A recognizable classic look and rich detailed sounding together with technical solutions that are non-standard and unusual for brand fans – this is the concept of this amplifier. The Japanese company felt that the result is more important than the process, and we saw this for ourselves during the audition.
If you are nostalgic for those Technics amplifiers with arrows, then the exterior of the new SU-G700 model, bearing a certain collective image of the line of the past, I think, will appeal to you. The strict rectangular lines of the case and a large plastic window with two VU-indicators refer us to the 900th and 1000th series, and the large round volume knob in the center at the top reminds of branded integrated circuits.
But the inner content, perhaps, will cause cognitive dissonance and pain (think for yourself – where) among orthodox audiophiles. Before us is an integrated amplifier with a class D pulse circuit and several stages of digital signal conversion. Judge for yourself – at the very beginning, the analog signal is converted into a digital 192 kHz / 24 bit using the built-in Burr-Brown PCM1804 ADC from Texas Instruments.
And this happens not only on a pair of analogue RCA line inputs, but also on the input of an MM phono stage – just imagine the feelings of vinyl adepts! So forget about the former pride of the company – the MOS class AA circuit (which, by the way, has nothing to do with the operating mode of the amplifier, but means an assembly of two amplifiers: on field MOS and bipolar transistors). Of course, special attention was paid here to classically close digital inputs: a pair of optical and coaxial, as well as USB-B for connecting to a computer.
Control comes first
This decision, which is not the most familiar for this price category (and it is also used in the reference series SE-R1, which is not yet presented in all countries), is dictated by the company’s new approach, which can be freely expressed by the expression “are you checkers – or should you go?”
In other words, Technics is committed to providing you with accurate, detailed and musical sound with confident control over a variety of acoustics – and the methods they will choose themselves.
To begin with, in order to eliminate the almost inevitable jitter and accompanying noise when processing a digital signal, the company used the proprietary JENO Engine technology (Jitter Elimination and Noise-shaping Optimization). In particular, a special battery-powered clock generator and a precision PWM module are involved.
The main control is assigned to the LAPC (Load Adaptive Phase Calibration) technology, which corrects the phase characteristics in real time, continuously matching them with the constantly changing and frequency-dependent impedance of the speakers. As a result, engineers were able to get an even, powerful signal across the entire frequency range.
The Japanese paid special attention to protection from parasitic noise and radiation. First of all, the amplifier body was divided into three almost equal parts, placing in them various circuits and a switching hybrid power supply. Also, the internal baffles gave additional rigidity and vibration resistance to the already sturdy aluminum body on a double frame and with a steel bottom plate.
More noise-reducing circuits and components have been added to the power supply, computer input amplifier, clock power supply, and phono input.
However, Technics has not forgotten about the variation on the theme of its own AA amplification circuit (and again, not to be confused with the operating mode) – it is used in the headphone output. Here the high PWM signal, converted to analog, is fed to a separate dual-circuit amplifier.
Accompanies any performer
To better understand the capabilities of the amplifier and distinguish its own presentation from the nature of the acoustics, we prepared two pairs of equivalent speakers at once. Close to the top-end floor models ELAC FS 409 and Monitor Audio Gold 300 5G at the time of testing, the shares were priced the same with an accuracy of the ruble. Both have similar sensitivity characteristics (89 and 90 dB), the same impedance of 4 ohms and a similar speaker layout – ribbon tweeter, midrange radiator and a pair of woofers.
To begin with, we will test the analog connection and help us with this … the digital network player Cambridge Audio Edge NQ , which has earned our high marks precisely for its high-quality natural sound transformation. Moreover, he has only analog outputs, and now we will use the unbalanced Pre-Out.
To connect the player to the network, speakers and amplifier, we did not use mismatched cables, but used the mid-budget and at the same time fairly high-quality set of Nordost Explorer, which just for this case offers a ready-made solution “out of the box”.
First, let’s offer the audio system a baroque classic in the form of the JS Bach album I often use. Oboenwerke. Alexei Utkin. Hermitage Chamber Orchestra. ELAC speakers immediately built a vivid and very voluminous, almost three-dimensional, picture. I compared these pieces on different setups, and here I drew attention to the very good balance and distinctness of all instruments simultaneously with an informatively built scene.
