Technics SL-100C Review

by crackler01

Finally, I managed to do another turntable review in a new Technics SL-100C review article. Read all about it below.

The Technics SL-100C turntable, introduced as an entry-level model in 2021 by high-end audio company Technics, has garnered attention from audiophiles seeking a more affordable option for their vinyl listening experience. In addition to the SL-100C, Technics has recently released several other new products, including noise-canceling headphones, an all-in-one system, and various speakers and amplifiers. This article aims to provide a detailed review of the Technics SL-100C turntable, exploring its design, features, and sound quality, and comparing it to other turntables on the market.

Technics SL-100C Review

The turntable comes with a pre-installed Audio-Technica AT-VM95C cartridge and automatic limit switch. Pitch fader and strobe, which you can certainly do without in hi-fi circles, are not installed. A successful all-around carefree package? You will find out below.

Technics SL-100C Specifications

Turntable Section

  • Type: Direct Drive Manual Turntable
  • Motor: Brushless DC motor
  • Turntable Speeds: 33 1/3, 45, 78 rpm
  • Starting Torque: 0.18 N・m / 1.8 kg・cm
  • Build-up Characteristics: 0.7 s. from standstill to 33 1/3 rpm
  • 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)

Tonearm Section

  • Type: Universal Static Balance
  • Effective Length (from the tonearm pivot to the stylus): 230mm
  • Overhang: 15mm
  • Tracking Error Angle: Within 2° 32’ (at the outer groove of 30cm(12″) record), Within 0° 32’ (at the inner groove of 30cm(12″) record)
  • 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(including Headshell): without auxiliary weight: 5.6 – 12.0g, 14.3 – 20.7g (including headshell), with auxiliary weight: 10.0 – 16.4g, 18.7 – 25.1g (including headshell)
  • Head Shell Terminal Lug: 1.2mmφ 4-pin terminal lug

Bundled Cartridge

  • Model Name: Audio-Technica AT-VM95C

Terminals

Audio Output: PHONO (Pin Jack) x 1, EARTH TERMINAL x 1

General

  • Power Supply: AC110-240 V, 50 Hz / 60 Hz
  • Power Consumption: 8 W, Standby approx. 0.2W
  • Dimensions (W x H x D): 453 x 169 x 372 mm
  • Weight: Approx. 9.9 kg
  • Accessories: 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

You can download the manual here->Technics SL-100C Manual

Build Quality

The aluminum injection-molded chassis is made of acrylonitrile butadiene styrene copolymer plastic, which has special rigidity and vibration-absorbing properties. The record player measures 453 x 173 x 372 millimeters (W x H x D). In addition, the 9.9-kilogram drive stands on four isolators with decoupled springs and rubber, which ensures increased vibration damping.

I find the design very smart and harmonious. The silver finish of the power switch, the start/stop button, the speed buttons, and the tonearm cartridge on the chrome ring on the black turntable form a high-quality contrast to the matt black surface of the housing.

Technics SL-100C Top View

Since the turntable does not require pitch control and a strobe on the power switch, it does not need the strobe mirrors on the turntable. Accordingly, the typical outstanding main rotary switch has been exchanged for a touch button sunk into the chassis. The buttons for start/stop and the rotational speeds (33 1/3, 45 and 78 RPM) also react to a short tap with click feedback, but without any noteworthy travel.

The statically balanced aluminum tonearm with gimbal suspended tonearm bearing comes from the SL-1210MK7, whose high-precision milled construction, according to Technics, achieves a high output sensitivity. The height of the tonearm base can be adjusted by six millimeters. However, not quite as comfortable as with the SL 1200 models.

Technics SL-100C Tonearm

After releasing the lock, you simply pull the base out of the chassis to the desired height, which makes subtle adjustments a bit difficult. Of course, the anti-skating wheel and the tonearm lift are also part of the tonearm base. As with the SL-1500C, there is no slot in the top left corner for storing the supplied 45 RPM adapter.

In addition to the connections for the cold device cable for the power supply and the gold-plated cinch outputs with grounding screw, the back also hides a switch for the automatic lifting of the tonearm in the outlet groove. The SL-100C does not have an additional line output with a corresponding preamplifier, which significantly distinguishes it from the SL-1500C.

Technics SL-100C Backside View

The protective cover, which is part of the inventory, is hooked with its two hinges into the brackets on the left and right of the rear clip-on strip, which means that it can also be set down in a dampened manner for dust-protected vinyl playing. The scope of delivery also includes cables, headshell with cartridge, turntable mat, 45 RPM adapter, balance weight, and manual.

Technics SL-100C Scope of Delivery

Drive Technology

With the renaissance of the SL-1200 series, Technics revised the direct drive, which until then had to struggle with vibrations (pole bucking), the jerky sliding of the plate from pole shoe to pole shoe, which was not clearly audible during playback. Nevertheless, it was important to Technics to perfect this drive, for the first time with the Edelplayer SL-1200GAE.

All other models followed, including the SL-100C. Technics describe the drive as a single rotor without an iron core. Finally, a circuit board with hundreds of frames drives the turntable’s magnetic disk, which is attached to the underside. Vibrations and resonances are prevented by the rubber coating on the back of the turntable, which weighs two kilograms.

