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CES 2016: Technics Expands Luxury-Audio Selection

Technics, the storied audio brand revived last year as a luxury-audio brand, is expanding its selection at CES.

The brand launched its first music server, its first integrated amplifier/DAC with network streamer, and its first tabletop music system. All feature high-resolution audio decoding.

The Panasonic-owned brand also resurrected its turntable business with one model and added a headphone.

At last year’s CES, Technics re-entered the U.S. home-audio market after an absence of about a decade.

Here’s what’s coming this year:

SU-G30 networked integrated amp/DAC: The $3,999 component, due in March, combines an integrated amp, 384kHz/32-bit DAC, and networked music player in a single aluminum chassis. It connects to the new SU-G30 solid-state music server and features Wi-Fi and Ethernet to stream high-res files through a home network. Supported formats include DSD’s 2.8MHz, 5.6MHz, and 11.2MHz flavors.  It also features USB ports to play music from USB-connected sources. Network features include DLNA and Airplay. Bluetooth with aptX is also included.

It will get a firmware update after it ships to add cloud services. Spotify and vTuner are planned.

Power output is 2×100 watts into 4 ohms or 2×50 watts into 8 ohms.

SU-G30 music server: Due in the summer at an unspecified price, the server features an included removable solid-state drive. Storage capacity wasn’t announced. It also features CD ripper, though CD playback isn’t supported.

Ottava: The $2,499 Ottava SC-C500 is a compact networked tabletop music system shipping in February. The 100-watt system features aluminum chassis, two separate speakers about the size of a half gallon of milk, 192/24 DACs, and ability to stream high-res music files, including 2.8MHz and 5.6MHz DSD. It also features Wi-Fi, AirPlay, DLNA, top-load CD player with clear swing-away cover, and upsampling of low-res files to 192/24. It lacks AM/FM but will get a firmware update after launch to add Spotify.

The included speakers feature 100kHz frequency response, and they are biamplified and biwired.

SL-1200 turntable: The $4,000 SL-1200 features the same cosmetics as its famous predecessor but has been upgraded to deliver audiophile-level sound. The 40-pound direct-drive turntable features die-cast aluminum frame and platter, DJ-like slider for speed control, and playback of 45, 78, and 33 ½ rpm vinyl discs.

A limited-edition model with magnesium-allow tonearm, serial-number plate on top, and special resonance-reducing feet will be available in the summer. Only 1,200 will be available globally. After they sell out, a standard version will be available sometime later in the year.

Headphones: A pair of Technics-brand DJ headphones are already available from Panasonic, but the company will add a luxury high-res pair for consumers in March. The $1,199 EAH-T700 over-ear headphones feature machined-aluminum ear cups to reduce resonance. Each side features 50mm driver and a 100kHz super tweeter. With low 28-ohm resistance, it can be used with smartphones.

The brand is available through around 15 dealers, most of which are two-channel specialists who have a lot of respect for the Technics heritage and want to be involved in bringing the brand back, said Bill Voss, Technics business-development manager.