Review: Technics Ottava SC-C70EG

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Acoustic solutions

The Technics Ottava SC-C70EG all-in-one wireless hi-fi system is a compact stereo model with 5 built-in speakers. Four of the drivers are found at the front of the system, including two 3.13? midbass drivers and two .75? dome tweeters. Notably, deflectors are used to redirect the soundwave, which is not projected in a classic horizontal manner. The fifth driver is installed on the bottom of the speaker: this 4.75? driver is fitted inside a dual bass-reflex enclosure.

A stereo amplifier is in charge of driving the four front drivers, while a separate mono amplifier devotes its energy to powering the bass driver. Together, this high-efficiency Class D amplification system delivers 2×30 W + 1×40 W (peak power).

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JENO and LAPC technologies

Technics claims to have done everything in its power to offer excellent audio processing, thanks in part to oversampling and JENO Jitter Elimination technology. It is important to remember that jitter results from a glitch in the electric circuit and can negatively affect the transmission of digital data packets between the source (flash drive, internet radio, Spotify, CD player, etc.) and the DAC or speaker. If this transmission is not perfectly stable, the sound restitution will lose precision and coherence and the soundstage will be narrower.

Technics has used LAPC technology to develop the active filter in charge of distributing sound to the different drivers. A great amount of care has been taken to offer excellent signal phase calibration (which affects the position of a sound within the soundstage), and notably to optimize the drivers? crossover frequencies.

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The Technics Ottava SC-C70EG?s high-excursion bass driver.

Mobile app

Available for iOS and Android, the mobile app enables the user to configure the Technics Ottava SC-C70EG and select the desired source. In the case of Spotify, the digital music service?s native app may be used to control the speakers. The same goes for iPhones and iPads, whose audio apps (Qobuz and Deezer, for example), can stream digital tracks to the system via the AirPlay protocol.

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The Technics Ottava SC-C70EG system?s mobile app for Android OS.
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The Technics Ottava SC-C70EG system?s mobile app for Android OS with a list of sources available.

Signal sources

Digital optical input: this input may be used to connect any audio source equipped with a corresponding output, for example, a TV or Blu-ray player (with the output configured to PCM mode).

Analog mini-jack input: a portable audio player or any analog source equipped with a stereo RCA output via a 3.55mm RCA to mini-jack cable may be connected to this input.

CD player: for audio CDs.

 

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The protective cover of the Technics Ottava SC-C70EG?s CD player pivots manually.

USB Type-A port: this input is compatible with USB flash drives and hard drives and can handle MP3, FLAC and DSD audio stream. It is not compatible with iPhones.

Antenna socket: if an antenna is used, this connection allows the user to listen to FM radio stations and DAB digital radio stations.

Ethernet connection: just like with integrated WiFi antennas, this input may be used to connect the Technics Ottava SC-C70EG to your home network and the Internet. Using the AirPlay protocol to play music via iTunes or an iPhone is possible, as is tuning into Internet radio, streaming via Spotify Connect or Tidal and, of course, streaming audio files shared over your home network on a DLNA/UPnP server (set-top box, NAS, computer, smartphone?).

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Aside from two volume buttons, the Technics Ottava SC-C70EG features touch controls.

Accessories included

The Technics Ottava SC-C70EG system comes with a remote control, a loop antenna/FM indoor antenna and a power cable.

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The back of the Technics Ottava SC-C70EG system.

Listening impressions

The restitution offered by the Ottava SC-C70EG exceeded our expectations for a wireless audio system of this size. The delicate balance between mids and highs ? the latter being slightly set back ? allows the speakers to offer a wider soundstage, at least in comparison to competing compact speakers. This is the Technics Ottava SC-C70EG?s strong point, and it performs as well ? if not better ? as leading models in its category (Naim mu-so, Klipsch The Three, etc.).  The restitution is on the delicate side, almost intimate, but with enough swing to stay energetic.

Lows: the lower driver and its dual bass-reflex port get the job done: the sound is clean and coherent with the other two registers. Evidently, the lows don’t delve incredibly deep, but although there isn’t any impact, everything is crisp and balanced.

Mids: smooth, with a lot of breadth and no harshness. We were very satisfied.

Highs: slightly set back and ideally placed to create a wide soundstage.

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The Technics Ottava SC-C70EG system?s display.

How does the Technics Ottava SC-C70EG compare to?

The Naim mu-so: the restitution is very similar in terms of tonal balance, but the Technics system is a bit more incisive and playful, without being exuberant.

The Klipsch The Three: the restitution is very different in that it is more controlled with better spatialization. The Technics is much more linear and pampers the listener.

The Devialet Phantom: the Technics is less impressive, but more balanced and relaxing.

The Bose SoundTouch 30: the Bose speaker has a beefier presence in the bass register, and is less adapted for a hi-fi experience than the Technics.

In comparison with a pair of Bluetooth-enabled floorstanding speakers, (Dali Zensor 5 AX, Triangle Elara LN05A, Klipsch RP-440WF, etc.), the Technics Ottava SC-C70EG can’t compete in terms of timing, substance and depth.

In terms of functionality, the Technics Ottava SC-C70EG system offers the advantage of an integrated CD player and digital radio tuner, something not offered by the competition, although it doesn’t handle Deezer or Qobuz.

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The grill protecting the Technics Ottava SC-C70EG?s drivers.

Conclusion

What we liked: the breadth of the restitution, the integration of a CD player and a tuner, the finish quality.
What we would have liked: a more user-friendly app, a more modern display, and Chromecast support.

In all sincerity, we didn’t truly expect Technics, with its Ottava SC-C70EG all-in-one stereo system, to be able to compete with today?s leading models. There is hardly anything apart from the control app?s perfectible interface that we can find fault with, as the system succeeds in restituting high-quality sound in a living room with any source.

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