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    

Vintage Thorens Td 124 Transcription Turntable Record PlayerLinn Sondek Lp12 Turntable, 1999 Model, Akito Tonearm, Near Mint Condition. Pristine & Very Rare 1911 Victrola Iv Phonograph W/nickel Grill & 0 Reproducer Pioneer Pl-71 TurntableGarrard 301 Transcription Motor Unit Turntable With 50hz Strobe PlatterVpi Aries Turntable With 12 Inch Tonearm(12.5 Version Arm)Garrard Model 301 Transcription Motor Vintage Bearing Record Player In Case Empire 598 Turntable With Shure V15 Cartridge & Low ReserveGarrard 301 3 Speed Transcription Oil Bearing TurntableThorens Td-125 Mkii Belt Drive Turntable...beautiful!!! Mk Ii Garrard 301 Grey Transcription Turntable 51400/1 Grease Bearing Record PlayerPioneer Pl-530 Vintage TurntableTrue Vintage Pioneer Pl-71direct Drive Stereo Turntable Record Player Perfect!!Vintage Td Mk Ii Elektronik Turntable Record Player Thorens Ch5430 Germany As IsThorens Td-124 Turntable With Ortofon Arm (needs Overhaul)Sme Tonearm 3009 Series Iii Tone Arm Turntable Stereo England Record Player, Lenco Goldring Gl75 Turntable In Working Order.Rega Planar 3 TurntableMarantz 6350q Turntable With Pickering Xsv/3000 CartridgePioneer Pl-707 TurntableExtra Nice Restored Rca Victor 45-ey-2 Victrola 45 Rpm Record Player Dual 704 Turntable In Amazing ConditionDenon Dp-60l Direct Drive Turntable,not Working/partsAvid Volvere Sp Turntable Mint, Free ShippingVintage Pioneer Pl-560 Turntable W Stanton Cartridge Direct Drive High EndDual Cs-5000 Quartz Belt Drive System TurntableTranscriptor Fluid TonearmTechnics Sl-10 Direct Drive Linear Tracking Vintage Quartz TurntableVintage Pioneer Pl-630 Quartz Direct Drive TurntableDual 1219 Turntable W Shure M75ej Cartridge In Walnut Base Serviced * Nice!Rega P3 / Planar 3 Turntable, Rega Exact, Very Good Condition, ExtrasMusic Hall Mmf 2.2 Turntable (black) With Ortofon 2m Red Great ConditionVpi Aries 2 Dual Tonearm TurntableSony Ps-x555es X555 Es Biotracer Turntable - Vintage Tangential Tracking Vintage Seeburg 1000 Background Music System Jukebox - Bms1 Sn#1642Vintage Dual 1229 Turntable Record Player W/dust Cover United Audio Parts Repair1950s Record Player Phonograph F-737a Crescent Art Deco Vintage Green Retro RareDenon Dp-52f Automatic Direct Drive Quartz Lock Turntable W/ Ortopon Mm Cart.Sme 3009 Mk2 TonearmVintage Rca Victor 45 Rpm Record Player Model 6-ey-1 Victrola Works! Bakelite Marantz Model 6200 Turntable Vintage Record Player - Works Great - Watch Videos1950s Rca Victor 7-hf-45 Rpm Orthophonic High Fidelity Record Player Phonograph Sony Ps X 70 TurntableTechnics Sl1200mk2 Dj Turntable - Vintage From 1980'sLuxman Pd-277 Turntable!! Extra $300 Cartridge!Dual 1209 Turntable Sony Ps-8750 Turntable Direct Drive Pua-1600s Tonearm No Cartridge Needs WorkTechnics Sl-1700mk2 TurntableRare Vintage 1980s Sony Ps F5 Turntable, Ps-f5 Record Player ----- Works Great!Bang & Olufsen Beogram 4002 TurntablePro-ject Rm 5.1 Se Audio System, Turntable W Blue PointDual 1229 Turntable!! Includes 2 Stylus/cartridge Options!!Technics Sl-1300 Automatic Dd Vintage Turntable Sl1300 Stanton 680ee Cartridge Vintage Rega Planar 2 Turntable,grace Tone Arm, Denon Dl-300 CartridgeFleischmann 6652 Ho Scale Electric Turntable Ex/boxAr X77b TurntableThorens Td 160 German Made Vintage Turntable - Fully Working - New Belt & StylusPioneer Pl71 Turntable With Manual And AccessoriesTechnics Sl-1200mk2 Direct Drive Dj Turntable Sl-1200mk2 Dual VoltageTechnics Sl-q3 Direct Drive Automatic Turntable