Technics (brand)

Technics (テクニクス, Tekunikusu) is a Japanese brand name of the Panasonic Corporation for audio equipment. Since 1965 under the brand name, Panasonic has produced a variety of hi-fi products, such as turntables, amplifiers, receivers, tape decks, CD players and speakers for sale in various countries. It was conceived for a line of high-end audio equipment to compete against brands such as Nakamichi.

Technics
Native name
テクニクス
IndustryElectronics
Founded1965; 56 years ago (1965)
HeadquartersKadoma, Osaka, Japan
Key people
Fumio Ohtsubo, president
ProductsDJ sets, headphones, synthesizers, turntables
ParentPanasonic
Websitetechnics.com

From 2002 onwards products were rebranded as Panasonic except in Japan and CIS countries (such as Russia), where the brand remained in high regard. Panasonic discontinued the brand for most products in October 2010, but it was revived in 2015 with new high-end turntables. The brand is best known for the SL-1200 DJ turntable, an industry standard for decades.[1]

HistoryEdit

Technics was introduced as a brand name for premium loudspeakers marketed domestically by Matsushita in 1965. The name came to wider prominence with the international sales of direct-drive turntables. The first direct-drive turntable was invented by Shuichi Obata, an engineer at Matsushita (now Panasonic),[2] based in Osaka, Japan.[3] It eliminated belts, and instead employed a motor to directly drive a platter on which a vinyl record rests.[4] It is a significant advancement over older belt-drive turntables, which are unsuitable for turntablism, since they have a slow start-up time, and are prone to wear-and-tear and breakage,[3] as the belt would break from backspinning or scratching.[5] In 1969, Matsushita launched Obata's invention as the SP-10,[4] the first direct-drive turntable on the professional market.[6]

In 1971, Matsushita released the Technics SL-1100 for the consumer market. Due to its strong motor, durability, and fidelity, it was adopted by early hip hop artists.[4] The SL-1100 was used by the influential DJ Kool Herc for the first sound system he set up after emigrating from Jamaica to New York City.[7]

It was followed by the SL-1200, the most influential turntable.[8] It was developed in 1971 by a team led by Shuichi Obata at Matsushita, which then released it onto the market in 1972.[3] It was adopted by New York City hip hop DJs such as Grand Wizard Theodore and Afrika Bambaataa in the 1970s. As they experimented with the SL-1200 decks, they developed scratching techniques when they found that the motor would continue to spin at the correct RPM even if the DJ wiggled the record back and forth on the platter.[8]

As the upgraded SL-1200 MK2, it became a widely used turntable by DJs. A robust machine, the SL-1200 MK2 incorporated a pitch control mechanism (or vari-speed), and maintained a relatively constant speed with low variability, which proved popular with DJs. The SL-1200 series remained the most widely used turntable in DJ culture through to the 2000s.[4][8] The SL-1200 model, often considered the industry standard turntable, continued to evolve with the M3D series, followed by the MK5 series in 2003.

Despite being originally created to market their high-end equipment, by the early 1980s Technics was offering an entire range of equipment from entry-level to high-end.

In 1972, Technics introduced the first autoreverse system in a cassette deck in its Technics RS-277US and in 1973 it introduced the first three-head recording technique in a cassette deck (Technics RS-279US).

In 1976, Technics introduced two belt-driven turntables for the mass market, the SL-20 and SL-23. The principal difference between the two models was the additional feature of semi-automatic operation in the SL-23, along with an adjustable speed control with built-in strobe light. They offered technical specifications and features rivaling much more expensive turntables, including well-engineered s-shaped tonearms with tracking weight and anti-skate adjustments. At the time they were introduced, the SL-20 and SL-23, which sold for $100.00 and $140.00 respectively, set a new performance standard for inexpensive turntables.[9]

The Technics brand was discontinued in 2010, but reappeared at the 2014 German consumer electronics trade fair IFA. In January 2016 on the occasion of the 50th Anniversary the Technics SL-1200 came back with the Technics SL-1200 G.[10]

