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.

I thought that the Kenwood KP-5022A Direct Drive Semi-auto turtable was pretty cool!
thorens, ar, kenwood(the marbly one), and yes even dual.
The Linn Sondek is certainly the most important turntable of the '70s and, arguably, the most seminal product of the modern high end movement. It was based on Thorens first belt drive the TD150 and the AR turntable, both of which came out in the same year, 1965 if I remember correctly, and, more closely, the Ariston RD11, all being classics. I have seen a lot of Mac tube systems that were sold with Dual tables, simply because, before Linn, the prevailing logic was that all turntables sounded the same. Kind of a let down, but I used to collect Mac tube gear and that's what usually showed up with it. Certainly, the Technics SP10, in it's various revisions was an object of desire, and started the whole direct-drive movement, and the Thorens TD124 was another lusted after piece of analog gear. Many found the Micro Seiki DDX-1000 to be a stunner and the capacity for housing three tonearms was way out for the time. For sheer looks, the Transcriptor tables were the cats meow and one can be seen in Kubrick's great film, "A Clockwork Orange".
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.
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.
Thorens Td 125/ SME 309/ shure V15 often
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.
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...

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.
Lenco , Lenco , Lenco!!! How about the Systemdek XII?
In the '60's it was the Thorens TD124 with the Ortofon arm and cartridge.
Was the Oracle Delphi with an Alphason arm around in the late 70s?
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 had a DD40 then switched to an LP12 and eventually had a MA 505 arm on it as well.
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.
AFAIK, the Oracle turntables were technically introduced very late-70's (like 1979), but weren't really for sale until the 80's.
This is all really great stuff, Thanks everyone
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.
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
Philips GA212 or 312. Positively.
in my worthless opinion
the Oracle ruled!
very airy with large
later, gents.
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.

Dcstep, just look at my post and you will see where Micro Seiki was mentioned.
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.
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.
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.
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!
Mikro Seiki. Definitely at or near the top of badass LP rigs. Especially if fitted with two tonearms.