In recent years, there’s been a resurgence of interest in vinyl LPs, from vintage psych to contemporary rock by the likes of Radiohead, Pearl Jam, and White Stripes. Less discussed is the parallel quest for the perfect vintage record player or turntable. The good news is that finding a decent turntable from the 1960s, ’70s, or ’80s is not as tough as you might think. Manufacturers produced untold numbers of these popular machines, and because a fair amount of them were used by conscientious audiophiles, many of the ones on the market today are often in fine condition.

The 1960s were a golden age for turntables for a number of reasons. First, manufacturers were moving away from bulky home-entertainment systems, which were more like pieces of furniture than audio-delivery devices. Instead, they created individual components that consumers would assemble into an integrated system on their own. The coincidental widespread availability of stereo LPs also gave music lovers a reason to upgrade their old, bulky mono players for sparkling-sounding new ones.

Naturally, the major electronics manufacturers tried to sell consumers on the idea of choosing from just their branded components, including the receiver (an amplifier), tuner (usually an FM radio), speakers, and turntable. As it turned out, those last two categories remained stubbornly specialized for quite some time. Thus, companies like Dual, Garrard, and Acoustic Research were able to make names for themselves against Japanese electronics giants like Matsushita (now known as Panasonic) and its subsidiary brands, the most famous of which was Technics.

The German firm Dual was founded in 1900 as a manufacturer of spring-wound motors, which, by 1909, were being used in gramophones. In the 1920s, Dual was producing gramophones of its own, which could be wound by hand or driven by electricity (they were literally dual-powered, which is where the company got its modern name).

The golden age of Dual began after World War II, when the company introduced its Dual 1000 turntable. A stereo turntable followed in 1958, and a stackable turntable, the model 1006, appeared in 1959. But Dual’s most classic turntables, with their handsome wooden bases, were the 1009 and 1019, released in 1963 and ’65 respectively. By the end of the decade, the model 1219 featured the ability to start the turntable when the arm was lifted from its rest.

England’s Garrard goes back even further, to 1721, although it did not get into the turntable business until 1930. What with a worldwide economic depression, it was not exactly the best moment in history to launch a consumer product that nobody actually needed, but the company was given a boost when the BBC purchased the turntables to play its 78s over the air.

Garrard’s first breakthrough turntable came in 1938, the RC100, which could play both 12- and 10-inch records, but World War II quickly forced the company to covert its facilities to military purposes. After the war, Garrard brought out the RC70 (it could play 12-, 10-, and 7-inch records at 33 1/3, 45, and 78 RPM. The RC80, which boasted a new magnetic cartridge, followed in 1950...

The biggest product for Garrard, though, arrived in 1954, when its legendary 301 turntable was embraced by newly prosperous audiophiles, who were known in those days as HiFi enthusiasts. The 301 was such a stalwart for Garrard that the company did not see fit to replace it until 1965, when the 401 appeared. Its run was even longer, lasting until 1977.

Another British manufacturer with a similar 1950s-to-1970s run was A.R. Sugden, whose Connoisseur line of turntables was pioneering. Unfortunately, A.R. Sugden turntables are often confused with those produced by Acoustic Research of Cambridge, Massachusetts, which didn't introduce its first turntable, the AR-XA, until 1962. It was a belt-driven turntable with a walnut base that ran at one speed, 33 1/3 RPM, and whose only visible electronic gadgetry was a solitary on-off switch.

This was a truly manual turntable, whose stylus-bearing arm had to be gently placed on the record, and then just as carefully retrieved when it had run out of grooves. Many would-be customers shook their heads in disbelief at the primitiveness of the machine, but purists loved it, which may be why AR continued to make it until well into the 1970s, even after it had introduced two versions of the AR-XB, which had more-advanced features.

Other turntable brands from the 1960s, ’70s, and ’80s that are popular with vinyl lovers include Marantz, Thorens, Denon, and Bang & Olufsen.

About our sources | Got something to add?

▼ Expand to read the full article ▼

Best of the Web (“Hall of Fame”)

The Vintage Knob

The Vintage Knob

The Vintage Knob is an extensive resource on all types of audio electronics organized by manufacturer, from Aiwa to… [read review or visit site]

Vinyl Divas

Vinyl Divas

Vinyl Divas pays homage to international female opera singers of the LP era. Chronicling more than 800 singers, the… [read review or visit site]



Despite its mysterious title, 317X is plain and simple—an online gallery of vintage LPs, with a 1950s vintage fee… [read review or visit site]

Jesse Barron's collection of Beatles 45s, picture sleeves, magazines, books, and memorabilia. Browse singles and al… [read review or visit site]

Association of Vogue Picture Record Collectors

Association of Vogue Picture Record Collectors

This great site, from the Association of Vogue Picture Record Collectors, offers detailed background information an… [read review or visit site]

The Remington Site

The Remington Site

Since 1999, the Remington Site has offered classical music collectors a glimpse into Remington Records, an independ… [read review or visit site]

