Technics has a pricey new music maker that lets audiophiles who treasure tube amps and floor-standing tower speakers keep the analog faith and still embrace the best of today’s digital media.

Seen, but not heard in Technics’ Venetian suite at CES last week, the Technics SL-G700 Network Super Audio CD Player is defined as “a multi-digital player that covers most of the digital audio media available today—from traditional CD/SACD to the latest high-res and popular streaming services—and plays them all back in the highest possible quality.”

“Our audio engineers” (some on the job throughout the 20-year span when the Technics brand lay dormant, according to Technics’ business development manager Bill Voss) “were all thinking what to do, what was the reason to come back? What’s relevant, and what will other high-end audiophile companies eventually come up with? This product fits that mission perfectly.”

The goodies on the inside

The SL-G700 boasts “phenomenal build quality,” Voss said. “We’re on a mission to optimize the analog audio output for connected old-school gear.” He cited the SL-G700’s high-speed silent hybrid power supply, which has a discrete layout and meticulous tuning to realize a high signal-to-noise ratio, as well as the player’s isolated dual mono construction digital-to-analog circuitry, based on Asahi Kasei Microdevices AK4497 DACs.

technics sl g700 bill vossJonathan Takiff
Technics business development manager William (Bill) Voss demoed the Grand Class SL-G700 at CES last week.

A noise-isolating, battery-driven, ultra-low-jitter clock generator powers the digital audio signal processing, while a separate interference-eliminating D/A circuit is onboard just for headphone listening via a Class AA amplifier. Technics’ own processor—dubbed JENO (Jitter Elimination and Noise-shaping Optimization)—clicks on only when headphones are connected.

The networking side of the SL-G700 will pull in streaming audio from Tidal—including the “Masters” selections encoded in MQA format—in addition to Spotify, Deezer, and the thousands of free internet radio stations aggregated by the V-Tuner streaming service. More streaming services will likely be added before the player launches. All will be accessible within the Technics Audio Center app that Voss couldn’t show me “because it’s still under construction.”

Connectivity options

The box makes wireless connections via Wi-Fi (dual-band 802.11ac), Bluetooth, Chromecast, and Apple Airplay 2. On the backside, your hard-wired connection options include both balanced (XLR) stereo outputs and variable-level RCA analog audio outputs. You’ll also get digital audio outputs (optical and coaxial), of course, but Technics also provides the same as inputs: “…good for things like connecting your old 300-disc CD changer and listening in a fresh way through this processor,” Voss said.

If you’re the type who buys downloadable music and stores it on a NAS box, Technics’ player will “find the files from the music server over DLNA on the Wi-Fi network, identify the music and play it,” Voss said. You’re not limited to Wi-Fi, of course, there’s a 100Mbps ethernet interface on the back panel as well.

Let a comment