Technics SB-C600 Bookshelf Speaker Review – small plays big
Elegant, compact, and yet capable of conjuring up an outstanding sound image in the room – this is how the Technics SB-C600 speaker systems of the Technics Premium Class Series can be described in a nutshell, as our detailed test shows.
Technics SB-C600, this loudspeaker system from the Panasonic Corporation of the premium hi-fi brand Technics may at first appear to be a comparatively inconspicuous solution, we are well aware of that, but let us state right from the start that this is a system worth taking a closer look at. The reason for this is as obvious as it is simple, because this is an extremely compact, yet very impressively performing loudspeaker system from the Technics Premium Class Series, which can be easily integrated into any living environment.
One could say that the Technics SB-C600, as a designated bookshelf loudspeaker system, helps this often underappreciated product class to shine again, especially when combined with the “right” electronics to perform at its best.
Technics SB-C600 – A bookshelf speaker system
The Technics SB-C600 presents itself as an elegant, compact bookshelf loudspeaker system and thus in a product class that, as already mentioned, does not always enjoy the best reputation, especially among particularly ambitious hi-fi enthusiasts.
This is not so much due to the performance potential of this product group, but rather to the fact that the classification of these loudspeaker systems has all too often been taken too literally, even when they are only particularly compact solutions that should not be placed on the shelf.
This cliché, which has been built up over the years, has become ingrained in many music lovers, so that they often resort to stand-mounted loudspeaker systems, which are sometimes clearly oversized for the task at hand, or they even do without a fine hi-fi system altogether, because they have no space for a decent solution.
In the case of the Technics SB-C600, it can be stated that this solution is designed to counteract the myth just outlined. According to Technics, this is a loudspeaker system that can be effortlessly integrated into any living environment, no matter how cramped the available space may appear to be. A loudspeaker system that can provide fine sound even in the smallest room, thus not demanding any compromises from music lovers.
Back to the roots
It is particularly interesting that the Panasonic Corporation has gone back to its roots with the Technics SB-C600, as a look at the history of the renowned Technics brand shows.
The company reminds us that although today we are mostly associated with the legendary record players of the Technics brand, the real roots are to be found in a loudspeaker system, of all things a particularly compact one, the Technics 1 from 1965.
“When talking about Technics, most hi-fi and music lovers immediately think of the brand’s legendary turntables, which have become veritable icons – true milestones for use in home hi-fi systems and reliable standard tools for DJs. Strictly speaking, however, the very first product produced under the Technics name in 1965 was a small two-way bookshelf speaker. This compact speaker was able to convince with a sound quality that was hardly possible for that time.”Frank Balzuweit, Product Manager Technics Europe
Compact is the real challenge
It cannot be said often enough, loudspeaker systems are ultimately pure physics, because certain factors, such as the necessary volume for a rich reproduction, simply cannot be excluded. To put it bluntly, it’s much easier to design a large loudspeaker system that sounds impressive than a compact one that also performs well.
As a developer, you have to have a lot of experience and expertise to realise really convincing solutions, as Panasonic Corporation did with the very compact Technics SB-C600 systems.
The aim was to achieve a solution that, despite its particularly living-room-friendly design, would enable absolute detail fidelity for any style of music and offer a convincing sound stage and three-dimensionality.
According to the manufacturer, state-of-the-art computer analysis and simulation software were used in the development of the Technics SB-C600 to achieve this. Coupled with over 50 years of experience in the development of loudspeaker systems and a DNA of the company that is characterised by technology, they claim to have mastered this task.
Two-way bass reflex system
At first glance, the Technics SB-C600 appears to be a loudspeaker system with a design that is quite common in this class, because it is designed as a so-called two-way bass reflex system. The essential features, however, become apparent when you take a closer look, because then the Technics SB-C600 is quite strikingly different from many other solutions in the broad market segment of compact bookshelf loudspeaker systems.
Technics Phase Precision Driver – coaxial arrangement for single-point sound source
We have already mentioned that the Technics SB-C600 is a return to the company’s roots, although it is not only the Technics 1 that is the very first product of the Technics brand from 1965, but also one from 1975, when the Technics SB-7000 was presented for the first time as a solution with so-called Technics Linear Phase Technology, which also plays an essential role in the current model, as we will see in a moment.
Also worth mentioning is the Technics SB-RX50 from 1986, which was the first loudspeaker system based on the principle of a single-point sound source and thus the forefather of the Technics Phase Precision Driver, which is of course also used in the Technics SB-C600.
We can therefore state that the Technics SB-C600 is a two-way bass reflex system, whose low-midrange driver as well as tweeter are designed as coaxial drivers in order to correspond to the ideal of a single-point sound source.
The developers rely on a chassis borrowed from the big sibling of the Technics SB-C600, namely the floorstanding loudspeaker system Technics SB-G90M2.
