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    

Garrard 301 TurntableRoksan Tabriz Tonearm For Linn Lp12 Rega TurntableThoren Td125 Turntable Record Player - Made In West Germany - Swiss DesignNear Mint 1908 Edison Gem Phonograph W/original Gem Flower Horn * Plays GreatRek O Kut Rondine L-37 Transcription Turntable Esl Tonearm Serviced Clean!Beautiful Early Edison Mahogany Amberola Iii Inside Horn 4m Cylinder Phonograph Vintage Mayware Polk Audio Formula 4 Garrard Thorens Turntable Tonearm +arm Rest1960's Ortofon Rmg-212 Tonearm & Cable Thorens Td-124 Garrard 301 Turntable UseVintage Rek-o-kut Micropoise Garrard Thorens Turntable Tonearm W/o HeadshellThorens Td 160 - 2 Speed Classic Belt Drive TurntableEmpire 208/298 High-precision Turntable - Working ConditionSony Ps-x6 Direct Drive 33 45 Rpm Turntable Hi-fi Record Player 1970's 99p Nr1959 Thorens Td-135 Mki Turntable Original Owner Btd12s Tonearm Shure CartridgeOrtofon Mono Spu, Arm And Delphon TurntableNewly Serviced Thorens Td 124 Mkii Turntable With Shure V15vxmr And Vn5xmrLinn Sondek Lp12 Transcription Turntable Thorens Td124 Garrard 301 EraPioneer Pl-560 Turntable, Just About Mint, Shure Cartridge, Watch VideoVtg Pioneer Model Pl- 570 Quartz Pll Turntable Recoed Player - Parts RepairVintage Marantz Model 6200 Turntable Record PlayerRussco Cue Master 3 Speed TurntableRare Vintage Bogen Presto B-61 Turntable, Lenco. High Fidelity Record Player Nos Vintage Sme 3009 Series Ii Improved Tonearm + Manual Garrard 301 Thorens 124Pioneer Pl-570 Vintage Automatic Direct Drive Turntable As Is For Parts / RepairSuperb Linn Basik Turntable, Serviced, New Belt, Black Oil. Brand New Technics Sl-1200 Mk2 Silver Turntable. *rare*Very Nice Zonophone Outside Horn Disc 78 Rpm Phonograph Talking MachineVintage Garrard Model 301 Transcription Motor TurntableVintage Presto Record Cutter Lathe Type Mrc16 Audax Microdyne D32Vintage Kenwood Kd-500 Turntable Classic Excellent Working ConditionPioneer Pl-630 Direct Drive Stereo TurntablePioneer Pl-630 Quartz Pll Direct Drive Turntable W/ Ortofon Om Cartridge AutoPristine Edison Standard 2/4 Min Cylinder Phonograph Record Player, Ics RepeaterTechnics Sp15 Turntable MotorSansui Sr-2050c Belt Drive Manual Turntable W/ Audio Technica Cart~free ShippingTarget Turntable Stand For Linn Lp 12Dual 1019 Turntable,absolutely Mint, Nos Shure M75e D Cartridge, Watch VideoPioneer Pl-630 Quartz Pll Direct Drive Turntable W/ Audio Technica Viii Bogen Presto Lenco TurntableSuperb Sound Organisation Turntable Wall Shelf, Fantastic Condition, Heavy Duty.Vintage Pioneer Pl-518x Direct Drive Turntable Excellent Condition* Electrohome * Vintage Apollo Saturn 861 Record Player RareTeres Turntable Record Clamp Weight Vpi?Vintage Russco Studio Pro Model B Broadcast Studio TurntableSuper Rare Denon Dp-1000 Direct Drive Turntable Vintage Technics Sl-1600 Sl1600 Mk2 Stereo Phono Turntable Record Audio Dj JapanVintage Modular Component Systems Mcs 6502 Belt Drive Auto Turntable TechnicsD1 Turntable 32180 3-rail Hornby Dublo Oo Gauge Railway Accessories (boxed)Technics Sl1200m3d Professional Quartz Direct Drive Turntable System*free Ship*Lab 400 Direct Drive Turntable Vintage Empire 598 Turntable W Relistic R1000 Edtcartridge For PartsRek O Kut Tonearm 120Vintage Technics By Panasonic Record Player Automatic Turntable Model Sl-1700Technics Sl-3350 Direct Drive Automatic Turntable With Spindle Adapters, WorksNew 1964 Lenco Lsi Bogen B51 Turntable - Never Used In Original Box SwiterlandVintage Bang & Olufsen Beogram 3000 Turntable Sp12 Cartridge Spares Repairs HifiGarrard 201 Transcription Turntable Variable Speed 33-78 Oil Cap 30's / 40'sPioneer Pl-530 Direct Drive Turntable W/ At12xepq Cartridge For Lp Vinyl RecordSota Sapphire TurntablePioneer Turntable Pl-518; Direct Drive; Vintage Record PlayerYamaha Yp-d8 Turntable Record Player