There is something very alluring about a Japanese audio product that is designed and built as a ‘top end’ product and the Technics SL-G700 is certainly of that ilk. On the surface it looks like many other SACD players, but dig deeper and you will discover a truly superb music player for CD, SACD and just about any music streaming service you can name.
I recall the Technics brand name back in the 1980s, but of late they have not been a brand on my radar, and to be honest I felt they had all but given up on the more serious music lovers needs. So, to say I was surprised when the Technics SL-G700 was announced would be an understatement.
One read of the product page on Technics website, gives the impression that Technic’s engineers have put a huge effort into designing this music player, with meticulous attention to detail throughout, from the power supply through to the chassis design, no detail has been left out. While each of these things may be small, they add up to a music player of impeccable build and sonic prowess.
Simply lifting the Technics SL-G700 out of the box tells you this is no ordinary piece of kit, it is very hefty weighing in at just over 12kg, and it feels as if it has been milled from a solid billet of aluminium. I can not help but recall fondly the early Sony SE series products with their stunning build quality, and like those Sony SE products, the Technics is flawless.
A look under the hood confirms what the looks and weight imply, solid construction using the very best parts in the power supply and both analogue and digital circuitry. The digital to analogue circuitry is a dual mono design, and uses a Asahi Kasei Micro devices’ top-of-the-line AK4497 DAC chip, driven by a battery power fed clocking circuit!
The analogue output stage, which is to me the most important part of any digital to analogue conversion stage, is a discrete design and therefore no OPAMPS in sight. I have no doubt that this plays a big part in the sonic character of this player, and why it sounds so good!
Starting with the CD/SACD playback, it has to be said: there is still something magical about the sound of a spinning silver disc. The Technics SL-G700 is without a doubt, one of the finest CD players I have ever heard, equally so with SACD playback too. Music is not only detailed, particularity in the top end which is so sweet sounding, but also the midrange which is pure magic being re-inforced with precise, tight bass. The Technics SL-G700 is almost worth the price of entry for disc playback alone.
Testing the streaming abilities, of which it has many, I used Tidal master quality audio tracks and I am happy to say that the sound of these tracks all but matched the sound of the CD/SACD playback. Naturally, if using a lower grade source such as Spotify, sound will degrade as there is no ‘silk purse from a sow’s ear’ going on here, low res audio is low res audio, but it is still very listenable.
So it all sounds pretty magical up to this point, but surely it is not the worlds most perfectly designed and executed product, is it? No, it isn’t. Technics have made a few strange choices in designing the Technics SL-G700, such as the need to jump between the supplied remote and the phone app depending on which playback you are using, ie: Phone App for streaming services and the supplied remote for CD/SACD playback. Surely the phone app could have included controls for everything? Hopefully this will be addressed in a future update.
The Technics SL-G700 is also not the fastest player in terms of control response, everything just feels a little laggy. It is not a deal breaker by any means, but something to be aware of. I also think Technics missed an opportunity here with the built in display, as it could have been larger, more informative and colour instead of black and white, this is 2019 after all. And given the size of the front panel, the controls could have been spread out a bit more.
Those few complaints aside, the Technics SL-G700 is one of the finest music players I have ever tested. It offers truly superb CD/SACD playback, as well as streaming quality given the right source.
Technics SL-G700 Network/Super Audio CD Player Specifications:
- Frequency Response: (-3dB): 2Hz – 50kHz
- Dynamic Range: 118db (Balanced), 115db (Unbalanced)
- THD: Less than 0.0006%
- Weight: 12.2kg
- Dimensions: 430 × 98 × 407 mm
Why you want the Technics SL-G700:
The Technics SL-G700 Network/Super Audio CD Player is a little unique in the market today, offering old school and new school music playback, bridging that transition from disc playback to streaming playback for those still hanging onto their discs, and that is it’s selling point. In fact, given the quality of disc playback on offer here, it may just make you keep spinning those discs for many more years to come…yes, it is that good!