Notable productsEdit

Early 1960sEdit

  • SX-601 Electronic Organ (1963) — an origin of Technics SX keyboard series, the result of cooperative works of National Electronic Organ Company (Panasonic group) and Ace Tone (precursor of Roland Corporation).
    After the 1970s, this product line was branded "Technitone" as a brother brand of Technics, and newer electronic musical instruments were branded Technics.
  • EAB-1204 loudspeakers (1965) — a premium loudspeakers, later renamed to SB-1204. It was also nicknamed "Technics 1", and referred as the origin of Technics brand.[13]

Late 1960s – early 1970sEdit

  • SP-10 Direct Drive Turntables (1969) — first direct-drive model for the professional market
  • SL-1100 Direct Drive Turntables (1971) — for the consumer market
  • SL-1200 Direct Drive Turntables (1972) — for the consumer market
  • RS-277US Autoreverse Cassette Deck (1972)
  • RS-279US Three-heads recording Cassette Deck (1973)

Mid 1970sEdit

  • SA-8500X The biggest quadraphonic receiver Technics ever built with integrated CD4 demodulation
  • RS-858US quadraphonic 8-track player/recorder
  • SH-3433 4-channel Quadraphonic Audioscope
  • SA-50XX Budget amplifiers ranging from $150 (cheapest) to $600 (Most expensive)
  • SB-7000 Linear Phase 3 way loudspeaker (First Linear Phase Speaker system in the World)

Late 1970sEdit

  • RS-1500/1700 series of open-reel tape decks;
  • SA-100/400/600/800/1000 receivers
  • SL-1300, SL-1400, SL-1500, SL-1600, SL-1700, SL-1800 Direct Drive Turntables
  • SL-1300MK2, SL-1400MK2, SL-1500MK2, SL-150MK2 (No Tonearm) Quartz Synthesizer Direct Drive Turntables "Professional Series"
  • "New class A" Amplifier series launched featuring inter alia SE-A3/SE-A5 High Output Power Amplifiers
  • SU-C01, SU-C03, SU-C04 amplifiers (a "concise" line of home audio consisting of amplifier, tuner and cassette deck)[14]
  • SB-F1, SB-F01, SB-F2 and SB-F3 monitor speakers (2-way, sealed casing, aluminum box speakers)[15]
  • SY-1010 Analog Synthesizer (1977)[16]
  • 9000 Professional Series: A series of stack-able, or rack mountable, units included the SE-9060 Amp, SU-9070 Pre-Amp, SH-9010 Equalizer, SH-9020 Meter Unit and ST-9030 Tuner. These "Pro Series" components replaced the earlier SE-9600 Amp, SU-9700 Pre-Amp and ST-9300/9600/9700 Tuner that were deemed too large. The 9000 Pro Series was introduced because of demand for smaller, quality components. The European version of the Pro Series had a different faceplate than the US version: 18" vs. 19". Because of the narrower face plate, the European version required special rack brackets to be rack mountable. The brackets came with the European version of the SH-905ST Professional Series rack. The only difference between this rack and the US version was inclusion of those brackets. As a result, the brackets are ultra rare and even the rack was sold in limited numbers in the USA.
  • SB-10000 Loudspeaker: Top of the line Technics speaker at a cost of US$12,000. They featured a tweeter made of boron. A used pair sold for US$32,050 around 2010 in Germany.
  • SE-A1 Amp: Top of the line Technics amp at a cost of US$6,000.
  • SU-A2 Pre-Amp: Top of the line for Technics at a cost of US$8,000.
  • SB-E100 and SB-E200 Loudspeakers: These were both designed with the SB-10000 in mind. The SB-E100 looked like the 10000 with the bass enclosure turned on its end with the mid/tweeter section mounted on top. The SB-E100 was made of MDF with Rosewood veneer. The SB-E200 was made of Rosewood and, while more similar in design to the SB-10000, it was virtually the same as the SB-E100 except for the bass box configuration and solid wood. The SB-E100 was designed to sit on the floor while the SB-E200 could sit on a table or pedestal. The SB-E100 had slightly better specs than the SB-E200 due to construction. Neither of them were released for the US market.
  • RS-9900US Tape Deck: Top of the line tape deck at the time and quite at home with the 9600 Series components listed above. It was a two piece behemoth that sold for $2,000 in 1977–78.
  • RS-M95 Tape Deck: This deck replaced the 9600 in the same way as the 9000 Professional Series components replaced the 9600. It was much smaller, less expensive ($1400) and had better specs than the RS-9900US it replaced, resulting in better sound.