Clubs & Associations

Discussion Forums

Other Great Reference Sites

Most watched eBay auctions    

Denon Dp-2500 Dp2500 Turntable W/ New Nagaoka Mp 110 Cartridge Thorens EmpireVintage Empire 598 Iii Turntable W 4000d /ii Cartridge Record Player Audio PhonoVpi Hw-19 Turntable Mark Iv Sme 3009 TonearmNear Mint 1905 Victor I Phonograph W/shipping Box, Beveled Turntable * BeautifulGarrard 401 Transcription Motor Unit Turntable - Early Version - Ex ConditionSony Ps-x75 Biotracer Stereo Turntable. Beautiful Piece!!!! A Real Joy To Use!!!Sony Ps-f9 Flamingo Ultra Rare Vertical Portable Turntable Fm Trans No Reserve!Vintage Empire 698 Turntable W 2000d Cartridge Record Player Audiophile PhonoNear Mint 1898 Edison Home Phonograph W/orig. Speaking Tube, Ear-set, Horn, MoreDj Qbert Vestax Qfo Turntable - New In Box!Linn Sondek Lp-12, Cirkus Bearing, Funk Firm Vector Upgrades, Dc Motor Nice!!Garrard 301 Turntable1905 Hmv Victor Monarch Senior D Phonograph W/orig. Red Horn * Huge & StunningVintage Thorens Td 160 Turntable - Spins! Td160Lenco L75 Turntable W Shure M91ed Original Manual Brochure Working * Nice!Technics Sl-1200mk2 Dual Volt 110 ~ 240 Turntable 1200 1210 Mk2 Mk4 Mk5 M5g MkiiVintage Gray Research 108 Transcription Tone Arm 16 InchJvc Ql-7 Quartz Locked Fg Servo System Quick Stop Direct Drive Turntable As-isAudio Research Sp-9 Tube Preamp With Phono Stage For TurntableTechnics Quartz Direct Drive Turntable System No. Sl-1200mk2-a-1 Dj EquipmentMicro Seiki Dd-40 Vintage Wood Base Turntable Direct Drive With All AccessoriesRek-o-kut Rek O Kut Rodine L 34 Jr Turntable Shure Tone Arm M 232 Tube Global ShDenon Dp-47f Direct Drive Automatic Turntable With Superb Stanton 881s CartridgeSota Cosmos Turntable With Power Supply/vacuum Pump + Reflex Clamp- Retail $5920Vintage Turntable Micro Seiki Mb-18 2-speed Belt-drive Gwo Mi JapanVintage Jvc Ql-a7 Quartz Lock Direct Drive Turntable-working ConditionTechnics Sl-1700 Audiophile Quartz Direct Drive Automatic Stereo Turntable WorksRare Rek-o-kut Micropoise Micro Poise Stereo Audio Audiophile Turntable Tonearm Technics Sl 10 Direct Drive Linear Turntable W Original Cables 310mc CartridgeNice Rega Rp40 Turntable W/special Edition White Elys40 Cartridge Orig Box NrTtw Extreme V2 Periphery Outer Turntable Ring For Vpi Rega Naim Ttw Others Pioneer Pl-530 Direct-drive TurtableAr Xa (acoustic Research) Vintage Turntable - Works! With Cover + CartridgeTechnics Sl 1200 Mk2 Direct Drive Turntable Sl-1200mk2 Includes Cover & Slip MatRare Rek-o-kut Model Lp-743 Lp743 33 45 78 Rpm Audio Audiophile Turntable UsaVintage Portola Silvertone Record Player Portable Wind-up Sears Roebuck WorksUnused Nos Sme 3009 Series Ii Tonearm W/box Manual For Thorens Ortofon TurntableVintage Thorens Td 160 Turntable As Is For Repair Or Parts Only-1972-1976On3 "a" Frame Turntable (61 Foot), Of Brass & Wood.Technics Sl-1700 Audiophile Direct Drive Auto Stereo Turntable W/ Pitch - WorksYamaha Pf-800 Natural Sound Vintage Turntable Record PlayerThorens Td 160 Turntable W/ Dust Cover & Stanton 681eee Cart. / Stylus NiceFully Restored Dual Cs 5000 Vintage Turntable 33/45/78 Semi-automatic, Very GoodPioneer Pl-50a Stereo Turntable +box And 2 Cartridges - Near Mint! Watch Video!Technics Sl-1200mk2 Turntable Pioneer Pl-518 Direct Drive Auto Return TurntableLot Of 35 Turntable Cartridges Grado Shure V15 Stanton Pickering Pioneer & More!Soundwagon Vinyl Killer Vw Van Record Player Technics Sl-1200mk2 Turntable (with Stanton Ee680 Cartridge)Dynavector Drt Xv-1 Audiophile Mc Cartridge In Original Box - For RebuildVintage 1950s Old 8" Emerson " Wondergram " Mini Mid Century Retro Phonograph Denon Dp 1000 Dd Turntable,working Good Made In Japan Vintage Technics Sl-1300 Turntable With Prism 300i Cable By Tara LabsGramovox Gvx1901 Floating Record Vertical All-in-one Turntable WalnutVtg Meissner Cascade Hazeltine Rca Turntable Record Cutter Recording Lathe RadioAudio Technica At120e Lc Ofc Audiophile Turntable Cartridge & Stylus - WorksTechnics Sl-1200m3d Quartz Direct Drive Turntable System 120vQ R K Qrk 102 Tonearm ,very Nice Condition.appears New In Box.vintage.Technics Sl-1210mk2 Turntable.. Ortofon Ff15xe Mk Ii Audiophile Cartridge & Stylus For Stereo Turntable - Works