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]

317X

317X

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]

Mybeatles.net

Mybeatles.net

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    

Technics Sl-ma1 Direct Drive Turntable W Shure M92e Automatic * Superb!Micro Seiki Ddx-1000 Turntable For 3 Tonearms, Cartridges * Vg ConditionThorens Td-165 Turntable MintLinn Sondek Lp12 Turntable + Basik Lvv Tonearm/sold For Parts/repair/restorationSme 3009 Ii Improved Tonearm Fixed Headshell Thorens Td124 Garrard 301 TurntableThorens Td-125 Mkii Turntable - Works, For Sme 3009 TonearmGarrard 301 Turntable, Grease Bearing/schedule 1 + Original Handbook. Beautiful Vintage Marantz Turntable Model 6100 Auto Return New Belt & Cartridge - Works !Nakamichi Dragon-ct Computing TurntableThorens Td 125 Mkii Turntable Excellent Condition! Read!! No Reserve!Elac Miracord 40a Turntable West Germany 16 33 45 78 W Shure * Superb!Presto 6n 16" Record Cutting Lathe/turntable (for Rca 33rpm, Tonearm, Tube Amp )Vtg.pioneer Pl-530 Full Automatic Stereo Turntable Direct DriveYamaha Gt-2000 TurntableMicro Seiki Dqx 500 Turntable With Ma 500 Tonearm Systemdek Ii Audiophile TurntableVpi Hw-19 Mk4 TurntableVintage Thorens Td160 Td-160 Audiophile Turntable Turn Table Phonograph PhonoVintage 70s Thorens Td 160 Turntable W/ Tp-16 Tonearm **sold As-is**Marantz Turntable.model 6300. Comes In Original Box!Dual 1228 Turntable In Walnut Base Serviced W Audio Dynamics * Nice!Technics Sl-1300 Mk2 Direct-drive Turntable 1200 - Great ConditionSut Step Up Transformer Utc Ha-101 Denon 103 Linn Ortofon Cartridge Technics VpiTechnics Sl-1500 Direct Drive Turntable 110-240v 50/60hz Shure M95ed Vgc GwoTechnics Mcs 6720 Direct Drive Turntable W Audio Technica Cartridge * Nice!Vintage 10h Elac Miracord Stereo Automatic Turntable Germany Record Player Nr!Bogen B-62 Transcription TurntableVintage Pioneer Pl -530 Direct Drive Stereo TurntablePro-ject Debut Iii TurntableTechnics Quartz Direct Drive Turntable System Sl-1200m3dTechnics Sl-1600mk2 TurntableVintage Audiophile Grade Shure V15 Type Iv Turntable Cartridge Needs NeedleVintage Stanton 681ee Calibration Standard Turntable Cartridge Metal Case StylusRega Planar 2 Belt-drive Turntable Glass Platter For Rb250, Rb300 TonearmVintage Bang & Olufsen B&o Beocenter 7000 Turntable Stereo Receiver W/ Remote++Technics Sl-1500 Direct Drive Turntable W Ortofon Cartridge New Stylus * Superb!Pioneer Pl-41 2 Speed Fully Manual Vintage 1970's Turntable BeautilfulVtg Technics Sl-1950 Direct Drive Automatic Turntable System Watch VideoBogen Transcription TurntableTechnics Mk2 Quartz Direct Drive Turntable System Sl-1200mk2 Xa Vintage Technics Sl-5200 Quartz Direct Drive Turntable Record Player Sl5200 5200Fidelity Research Fr-64s Tonearm Serial Number 47056 With Michell Gyro ArmboardVintage Yamaha Yp-211 Belt Drive Turntable W/original Audio Technica Cartridge +Shure V-15 Typ Iii L-m Mm Phono Cartridge For Dual 1019, 1219, 1229 Turntables Music Hall Mmf 5.1se Special Edition Turntable With Mh Mojo/Nice Grado Wood Stereo Tonearm On Thorens Td-124 Turntable Record Player MountPioneer Pl-l 1000 TurntableTechnics Sl-1200 Mk2 Quartz Direct Drive TurntableVintage Yamaha Yp-450 Turntable. Yp450Harmon Kardon St8 TurntableMicro Seiki Ddx-1000 2-speed Direct-drive TurntableTechnics Sl-10 Quartz Direct Drive Automatic Turntable SystemIpc Western Electric Am-1028 6j7 348a Tube Mic Phono Preamplifier [match Pair]Rek-o-kut S120 Mono Tone Arm + Shure M44 CartridgeTechnics Sl-1200mk2 Vintage Dj Turntable SetOrtofon Rmg 212 Turntable Tonearm On Thorens Td 121 124 Arm Board W/ RestTechnics Sl-1210mk2 Sl-1210 Mk2 Direct Drive Pro Dj TurntableVintage Gray Research Transcription Turntable Mono Tone ArmPioneer Pl-55x Direct-drive Orgn Box. Shure 44-7 N/mint Turntable Free Delivery*Mitsubishi Lt-20 Linear Tracking Turntable