Stereo Turntables ~ Cassette ~8-Track

Kenwood KD-3055

Kenwood KD-3055 ('76-'77)  $250

In 1977, Kenwood demonstrated the KD-3055 in a dramatic fashion by placing it directly on top of a large floor speaker.  With its special base made of an anti-resonance *concrete so dense that it absorbs vibrations from the speakers and the floor before they got to the specially designed "S" shaped tonearm.​ Nothing happened.  No howl.  No screech.  Just music, loud and clear.
This heavyweight beauty is a fully automatic, belt drive with some very cool chrome controls (lever handles for record size selection and cueing, chrome buttons for 33/45 and start/cut and repeat)
The cosmetic condition is near flawless and that includes the original dust cover.

The term "concrete" was a marketing hook from Kenwood.  The actual material was called ARCB (Anti Resonance Compression Base) that was a composite of powdered synthetic marble (like Corian) mixed with resin and then cast it into shape.  Another company called Optonica used the same basic formula for their very cool RP-3636MKii turntable.


Sony PS-4300

Sony PS-4300 (1976) $225

One of the most desirable turntables ever designed by Sony, the PS-4300 direct drive turntable is built like a tank...seriously.  It includes an auxiliary tonearm weight, allowing you to use heavier cartridges as well as light cartridges. It is fully automatic and uses a light sensing system to indicate when the tonearm reaches the end of the record, eliminating mechanical interference in the tonearm movement. This superb unit features a very heavy die-cast plinth, precise speed control, and automatic shutoff.  Several reviews by leading audiophile magazines stated the PS-4300 easily outperforms the highly respected Technics SL-1200 (when used in a stereo configuration).  Weighing in at almost 30 lbs, this baby is no lightweight. In fact, it is one of the heavier tables ever produced by Sony. With a flick of the switch, besides being automatic, it can be used a high grade manual.

About Sony...
Obviously, there's little we can add to the history of Sony as it is one of the world's most famous brands and needs no introduction.


Sansui SR2050C (stock photo)

Sansui SR2050C (1972) $210

One of Sansui's classic vintage turntables that was acclaimed for its styling and excellent motor, the 2050C is indeed a beautiful piece.  With its large walnut plinth and tinted perplex dust cover (with kickstand), this will be an attractive addition to any vintage system.  Designed as a semi-automatic (auto-lift/auto-stop), it can be used a full manual as well.  This is a precision 2-speed, belt drive.  Basic motions, such as​ speed selection and hydraulic cueing are identical to those in professional manual turntables. Complete with statically balanced tonearm, easy-to-use controls, anti-howling insulators and encased in handsome walnut plinth.

Founded in Tokyo in 1947, Sansui initially manufactured electronic parts.  By the 1960s, they had developed a reputation for making serious audio components. They were sold in foreign markets through that and the next decade. Sansui's amplifiers and tuners from the 1960s and 1970s continue to remain in high demand by audio enthusiasts.


Reference 610-T

Reference 610T (1978)     $180

Elegantly designed in USA, built in Japan, DC direct drive, semi-automatic, very heavy premium table with massive die-cast platter, ultra low-mass S-shape black tonearm, beautiful satin-black plinth with walnut side panel.  Other than the very common problem on the 610-T's cueing lever defective plastic clamps inside the mechanism (an unobtainable part) for which we have figured out a workaround, this is a very nice turntable!


We had the good fortune to have worked at Pacific Stereo in the very early days (back when they only had three stores!) Today, it's not commonly known but, at one time, (late 70's) all the house brands listed directly below (and almost all other well-known brands of the time) were sold by Pacific Stereo.  As one of the largest stereo chain stores in the USA (especially in the West) they eventually faded away but not before they left behind a legacy of some very fine equipment they designed in-house but were made in Japan.  The Concept units were first tier (top of the lineup) followed closely behind in quality by the Reference series.  The Concept 16.5 stereo receiver (165 watts per channel) is considered by many to be one of the best of the "Holy Grail" of vintage receivers.



