Technics Reborn (and the Direct Drive elephant in the room)

One of audio's big guns returns, and this time it's streaming!

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Technics Reborn (and the Direct Drive elephant in the room)

Technics was one of the great audio mainstays. It was founded (as a part of the great Matshushita conglomerate) in 1935 as a music-technology brand. It made pianos, and stereos, and DJ equipment, and had a commanding reputation for high quality and value both in and outside of its native Japan. In the 21st Century, Matsushita made a global corporate decision to fold all its subsidiary brands (including National and Technics) into the one name; Panasonic.

At the time, there was good reason for this. This was the time of ‘convergence’ (as a concept, rather than a practical reality), and the idea was a Panasonic customer would listen to music controlled by their Panasonic TV set through Panasonic audio electronics, all the while downloading images from their Panasonic camera, and presumably cooking their meal on their Panasonic microwave oven. Nice idea, but it didn’t happen that way, and Matsushita has recognised that by reintroducing subsidiary brands like Technics.

Fast forward six years since the last Technics-branded product and the name is back. The company has recognised the music world has changed, and not totally for the better, so Technics is going gung-ho into the world of high-resolution audio. Its core products today are formed into two systems, both comprising networked source, amplifier, and loudspeakers. In the top end Reference R1 system, it comprises a €6,999 SU-R1 networked preamplifier, with a €12,999 SE-R1 power amplifier, and €19,999 SB-R1 floorstanding loudspeakers. In the more mainstream Premium C700 system, the network pre becomes a €899 SU-C700 networked player, while the SU-C700 integrated amplifier and SB-C700 standmount loudspeakers also appear to cost roughly one-tenth the price of the Reference equipment. Technics has also joined forces with 7 Music (one of the bigger digital content providers in Europe) to roll out ‘Technics Tracks’, a growing collection of FLAC-based downloads in at least 16-bit, 44.1kHz CD grade quality, and up to 24bit, 192kHz high resolution formats.

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