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Classic Turntables

Record players are such beautiful things, and I have always found them so intriguing. In many ways they resemble people - all similar, but different, with each having their own individual personality.

A part of my interest in music and vinyl has been repairing and restoring record players. I derive much pleasure and satisfaction from bringing an old turntable back to life again.

Please scroll down this page to read about and see the classic turntables listed below:-

Lenco L75
Strathclyde STD305M
Garrard 301
CEC FR-180
JH Reproducers Co. Turntable
Empire 598
Transcriptors Saturn

Click on any of the images on this page to view a larger version.


Lenco L75

Fully stripped and completely restored, this Lenco L75 is a thing of beauty; uniquely colour changed, to lift the usual grey appearance. All facia plates were replaced with mirror finished stainless steel. The idler-wheel was replaced by turning an aluminum wheel and utilising a rubber O-ring.

Lenco turntables were made by Lenco AG of Oberburg, Switzerland, from the 1950's to the 1980's. Lenco used a unique vertical "idler-drive" to rotate the platter, as opposed to a belt drive or more recent direct drive turntables. This idler-driver has the advantage of directly coupling the rotating motor force to the platter, via a solid rubber disc or rubberized wheel.

When coupled to a heavy platter (early Lenco's had metal platters weighting almost 4kg), and modified, the idler-drive can provide excellent rotational consistency, even when heavily modulated passages are tracked by a phono cartridge. Many audiophiles believe that this "rotational consistency" translates into impactful bass and rhythmic fidelity.

As a system to impart the needed rotational energy to a vinyl record, the idler-drive was something of a brute-force technique, and the engineering that Lenco used, especially in older models, was both simple and cost effective. As a result, many Lenco turntables were sold throughout the world in its heyday.

Lenco L75 Record Player
Lenco L75 Record Player
Lenco L75 Record Player
Lenco L75 Record Player
Lenco L75 Record Player


Strathclyde STD305M

The Strathclyde Transcription Developments (STD) 305M was manufactured in Scotland during the late 1970's. It is a very well thought out and very well made turntable. The plinth is a heavy solid unit weighing 13kg and is constructed using an aluminium extrusion with an outer-shell of "brushed" aluminium.

Combined with the black decorative striping and grey perspex dust cover, the appearance is quite beautiful. The plinth's underside is coated with a vibration damping material, (an idea of reducing audio feedback), and incorporates a floating sub-chassis with a four point foam damped suspension.

The platter is 300mm in diameter, machined from solid aluminium plate and is "grooved" on its outer edge. Correct suspension adjustment is achieved by lining up the "grooved" platter's edge with the plinth's top plate.

This turntable is belt driven by a 16 pole motor offering two speeds; 33rpm/45rpm, changeable by manually moving the belt on the stepped motor pulley.

A new suspension system was fitted and the player matched with an SME 3009 MkIII (black version) tonearm.

Strathclyde STD305M
Strathclyde STD305M
Strathclyde STD305M
Strathclyde STD305M
Strathclyde STD305M


Garrard 301

The Garrard 301 is probably the most collectable of all vintage record players; particularly the "schedule one" (first of the series) with the grease bearing and grey hammer tone finish.

Introduced during the 1950's, the player has gained a cult following worldwide, with enthusiasts paying very high-prices.

This Garrard 301 has been mounted in a custom plinth made from "Tasmanian "Blackwood" and has been matched with an Audio-Technica 1005Mk II tonearm.

Garrard 301
Garrard 301
Garrard 301
Garrard 301
Garrard 301


CEC FR-180

The CEC FR-180 is a professional turntable, engineered precisely to meet the required specifications.

Manufactured in Japan during the mid 60s, the player is idler-wheel driven offering four speeds by an AC "Hysteresis" motor. The plinth was constructed using a Malaysian hardwood (3 ply) material called "Luan". Sixteen layers were laminated; the top board is 21mm thick, bottom 18mm and the sides 50mm.

The plinth was then stained red/gold and finished in french polish. The turntable was matched with a JH Formula 4 uni-pivot tonearm and Grace F8C moving magnet cartridge which features a "Vital" diamond stylus. A special 6mm aluminium plate was used to mount the arm to the plinth, and is fixed using M6 socket head bolts. The plinth stands on three feet machined from solid aluminium, which are tapered to a point.

This beautiful example was meticulously restored and set-up by Peter Jansen of South Australia.

CEC FR-180
CEC FR-180
CEC FR-180
CEC FR-180
CEC FR-180


JH Reproducers Co. Turntable

The result of a long and involved restoration project, this fine example of the JH turntable and arm was originally made in Melbourne, and is arguably the best example of the Australian made "JH Reproducers Co." turntable. It showed what can be achieved by a home-grown product.

The cartridge fitted is a Log Bellex BX-100C Moving Coil and matches the JH Audiolab Tonearm perfectly. The unit shown here was painstakingly restored and rebuilt by a skilled enthusiast in South Australia, Mr. Manfred Kern.

JH Reproducers Co. Turntable
JH Reproducers Co. Turntable
JH Reproducers Co. Turntable
JH Reproducers Co. Turntable
JH Reproducers Co. Turntable


Empire 598

The Empire 990 arm featured a fixed headshell with a removable cartridge mount block for easy change of cartridge.

The table is totally manual with a magnetic tonearm lift at the end of play. There is a lamp built into the tonearm rest which illuminates the platter and makes dark room playing of the Empire one of the most visually stunning stock turntables ever made. This fine example is owned by Keith Reed of the U.S.A.

Empire 598
Empire 598
Empire 598
Empire 598
Empire 598


Transcriptors "SATURN"

The Transcriptors "Saturn" is one stunning piece of audio history. It was the creation of the late David Gammon who founded "Transcriptors" during 1960 in the U.K. Transcriptors produced many radical turntable designs, including the famous Hydraulic Reference, which featured in the motion picture "A Clockwork Orange".

The "Saturn" was manufactured between 1968 to 1973 and during 1972 it was on show at a HI FI festival in Du Son, Paris. It is belt driven by a synchronous motor offering two speeds - 33 and 45, with fine speed adjustment. Speed changes are made manually via a push/pull knob located on the left side of the player.

The lightweight tonearm (designed by Transcriptors) is suited to high compliance M/M cartridges. The arm has a detachable headshell and features a unique hydraulic lift and lower mechanism. There is good news for Transcriptor lovers, the company has been relaunched by the eldest son Michael who is offering spares and a full service facility (see our Links page).

Transcriptors Saturn
Transcriptors Saturn
Transcriptors Saturn
Transcriptors Saturn
Transcriptors Saturn

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