Realistic Lab 440

Realistic Lab-440 (1982) $175

In 1982, this was Realistic's top of the line turntable...built in Japan by *CEC, it's one of their most popular sellers of all time.  Very reliable, fully automatic, built-in strobe, speed controls, soft damped cueing, record repeat button and good looking walnut veneer plinth.  The 1.5 lb die-cast platter effectively dampens resonance and sits directly atop a powerful DC servomotor for accurate, rock steady speed.

*CEC (Japan)
Except for Technics and Pioneer, C.E.C. of Japan made turntables for lots of companies including Marantz.  So did Sanyo, Fisher, Scott, Pacific Stereo, Radio Shack, Harksound, Taya and a slew of others. C.E.C. built what the customer wanted. If that was a plastic fantastic $79.99 special then that's what they built. If it was something significantly better, like a Marantz 6300 or a Sanyo Plus Series Q50, then that's that they built. In every case their tables were at least the equal of the directly competing models from the competition and often better.  
They also made turntables under their own name, The "E" in C.E.C. stands for Electric.  

About Realistic (Radio Shack, Tandy Corp)...

Realistic branded vintage stereo gear covered the entire spectrum.  From blank tapes to very high end electronics, mostly very good quality, all made in Japan.  Some of it is right up there in quality with the best of Pioneer, Sansui, etc.  Also, some of it is just...ok.   Their best era was during the 70's when they successfully competed head-to-head with all the big names in high fidelity.  They sourced practically all their products from Japan and sometimes had the exact same components inside their gear as the competition but at a much lower price.


Audio Reflex DD-1979

Audio Reflex DD-1979 (1979)  $180

This very rare, well built and good looking turntable was made in Japan (by CEC) to be primarily sold in Canada and Australia by "Audio Reflex", one of the brands under the umbrella of parent company AGS (Audio General Supply) an import/export electronics company.  As with almost all CEC turntables, the DD-1979 is a very well made, very good looking, direct drive unit with semi-automatic operation.  It has an excellent motor drive with an on-board stroboscope.  The dark walnut veneer plinth is attractive and sets it apart from ordinary looking turntables.

Aurex Toshiba SR-250

Aurex Toshiba SR-250 (1976)  $190

This Toshiba is a high quality, very handsome and exceptionally clean turntable.  Belt driven, two-speed with a rock solid DC Servo motor for trouble free performance...the semi-automatic operation is effortless and liquid smooth.  The plinth is a very nice light charcoal color which blends very well with the chrome controls, a well-designed layout.

About Toshiba...*(and Aurex)
Back in the day, some Toshiba, Sanyo, Hitachi (and other lesser known names) were associated with clock radios, and similar little devices that showed up in various stores that normally didn't sell HiFi gear.
For the dealer, Toshiba was aggressively priced so that there was better margin in their products, which translated to higher profits. This was because Toshiba didn't advertise or get product reviews from the audio magazines. Today, this explains why Toshiba is less known in general about the very good quality in their stereo equipment.

Today, when it comes to vintage HiFi, most recognize the name Toshiba primarily because of its monster class SA-7150 with its massive power at 150 watts per channel.  But, back in the early 70s, when HiFi dealers took on the Toshiba audio product lines, the salesmen considered them a second-level product line to the Marantz, Pioneer, Sony , etc. As time went on, more and more techs and curious salesmen began to open them up, check the build quality.  Guess what? Wow!  Great stuff!  *

The Aurex branded gear was designed as a premium addition to the standard Toshiba line-up.
In fact, even though Toshiba branded products were quite good and performed as good as the big-name gear and still does today, the Aurex was a nothch higher in quality.  Because of their low key marketing stance, it's doubtful their sales volumes were anywhere near those of Sony, Pioneer, etc.