Early 1980sEdit

 
1980s Technics SU-V5 stereo amplifier
  • SU-V3,V4 V5, V6, V7, V8, V9 Stereo Integrated Amplifiers
  • SE-A3MK2, SE-A5, SE-A5MK2, SE-A7 Power Amplifiers and SU-A4MK2, SU-A6 SU-A6MK2 and SU-A8 preamplifiers
  • SV-P100 digital audio recorder (using VHS tapes). Also available as the SV-100, a stand-alone PCM adaptor requiring a separate VCR;
  • cassette decks with dbx noise reduction
  • SB-2155 3-Way Stereo Speakers [1982]
  • SL-D212 Direct Drive Turntable [1982]
  • SU-Z65 Stereo Integrated Amplifier [1982]
  • SH-8015 Stereo Frequency Equalizer [1982]
  • ST-Z45 Synthesizer FM/AM Stereo Tuner [1981]
  • RS-M205 Cassette Deck [1980]
  • RS-M216 Cassette Deck [1982]
  • direct-drive linear tracking turntables SL-10, SL-15, SL-7, SL-6, SL-5, and SL-V5 (vertical)

Mid 1980sEdit

  • Technitone E series (1983): one of the earliest PCM sampling organs in Japan
  • SX-PV10 PCM Digital Piano (1984): one of the earliest PCM sampling pianos in Japan
  • SL-J2: direct-drive turntable
  • SY-DP50 PCM Digital Drum Percussion (1985)[17]
  • "Class AA" VC-4 stereo integrated amplifiers, starting with the SU-V40, V50 and V60 models (1986)
  • The SL range of Direct Drive turntables, like the SL-5

1990s–2000sEdit

During the 90's, Technics launched a successful series of mini hi-fi systems (SC-EH series, SC-CA SC-CH series and SC-DV series with dvd player and surround sound) and in the late 90's, the very successful series of micro hi-fi systems, SC-HD series (SC-HDV and SC-HDA, for series with dvd player and surround sound). These were manufactured until 2004, and after that, until 2005, were named Panasonic for the short time they were still kept in production after Technics brand was phased out. From now on, Technics was the name for the turntables (this included the low cost SL-BD20/22 manufactured well into the 2000's) and some higher quality headphones and speakers, although the same model appeared under both Technics and Panasonic names in some countries, for a while. From 2002 onwards, receivers which once were known as Technics, were rebranded as Panasonic. Technics stopped manufacturing separates (cd players, cassette deck, tuners, amplifiers) in late 2001, but remained for a while in the home cinema market, with both dvd players and receivers and speakers until late 2002, when these were renamed Panasonic. From 2004 on, except turntables, a series of headphones, and some dj equipment, all audio products were by now bearing the Panasonic name, rather than Technics. Also, by 2004, both SL-BD20/22 turntables were phased out. The two subwoofers listed below (SST-25/35HZ) along with the SST-1 Loudspeakers, weren't intended for home use but are quite at home there as long as have room for them. Use in a small room can result in drywall damage and a fish tank should not be in the same room. They were actually intended for large venue such as theater, ballroom or outdoor use. Both were passive sub-woofers that came with a separate amplifier.

  • SST-25HZ Super Bass Exciter (Sub-Woofer), top of the line Technics sub
  • SST-35HZ Super Bass Exciter (Sub-woofer), 1991 cost $2500
  • SST-1 Loudspeaker, 1991 cost $2000. These were meant to be mated with the SST-25HZ or 35HZ sub-woofers.
  • hi-quality power amps, Mainstream receivers, Dolby Pro Logic receivers
  • SX-KN series electronic keyboards, including the arranger keyboards KN3000, KN5000, KN6000 and KN7000, competing with the same market as the Yamaha Tyros
  • SX-WSA1/SX-WSA1R Digital Synthesizer (1995), utilizing Acoustic Modeling synthesis (PCM sample + physical modeling resonator)[18][19][20][21][22]

Since 2014Edit

 
Developed version of the professional turntable SP-10 (1969) for Vinyl, Technics SP-10R (2018)

Panasonic Corporation relaunches the Technics brand, in late 2014, mainly because of some interest in high end hi-fi from market, and also due to the vinyl comeback. The brand was relaunched with a series of amplifiers, speakers and micro hi-fi systems, but no turntables available. The turntables were relaunched in 2016.

