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”)

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]

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]



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    

Near Mint Braun Pcs 5 Turntable ,thorens 124 Drive System , Dieter Rams DesignGarrard 301 Transcription Turntable Original Hammerone Grey Rimless ChassisVintage Thorens Td-124 Turntable Luxman Pd121u Direct Drive Turntable With Stax Tone Arm Vintage Sansui Sr-838 Quartz Lock Turntable Direct Drive Micro Seiki Dd-40 Turn TablePioneer Pl-530 Stereo Turntable Direct Drive All Original One Owner View VideoProfessional Studio Turntale Emt 930 St With Emt 929, Very Rare!Vpi Turntable W Dustcover - Works But No Arm, Belt IncludedThorens Td 166 Mkii - TurntableGray Research 108c 108g Transcription Turntable Tonearm Garrard ThorensDenon Dp-62l Turntable W/ Stanton 680 Sl Cartridge Rega P3 / Planar 3 TurntableClassic Empire 208 3-speed TurntableLinn Sondek Lp12 Turntable - Ittock Lv Ii Tonearm - Record Player - VinylVintage Ar Acoustic Research Ta Xa Turntable With Factory Tools Hdwr & PaperworkPioneer Pl-61 TurntableVintage Dual 701 Turntable Looks And Works Great Dj Record PlayerAwesome Technics Sl-3300 Direct-drive Turntable With Audio Technica Cartridge!Technics Sl-10 Vintage Record Player. Made In Japan **rare** No ReserveVpi Aries 3 Turntable , Arm, Motor, Record Clamp - Mint ConditionVintage Technics Sl 1700 Direct Drive Turntable -nice Working-Legendary! Garrard 301 Schedule 51400/1 Audiophile Turntable+ Rare Cart/arm Rare Vintage Record Player Rek-o-kut Variable Speed Cvs-12 Powers Up!Townshend Rock Elite Turntable Merlin Power Supply Early Type Boxed See Images Jvc Ql-y66f Turntable78' Marantz 6370q Quartz Direct Drive Turntable W/ New Adc Qlm Stylus. Works !Micro Seiki Direct Drive Dd-20 TurntableVintage Record Player Automatic Turntable Direct Drive Realistic Lab 400Marantz Model 6300 Servo Control Direct Drive TurntableAntique Cast Iron " Dog On Turntable " Mechanical Bank By H.l. Judd Cir. 1895 Dual 1229q Record Turntable Ck20 Wood Base & Ch20 Cover New In BoxVintage Marantz Receiver 2252bBang & Olufsen Tx2 Tangential Turntable With Mmc2 Cartridge Lgb 1400 Turntable/boxTechnics Sl-1210 Mk2 1210mk2 Direct Drive Dj Turntable UsedMitsubishi Lt-5v Vertical Turntable - Record Player Turn Table Record Player- Pro-jectHo Scale Built Model Walthers Cornerstone Concrete Pit Loco Turntable W/motorVintage Mid Century Modern Electrohome 860 Apollo Record Player With Speakers!Technics Sl-1900 Direct-drive Automatic TurntableJ A Michell Turntable Gyro SeEmpire 698 Turntable With Shure M91ed CartridgeMarantz 6150 Vintage Stereo! Watch Video!Technics Sl-1200mk2 Turntable With Stanton 500.v3 Cartridge As-is *not Working*Revox B-791 B791 Direct Drive Turntable Linear TrackingMarantz 6100 Turntable Record PlayerHo 90' Motorized Turntable Micro Seiki Bl-51 Belt Drive TurntableMarantz Model 6100 Auto Return/auto Shut Off Belt-driven Turntable + See Video!!Bang & Olufsen Mmc2 Turntable Phonograph Cartridge & StylusRare Luxman Pd272 Direct Drive Turntable - Works Perfectly - Sounds Great!Pioneer Pl-l800 Dd Quartz Lock Full Automatic Turntable Free Delivery* Vtg. Pioneer Pl–514 Stereo Belt Drive Turntable Record Player In Original BoxLinn Sondek Lp12 TurntableGoldring Gr TurntablePioneer Pl70/pa-7 Direct Drive Turntable New Plinth Tested/fully Working/cleanTechnics Sl-dz1200 TurntableMagnepan (of Magneplanar Speakers) Unitrac Turntable TonearmVintage Bogen Lenco B-61 Turntable