Audio Grail or Classic Hifi?

I would be deeply grateful for any advice for my problem. I had for years, a nice Garrard 301, which I had a powerful itch to open up and "restore" myself. During a busy working life (how work increased during Covid!) this was very difficult, but I suddenly smelt an opportunity with some free time opening up. I ordered a standard set of parts from Classif Hifi and got to work on my Garrard. All parts except the bearings.

I took apart the motor and re lubricated it. I scrupulously followed sage advice from esteemed forums where many 301 restorations were described in detail. It was exciting.

At the end of it however, my 301, which had never had a speed stability problem, now has one. I have tried disassembling and reassembling it one more time, and consulted various people about trouble shooting it. It has led nowhere.

Now I have run out of time, and the window of opportunity is over. So the bottomline is that I need to give it for restoration to a good outfit..

Should I give this to Classic Hifi - UK for a restoration? Or should I buy a full restored Audio Grail machine (they don't take private machines and restore them - you have to buy a restored piece and trade in yours in exchange. I am aware there will be a cost difference. But I want the better machine, so will give it to AG if AG is significantly superior to Classic Hifi. If both are equal, then cost difference will make me go to Classic Hifi.

So bottomline is - i want to know who does the better job in restoring? AG or CH? Many many thanks.


I fully restored a 301 to better than new and because of the superior bearing and oils available today it ran too fast - had to calculate the speed error and go to a smaller pulley.

Since you are in the US Woodsong Audio does a complete restoration service at what I think is a very reasonable price and the work looks excellent.



I've three AG 401 units and can only say good things about Matthew Taylor. 

Hi Dover, thanks, but I am in UK much of the time, So I can avoid transporting, at least long distance across seas. But Woodsong is in my radar also.


Hi noromance, Matthew said he does not do restorations anymore. Only accepts trade in and gives some reduction in the price of already restored he has for sale. I guess given the price differential between buying and restoring from them, the economics for a restorer hugely favour selling than restoring. But good to hear about your confidence in AG. My head is towards AG also, given proximity and my little knowledge of the reputation, but just the thought of surrendering my machine and forgetting about it forever is difficult for me to digest. Hence wondering if Classic Hifi UK is in the same league.



If you are in the UK - I have worked on some Audio Grail restored 401's and they are excellent.  Have had some issues with classic Turntables parts out of spec.

Personally I would go Woodsong if you can for the 301, alternately Grail - who are now part of SME and may be pricy.

In the UK there is also other Service Suppliers for Vintage Idler Drive TT’s.

The link is to Wakefield Turntables, who are quite transparent in showing their procedures and as far as I am aware very reasonably priced.



I'm not sure how to answer the question,

Any individual with a time served of refurbishing a Idler Drive will be capable of working on one in any condition. The limitation only being how much of a project they are willing to undertake. A 'Barn Find' at a few ££'s cost and in need of a total overhaul can yield a healthy uplift in value when completed, and some refurbishers relish such discoveries.

In general a Garrard Idler Drive is a very basic TT design, albeit a Vintage Design, and by some revered.

In the present day, the 301 Model has somehow been seen as a model to be  reintroduced as a Marketable Item at an exuberant cost, I can see where owners of  this offering as their purchased model, may have an approach to a repair service with an aloof attitude, as the Value of the item will be much more influential, for the service selected, over the adeptness of the service engineers understanding of the mechanics and electrics used for the design.