The principle of a single-point sound source appears to be particularly exciting because it offers the best conditions for ensuring that the wave fronts of the radiated sound reach the listener at the same time. And this is independent of the listener’s listening position.
In concrete terms, this is a combination of a 15 cm low-mid driver with an aluminium cone treated with aluminium, in the centre of which is a 25 mm aluminium dome tweeter.
But that’s not all: the developers have come up with a number of design measures in detail that are intended to ensure the particularly accurate reproduction of the Technics SB-C600.
Smooth Flow Diaphragm
One of these measures is called the Smooth Flow Diaphragm, which is also referred to by the manufacturer as a diaphragm with break-free sound radiation. In this respect, it is explained that a sound wave propagating along an irregular surface is disturbed by its irregularities. This in turn leads to the frequency response characteristic being distorted, especially the imaging in the high frequency range would suffer as a result.
In the case of the Technics SB-C600 this would be particularly fatal, since not only the higher frequencies of the low-midrange driver itself would be affected, but above all the tweeter, which is located in the centre of the Koxial chassis.
The low-midrange driver of the Technics SB-C600 therefore has a particularly flat profile and a smooth surround is used to effectively reduce sound reflections and a negative influence on the homogeneous radiation and the frequency response character.
Linear Phase Plug
Another feature that the developers have taken over from the Technics SB-G90M2 is the Linear Phase Plug of the Technics SB-C600, which is mounted in front of the tweeter dome of the loudspeaker system. According to the manufacturer, this plug is optimised for reproduction up to the highest frequency ranges, with a remarkable 100 kHz being specified in this respect.
The design of the coaxial driver with Smooth Flow Diaphragm and Linear Phase Plug should guarantee a linear frequency response, good phase characteristics and a wide directivity for a wide-range reproduction and a harmonic, dynamic imaging.
Balanced Driver Mounting Architecture
BDMA is the abbreviation for a feature of the Technics SB-C600 that is not immediately obvious to the user, but is also intended to contribute significantly to clean imaging. This abbreviation stands for Balanced Driver Mounting Architecture and describes the special suspension of the coaxial chassis.
The driver’s centre of gravity is mounted on a second suspension inside the cabinet, which is the actual baffle of the loudspeaker system, not the front. The manufacturer therefore speaks of an inner baffle and states in this regard that sound-damaging vibrations of the chassis are not transferred to the cabinet and thus the sound image is clearly more precise and clearer, free of discolouration down to the finest nuances.
Extremely stable cabinet construction
Of course, this is also due in no small part to the particularly sturdy, robust construction of the slim cabinet, which is demonstrated not least by the fact that the Technics SB-C600 bookshelf loudspeaker system weighs in at an impressive 6.3 kg, with dimensions of just 283 mm in height, 173 mm in width and 283 mm in depth.
Flow-optimised bass reflex port
The bass reflex port of the Technics SB-C600 has been reduced to a minimum of ventilation noise by means of an accurate analysis of the air flow and a vortex generator, according to the manufacturer.
This is based on similar analysis methods as used in aircraft construction for the design of wings, in order to guarantee optimal results free of sound distortions and distortion based on the best possible flow analysis.
The decision to place the bass reflex port at the front of the speaker is of course also of utmost importance for a flexible set-up, as it ensures that, in combination with the above-mentioned particularly solid cabinet, not so much attention has to be paid to an optimal placement.
High-quality components for the crossover
Only high-quality components have been used for the crossover, and the same applies to the connection panel, which features gold-plated screw terminals made of turned brass to guarantee reliable signal transmission for years to come.
Key technical data
In order to characterise the Technics SB-C600 in a few sentences, it should be stated once again that it is a compact two-way bass reflex system, based on the combination of a 25 mm aluminium dome tweeter and a 15 cm cone driver with aluminium cone as the low-midrange driver, which, as so-called coaxial drivers, should come close to the ideal of a single-point sound source. The flow-optimised bass reflex system is routed outwards at the front.
With an impedance of 4 ohms and a nominal load of 60 watts or a maximum load of 120 watts, this loudspeaker system is supposed to be designed for amplifiers with a power between 40 and 120 watts. It can develop a sound pressure of 83 dB and cover a frequency range between 40 Hz and 100 kHz. The crossover frequency is specified as 2 kHz.
The Technics SB-C600 measures 283 mm in height, 173 mm in width, and 283 mm in depth, and weighs 6.3 kg. The dimensions given already include the optionally mountable loudspeaker grille and the rear connection panel.
From the practice
First of all, we would like to point out once again the really slim, very compact appearance of the speaker system. This ensures that the Technics SB-C600 can easily be placed anywhere in the house where a fine, but compact hi-fi system is required.
In this context, we find it a bit of a pity that Panasonic Corporation only offers this Technics solution in a design version, namely matt black.
However, we can at least state that matt black is a colour that is simply perceived as timelessly elegant, so this is not really too big a disadvantage.
