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Technics SB-C700 Review (Coaxial Bookshelf)

Rate this speaker:

  • 1. Poor (headless panther)

    Votes: 6 2.5%
  • 2. Not terrible (postman panther)

    Votes: 27 11.3%
  • 3. Fine (happy panther)

    Votes: 146 60.8%
  • 4. Great (golfing panther)

    Votes: 61 25.4%

  • Total voters
    240

amirm

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This is a review and detailed measurements of the Technics SB-C700 coaxial 2-way bookshelf speaker. It is on kind loan from a member and costs US $1,699.
Technics SB-C700 Review coaxial bookshelf speaker.jpg

The enclosure is built quite solid and the paint job is first class. Not that it matters but I was surprised to see no marking on the back as to model and manufacturing location:
Technics SB-C700 Review back panel coaxial bookshelf speaker.jpg


Measurements that you are about to see were performed using the Klippel Near-field Scanner (NFS). This is a robotic measurement system that analyzes the speaker all around and is able (using advanced mathematics and dual scan) to subtract room reflections (so where I measure it doesn't matter). It also measures the speaker at close distance ("near-field") which sharply reduces the impact of room noise. Both of these factors enable testing in ordinary rooms yet results that can be more accurate than an anechoic chamber. In a nutshell, the measurements show the actual sound coming out of the speaker independent of the room.

Measurements are compliant with latest speaker research into what can predict the speaker preference and is standardized in CEA/CTA-2034 ANSI specifications. Likewise listening tests are performed per research that shows mono listening is much more revealing of differences between speakers than stereo or multichannel.


Reference axis was the center of the tweeter (aligned by eye). Measurement room was at 10 degrees C which may lower bass output a bit. Accuracy is better than 1% in most of the frequency spectrum but degraded to 2% above 5 KHz indicating complex interference from multiple sources .

Technics SB-C700 Measurements
Acoustic measurements can be grouped in a way that can be perceptually analyzed to determine how good a speaker is and how it can be used in a room. This so called spinorama shows us just about everything we need to know about the speaker with respect to tonality and some flaws:

Technics SB-C700 Measurements Frequency Response coaxial bookshelf speaker.png


On axis is surprisingly good. Yes, there are a few resonances but overall, it is quite flat. The closes competitor to SB-C700 is the KEF LS50. Here is its spin:

index.php


Quite on even and worse than Technics.

Port is tuned to lower frequency and hence creates a shelf there:
Technics SB-C700 Measurements Driver Frequency Response coaxial bookshelf speaker.png


Cabinet resonance around 1.4 kHz is visible but at much lower level than we see in budget ported speakers. Still, as noted you can see it cause a dB or so peaking in on-axis response.

Early window reflections have high similarity to on-axis response due to excellent directivity:

Technics SB-C700 Measurements Early Window Frequency Response coaxial bookshelf speaker.png

There is a broad dip though which is also reflected in predicted in-room response:


Technics SB-C700 Measurements Predicted In-room Frequency Response coaxial bookshelf speaker.png


Beam width is wide and generally smooth:
Technics SB-C700 Measurements Horizontal Beam width coaxial bookshelf speaker.png


Same story with directivity:
Technics SB-C700 Measurements Horizontal Directivity coaxial bookshelf speaker.png


Due to coaxial driver, vertical response is almost the same:

Technics SB-C700 Measurements Vertical Directivity coaxial bookshelf speaker.png


Distortion is kept in check at 86 dBSPL but gets out of control at 96 dBSPL:
Technics SB-C700 Measurements THD distortion Response coaxial bookshelf speaker.png


Technics SB-C700 Measurements Relative THD distortion Response coaxial bookshelf speaker.png


Impedance is on the low side but then again, this is a similar story to many small speakers:

Technics SB-C700 Measurements Impedance and Phase Response coaxial bookshelf speaker.png


For fans of timing analysis, here are those measurements:
Technics SB-C700 Measurements CSD Waterfall coaxial bookshelf speaker.png


Technics SB-C700 Measurements Impulse Response coaxial bookshelf speaker.png


Technics SB-C700 Measurements Step Response coaxial bookshelf speaker.png


Technics SB-C700 Listening Tests
First impression was that the tonality was correct. Yet track after track did not impress. Some sounded a bit tubby, some a bit bright. Both of these were indicated in the measurements but correcting them didn't improvement things. So switched out the speaker with Revel M105. Wow, oh wow! The sound was so much more detailed, open and delightful than what I was getting out of Technics. So I pulled out the predicted in-room response of the M105 and saw this perfection:

index.php


In comparison, the SB-C700 has that broad dip. I put in a quick and dirty boost there and improvement was substantial:

Technics SB-C700 Equalization EQ Parametric coaxial bookshelf speaker.png


I have noticed the same in countless headphone measurements. Make this region right and the sound opens up with better detail and spatial qualities. Now, I could sit back and enjoy the sound of the Technics!

