Technics SV-P100

1 9 8 1 1981
1 9 8 4 1984

The one PCM recorder everybody remembers... but which was bought by nobody.
Or almost.

Thanks to Heitaro Nakajima, Sony had become the leader and remained so from the very beginning of the research and the beginning of the consumer possibilities with the PCM-1.
If otherwise, it would have been somebody else doing CD with Philips and somebody else finalizing the professional audio DASH format with Studer and somebody else transforming the failed Betamax consumer format into the undisputed Betacam and Digi-Beta worldwide broadcast video standards.

So the proportion of sales between Technics' SV-P100 and Sony's PCM-F1 + SL-F1 (the Beta recorder) probably was of around one to....... never mind.
And the Sony was really portable, too.

Not as fast as Alpine and its 1982 DAT-8200 tentative, Technics also quickly abandoned its own integrated PCM recorder based on the RS-1500 series, as well as its tentative of a studio recording system, much like the DAS-90 and DAS-900 Victor was producing then.
Both systems were produced in small quantities but not nearly enough to make a dent in Sony's consumer and broadcast market shares.

And when Sony unveiled the PCM-3324 series, the writing was on the wall for everybody else, including Matsushita. Before CD arrived, Technics tried to fit PCM into a micro-cassette (like Aiwa at the same time) but to absolutely no avail.

But it is however quite possible that simultaneously backing JVC's AHD/VHD dual standard, developing some of its own and finally accepting to work under the Philips/Sony standard (CD) did put some strain on the teams and confusion in Matsushita's marketing and legal departements !


The P100 was originally planned in silver colour, quickly going back to the "professional" black.
A Matsushita VHS mechanism was inside, alongwith Matsushita converters and ICs. Besides its audio in / audio out terminals (no composite video here), Technics added the possibility to jump/edit one marker and to switch display between regular analogue audio and digital stream.
The enormous LCD meters (not Sony's 1978 system) were a nice and helpful touch.

However, Technics (as everybody else but Sony) stuck to the 1976 EIAJ recommendation regarding sample depth and the P100 is a strictly 14-bit recorder.
You can thank Sony for having imposed 16-bit right from the PCM-1 and then again to Philips in 1981, otherwise CD would have become a 14-bit format.
But then maybe SACD would have happened earlier and thus have had more success ;-)

At 14-bit and 21kg when Sony's equivalent unit was 16-bit and weighed 4,5kg... it was obvious to spot the winner in advance.


Four useful links :
Ricardo Mondaca, foremost Technics collector in Chile owns an SV-P100 (and service manual) ; a little rewind from mixonline ; the K. Nisi page and a real P100 here.

Technics SV-P100, image 1 Technics SV-P100, image 2 Technics SV-P100, image 3
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