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    

Nice Pioneer Pl-530 Direct Drive Stereo Turntable W/ Pickering Xv-15 CartridgeVintage Empire 208 Turntable Nice Conditioin No Reserve!Pristine Vintage Emt 930st Turntable With 929 TonearmVintage Early Michell Record Clamp For Vinyl Turntable Record Player, Linn,regaPioneer Pl-71 Vintage Audiophile Direct Drive Turntable Empire 598 Ii Vintage Turntable With Base And Dustcover, Nice CosmeticsPioneer Pl-518 Direct Drive Turntable - Used And Works Great ^Linn Lp12 Turntable Cirkus Kit (bearing, Subplatter, & New Suspension, Oil Etc)Technics Sl-1200 Mk5 Dj Direct Drive Professional Turntable Qrk Galaxy/medalist Historic Ultra Rare Professional Studio Broadcast TurntableVintage Turntable Kenwood Turntable Direct Drive Kd5077 Automatic Turntable1964 Philips Ag 2030 4-speed Turntable - Full Working Order With Auto LiftU-turn Orbit Turntable (black)Infinity Black Widow Mk Ii TonearmVpi Hw-19 Turntable W/lid, New BeltDual 1219 Turntable In The Box For Parts Or RestoreThorens Td-125 Mkii Turntable For Parts Or Repair Td 125 Mark 2 Vintage Vinyl Walker Turntable Cj 55 Linn Basik Lv X Tonearm Great Vintage Turntable RareThorens Td 160 Turntable Working Low Starting Bid Technics Sl-1210m5g Direct Drive Turntable - Black Near Mint 1901 Columbia Q Phonograph W/10" Nickel Horn & Reproducer In Orig. BoxPro Ject Rpm 1.3 Turntable Ortofon 2m Red Cartridge + Speed Box S Combo NewAr Xa Turntable Sn 230265 Single Motor Oiled Walnut Finish Excellent ConditionDual Cs-505-4 Belt Drive Semi-auto Turntable Ortofon Cartridge Gc GwoInfinity Black Widow TonearmRega Planar 2 Turntable With Glass Platter Great Cosmetic Needs Motor!Vtg Rega Planar 2 Glass Platter Turntable Record Player + R100 Cartridge In BoxTechnics Sl-7 Linear Tracking TurntableThorens Turntable Td 125Technics Sl-15 Turntable, Original P205cmk3 Cartridge O Scale - Atlas - 24" 3 Or 2 Rail #6910 Turntable Nib!Pioneer Pl-7 Record Player Vintage Turntable 33 45 Quartz-pll Full-automaticVintage Ar Xa Turntable For Parts Or RestorationPioneer Pl-518 Turntable, Near Mint, Empire 200 Ex Cartridge, Watch VideoRek-o-kut Rondine Jr L-34 Classic Turntable,custom Plinth,w/tonearm,works WellVintage Pioneer Pl-55dx Direct Drive Manual Turntable 2-speed Record PlayerBeautiful! Bang & Olufsen Tx Linear Tracking Audiophile Turntable Only Near MintShure V 15 Iii-du Phono Turntable Cartridge W/stylusRealistic Lab400 Direct Drive Automatic Turntable W/original Manual Tested!!Townshend Rock Mk Iii Turntable / Rega Rb300 / Audio Technica Ml-150 Occ PackagePioneer Pl-610 Turntable, Near Mint, At 120 Cartridge, Watch VideoClear Lid Dustcover For Linn Sondek Lp12 TurntableVintage Pioneer Pl-50 Turntable Powers Up Untested. Nice ConditionThorens Td 166 MkiiPink Triangle Lpt Little Pink Thing Belt Drive Turntable For Spares/developmentHi-five Kradle - Set-up Jig For Linn Sondek Lp12 TurntableVintage Sony Ps-212 Direct Drive Turntable - Record Player Tested WorksTechnics Sl-1210m5g Direct Drive Turntable - Black Marantz 6300 Dust Cover Original Turntable Vg+++ Condition No Cracks Orig. Technics Sl-1200 Mk5 Direct Drive Turntable System, Shure M44-7 Neede & CoverTechnics Sl-10 Linear Tracking Turntable (please Read)Dual 1019 Turntable With Shure M97xe CartridgeTechnics Sl-d202 Turntable Pickering Xv-15 CartridgePioneer Pl 530 Dust Cover Hinge Set Turntable . No Backs Beaters Base Plates Dual 1229 Turntable + Shure Cartridge. For Parts Or Repair No ReserveVintage Kenwood Kd-3070 Record Player Turntable + Kenwood N-39 NeedleVintage Grace G-707 Tone Arm Parts As Is For Your TurntableVintage Rek O Kut B-12gh TurntableVintage Thorens Td-145 Turntable With Dust CoverPro-ject Debut Carbon Audiophile Turntable With Ortofon 2m Red (black)