Technics musters its mojo again for a $53,000 digital audio system, and we tried it

Remember Technics? Younger readers may be familiar with the brand’s iconic SL1200 turntable, which is sill a mainstay in many a professional DJ rig. But long before Technics was re-inventing record players, it was hocking some seriously high-end gear. The Panasonic brand has a succinct and storied past, having turned out some of the most carefully engineered products ever introduced into the high-end audio category. Unfortunately, recent years weren’t too kind to Technics, so Panasonic more or less shuttered its operations roughly four years ago.

But now its back, and in a pretty big way.

The people and the passion behind Technics never really went away. Even as former Technics designers and engineers took on other roles under the Panasonic umbrella, they had back-room chats about the glory days and conspired to revive the brand. Then, as high-resolution audio emerged as a trending topic among audio manufacturers, it was decided Technics would make a power play.

The rebirth of Technics begins with Michiko Ogawa, a well-known Jazz pianist in Japan who served as a budding engineer for Technics as far back as 1988. Ogawa now sits as director of Technics and, may we say, she’s a pretty stellar choice. Leveraging her understanding of both music performance and the engineering behind its reproduction, she is helping to lead Technics into a new era.

In our video, we showcase both the new Reference Series digital audio system and the step-down (and much more affordable) professional series. At roughly $53,000 and $5,000 respectively, these systems are clearly aimed at affluent enthusiasts, but there is no denying how beautiful the components are. And underneath the sexy exteriors is a long list of proprietary tech that Technics promise will re-unite listeners with the emotional engagement the old analog days used to provide.

We had a listen to both systems at a press briefing during IFA 2014, and while we were impressed, we do think Technics faces an uphill battle. Sure, these systems sound very, very good, but at these prices, Technics will need to rely on steadfast fan base that’s eager to rekindle the glory days when Technics was one of the best-kept secrets in home audio.

No matter its fate, its good to see an old favorite re-inventing itself and staging a comeback.

Product Review

Samsung’s Galaxy Buds are a brilliant combination of value and comfort

With six hours of battery life, an extremely comfortable fit, sweatproofing, and a very palatable price tag, Samsung’s Galaxy Buds are putting all other true wireless earbuds on notice.
Deals

The 5 best Apple AirPods alternatives for Android, Windows, and iOS devices

Apple AirPods, nice as they are, aren't the only game in town. Other makers are offering their own truly wireless earbuds, and if you're looking to buy a pair of high-end in-ear headphones, we've got the best AirPod alternatives on the…
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.
Cars

Apple opens up about its self-driving car program in letter to NHTSA

Apple has traditionally kept details about its self-driving car technology under wraps, but it has revealed details about the program in a rare instance of openness. The company takes safety seriously.
Outdoors

High-tech but low-key, these are the amazing materials inside your outdoor gear

We take a look at some of the materials that are used in the creation of our favorite outdoor gear, making our jackets, sleeping bags, tents, and other items warmer, drier, and more comfortable even in harsh weather conditions.
Computing

Great PC speakers don't need to break the bank. These are our favorites

Not sure which PC speakers work best with your computer? Here are the best computer speakers on the market, whether you're working with a tight budget or looking to rattle your workstation with top-of-the-line audio components.
Movies & TV

LeBron James’ Space Jam 2 gets an official release date

LeBron James has brought on Black Panther director Ryan Coogler to produce his upcoming Space Jam sequel, with Terence Nance attached to direct the film. Space Jam 2 is expected to hit theaters in July 2021.
Home Theater

Apple may be making noise-canceling headphones safer to use on the streets

Over-the-ear headphones are massively popular, but they block a lot of outside sounds, which increases the risk of accidents. A new Apple invention hints at a way to have great sound, and great safety, and it might be coming soon.
Movies & TV

Battle of the movie ticket sites: How to make sense of the fledgling industry

MoviePass may be the industry leader in subscription-based movie ticket sales, but the company's troubles have opened the door for competitors AMC Stubs A-List, Sinemia, and Cinemark Movie Club. Here's how the services compare.
Home Theater

Bask in the glory of your home theater with these 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray movies

What good is a 4K TV if you don't have the means of pushing it to its limits? Here are our favorite 4K Ultra HD Blu-rays, all of which are nothing short of stunning. It'll make you wonder why you haven't always watched movies this way.
Home Theater

Get the most boom for your buck with the best headphones under $100

Everybody wants a bargain, and this list has a bunch. For those looking for a solid set of headphones without spending a big stack of cash, this list is is your starting point. Check out our picks for the best headphones under $100.
Home Theater

Wireless headphones are finally awesome, and these are our favorites

With sleek form factors, prime audio quality, and the freedom of untethered listening, there has never been a better time to pick up a pair of wireless headphones. These are the best ones currently available.
Home Theater

Apple is arming up to redefine TV just like it did the phone

Curious about what Apple's answer to Netflix will be? Us too. So we combed through some patents, and looked at the landscape, to come up with a bold prediction: Apple's streaming service will be way bigger than anyone thinks.
Home Theater

The best noise-canceling headphones paint your music on a cleaner canvas

Drowning out the sound of babies, jet engines, and the outside world isn't as difficult as it seems. Here are the best noise-canceling headphones, whether you're concerned with style, comfort, or sound.