Audiophile turntables of the 60's and 70's

This is for the dealers and people that remember what turntables were selling back in the golden years of the 60's and early 70's (what would you see at a dealer playing along with a McIntosh C22,and 275 amp ?)

I know there was the Garrard 301,401 but what else was the table to have back then.

Radio Shack had the Realistic brand. Their turntable was considered very good.
I see I made a few language typos above. Too late to fix them. But you get the point. The Goldmund turntable to which I referred was the Reference. See here.
It’s still highly collectible if not also competitive.  The website says this ensemble was introduced in the late 70s, rather than the late 60s/early 70s.  I remember it well.
During the early 1970s, I lived in New York city, and I used to haunt the well-known audio salons in the center of town. During those years I never saw a Garrard or Lenco turntable in use in one of these stores. As far as I can recall some used the AR turntable. Others used various Thorens turntables. The Thorens TD 125 was a big favorite, once it came out on the market, which I think was a bit later on. A popular combination was the Rabco straight line tonearm mounted on a Thorens, in a high end store. Don’t forget that in those years, while there certainly were people developing turntables, the importance of a turntable in the overall sound quality was not considered paramount . One could also occasionally see European made turntables, from Goldmund or from Lurne’, in these stores. That massive Goldmund turntable that came with its own stand and mounted a Goldmund T3F straight line tonearm, which was nothing but an expensive copy of the Rabco, was a top dog turntable that only the wealthy could I aspire to.
Personally, my first "audiophile" turntable was a Micro Seiki Solid 5.
I thought the solid wood plinth was so sexy at the time.
Mikro Seiki. Definitely at or near the top of badass LP rigs. Especially if fitted with two tonearms.
I recently sold my sota nova with sme-v arm. No real need to but just wanted to go simpler. And it doesn't get much simpler than the old, early 70s Philips ga-212. A very uncomplicated belt-drive with perfect speed control and good suspension. I use a micro-acoustics 2002e cartridge although the oem stylii are getting hard to come by!
My dad owned a Gerard 301 in the 60's. It was his initial stab at seperates from our Grundig console. He later bought a Benjamin Miracord ELAC with a Sure Cartridge. This table had an optional long spindle to accommodate record stacking which no one would do now and it also was automatic with a repeat play set for 7" or 12". Of course it played all 3 speeds. As of this writing it is still fully functional.
Visiting my parents for Christmas, I found my old Philips 212 up in a closet. I loved those speed switches with the lights underneath. The Philips 212 was originally my parents' TT before they switched to a larger Thorens. When they had the Philips, I had a Dual 1225 and a 1229.

These days, I actually use two 70s TTs at home - a Micro Seiki and a Yamaha linear tracking TT.
Tbg, I too owned an Empire (598III) and I found that while the stock version was somewhat underwhelming, it could GREATLY improved. I drilled the base and installed three 1/4"x20 threaded inserts so I could experiment with various footers and then sited the table on a thick maple platform. The improvements were quite startling. While I'd never try to bs anyone about the modded 598 being some sort of real competitor with a good modern table, it could perform at a respectable level with attention to vibration/isolation issues.
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I had a Lux after my first Garrard. See a very interesting thread at
Of course, Linn was around then. I might have bought one except Igor, Ivan whatever his name is made such outrageous claims and I couldn't get a good demo. (Thank goodness I missed that tweakdom).

I don't see Micro Seiki mentioned. They were big.

I wouldn't exactly call it the "golden age." Finding good vinyl was a BIG problem. Just like double-compressed mp3 today, the masses were fed really crappy software. The major labels could care less about quality. There were a few great D2D albums, but most were "audiophile" in the worst sense of the word. (Good sound but no talent).

Oracle certainly did not rule. Thorens probably enjoyed the largest market share of the high quality tables. AR was a big player also. Empire was considered really high end.

in my worthless opinion
the Oracle ruled!
very airy with large
later, gents.
The Goldring Lenco L75 (GL75) i do believe cost more than the Garrards in the 60's. Put a decent arm and plinth on it now and like the Garrards it will do amazing things
I had most of these turntables at one time. I strongly discourage buying an Empire. Pretty and well made, but terrible sound. Way too massive an arm. I also had a Oracle and found it again pretty but not much competition for a well done Linn LP12. I have since discovered the benefits sonically of rim drive machines, such as the Garrard 301. I only wish I had kept my old Garrard from the 70s rather than wasting my time with other tt.
AFAIK, the Oracle turntables were technically introduced very late-70's (like 1979), but weren't really for sale until the 80's.
I'd say that the Empire turntable was probably considered the state of the art in the early to mid '70s. The important thing to remember about that pre - Ivor Tiefenbrun time was that most audiophiles didn't think that turntables had any inherent sound, provided that the wow and flutter and rumble specs were good. It wasn't unusual to see pricey systems with relatively cheap turntables.
I had a DD40 then switched to an LP12 and eventually had a MA 505 arm on it as well.
Many thought the Philips 212 and later 312 were cool because of the light up speed switches.
I owned the lower Micro Seiki models - the DD-40 was actually a pretty sweet table, for direct drive - had the MA-505 arm on it.
I have both a completely restored Dual 1219 and 1229. They sound quite nice even today.

They actually have RCA plug inputs underneath. Most turntables back then had a built in lamp cord RCA cable. So with modern cables they sound better than they did back in the 1960s. Also with the better phono preamps today.
Dual 1219/1229/1249, Garrard Zreo-100, Philips with the heat-sensitive controls, Bang & Olufsen 4002. I have owned most of these at one time...

Top of the line Dual tables were pretty popular. Not sure if you could classify them as audiophile, but I really used mine a lot. It was a step up from a Garrard I owned It was a 701 model with a Shure MM cartridge.
Rabco belt-drive linear-tracking tonearm, either the Rabco or Harman-Kardon version
Marantz SLT-12 linear tracker

For home use, Garrard SL-95B (with teak insert on tonearm for damping), or Zero-100 with pivoting headshell for "zero" tracking angle distortion.

The Thorens 'tables of the day (not sure of model numbers)

AR suspended belt drive (spiritual ancestor to the Linns)

Along with the Garrard 301/401 pro line, the Rek-o-Kuts were highly regarded for pro use.

And of course there was the Technics SL-10 and all that followed.

Next, we'll be talking about Weathers cartridges.
I had an AR Manual turntable during the 70's. To show you how much I understood about turntables at that time, I sold it to a friend of mine and bought a Yamaha direct-drive turntable because it was fully automatic. I later regretted that boneheaded decision.
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I thought that the Kenwood KP-5022A Direct Drive Semi-auto turtable was pretty cool!