Technics SL-150 MK2 Review

The Mark 2 version of the SL-150, released in 1977, added quartz-locked servo control to the original’s excellent direct drive motor, introduced a redesigned and quieter plinth, and incorporated wood into the equation; the armboard and lower section now received this as both a cosmetic touch and a sonic improvement. It was a worthwhile redesign of a really excellent and capable mid-priced turntable that has gotten unexpectedly disregarded in the grand scheme of things when it comes to old vinyl.

The new SL-150 has a vanishingly low 0.025 percent WRMS wow and flutter figure thanks to its new quartz-locked servo, whereas the original SL-150 had an exceptional 0.03 percent WRMS wow and flutter figure. Even better, the rumbling number improved from a respectable -70dB to a fantastic -78dB, thanks to improved damping in its new, larger (159 x 384 x 453mm) aluminium and wood plinth. Vibration-absorbing feet were also installed. Weight increased to 10.2kg.

The SL-150MK2 had the ultra low-speed brushless DC motor, but it now drove a platter without strobe indents cut around the edge, giving it a smoother appearance. At the time, the new deck appeared to be a lot swisher, with all of the controls being touch-sensitive and directed towards the user at the front of the plinth. There was an LED display to show the precise pitch, which was now modifiable by 20% rather than 10% as before, and there were 199 distinct speed options. SME arm boards were still the most popular, and each deck now came with an additional hardwood tonearm foundation.

It didn’t sound as nice as the Linn, but with some careful programming, it could produce some powerful sonics. The new SL-150 sounded quieter, smoother, and tighter than the already excellent original, resulting in a taut and propulsive sound. It was tonally a little brighter and didn’t quite have the left-to-right spacing of certain British mid-price decks of the time, but it was never a horrible thing to listen to. It now produces a very open, clean, and stable sound when equipped with a Rega RB250 or similar device. Bass is rock-solid, and there’s a great clean midband and treble, as with all high-quality DDs.

Technics SL-150MK2s are still available for about £300, which is less than a well-marketed version of the inferior SL-1200. That makes it a bargain, given its clear physical, acoustic, and aesthetic excellence (not to mention its exclusivity). Oh, and it should operate indefinitely with the aforementioned Technics direct drive motor!