The mere mention of the name Technics can accelerate the heart rate of entertainment enthusiasts all around the world. Offering meticulously engineered products that are built in Japan, Technics has long been synonymous with superb quality, elegant aesthetics and a great value.
All those qualities were evident when the team at Technics gave HomeTheaterReview an exclusive preview of its SU-GX70 Network Audio Amplifier. The event took place at AXPONA in Schaumburg, Illinois, on April 14–16, where the SU-GX70 had its global premiere.
Technics Business Development Manager Bill Voss pointed out the trailblazing nature of the product, saying, “This is our first product to have HDMI connectivity.”
Since the 2014 revitalization of Technics, the SU-GX70 is the company’s first product to offer an HDMI ARC port. In response to customer demand, Technics has crafted a premium amplifier that allows for easy integration of a TV into a home hi-fi system. The unit’s pristine sound quality at the HDMI ARC connection is achieved through a reliance upon on parent company Panasonic’s comprehensive expertise in video signal treatment. Technics’ proprietary full-digital amplification technology, utilizing the JENO engine, results in clean sound with minimal distortion.
The JENO (Jitter Elimination and Noise-shaping Optimization) engine reduces any degradation in sound quality caused by jitter during the transmission of digital audio signals (S/PDIF), laying the foundation for stunning levels of clarity in TV audio.
Flexibility is a hallmark of the SU-GX70. It uses the Google Chromecast platform, and it allows you to stream Spotify, TIDAL, Deezer, Qobuz and Amazon Music. It also supports MQA. For wireless network communication, Wi-Fi, Airplay2 and Bluetooth are on board. Plus, there are two line inputs, three digital inputs, and USB-A and USB-B ports.
If you want to listen to a station in a faraway land, the SU-GX70 supports internet radio. If you want to stay in the local, old-school terrestrial realm, it has FM radio.
And, as one would expect from Technics, the unit has a built-in, low-noise phono preamp that allows you to hook up a turntable with a moving-magnet (MM) cartridge.
“We have a lot of experience in the HDMI world because Panasonic has been part of the HDMI community since it was invented, and a contributor to the technology,” Voss explained. “We know the ‘ins and outs’ of how to use HDMI. So, for the Audio Return Channel that comes back, we remove the video portion. There is no video being connected to this unit from the Blu-ray player. The Blu-ray player is connected to the television. The ARC is connected to the receiver. The reason we remove the video portion from it is because we want to eliminate any kind of noise that might introduce. Our technology can zero out the black levels. It reads basically zero, so it’s never polluted by the video signal.”
Additionally, transmitting the signals from the TV to the JENO Engine via the shortest possible route minimizes any further impact from jitter. This is a mechanism unique to Panasonic/Technics as HDMI licensors.
A carefully designed, twin power supply circuit system is also essential to the SU-GX70’s low-noise performance. The unit is equipped with a dedicated power supply for the power amplifier circuits that is independent from all other circuits. The same electrolytic capacitors installed in high-end models have been used in the dedicated amplifier power supply and the power amplifier components.
The SU-GX70 uses a fully digital amplifier that incorporates Technics’ renowned digital audio technology. Its digital transmission system processes signals fully digitally in all stages—from input to output. Compared to analog transmission, this system is less susceptible to signal degradation caused by external noise, ensuring precise signal transmission.
“We’re very proud of the way these amplifiers work,” Voss said. “They’re not Class D amplifiers. We like to call it Technics digital amplification, and it’s our own design.”
If you like to tweak your sound, the SU-GX70 is ready to deliver. The Space Tune function allows for sonic customization, based on your specific room environment and installation location. This feature gives new meaning to the expression “read the room.”
By using the Technics Audio Center app with an iOS tablet or smartphone—or by selecting a setting from the four presets (Free, Wall, Corner and In a Shelf), you can achieve excellent sound quality for your particular listening space. Furthermore, the L/R Custom feature lets you enter the setting independently for the left and right speakers when they are set up in different installation conditions. This provides outstanding flexibility, and it helps bring out the best sound reproduction in any installation conditions.
Offered in both silver and black models, the SU-GX70 will be available in July 2023 at authorized Technics retailers for $1,999, including World Wide Stereo. (Voss pointed out that this remarkable price is half that of the acclaimed SU-G30.) Considering all its features, the SU-GX70 is definitely a product to check out if you’re seeking versatility—and you want to avoid having an awkward conversation with a loan officer. Its video connectivity is certainly an attention-grabber, but thanks to its huge assortment of other features, this streaming amp looks to be a tremendous value.