In general, the Technics SB-C600 makes a very appealing impression with its simple, straightforward design, whereby the Linear Phase Plug, which is very important from a technical point of view, with its matt aluminium surface, also sets an attractive accent in terms of design.
It should also be noted that the detailed technical descriptions clearly show that the installation of the Technics SB-C600 is comparatively uncritical, which of course also facilitates flexibility in placement. However, we would recommend not to take the term bookshelf speaker system literally and to place the smart pair on a lowboard or sideboard. This is simply the best place to showcase the speakers, both acoustically and visually.
The perfect team – Technics SA-C600 Network CD Receiver and Technics SB-C600 Bookshelf Speaker
By the way, we didn’t have to look far in our search for the perfect electronics, because Panasonic Corporation supplied us with the Technics SA-C600 Network CD Receiver.
And this is no coincidence, rather it has to be said that this combination of the Technics Premium Class Series, specifically the Technics Premium Class C600 Series, was actually developed as such, the Technics SA-C600 Network CD Receiver and the Technics SB-C600 are really meant for each other in the proverbial sense.
This combination stands out for its enormous versatility in the most compact form, but also for its impressive sound.
How does it sound?
So how can the performance of the Technics SB-C600 be described in conclusion? Well, the first impression was sheer enthusiasm, because one thing has to be said in all fairness: we always have big hi-fi systems in mind when it comes to rich, powerful sound, and we tend to forget that much smaller solutions – as long as everything fits – are quite capable of achieving this.
And this is exactly the case with the Technics SB-C600 in combination with the Technics SA-C600 Network CD Receiver.
Of course, the conditions have to be right, the Technics SB-C600s have to be used in a room they can cope with, because these loudspeaker systems are obviously not designed for sound reinforcement in a spacious, open loft, nor for the generously dimensioned living room beyond 30 m2. Below that, however, things start to get exciting, especially when you think of much more common room sizes of around 15 to 20 m2.
In this environment, the Technics SB-C600 can show its true potential, and that is first and foremost an extremely precise reproduction, as our test showed. While some manufacturers, especially in the field of bookshelf loudspeaker systems, tend to use various measures to give their protégés more sovereignty in the mid-range and bass, but at the cost of a loss in accuracy and precision, Panasonic Corporation refrains from such tricks and gimmicks and relies instead on the Technics SB-C600 to deliver exactly what a recording allows.
If the recording is right, the Technics SB-C600 delivers voices with a realistic body and corresponding assertiveness, bass runs are reproduced either precisely and dry as dust, or softly and warmly, and there is nothing to complain about in the detail reproduction in the high frequency range, quite the contrary, the reproduction in the highest frequency range is fine and clear.
On the contrary, the imaging in the upper frequency range is fine and clear. All in all, one might even say that the Technics have a tendency towards analytical performance, but they don’t slide into annoying chiseling, unravelling of frequencies and revealing of every mistake of the sound engineer. Listening to music with the Technics SB-C600 is fun, regardless of genre, and always with a truly impressive soundstage, credibly built up in both width and depth. Here, the complex driver design for perfect timing obviously pays off.
All in all, we can conclude that the Technics SB-C600 Bookshelf Speaker is an extremely compact and elegant loudspeaker system that can be flexibly integrated into the living room, but in any case it is an extremely fine speaker system that can be rightly classified as part of the Technics Premium Class Series.
Prices and availability
The Technics SB-C600 Bookshelf Speakers are already available from specialist dealers. As described, these bookshelf speaker systems from the Panasonic Corporation of the Technics Premium Classic Series are offered in matt black. The recommended retail price is listed at € 999,-.
Getting to the point
The Technics SB-C600 bookshelf speaker system from the Technics Premium Class C600 Series convinced us in the test with a really finely resolved sound image, which convinces with precision, dynamics and an impressively wide as well as deep sound stage, which one would simply not expect from such a compact speaker system. Small and elegant plays like a big one, and one can attest to the fact that the developers of Panasonic Corporation have once again done a perfect job with this solution of the Technics brand. Chapeau – a clear recommendation!
|PRODUCT||TECHNICS SB-C600 BOOKSHELF SPEAKER|
|Price||Technics SA-C600 Network CD Receiver € 999,-|
Technics SB-C600 Bookshelf Speaker € 999,-
|Distribution||Panasonic Deutschland – Eine Division der Panasonic Marketing Europe GmbH|
|More about this manufacturer at HIFI BLOG|
Small and elegant, it plays like a big one, and the developers at Panasonic Corporation can be credited with having once again done a perfect job with the Technics SB-C600 Bookshelf Speaker. Chapeau!
- Extremely compact and elegant
- flexible in its installation
- fits into any living space
- detailed performance
- excellent stage imaging
- very dynamic attack
- attractive price
- unfortunately only available in matt black
- Technics SA-C600 Network CD Receiver
- TIDAL HiFi
Compact bookshelf speaker systems of the Technics Premium Class Series are available with the Technics SC-C600.