Rotel RP-1100Q

Rotel RP-1100Q (1976) $200

This classic Rotel table is a beauty and very hard to find!  The gorgeous tigerwood plinth is an immediate eye catcher.  It's a belt drive, with a fully sprung floating suspension and is a semi-automatic (auto-return). As with all our gear, everything is working just as it should. The bearings in the static balanced, 4-pole hysteresis arm are nice and tight...the tinted dust cover is near mint condition and we have several cartridge/stylus options to choose from.

About Rotel... Rotel is a family-owned Japanese manufacturer of high end audio and video equipment. The company was established in 1961. In the early 1980s Rotel joined the B&W Group forming a strategic alliance with Bowers and Wilkins and later adding Classé Audio.


Marantz 6110

Marantz 6110 ('78-'80)  $185

The 6110 is one of the great looking turntables to come from Marantz in the late 70's.  Like almost all Marantz gear, it has an elegant look thanks to the distinctive Marantz script logos.  All original with the very nice original Marantz platter mat and Marantz 45 adapter (with white silkscreen lettering).  This is a semi-automatic, two-speed, belt drive (with automatic return and reject)  This has a dark walnut plinth with a very nice and clean original Marantz dust cover and hinges.  

Marantz 6100

Marantz 6100 (1979) $215

Although somewhat similar in design and appearance to the Model 6110 (see above description) the 6100 squeaked in before the bean counters at Marantz began cost-cutting.  In that regard, it is thought to be of a little better construction with different tonearm gimbal bearings and assembly.  Semi-automatic operation, two-speed belt drive with auto stop and return.  The original chrome ant-skate dongle is included along with the beautiful walnut veneer plinth and original Marantz 45 adapter and platter mat.

About Marantz...

The history of the Marantz Company begins in 1948, when a lover of music by Sol Bernard Maranz, like many people of that time, had an interest in quality sound reproduction. However, the sound left much to be desired and Marantz took up the creation of the preamplifier: experiencing problems with the equipment, he worked on it for 4 years and eventually achieved his goal. Sol described the development of the erroneous recording characteristics as "Audio Consolette": the first created 100 sets were sold out quickly, and during the same 1952 demand grew to 400 models.

Having released this preamplifier, Sol almost won the respect of music lovers: the recognition pushed him to the official founding of Marantz in 1953. And immediately began commercial sales of Model 1 Mono Preamplifier - a preamplifier, created on the basis of Audio Consolette. Then it was sold for $168, but today the collectors are ready to pay for this technique the amount that is large at times - it has long become a real classic.

In 1956, comes Model 2 Power Amplifier: power amplifier, which has 2 modes of operation. Its output power could be as high as 25 watts or 40 watts - this is the technique that set the standard for Hi-Fi equipment of the 50's. A year later, in 1957, the following development of the series - Model 3 Mono Two-way Channel Divider - device dividing the signal into 2 mono channels was presented. After that, the Model 4 power supply comes out, followed by the Model 5 power amplifier. From its well-known predecessor, it is more affordable. With the birth of stereo, there was a need for adapters, so Sol Maranz released Model 6. And in the same year, 1957, one of the company's most famous products - the preamplifier stereo Model 7c Stereo Preamplifier - was released. Since that time, the sound of Hi-Fi equipment has become really high and attention has been paid to its aesthetic appearance.

This was preceded by many more events: in 1962, for example, a 30-watt stereo amplifier, named in the spirit of the entire series, Model 8, was on sale.

A year later, in 1963, a mono amplifier of 70 watts, Model 9 and a radio receiver with a FM tuner Model 10 comes out. The production of the latter model led to high costs, the following difficulties with financing, and as a result, Sol Maranz had to sell his offspring.

So, what else can be said that hasn't already been said about Marantz? A lot of changes have happened to the company since the 60's and 70's when Marantz was THE brand of choice for audiophiles around the world (second only to McIntosh of course).  Until the mid 80's, Marantz was still a highly sought after name but, with the company being sold so many times, eventually, like so many other famous names, they gradually declined in popularity.