As written above, in 2016, on the occasion of the 50th Anniversary of the SL-1200, Technics came back with the SL-1200 G.[23] About 2017 a remarkable digital amplifier, the SU-G700, was announced.[12] One of their most successful products are the new launched SL1500-C turntable series, and the Ottava micro hi-fi series, and also their active speakers series. SL1200 is also successful. Technics SL1500-C was launched as a cheaper alternative to the SL1200 series, being aimed to home use rather than dj use. It has quartz speed stabilizer, also it has no variable pitch and has no stroboscope for speed adjustment. Like 1200, it is manual, it only has an arm lift feature at the end of the record, which can be deactivated. It is available in silver and black version. It has a built-in preamplifier, which can be completely deactivated if not needed. It also has a heavy damped platter. In the tradition of Technics, SL1500-C is a Direct Drive turntable. It is different however, from the SL1500 models from the 70's,and it is not manufactured in Japan like it's bigger brothers SL1200 and SP10, but in Malaysia. Although in the past, Technics manufactured a series of belt drive turntables (mainly cheaper version), no new belt drive turntables from Technics are available new, and seems like Technics will not lounch new belt drive series.

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ https://www.engadget.com/2016/01/05/panasonics-technics-revival-has-a-new-direct-drive-sl-1200/
  2. ^ Billboard, May 21, 1977, page 140
  3. ^ a b c Brian Coleman, The Technics 1200 — Hammer Of The Gods, Medium
  4. ^ a b c d Trevor Pinch, Karin Bijsterveld, The Oxford Handbook of Sound Studies, page 515, Oxford University Press
  5. ^ The World of DJs and the Turntable Culture, page 43, Hal Leonard Corporation, 2003
  6. ^ "History of the Record Player Part II: The Rise and Fall". Reverb.com. Retrieved 5 June 2016.
  7. ^ "History of the Record Player Part II: The Rise and Fall". reverb.com. Retrieved 5 June 2016.
  8. ^ a b c Six Machines That Changed The Music World, Wired, May 2002
  9. ^ "Vintage Technics Database". Retrieved 2011-03-08.
  10. ^ technics.com News – Die Wiederauflage eines Klassikers, (German).
  11. ^ hifiengine.com 2020, Technics SL-P2 (englisch), retrieved 13 Mai 2020.
  12. ^ a b connect.de 8. August 2017, Technics SU-G700 im Test (German).
  13. ^ 松下電器ラジオ事業部50年史 [50 Years History of Radio Division.]. Matsushita Electric Industrial Co. Ltd. (not for sale) — The brand name "Technics" was formed in the conversations between Naraji Sakamoto (audio product designer of Panasonic) and chairman of Kawamoto Musen (a home electronics dealer in Nipponbashi, Osaka).
  14. ^ Technics C01 on The Vintage Knob
  15. ^ Technics SB-F1 on The Vintage Knob
  16. ^ "Technics SY-1010 Analog Synthesizer". Synthesizer Database (sequencer.de).
  17. ^ "SY-DP50 catalog (clip)" (in Japanese). Technics.
  18. ^ "Technics WSA1 Digital Synthesizer". Synthesizer Database (sequencer.de).
  19. ^ "Technics SX-WSA1". Sound On Sound. May 1995. Archived from the original on 6 June 2015.
  20. ^ "Technics SX-WSA1". Sound On Sound. December 1995. Archived from the original on 6 June 2015.
  21. ^ "Technics SX-WSA1R". Sound On Sound. December 1996. Archived from the original on 7 June 2015.
  22. ^ "Technics WSA1". Future Music. No. 38. December 1995. ISSN 0967-0378. OCLC 1032779031.
  23. ^ technics.com News – Die Wiederauflage eines Klassikers, (German).
historical products

External linksEdit

Official sites