Conclusions
The SB-C700 made quite a buzz on its release circa 2015. Panasonics (parent of Technics) had existed TV business but was getting seriously back into audio and this was their entry. I remember hearing it though at an audio show and walked away unimpressed. Part of it was the poor demo but now that I have listened to it, I can see that it is so close to being an excellent speaker. Objectively it is far better than KEF LS50 which has run away with this market that could have been Panasonic's. Sadly I think the SB-C700 is being discontinued, likely due to zero marketing.

As is, even though objective performance is very good, I personally can't recommend the Technics SB-C700. Add a bit of EQ to it though and it becomes a very capable speaker that I can recommend.

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As always, questions, comments, recommendations, etc. are welcome.

Any donations are much appreciated using: https://www.audiosciencereview.com/forum/index.php?threads/how-to-support-audio-science-review.8150/
 

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Foxtrot38

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Distortion is kept in check at 86 dBSPL but gets out of control at 96 kHz:
Should be 96dBSPL no?
-Edit thanks for updating it!
 
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GWolfman

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Measurement room was at 10 degrees C which may lower bass output a bit.
Are you keeping the speakers indoors before the tests? IIRC a few of your past tests you specifically stated this, just not sure if it's standard procedure now.

As always, thanks!
 

digicidal

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...
I have noticed the same in countless headphone measurements. Make this region right and the sound opens up with better detail and spatial qualities. Now, I could sit back and enjoy the sound of the Technics!
Makes sense considering how naturally focused we are to those frequencies. Probably part of the reason I can tolerate (occasionally at least) listening to a Fostex FR with wizzer cone - since the 800Hz-4kHz range is about the only thing they do well.
 

617

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This is an interesting speaker. It's funny that it got so much less attention than the original ls50 despite being better in some ways. It's interesting that they both have the same extended bass shelf caused by the low port tuning. That seems to be a KEF trademark.
 

napilopez

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It's really remarkable the performance Technics managed here on a passive speaker, while making one of exceedingly few wide-directivity coaxials. I remember a few people saying these were better than the original LS50s and measurement-wise, that seems to be absolutely the case (frankly, looks better than the LS50 Meta too, at least for my tastes)

That is absolutely fantastic measured performance IMO and this kind seems like my dream speaker if I'd seen these measurements beforehand. Shame they stopped making them (I believe). These measurements are nearly on par with Genelecs' the Ones.

I do also need to point out that the PIR for the C700 and Revel M105 really are not that different; in fact, remarkably similar from ~150Hz to ~5 kHz.

C700 vs M105.png


The Technics just seem to be a little brighter, although it might simply be because they are (slightly) wider directivity (I think, haven't dived deep enough into the data to be sure).

Not sure what in the measurements suggests dullness and tubbiness from the Technics in that comparison, considering the revels have that bump at 100Hz, unless there was some room reinforcement at 40-50hz where the technics have much more energy. Could be a fluke, could be expectations, could be preferences, could be positioning, could be distortion, could be some revel secret sauce. Not saying what was heard wasn't real, just pointing it out for the sake of discussion =]
 
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kongwee

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Coaxial indeed have smiling face issue. My coaxial is DSP power crossover to address this issue.
 

napilopez

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There might be a better explanation for the differences heard when looking at the raw horizontal response. Here's the Technics:
1644042812113.png


Here's the Revel:

1644042712769.png


The Technics do show a more consistent scooping behavior (look at 60 degrees, for example, a prime angle for sidewall reflections), whereas the scooping in the revels seems to come primarily from the vertical response -- the scoop is reinforced on the technics while it is less of an issue on the revels. One thing revels seem to consistently have in their favor is this kind of off-axis response -- where even if the on-axis isn't perfect, the 20-90 degrees curves are usually better than the vast majority of competitors.While some speakers often 'add up'to something that looks as good as revels, I find myself preferring the revels when I dig deeper into the data.

