The Technics SL-23 is an affordable and very cool belt-drive turntable from the late 70’s. I highly recommend the SL-23, ahead of many other budget decks, for someone looking for their first ‘proper’ turntable.
Technics is perhaps best known for the SL-1200 range of direct-drive turntables, but they built a huge range of machines, at varying price-points. The SL-23 is a belt-driven turntable with an FG (frequency generator) servo-controlled DC motor with IC drive. Technics basically took the basic belt-drive concept and added Japanese engineering, bringing the quality and refinement to the next level.
The SL-23 features low rumble and wow & flutter and an S-shaped tonearm with automatic return / shut-off. The deck comes with a combined moving magnet cartridge and head-shell, and it’s a decent combination. This eliminates the need for cartridge alignment in two of the three critical axes. This is also a limitation of course, if one wishes to dispense with the integrated cartridge and head-shell.
The deck also features a strobe and vernier adjustment of both 33 and 45 rpm speeds, a very nice touch. The SL-23 was also available as the SL-23K variant, with a black facia.
Specifications, courtesy of the Vinyl Engine:
Type: frequency generator servo turntable
Drive method: belt drive
Motor: DC motor
Turntable platter: aluminium die-cast
Speeds: 33 and 45rpm
Speed change: electronic
Pitch control: 6%
Wow and flutter: 0.05% WRMS
Tonearm: s-shaped tubular arm
Effective length: 220mm
Offset angle: 22 degrees
Stylus pressure range: 0 to 4g
Cartridge weight range: 3 to 8.5g
Dimensions: 135 x 428 x 348mm
Service & Repair
The images below cover some of the stages of disassembly and service involved in routine maintenance of the Technics SL-23. There is of course stuff I didn’t show and have’t explained, but the SL-23 is easy to work on and doesn’t need much to keep it running well. If only all belt-drive decks were made like this little Technics!