Technics SB-7000 Loudspeaker Page 2

The sheer size of the cabinets here limits the positioning options available in even a quite generously sized listening room, but needless to say sufficient bass is available to obviate the need for wall or corner placement. The tweeter disperses well and is set at a sensible height for listening while seated, so placement of this speaker is not that critical compared to some.

The high quoted sensitivity of the SB-7000 suggests that they may be a good match for valve amplifiers, but I would advise caution in this area. The lack of acoustic damping in the bass part of the design means that a powerful amplifier which can maintain a low output impedance right down to the very lowest frequencies is what is required. One of the many muscular DC-coupled transistor designs that were coming out of Japan at the time the SB-7000 was launched would probably be a far better match.

sqnote Tim Listens
From its appearance, one would expect that the sound of the SB-7000 would be dominated by deep and extended bass. While this is certainly true, there is far more to it than that. Although large, the woofer cone is stiff and quite tightly suspended. Its size allows it to move a lot of air even when it is making only small excursions, which minimises the distortion that naturally increases when any loudspeaker cone is driven a great distance from its rest position. This philosophy is certainly at odds with the current thinking in this area that prefers smaller woofers with long-throw suspension.


One might also expect the tweeter to be brash and overly bright-sounding, as is the Japanese stereotype. This also is not true: the tweeter certainly has a vivid character but it is also both smooth and refined in its presentation. In my view, it is the star of the entire package here and easily ranks as one of the best tweeters I have heard to date.

The word 'bite' is what came to mind time and time again. For example, listening to New Order's 1989 album Technique [Factory FACD 275.2], the fast percussion on 'Vanishing Point' combined clarity and power in a way I've rarely encountered.

Counter Attack
Meanwhile, lots of bass drive – made all the easier by the resonant cavity and the slot port – gives the SB-7000 the rich, luxurious lower register that is so evocative of late '70s high-end equipment. Compared with speakers that would arrive in the next decade, the bass is arguably a bit slow and seems to pull a variety of notes towards an internal resonant point. But it is not the boomy, one-note disaster some may expect given the SB-7000's appearance.

Being able to do the job without taxing the amplifier used or the loudspeaker itself results in a natural, fluid presentation. If you want to hear albums such as LFO's Frequencies [Warp WARPCD3] in the manner in which they were intended then the SB-7000 is a good tool for the job. Near seismic levels of bass were generated even when using only modest amplification.

A comparison between the SB-7000s and a borrowed pair of Yamaha NS-1000Ms [HFN Oct '18]was illuminating, not least because both designs suggest a fairly rapid post-20kHz roll-off. This made sense for speakers that came about during the LP era as turntables produce increasing amounts of harmonic distortion and ultrasonic noise in this region, and in neither case does it result in a dull-sounding loudspeaker.


Of course the SB-7000, with its rather basic cone midrange driver, cannot hope to match the stunning midrange clarity of the NS-1000M's beryllium domes. Instead, it counter-attacks with what sounds like an octave more of bass and improved stereo imaging, the latter the probable result of the vertical alignment of the tweeter and midrange units and the phase linearity of the system as a whole. Despite being different in character, both attain a similar level of quality and would have offered similar value for money. This was probably the intention in the first place.

Required Listening
Recommending any speaker is difficult as so much rests on personal taste. It is even more difficult with the SB-7000 since its bulk means that main system use would be necessary. After all, they are far too big for occasional use in a bedroom system!

For those normalised to the current take on 'correct' sound they are probably a step too far, but for anyone putting together a top-end, all-Japanese system from hi-fi's zenith years of the late 1970s the SB-7000 is required listening before you drop a grand on the default pair of Yams.

Buying Secondhand
Technics SB-7000s are not an easy loudspeaker to find, but there are more in circulation than you might think. Sadly, many now have battered cabinets, missing grilles and damaged drive units, and these are best considered as projects for those with cabinet making skills or as sources of parts.


The rather vague power ratings given by Technics have led to some samples being over-driven in their time, so be on the lookout for rubbing voice coils and damaged bonding within driver motor units. All the drivers are unique to the SB-7000 but used replacements can be found.

Corrosion to the lead-out wires can cause the tweeter to fail suddenly, but a skilled engineer should be able to repair this fault without too much difficulty. As was previously mentioned, the tweeter fuse is bypassed by a capacitor in some models so don't rely on it for protection. The crossover components are of high quality and very reliable and should not be replaced just for the sake of it. As with the rest of the unit, they were produced by the company to tight specifications and are an integral part of the design as a whole.

Hi-Fi News Verdict
Although a little quirky in some areas, there is no doubt that the Technics SB-7000 is an excellent loudspeaker overall. For those who have the space it is an intriguing alternative to the more usual full-size vintage choices, combining power, refinement and treble clarity in a way few other classic loudspeakers are able to match. A pair in clean, unmodified, original condition would make a fine vintage buy.