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AV Receivers

Amped up: The Technics SU-C700 integrated amplifier

Technics is back with a new slate of speakers and amplifiers, and the Audiophiliac checks out the most affordable amp, the SU-C700.


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Technics SU-C700 integrated amplifier Technics

Technics was once one of the most iconic names in the audio business, best known for its DJ turntables, but back in the day Technics also made highly regarded speakers and amplifiers. So when I received a hot tip that Technics was back with a new integrated amp I couldn't wait to plug it into my home system.

The amp, the SU-C700, harkens back to the 1980s aesthetic -- check out those huge power level meters -- but the internals are very much 21st century modern.

To be honest I didn't like the sound of the SU-C700 the first day I listened to it, it sounded uptight and rather lean. Then I spotted the SU-C700's LAPC (Load Adaptive Phase Calibration) feature that uses digital signal processing to smooth the connected speakers' frequency response. So I ran the LAPC setup tones and listened again, and the SU-C700 was richer and meatier sounding. You can turn the LAPC on and off via the remote so it's easy to hear exactly what it does.

Then I played the SU-C700 first with my Zu Druid V speakers, and later on with the new Technics SB-C700 speakers, I liked what I heard with the LAPC switched on, but honestly the SU-C700 didn't come close to revealing just how amazing the SB-C700 speakers can sound. For that you need to up your budget to something on the order of the much more expensive Vinnie Rossi LIO integrated amplifier. That one produced a more full-bodied sound, with greater soundstage depth with the SB-C700 speakers. The SU-C700 amp is decent, I just wish it could bring out more of the best in the SB-C700 speakers' sound. For less money than the SU-C700 amp I'd rather go for either a Rogue Audio Sphinx ($1,295, £1,495) or a Peachtree Audio Nova65SE ($999, £849) amp.

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Technics SU-C700 integrated amplifier Technics

The SU-C700's three coaxial digital inputs play 192-kHz/24-bit PCM files and the one optical input's resolution tops out at 96-kHz/24-bit. The single USB input is even better, it plays 192-kHz 32-bit PCM and 2.8-MHz/5.6-MHz DSD digital files. The SU-C700 also has a phono input for turntables and a single stereo line level input; the amplifier automatically converts analog signals to high-res 192-kHz/24-bit PCM digital audio. There's also a stereo pair of beefy speaker wire connectors; the front panel hosts a 6.3mm headphone jack.

The SU-C700's amplifiers deliver 45 watts per channel to 8 Ohm speakers, and 70 watts per channel to 4 Ohm speakers. I like that the amp is a little smaller than average, it's just 13.3 by 5.2 by 12.8 inches (340x132x325mm); it weighs 18.3 pounds (8.3 kg).

The Technics SU-C700 retails for $1,600 in the US and £1,249 in the UK. I reviewed the Technics SB-C700 speakers last weekend, here on the Audiophiliac.