But still I will quibble a little – the main character, that is, the oboe, seemed to me too light and not bodily enough. I changed the speakers to Monitor Audio – and the sound became a little softer, more velvety, but most importantly, the oboe seemed to have found its wooden body and with it its warmth and naturalness.
But the overall pitch has practically been preserved. The same scene, the same volume and arrangement of instruments, together with excellent balance. Equally informative and voluminous, both pairs of columns reflected other classical genres, be it Verdi’s large-scale Chorus of the Hebrew Slaves from Nabucco from the Slovak Philarmonic Chorus and Radio Symphony Orchestra or the overture to Le nozze di Figaro ossia la folle giornata by Mozart another Slovak orchestra Capella Istropolitana.
In both cases, the amplifier provides excellent reproduction of phonogram nuances over the entire wide orchestral range. The only difference is that ELACs play German correctly and scrupulously, while Monitor Audio seems to soften this straightforwardness and seem a little more analogous.
Let’s go back to the present. The composition “Uprising” by Muse is not only replete with deliberately overloaded and distorted sounds, but it is also recorded a little unclear. But the amplifier did not seem to notice this, and with both pairs of speakers it presented the song not only in volume, but downright holographic – with soaring vocals and distinct vibrating lows. And again ELACs were brighter and more aggressive, and the Monitors were slightly softer and more comfortable.
And here my hunting instinct woke up, and I started tossing songs to the amplifier, with which some setups had problems. The massive “Radio” of Rammstein with its overloaded lows Technics seemed to have taken it apart and presented it clearly and distinctly. What is strange – this time the song sounded harsher and more aggressive in the interpretation of Monitor Audio.
In the instrumental composition “Satin Shores” by Valery Didulia and Dmitry Malikov, the grand piano almost always seemed unnaturally glass, but now it has acquired the long-awaited naturalness. A somewhat smeared Def Leppard song “Rock! Rock! (Till You Drop) ”this time appeared unexpectedly bright and distinct.
On the contrary, I chose the electronic piece “The Race” Yello for its good quality and abundance of stereo effects. And now both pairs of speakers seem to have turned it into a surround sound show. I also managed to hear a few previously unnoticed nuances and stereo effects on the remastered CD “Blood Group” Kino from Maschina Records.
If now we listened to digital recordings with a deliciously prepared analog conversion from Cambridge Audio Edge NQ, which the amplifier then re-digitized, now let’s compare this presentation with our own processing from the Technics SU-G700 itself. And the source here will be the native Technics Super Audio CD SL-G700 CD / network player connected via a coaxial interface.
I iterate over the same musical material – and everywhere the same volumetric balanced presentation remains, but the sound became a little lighter, colder and more transparent. Is it a minus or a plus – a matter of personal taste. But when choosing an amplifier, two things must be borne in mind: it is able to reliably reveal the features of an analog source, and, at the same time, has its own character when processing an external digital signal.
In general, I got the impression that Technics SU-G700 is able to cope with any phonogram and get everything out of the recording, regardless of genres. And every time it will be a high-quality, voluminous and effective presentation. By the way, during the entire listening, the volume level was about 30-40% of the maximum.
Do you think a lot of flattering words? Well, here’s the cherry on the cake – yes, the sound of the amplifier is emphasized correct, but to such an extent that you already want some individual nuances. This apparatus reminds me of the Asian virtuosos who have flooded prestigious classical music competitions.
Although they have impeccably correct technique, honed with countless persistent repetitions, they resemble ideal and therefore similar musical robots. So Technics SU-G700 seems to offer a mathematical model of perfect sound in its understanding, when sometimes you want something from the heart.
This amplifier will appeal to highly demanding music lovers who need an equally confident and accurate presentation of a wide variety of musical genres. And if you fantasize – it is also perfect for music lessons, small clubs and music lecture halls. He, no doubt, will clearly reveal and show all the features of classics, folk art, modern rhythms – and further down the list.
But quivering fans of certain musical styles, as well as die-hard audiophiles, may need something more lively and individual. Although, most likely, you will have to search in a higher price category.