Say hello to Technics’ insane, $20,000 SL-1000R turntable

After so many years at CES, there are increasingly few things that make the hairs on our arms stand up these days. But a $20,000, three-armed turntable resurrected from the first-ever direct-drive wax spinner is one of them. This year at CES, Panasonic’s high-end audio branch, Technics, went back to the historical days of vinyl to turn its original SP-10 turntable into a shocking monstrosity of vinyl audiophile awesomeness. And yeah, the results sound as good as they look. Maybe better.

There are technically two new Technics turntables to discuss here: The SP-10R ($10,000), which is simply the platter, plinth, and outboard motor control unit (you select your own tone arm), and the SL-1000R, which comes packing a magnesium tone arm and a massive five-layer cabinet with modular spaces for two more tone arms of your choosing. This allows fanatics to specialize their listening with multiple cartridge types at once — the one we saw even came with a tone arm loaded with an optical-digital cartridge to read the grooves utilizing LED light instead of a Moving-Coil or Moving-Magnet design.

At the core of both turntables is Technics’ four-layer Coreless Direct Drive Motor, which is based on the $4,000 SL-1200G turntable we saw in 2016, but takes things to even more ludicrous levels, offering even less flutter and more torque to push the tables’ massive, 17-pound platter.

The platter for both tables comprises a layer of “deadening rubber,” an aluminum die-cast base, a brass top, and 12 tungsten bearings for weight. The separated control unit allows for incredibly finite pitch adjustment between record sizes, as well as a reset key to release directly back to the original speed. As you’d imagine (and hope at this price), the table plays all three standard formats, including 33 1/3 rpm, 45 rpm, and 78 rpm records.

The SL-1000R also offers a five layer cabinet of aluminum and bulk molding compound (BMC), while for its part, the SP-10R is backward compatible for those vinyl nuts still holding on to their original 1970 SP-10 components.

All of this adds up to an insane level of solitude for your records, with virtually immeasurable flutter and a signal-to-noise ratio so low, you’d have to be one of the musicians in the studio for the original recording to get any closer to the music.

Product Review

Simple and reliable, Apple's AirPods are among the best fully wireless earbuds

Apple’s AirPods wireless headphones have dominated the market essentially since they hit stores in December 2016. Though not without some faults, they cracked the connectivity code to rank among the best fully wireless earbuds you can…

The best of the last generation: Our 50 favorite Xbox 360 games

The Xbox 360 thrived during a generation where games were plentiful. Here's our list of the best Xbox 360 games of all time, including all game genres and even a few special indie hits.
Home Theater

The best Dolby Atmos movies for your home theater sound as good as they look

If you've got your hands on some sweet Dolby Atmos gear, the next step is to find films that take advantage of it. These are our picks in several genres for the best Dolby Atmos movies currently available on Blu-ray and streaming services.

How to get the most out of agent builds and specializations in The Division 2

The Division 2 has an intricate loot system to let you fine tune your agent to fit your play style. In our builds and specializations guide, we'll walk you through all of the stats you should pay attention to when tinkering with gear.

Your PlayStation 4 game library isn't complete without these games

Looking for the best PS4 games out there? Out of the massive crop of titles available, we selected the best you should buy. No matter what your genre of choice may be, there's something here for you.
Home Theater

Here are some common AirPods problems, and how to fix them

Apple’s AirPods are among the best fully wireless earbuds we’ve seen, but they’re not perfect. If you’re having trouble, take a look at our guide to the most common problems and what you can do to fix them.
Home Theater

There isn’t a single good reason to buy Apple’s new AirPods

After nearly a three-year wait, Apple has finally announced a new version of its popular true wireless headphones, the AirPods. We had high hopes for vast improvements, but that's not what we got.
Home Theater

ESPN Plus scores the exclusive rights to UFC Pay-Per-View events

If MMA is your game, then ESPN Plus is now a very important player. The Disney-owned service locked up the exclusive rights to UFC Pay-Per-View events, a deal that will last through 2025 in the United States.
Home Theater

Dish TV customers can access up to 13 NCAA March Madness games in 4K

If you're a basketball fan looking to get your fix of NCAA Championship action in 4K, Dish TV will be airing up to 13 of the tournament games in the ultra high-def format, starting on Tuesday.
Home Theater

Cheer for your favorite NCAA team and Xfinity will respond with matching lights

Screaming at your favorite team just became a lot more rewarding thanks to Comcast's Xfinity voice remote and some special NCAA commands that set your smart lightbulbs to your favorite team's colors.

Amazon slashes prices on UE Boom and MegaBoom 3 Bluetooth speakers

With just the right combination of great sound, a rugged design, and an overall sleek aesthetic, the UE MegaBoom 3 is our favorite Bluetooth speaker. And Amazon is offering a rare discount on it right now.
Movies & TV

Stranger Things season 3 is coming! Here’s everything we know so far

With a sophomore season as strong as its first, Stranger Things is now moving on to season 3. Here's everything we've learned so far about the Netflix series' upcoming third season, premiering in July 2019.
Home Theater

Here’s what’s new on HBO and what’s leaving in April 2019

Whether you're a cable lifer or a staunch cord cutter, there's never been a better time to get down with premium TV. April 2019 brings Game of Thrones season 8, BlacKkKlansman, and Crazy Rich Asians to HBO.
Home Theater

Tipping point? Streaming subscribers outnumbered cable in 2018 for first time

2018 was a very good year for the entertainment business as a whole, but it was especially good for streaming companies like Netflix and Amazon, says a new report by the Motion Picture Association of America.