Introduced in 1979 the fully automatic, Technics SL-10 linear tracking, direct drive turntable was a high quality offering from Technics. Its production run lasted until around 1985 and it’s look is quite different from radial tracking turntables. It hit the market 10 years after Technics famous SP-10 turntable. The SP-10 was the first direct drive turntable while the SL-10 was the first direct-drive linear tracking turntable. Bang & Olufsen created one of the first linear tracking turntable in 1972 with the Beogram 4000. But, it wasn’t until the SL-10 that linear trackers became very popular with the buying public. The SP-10 was so successful commercially that a number of other manufacturers jumped into the market with linear tracking turntables as well. Apparently Technics had been working on a linear tracing design since the late 1960’s but didn’t feel that the engineering was satisfactory enough until the late 1970’s.
The SL-10’s footprint is very small. Just bigger than a record jacket itself. The lack of a conventional tonearm and its associated mechanisms as well as the fact that a number of the controls are integrated into the lid allowed Technics (Matsushita) to minimize the size of the SL-10.
The stock cartridge is the Technics EPS-310MC moving-coil cartridge that is no longer available. But, any P-mount/T4P cartridge will work. The original EPS-310MC cartridge has a very low output so Technics equipped the SL-10 with a built-in step-up pre-amp. So, you can just connect it to a standard phono input. The step-up amp is also by-passable. Also keep in mind that the EPS-310MC cartridge and stylus are a single unit. The stylus is not replaceable.
The Technics SL-10 is very well built and weighs quite a bit despite its size. It really was a masterpiece of engineering and far ahead of anything else at the time.
Technics’ “It Took Ten Years To Reach The Earth” ad was in reference to the fact that the linear tracking system was designed by Technics in 1969 and it wasn’t until ten years later that they brought the first one to market. A clamp inside the table locks the LP into position so that the turntable can be set on its side and it will still play perfectly.
- Platter: 11¾” (300mm) aluminum die-cast
- Speed accuracy: within +-0.002%
- Wow and flutter: 0.025% WRMS
- Rumble: -78dB
- Tonearm type: Dynamic balanced linear tracking gimbal suspension
- Effective length: 105mm
- Cartridge type: EPC-310MC moving coil stereo
- Frequency response: 10 to 60,000Hz
- Dimensions: 12½” x 3½” x 12½” (315 x 88 x 315mm)
- Weight: 14 lb (6.5kg)
These turntables are still pretty popular and a mint table will sell for over $450.00 while most SL-10’s sell for about $150-$300 in good working condition.