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"Micro Series" Stereo Preamplifier

A peek inside:

Here's the review that appeared in the July 1979 issue of High Fidelity:

A Neat, Sweet, Simple Preamp

If you have any doubts about whether the so-called micro format is intended to consist of "real" components, setting up the SU-C01 should dispel them.  It is finely detailed in a way that installs confidence.  The back-panel contacts are gold-plated, as are those on the short stereo interconnect cables that are supplied with the preamp.  One is a special tuner-to-preamp-to-power-amp affair—it might almost be called a harness—that makes interconnection of an all-Technics-micro system ultraneat.  Even the feet on the bottom have a special detail: a little fold-down element at the front of the case to tilt the unit for better faceplate visibility.  (We had no complaints about the visibility, and when the micros are stacked as Technics suggests in its multiple systems-stacking diagrams, the feature is not needed.)

The size of the front panel in no way inhibits its human engineering; the controls are, if anything, easier to use than those in many full-size receivers.  The detented tone controls and other knobs display their settings with exemplary clarity; the tape monitor button (alas, for only one deck) is twice the size of many; the filter and loudness buttons are adequate for all but the ultramyopic.

There even is provision on the selector for moving-coil cartridges via a head-amp stage that inserts into the phono-input circuitry.  (There are no separate moving-coil input jacks.)  The phono circuitry is quite flat in both modes, and the DSL data show it to be excellently engineered for minimum noise consistent with the generous overload points.

The loudness feature follows the most recent perception research in addressing the bass only.  Some listeners (including some of ours) miss the extra "zing" that the more conventional approach introduces at low listening levels, but we generally agree that the sound is more natural without it.  The tone controls shelve, rather than peak; good for altering inter-range balances, though less effective if you want to compensate, for example, for a speaker that sounds either boomy or bodiless in the deep bass.  The range of both is limited to +/- 10 dB maximum—less than average but entirely adequate in our opinion.  The high filter, which reduces 15-kHz output by only about 6 dB, doesn't strike us as particularly effective; while the subsonic filter is much better, its turnover frequency may seem a hair high for those who like organ pedal passages.

Overall performance and behavior are very good indeed.  Distortion is essentially nonexistent, even through the phono stage, which exhibits a "classic" impedance of fairly low capacitance, allowing precise tailoring to the requirements of your fixed-coil pickup.  (The so-called MM phono stage is, of course, equally appropriate for moving-iron and some high-output moving-coil designs as well.)  The lab found all other input and output connections well suited for hookup to any typical modern equipment.

And the preamp listens well.  It is quiet, clean, unobtrusive.  While there really is no reason why a preamp should not be small—indeed many "full size" ones are no bigger than this micro—we found the elegant compactness of the Technics especially pleasurable to work with.  Aside form the concerns of the ardent tapeophile or the inveterate user of outboard signal processors, who will find the connections options (and perhaps the features, since there is not even a stereo/mono switch) less than adequate, we see no reason why this design or its like should not find a respected place among conventional components, let along among the micros that is so neatly exemplifies.


This was last updated 1 June 2002.

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