I'd still personally pick up the C700 over the revels though taking everything into account for my tastes (including looks ;).

Just a theory of course. In any case, does seem a little EQ to get tonality to one's liking could go a long way here.
 
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Gremlins

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Hi all,

I find it strange that this speaker is not recomended???

I thought that recomendations were placed on objective measurements

I have seen other speakers being recomended with more flaws than this technics, no?

To my reading, measurements are really good

Perhaps too neutral ?

I have a pair of seas kingro4y mk3 , measurements made by seas show a speaker that is ruller flat : after months listening, i now understand that these are either excellent, either boring : its not the speaker that is bad, its the recording that make difference. Speaker don't forbid anything.


Question : if i want more spaciouness , which region should i add EQ ? 1000 hz?1500 hz?

Good day
 

Beershaun

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Hi all,

I find it strange that this speaker is not recomended???

I thought that recomendations were placed on objective measurements

I have seen other speakers being recomended with more flaws than this technics, no?

To my reading, measurements are really good

Perhaps too neutral ?

I have a pair of seas kingro4y mk3 , measurements made by seas show a speaker that is ruller flat : after months listening, i now understand that these are either excellent, either boring : its not the speaker that is bad, its the recording that make difference. Speaker don't forbid anything.


Question : if i want more spaciouness , which region should i add EQ ? 1000 hz?1500 hz?

Good day
Amir displays the eq frequency and q in the post. +2db at 1430hz q=0.8.
 

Eetu

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Stereophile measurements can be found here. This speaker has been on their Class A (Restricted Extreme LF) list.

1215TC700fig3.jpg


I think this would have done much better commercially without the 2 star review from What Hi-Fi?.. A British publication trashing a direct KEF competitor...
 
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Gremlins

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Sorry, i actually never look that far on right as i don't hear that far and there's nothing to listen I think

I saw an almost ruler flat response so was surprised not being recomended
 

Sancus

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(frankly, looks better than the LS50 Meta too!)
I'm not convinced. The LS50 Meta has significantly more even off-axis response IMO. Yes, it's narrower, so I guess it'd come down to how much you prefer width to some extent. Would be an interesting blind test for sure.

These are very impressive considering their age though, certainly. It's a true shame that these get discontinued and forgotten when the LS50 became popular and merited a significantly improved update.
 

napilopez

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I'm not convinced. The LS50 Meta has significantly more even off-axis response IMO. Yes, it's narrower, so I guess it'd come down to how much you prefer width to some extent. Would be an interesting blind test for sure.

These are very impressive considering their age though, certainly. It's a true shame that these get discontinued and forgotten when the LS50 became popular and merited a significantly improved update.

I have said for years that I'm willing to sacrifice some evenness for width (I later edited my post to say "for my tastes" =]). No question about it for my tastes, and it is an almost universal result that wider directivity = less even directivity anyway. I have my theories about this but yeah would be an interesting blind test.
 
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Ilkless

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There might be a better explanation for the differences heard when looking at the raw horizontal response. Here's the Technics:
View attachment 184303

Here's the Revel:

View attachment 184302

The Technics do show a more consistent scooping behavior (look at 60 degrees, for example, a prime angle for sidewall reflections), whereas the scooping in the revels seems to come primarily from the vertical response -- the scoop is reinforced on the technics while it is less of an issue on the revels. One thing revels seem to consistently have in their favor is this kind of off-axis response -- where even if the on-axis isn't perfect, the 20-90 degrees curves are usually better than the vast majority of competitors.While some speakers often 'add up'to something that looks as good as revels, I find myself preferring the revels when I dig deeper into the data.

I'd still personally pick up the C700 over the revels though taking everything into account for my tastes (including looks ;).

Just a theory of course. In any case, does seem a little EQ to get tonality to one's liking could go a long way here.

Yes, the DI is very good in these Technics anyway, so EQ is trivial. To me a better set of compromises than the LS50 or even Meta. Revels have meh on axis and to some extent, LW because they don't really try to eliminate diffraction Genelec-style and the waveguide appears to introduce some anomalies too. Plus, the vertical dispersion might be a dealbreaker for some.
 

polmuaddib

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Could it be that that roll off from around 170 hz is the problem?
LS50 has more bass looking at measurements and that has major influence on our perception.
If subwoofer is added, could it score better then KEF? Because from 170hz and above, FR looks great.
 

laudio

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Curious what the preference rating is. The in room looks decent to me most would not hear the hf rolloff.
 
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