Review: Technics SL-1500C

Sensationally good turntable

Technics SL-1500C is the turntable for those who love music, whether you are hi-fi interested or not.

Technics SL-1500C

Our verdict

Dynamic and vibrant sound, with juicy bass, refined and detailed soundscape. Solidly built and easy to use.
Nothing
  • Type: Direct-drive turntable
  • Tone arm: J-shaped aluminum
  • Pickup: Orthophon 2M Red Moving Magnet
  • Plate: Aluminum
  • Connections: Phono / RCA line output
  • RIAA / DAC: Yes / No
  • Other: Electronic speed change
  • Color: Silver gray or black
  • Dimensions / weight: 45.3 x 16.9 x 37.2 cm / 9.9 kg
  • Web: technics.com
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Price: £ 899

Actually, it’s a little startling that this player is so good. Not for that, the Technics SL-1200G and the expensive SL-1000R are fantastic turntables in their price ranges. But I did not think that this would be so damn good.

If you look at the Technics SL-1500C, it is reminiscent of a ribbed SL-1200G. The turntable that is our reference in the price range below 4,000. The Technics SL-1500C player does not have a stroboscope, pitch control and the light that illuminates the pickup as the more expensive 1200 player has.

But it is built on the same basic principles: A direct-drive aluminum plate, the classic s-shaped Technics arm, and a rigid chassis. The player has a simpler coreless engine, and a simpler version of the Technics arm, but with height adjustment.

Photo: Technics

It comes with an Orthophon 2M Red pre-mounted on the detachable pickup housing, and has a built-in RIAA amplifier, or phono stage as it is also called. Thus, just plug the player directly into a free input on the amplifier, a pair of active speakers, or something else.

It also has a mechanical auto-lift function, which can be switched on and off. Then the arm rises automatically when it has played to the end of the disc.

Pickup

The Technics player is trustworthy built and has nothing to be ashamed of in this price range. ABS plastic, fiberglass and aluminum are used in liberal quantities on the cabinet, and the player comes with a clear dust cover with the characteristic dome over the armrest.

The orthophone pickup is already mounted on the pickup housing. So what you need to do to get started is screw it to your arm, put on the plate with the rubber mat, thread on the counterweight, connect power and cables. Here you can choose to use the built-in phono step, or a separate one. As soon as the pin pressure is adjusted to 1.8 grams, the dust cover is attached to the back edge, and you are ready.

There are, of course, other turntables in this class. Pro-Ject The Classic is a very well-sounding alternative that comes with an Orthophon 2M Silver, Rega Planar 3 is a cheaper alternative, and of course; Rega Planar 6. The player who has set the standard for how good sound you can get under 2,000. In combination with the Rega Ania MC pickup, this is the reference sound.

Photo: Technics

Two power supplies

Technics has selected two separate power supplies for the built-in RIAA stage, and the player’s phono output, and a switch turns off the power to the RIAA stage when it is toggled from the line output to the phono output.

Since the pickup housing is detachable, it is relatively easy to change the pickup if you want to upgrade. Alternatively, the pin on the Ortofon pickup can be replaced with a 2M Blue, which has a straighter frequency response and better channel separation. With easy height adjustment of the arm – up to six mm, the player’s arm is compatible with a wide range of other pickups.

The sound

A light press on the speed selector sends the plate up to the correct speed in 0.7 seconds. Let the needle sink into the grooves and breathe.

The first thing you notice is how open and detailed the sound is. But then you feel that the player has really serious bass in stock as well, and that it has both control, finesse and dynamics enough that the joy of listening to music from vinyl records actually appears in the face.

The Technics player presents Keith Jarrett’s live recordings so convincingly that I could hardly believe it used the built-in RIAA step. Which is often a simple circuit consisting of some cheap components, which are almost rushed together for the occasion.

Here, acoustic music sounded upliftingly airy and believable, and even the old Love Over Gold from Dire Straits’ golden age sounded focused and convincingly dynamic. The more expensive combination of a Rega Planar 6 with Ania MC, delivers more expansive dynamics, and sounds more fine-grained and refined, but it is to the level you need, if you want better sound than you get from an Technics SL-1500C.

Technics SL-1500C: Conclusion

Technic’s simpler little brother to the test winner SL-1200G, is perhaps the best buy among turntables in this price range. It has everything you need on board, is easy to set up and even easier to live with, and then it plays so engaging, open and free of gloom and stress, that we struggle to find something to draw for. It is perfect for those who may be thinking of upgrading the system, and envisions some playful experimentation with other pickups and external RIAA stages, but also for those who just want the best sound in a package that is not demanding to live with.

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