JVC QL-A2 wlth Micro Acoustics 282-e cartridge and stylus
JVC QL-A2 (1978) $250

The JVC QL-A2 direct-drive, quartz-locked, two-speed turntable is a very good, well-built deck.
It plays great and sounds great. The tonearm is fitted with a high-end Micro Acoustics 282-e cartridge and stylus tracking at 1 can definitely hear the difference.
It is a semi automatic (automatic return and reject).  The table has good sound and vibration isolation and adjustable isolating feet. The QL-A2 features a quartz lock motor, easily the table's best quality (-73dB rumble). The charcoal plinth and platter really does look stylish and cool! This is a really good looking turntable.

About JVC...
JVC was a great manufacturer of audio gear. The brand was sadly damaged during the recession of the late 80s and never really recovered from it. Originally, the Japan Victor Company was once associated with the RCA Victor Company. They built a name providing competing audio equipment at a lower price point than the more established names. However, their middle and upper range units were very good to exceptional...JVC and Denon turntables. Looking at the higher end turntables of the two manufacturers, there could be some merit, but who helped who is the big question.

Philips GA-427

Philips GA-427 (Holland, 1976) $165

Rarely seen in such beautiful condition, this classic GA-427 from Philips Hi-Fi International is simplicity defined.  This two speed, belt drive, semi-automatic turntable will fit into any vintage system and perform without problems for years to come.  Equipped with a new special order belt and new stylus, it works flawlessly and looks very cool.  The full walnut plinth is flawless as well.  The original dust cover is free from any cracks or scratches and the hinges are very well designed to be trouble free.  Because of it's unique retro design, it stands out from all the other turntables of the era.

About Philips High Fidelity International...

Philips goes way back to the early 1900's and has always been a respected name in Europe and the Netherlands.  Their early development of loudspeaker technology pushed them into the high end section of audio.  A little known fact: They also invented and developed the cassette tape among other things.  Before they became well known in America, they were a leading maker of turntables, speakers and higher end electronics all over the rest of the world.  When they moved into the North American market, they dropped the "High Fidelity International" and became "Philips" and/or "Philips Laboratories". 


Sanyo TP-825D

Sanyo TP-825D (1976) $235

Here's another rare beauty that Sanyo designed in-house, developed and made entirely in Japan.
The specs and build quality for this heavyweight (28 lbs) direct-drive, semi-automatic, 2-speed are very, very good.  It's rock solid, steady motor is easily adjusted (if needed) by simply looking at the strobe light and lightly tweaking the speed controls.  This is departure from the usual, basic styling of most vintage decks out there.  The multiple chrome knobs and push buttons along with the scaled platter set into the well along with the twin chrome counterweights and anti-skate dial all combine to set this apart.  The heavy, dark forest green wooden plinth sits on a secondary black wooden base.  Like we said earlier...rare, hardly ever seen for sale because they're keepers.  It is one of the best Sanyo turntables ever made.


Yamaha P550

Yamaha P550 (1980) $225

Custom Yamaha P550, "Natural Sound" direct-drive turntable with Yamaha's unique, optimum mass, minimum resonance, straight tubular tonearm.  
Fully automatic, brushless coreless DC servo DD motor, stable FG servo system ("Frequency Generated Servo system" - basically a circuit generates a frequency that the motor works with to derive its revolution speed and accuracy.) Strobe window allows for maintaining speed accuracy by using speed trim adjustment (if ever needed) hidden under the front panel.
The ultra-modern slim styling is still vintage thanks to walnut veneer trim around the front and sides.  The unique, 3D stepped plinth (base) is formed of high density BMC (Bulk Molding Compound) to keep resonance and vibration to an absolute minimum.  Other features include: oil damped cueing, adjustable anti-skating dial, two-speed selector, unique Yamaha "W-type" insulator feet and crystal clear dustcover.