It is controlled with a control technology adopted from Blu-ray players, which ensures smoother running. The torque is 1.8 kg/cm, the start-up time is 0.7 seconds and the flutter is 0.025 percent.

Technics Turntable, Premium Class HiFi Record Player with Coreless Direct, Stable Playback, Audiophile-Grade Cartridge and Auto-Lift Tonearm, Dustcover Included – SL-100C, Black (SL-100C-K)
37 Reviews
Technics Turntable, Premium Class HiFi Record Player with Coreless Direct, Stable Playback, Audiophile-Grade Cartridge and Auto-Lift Tonearm, Dustcover Included – SL-100C, Black (SL-100C-K)
  • Enter the Real Vinyl Culture with Technics Premium Class Turntable: Featuring iconic characteristics of Technics...
  • Accurately Reads Your Records: The high-sensitivity aluminum S-shape tonearm reads every signal stored in record...
  • Audiophile-Grade Cartridge: A pre-installed Audio-Technica cartridge provides high fidelity with minimal setup; tonearm...
  • Auto-Lifter Reduces Wear on Records & Stylus: At the end of a record, the Auto Lifter raises the cartridge; the simple...
  • Functional and Beautiful: A vinyl player with a sleek, minimalist design and elegant, high-quality operation provide an...

Setting Up and Usage

Setting up the Technics SL-100C is quite quick. Insert the platter into the mandrel of the chassis, attach the headshell along with the pre-assembled cartridge to the SME lock on the tonearm and adjust the bearing weight to the recommended 2.0 grams. The same value also applies to the anti-skating to be adjusted. DJs may be surprised now, but this setting only applies to pure playback.

Since the turntable only plays the phono input of a receiver, integrated amplifier, or DJ mixer without distortion, it must be connected to the corresponding dedicated input. Otherwise, get an additional preamp that converts the phono signal into a line signal.

For the test I connect the SL-100C to my Rane Seventy-Two MKII, the acoustic sound reproduction is handled by Neumann KH 120 A studio monitors.

Quick Start and the Automatic Switch-Off

The drive, which weighs 2 kg, gets going really quickly at the touch of a button, within about a quarter of a turn. Synchronization is also on the level of high-priced drives.

In order to protect vinyl and cartridges, Technics has embedded an automatic switch-off, which is activated on the back. With this, the tonearm lifts itself after a few turns in the run-out groove. The walk to the record player is still not spared because the plate keeps turning as the auto-stop function doesn’t exist.

Technics SL-100C Sound Test

Many components are responsible for the sound of a turntable, be it a decoupled chassis, a shielded power supply, a quiet and evenly running motor, plus sound-absorbing insulators. All are included with the SL-100C.

With the turntable idling with the output cranked all the way up, you’ll hear a slight typical turntable hum, but that’s drowned out when playing vinyl at regular volume. Curiously, disconnecting the ground wire does not amplify this noise.

The signal should also sound distorted when connected to the line input, but the only noticeable thing is the significantly lower volume with less bass.

Cartridge

With its basic equipment, the SL-100C is really well equipped. There should be room for improvement with the choice of cartridge. Technics initially made the decision with the pre-assembly of the Audio-Technica AT-VM95C. The cartridge maps frequencies from 20 to 20,000 Hertz, which means that the sound is convincing in the playback test.

Technics SL-100C Cartridge

With U2’s “The Fly” the groove comes into its own with its cleanly reproduced notation. The low frequencies are characterized by bite, which does not intimidate the high frequencies. Even with hissing sounds, the turntable-cartridge combo does not reach its limits, it sounds clean, very harmonious and tidy.

The well-balanced and good middle and high-frequency coverage play into the details and the transparency, which allows fine nuances and also a spatial localization of the instruments to be heard. However, if you know your favorite songs in all their diversity inside and out, you will still miss some details. This is a price that people are very happy to accept because the SL-100C offers a very attractive hi-fi scenario in terms of value for money.

Technics SL-100C Video Review

To Buy or Not?

With the SL-100C, Technics offers a direct-drive hi-fi record player with a pre-installed cartridge at an attractive price. The SL-1210MK7 served as a template, from which the aluminum injection-molded chassis with glass-fiber reinforced ABS, including shock-absorbing feet and the tonearm base, came. The SL-1200GR was also the inspiration, and the iron-core single-rotor drive with precise control technology was used for the first time in this form. I find the design very smart and harmonious. The turntable makes a high-quality impression. The start and speed buttons respond well to a mere tap. An automatic switch-off lifts the tonearm in the run-out groove. With this equipment, the record player asserts itself against much more expensive devices. The sound of the SL-100C is ok with the pre-installed Audio-Technica AT-VM95C. Of course, more demanding ears can treat themselves to a cartridge upgrade in order to beam the turntable into the high-end league.

Technics SL-100C Pro & Cons

Pros

  • Decent sound, very close to the SL-1200 series
  • Great scope of delivery

Cons

  • High price
  • Not so good bundled cartridge
  • Miss some details in the reproduction
Great record player, very close to SL-1200 series with a lower price. If you want even better sound you will need a cartridge upgrade.
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