, and instead comes with an Ortofon 2M Red phono cartridge) without the built-in preamp, plus it has a less expensive cartridge (the Audio-Technica AT-VM95C, which, as noted, can be swapped out), and only one color offering (black, with a silver tonearm).


Some of the SL-100C’s feature set differences may be deal-breakers for the more hardcore among us — as we do indeed have clear affinity for top-shelf Technics Reference Class turntable entries like the above-noted SL-1000R ($18,999.99) and SP-10R ($10,999.99) — but I’d venture it’s a better option than, say, something that combines the first and last syllables of the surnames of David Crosby and Bob Marley.

More SL-100C tech specs follow. Chime in below in the Comments section if you'd recommend this ’table to audiophile newbies, and/or if you’d consider obtaining one for yourself.




General Specs
Overall contents: turntable, turntable sheet, dust cover, EP record adaptor, balance weight, headshell, cartridge (Audio-Technica AT-VM95C), PHONO cable, PHONO earth lead, AC power supply cord, owner's manual
Power Supply: AC 110-240V, 50Hz / 60Hz
Power Consumption: 8W, approx. 0.2W (standby)
Dimensions (w x h x d): main unit - 453 x 169 x 372mm
Weight: main unit - approx. 9.9kg (21.82 lbs)
Terminals: Audio Output - PHONO (Pin Jack) x 1 EARTH TERMINAL x 1

Tonearm Section
Type: universal static balance
Effective Length (from tonearm pivot to stylus): 230mm
Overhang: 15mm (19/32 in)
Tracking Error Angle: within 2° 32' at outer groove of 12-in LP; within 0° 32' at inner groove of 12-in LP
Offset Angle: 22°
Arm Height Adjustment Range: 0-6mm
Stylus Pressure Adjustment Range: 0-4g (direct reading)
Headshell Weight: approx. 7.6g
Applicable Cartridge Weight Range: 5.6-12.0g without auxiliary weight, and 14.3-20.7g including headshell; 10.0-16.4g with auxiliary weight, and 18.7-25.1g including headshell
Headshell Terminal Lug: 1.2mmφ 4-pin terminal lug

Turntable Section
Drive Method: direct drive
Motor: brushless DC motor
Turntable Speeds: 33 1/3, 45, 78rpm
Starting Torque: 0.18 N・m / 1.8 kg ・ cm
Build-up Characteristics: 0.7s, from standstill to 33 1/3rpm
Braking System: electronic brake
Wow and Flutter: 0.025% W.R.M.S.
Turntable Platter: aluminum diecast; diameter - 332mm; weight - approx. 2.0kg (including turntable sheet)

Tom L's picture

is it available without the cartridge? I wouldn't want to pay for the AT-VM95C and then immediately throw it in a drawer in favor of a better one.

Mike Mettler's picture
A good Q indeed, but the official Technics phraseology here is "pre-installed," so I would say probably not, at least at this time. Hence, keep some drawer space open... for now.
mcrushing's picture

I haven't met too many newbies looking at $1k turntables, but maybe I move in the wrong circles. That said, "Get a cosmetically deficient 1200mk2, a tune up, a 2m Blue and be set for life" is a recommendation I've given quite a few times.

And *THAT* said, people keep raving about these coreless/cogless motors and here's a Plain Jane version in a $1k package and I'd... kinda like to hear it.

Pretty sure what's in my profile photo will blow its doors off, but I've been "audiophiling" pretty hard about direct drive recently. Imagine if Technics did a poor-man's SP10 in this price range. BYO plinth/arm/cart.

It won't happen but it's damn fun to think about.

rich d's picture

I don't disagree with anything you wrote, but I should point out that Panasonics's cost on that A-T cart is probably less than the price of a Big Mac in Tokyo, so its effect on the retail price of the schallplattenspieler should be minimal. The thing to do, then, is to keep the stylus guard in place, unscrew the headshell and store the whole business on a high shelf. Take your new turntable to Ye Olde Cartridge Vendor and have something better installed along with a new headshell. Enjoy this until your drunk friend Gary tweaks the stylus whilst scratching your mint Factory 12" of Blue Monday. Pull out the A-T, screw it back in (remembering to adjust downforce) and party on.

