JVC QL-70 Review

In the 1970s, Japan’s Victor Corporation was a completely committed hi-fi producer, producing a range of highly clean sounding amplifiers, tuners, cassette players, and turntables. The 1977 QL-70 was one of the company’s best vinyl spinners, consisting of a turntable motor unit and plinth minus tonearm (the QL-7 had a manual tonearm, while the QL-A7 had an automatic arm, but both were otherwise identical), with users invariably installing their own SME Series 3009S2 (or later, SME III) pickup.

The deck was a fine design, with a claimed wow and flutter figure of 0.025 percent WRMS and a decently torquey direct drive motor, let down only by its almost complete lack of isolation – like so many of its Japanese contemporaries, it relied solely on vibration-absorbing feet and a moderately massy plinth to keep acoustic feedback at bay. The huge JVC sounded tight, tense, and powerful in the way that a classic mid-price direct drive should, but it lacked the nuance and smoothness of a similarly priced belt drive. It’s a pleasant listen, made much better by soft-sounding arms like SME’s 3009S2 enhanced. It’s no match for a well setup Technics SL-1200, but it’s a well-made classic that’s well worth picking up if it’s on sale for under £150.