Garrard Transcription Turntable

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Garrard 401 turntable with SME 3009 tonearm.
Garrard 401 turntable with SME 3009 tonearm.

The Garrard 301 Transcription Turntable was the first transcription turntable from the Garrard Engineering and Manufacturing Company that supported all extant commercial playback formats – the 33, 45 and 78 rpm records of the time. The first model was called the Garrard 301. Oil and grease bearing versions were made. Which version is sonically superior is a hotly debated point. The later 401 was nearly identical mechanically, but with a redesigned exterior, more powerful motor, slightly different eddy current braking speed control and different turntable thrust bearing. Both models were used by the BBC and in commercial radio stations, mostly in Europe; the 301 and to a lesser extent the 401 were also exported around the world. Production of the 301 started in 1953; the 301 was launched in 1954. The 401 was introduced in 1965 and produced until 1976. Long out of production, Garrard 301 and 401 model turntables today are sold on the used market for as much as ten to twenty times their original cost.

Today, refurbished Garrards are available from numerous companies from Loricraft (England) to Shindo (Japan). However, only Loricraft are entitled to use the Garrard name on their products, as they licenced the name from Gradiente of Bazil who bought the company. In addition to producing the Garard 501 and 601, the company re-manufacters and restores the 301 and 401 models. When the UK factory in Swindon, Wiltshire closed, many of the staff helped Loricraft set up, as this would provide service facilities for users. In fact, they still have the original set up equipment used on production line. They are the only company in the world to have this facility.


  • Boardman, Haden (1994). "Turning The Tables: Garrard Model 301 and 401 Transcription Motor Units ", Sound Practices.
  • Kessler, Ken (2005). "Table Talk", Garrard 301/401, Hifi News & Record Review.
  • Mortimer, E.W. (1967). "Design Of Transcription Turntables", Component Technology, Plessey Group.
  • Olson, Lynn (2005). "A Tiny History of High Fidelity", The Soul Of Sound.

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