And get a new friend, obviously. Gary's an idiot.

Tom L's picture

that you chose to name my clumsy, drunk friend "Gary". My actual friend Gary is a top-rank audiophile, far beyond my class, who would never do such a thing. If it did happen, I would put my old Stanton 681EEE in to party on.
BTW, a Big Mac costs about $5.74 in Tokyo, so the cart is probably a bit more expensive to A-T.

rich d's picture

I'm sure you're right and if you know the price of a burger in Tokyo you're probably aware of the Big Mac index employed by The Economist to judge the relative cost of living and effects of inflation in various countries. It's a helpful and interesting tool. I, on the other hand, have never been accused of being helpful or interesting, though the word 'tool' has come up once or twice.

Re: the actual subject of this article, a grand looks pretty reasonable to me compared to some of the cosmetically lovely but technically (sorry) deficient products out there.

rich d's picture

And I'd be grateful if you'd have Gary read my post and report back on his comments. I still have some reservations about that dude.

Mike Mettler's picture
... you all know the rest of that song title -- and now you've also got the tune/melody inside your head too. You're welcome. :)
rich d's picture

I really don't like Kansas. Not even the state.

garrard701's picture

Would I recommend? Depends...
Take what I say with a grain of salt, because I grew up lusting after 70s/80s Technics gear that my Dad had, or which I saw in catalogs. Around 1990 they seem to have lost their mojo and "gone Hollywood" (aka concentrating on home theater). By the end, the company was a joke -- save for the 1200 and pianos.
Anyhow, the recent iterations of the SP-10 and SL-1200 are wonderful to my ears/eyes because I have always secretly loved direct drive, even when Corey Greenburg and John Atkinson were preaching PRaT and Linns and Regas in the vinyl dark ages of the 90s.
Pricewise, this new 'table sits between my standard recommendations (for new), the Rega 2 and 3. The 100C is more than double what a tricked-out U-Turn would be. The SL-100C's cart may be its soft point, but I see it as the equivalent of the 1960s' come on, "buy a turntable and we'll throw in a GE Variable Reluctance pickup for ONE PENNY!" Still, the A-T is decent but unspectacular; I use one on an older Technics DD as a backup table. If you're paying $1000 for a turntable, you're likely going to upgrade later or already have a war chest of carts to choose from. So who is this aimed at? I'm thinking people who have a 70s/80s Pioneer or Dual or something (SO SICK of seeing those on FB marketplace) and want to upgrade as they get serious and grow their collections. This is NOT the next step up for Crosley owners, for sure. I don't even think Technics would aim for that lower-middle market segment... those buyers should graduate to a U-Turn (hopefully).
Comparing this and the other NEW Technics 'tables to their vintage equivalents, the big difference is the brushless motor, right? Is it worth the money? At this price point, I say 'yes.' For $18k (as in the modern SL-1000)? I'm not sure. Vintage SP-10mkII units with all the trimmings go for $2-4k. And then you have a big financial cushion for recapping, etc., before hitting $18k.
On this SL-100C, I do miss the variable speed control of the 1200 (which this is visually based on). I also notice it's the same price as the 1200mk7, which comes without a cart and has other differences -- though you still get that brushless motor!
So, would I recommend? For some. There's a LOT of contenders between a Crosley and a Rega 3... AT's own turntables, the new Pioneer "DJ" units, U-Turn, the Rega 2, Music Hall, the 1200mk7, etc. as well as used turntables. But the SL-100C's brushless motor is so alluring, I think I could recommend this for people who are willing and able to upgrade the cart, and don't care about the functionality of the 1200mk7. BTW if this came in silver, that would be the icing on the cake!

latinaudio's picture

A lot of records reviews (thanks) and a couple of turntables news and manufacturers info. No equipment reviews, no accesories reviews (none of the turntables and the DS Audio 001 were reviews) after 2 full months of Fremer departure. What are you doing, boys? Tell us if you are not going to continue very very soon with what is the essence of this website.

