Masterpieces of world column construction: Technics SB-1000 - Matsushita's standard speaker

There are devices that remain in the memory of several generations, and sometimes even firmly go down in history and become symbols of their era. It was such devices that I described in my cycles "Legendary Amplifiers" and "Soviet HI-FI and its creators." Today we will talk about speakers, and this post will become a pilot in the new series “Legends of the world column building.” A series of publications will be entirely devoted to acoustics, which, in my subjective opinion and objective data, deserve to be called legendary.

In this post, a story about the speaker system, which was compared with such bestsellers as the JBL L200 Studiomaster, Yamaha NS-1000, Coral DX-Eleven, Sony SS-G7. The theme of the material is the legendary small-series Technics SB-1000, which to this day amazes lovers of audio. Interestingly, this acoustics is recognized as one of the best in the world by both representatives of the subjective-audiophile and engineering, scientific and psychoacoustic approaches, which in itself is a rarity. Moreover, the system is a subject of a peculiar cult and a longed dream of many collectors of audio equipment. Finding a negative review about this system, as well as itself, is quite difficult.

Prerequisites for the emergence of a legend

By the end of the 60s, the requirements for the average audio product had grown markedly - this fully applied to the speaker systems. The consumer has become picky both in Europe and the USA, and in Japan itself. People wanted more power with less distortion and this was the most logical way to develop audio technology.

Buying HI-FI and striving to get sound with high fidelity has become a fashion trend. Even despite the fact that at that moment there was no corresponding standard, the very concept of High fidelity fell into the masses and began to excite not only limited groups of audiophiles, but also other social groups.

The Japanese corporation was well aware of the current trend and sought to create something conceptually new and amazing, both in sound quality and design. The company of the great Konosuke Matsushita wanted to maintain leadership in a fairly tough competitive environment, which required appropriate measures.

So the engineers of Matsushita Electric came up with the idea to create a model that surpasses analogues in fidelity of reproduction, functionality, as well as having compact overall dimensions. Ideally, the product should have been significantly ahead of its time and give impetus to the development of fundamentally new acoustic systems.

An important requirement for the product was the ability to fit into a complex interior, which seriously limited the capabilities of the developers. Also, high levels of distortion and frequency range seriously slowed down the development. So the first prototype of the device, begun in 1969, appeared only in 1972. To implement the project, a series of psychoacoustic studies was needed, the results of which were repeatedly used by the company subsequently.

Triumph of the small-scale champion

By the beginning of 1973, it was possible to fully prepare the three-way speakers for the series and start production. By 1974, the system got to exhibitions and somewhat later to the shelves of Japanese, European and American stores. The price of the device was relatively high - 220,000 Yen, which today would be about $ 9,000, taking into account inflation. Critics from the then still honest and almost incorruptible audio press spoke very flattering about the product.

Most of those who shared their impressions of the new speakers noted accentuated bass reproduction, the extreme frequency range for that time that went beyond the threshold of human perception, and clear sound, devoid of noticeable distortion even on a complex symphonic musical signal.

Due to the high cost in the company of the great and terrible (cross out) Konosuke Matsushita decided not to launch the device in a full-scale series. Instead, Technics pragmatists limited themselves to a small-scale release for a narrow circle of music lovers who understand the sound.

The design that defines the main trend of generation

For 1974, the SB-1000 was a product that embodied years of development and innovation in one device. New dynamic GGs unique for that time were created for the system. In addition, fundamentally new approaches to the development of the hull and structure were first tested, and vibration was significantly reduced.

Sound engineers were able to significantly improve the signal-to-noise ratio in the low frequency range. A 30 cm cone-shaped EAS-30L100S woofer was used as the main one in the LF spectrum. The membrane of this speaker was made of a three-layer composite, which has a high Young's modulus. The membrane is durable and has a low level of frequency distortion.

Improved gimbal partially reduces non-linear distortion. The diffuser hole located in the magnet provides not only unobstructed membrane travel, but also optimal coil cooling.
To reduce the drag resistance of the diffuser, the magnet has a large hole, which also removes heat well.

The speaker’s dynamic capabilities are provided by a powerful magnetic system with a magnet diameter of 220 mm (magnet size 220x120x23 mm) with a speaker diameter of 300 mm. Traditionally, such powerful magnets are used in concert equipment. One can hardly recall a different case of the use of such giants in home haifai.

The sound in the midrange is provided by the 4.5-cm EAS-18KM100S driver with a dome, the membrane of which is also made of a three-layer
cellulose-carbon composite. The manufacturer also reported that to reduce losses in the midrange drivers, cores made of sheet electrical steel with impressive magnetic induction were used. The coil travel of the midrange emitter was increased by 7 mm.

. A 19 mm device tweeter, the EAS-12KH100S was made of a titanium alloy with a thickness of only 20 microns. This alloy is 30% lighter than aluminum and has more impressive transient characteristics. The magnetic flux density of the RF emitter is approx. 19000 G. In addition, the tweeter is equipped with a steel-based silicon-based alloy throttle, which reduces the THD of the tweeter to less than 0.1% per 100W.

An interesting feature was that the connection to the speakers can be through a crossover or directly to each speaker individually.

The speaker enclosure is made up of three layers: the surface and inner layers of plywood 9 mm thick, the intermediate layer of chipboard with a thickness of 18 mm (total 36 mm). Reliable internal damping made it possible to get rid of spurious resonances, which, according to the manufacturer, are completely absent. Another feature of the case was the use of vibration damping coatings from the outside.

  • Next, I list the dry characteristics of the system:
  • Frequency range: 20 - 30000 Hz;
  • Sensitivity: 90 dB / W / m;
  • Power (DIN): 100 W;
  • Resistance: 8 Ohms;
  • Crossover cutoff frequencies: 500 Hz and 5000 Hz;
  • Overall dimensions (HxWxD): 582x392x397 mm;
  • Weight: 52 kg;


Technics SB-1000 became a kind of benchmark for a high-fidelity home speaker system until the early 90s, although its release ended already in 1975. Today it is in a place of honor among the epoch-making products of Panasonic (Matsushita Electric).

At numerous audio forums she is remembered to this day, and, as a rule, is ranked among monitors. Given the characteristics - this is not surprising. With great desire, the legendary and rare vintage can be purchased at auctions. As a rule, the cost of such a speaker in good and perfect condition is not lower than in 1974.

Used photo materials
In the catalog a wide range of speakers is presented