Mike Mettler's picture
Product reviews are indeed on the way, and are in the works as I type this. They take time to be done professionally, and at the quality level we demand, and we have the right people on the job.
volvic's picture

We certainly like what we see so far. Now about this turntable. I heard the 1200GAE on 54th street a few months before it was launched. I loved it and should have bought it then, before they switched production to Malaysia. I love all things Japanese, nothing against Malaysia, maybe at some point I will get one. I would recommend this table to someone who wants a no fuss table for the next 5 years, till they decide if they want to stick with vinyl, if not they can flip it pretty quickly. Incidentally, I spoke to Bill Voss a year or two ago asking him to push Panasonic to come out with an armless 1200G. He said he’s already proposed it to them. The waiting game continues.

garrard701's picture

I have great respect for Fremer and love his work, but I also really appreciate the new direction here with MM/MS posting so many news items about albums to buy and new hardware. Instead of the checking the site a couple times a week, I now check daily. Nice to hear that some reviews will come soon, too.

Mike Mettler's picture
...and we appreciate the patience! While I cannot say exactly what's in the product review pipeline as of yet, I can say there are at least three of them in the works that I'm currently monitoring, and we'll post them as soon as they're done and vetted -- with many more to come, of course. And we'll continue to regularly report on new products worthy of our, and your, attention.

We will also continue posting album reviews every Friday, many of them penned by our main man MS, and we will soon begin interspersing additional LP reviews throughout the week as our other name reviewers get up to speed. Me, I happen to have two key albums in hand and on my own 'table that I'll be reviewing in the coming weeks.

And, of course, the deep-dive interviews I've been doing will continue to appear mostly on Thursdays, with the next one of them slated for next week. And, whenever I come across new LP releases and/or box sets worthy of note, I'll post about them too -- in fact, see the latest one that just went up within the last hour. Stay tuned for more!

Jazz listener's picture

you should get lost.

Fremer has a new YT channel that reviews lots of gear, and his own new website not far behind it.

BruceN's picture

There are now two Technics turntables for $999, the SL-100C and the SL-1200Mk7. The new SL-100C has a simpler look and, yes, a throw-away cartridge. It also has auto-lift. I have the SL-1200Mk7, and I really like it. Unlike the SL-100C, it has a dial for setting VTA (SRA), which helped me a lot in fine-tuning my cartridge set-up.

I think the SL-100C obsoletes the SL-1500C, since that model has both a throw-away cartridge and a throw-away phono preamp.

Frankly, the choice between the SL-100C and the SL-1200Mk7 becomes a matter of taste (appearance) and features (auto-lift vs. easier VTA adjustment). Both are great turntables for $999.

Aside: I use a Jelco HS-25 headshell and a Herbie's Way Excellent II platter mat on my SL-1200Mk7. The cartridge is a Nagaoka MP-200.

Russo7516's picture

Living in the NYC area you can get a used Sl-1200 from 100 to 700 depending on the shape it is in.
You can drop it off at Dj Fix and for few buck have it refurbished and it will play on for ever if taken care of. So why drop over a grand. A lot of the new collectors buy used gear
The DJ set prefers the older models also ez to repair parts are every where. DJ Henry or KAB has parts big time
Fremer use to poke fun at the Technics guys. He also knew they held speed well also and lasted.
I have an old Sl 1200 M3D , which has out lasted a Rega and has seen less service issues than my friends VPI DD turntable which he paid a premium for .
A few tweaks with a Technics and they can sound really good . Not as good as VPI direct drive or G/GR/ GAE SL-1200 .

McDonalds or Steak's picture

Who can say no to the “burgeoning sibling of its vaunted class brethren” ?

In fact, who can say anything at all to that?

McDonalds or Steak's picture

I have my doubts that this will turn out to be anything better than the similar and much less expensive upper Audio Technica models, with a price premium to capitalize on the Technics turntable mystique.

The promo copy on Amazon, which probably comes from the distributor, reads in places like lots of other cheap-o record player marketed to the less informed. They even call it a "vinyl player."

Lymbo90's picture

Would have considered this but I don't want to own anymore black turntables. They attract dust and fingerprints way too much. They 1500c doesn't make sense for me since I wouldn't need the internal pre or 2M Red. The 1200mk7 in silver may be the way I go.