Stereo Turntables

Project/One DR-331

Project/One DR-331  ('80-'85)  $235

Made in Japan by CEC for Playback Stereo (a long gone chain of hifi stores in the midwest), the Project/One DR-331 was one of their best decks.  The DR-331 along with most of all the Project/One equipment is well known for their excellent reputation, great function and superior design. 
This is a well-built, direct-drive unit.  Features include an onboard strobe, semi-automatic operation and a very unique three-point independent "floating" suspension above the plinth.
The platter, tonearm assembly and controls are "floating" separately from the base.
A low mass straight pipe tonearm with a combination cueing and reject switch is next to the speed selector switch.
Speed controls assure that correct playback RPMs are easy to control when necessary.
The lower half of the plinth is surrounded on all four sides by a band of real walnut veneer giving the DR-331 a touch of vintage class.

About Project/One...
At one time, during the 70's and 80's, there were many HiFi shops and electronics chain stores all over the country.  The West Coast was dominated by Pacific Stereo (Concept and Reference models), University Stereo and a few other smaller outfits while the Midwest was covered by the "Playback" chain of stores (their motto was "the electronics playground").
Besides the usual big names (Pioneer, Sansui, Yamaha, etc) Playback also had their own house brands.  Project/One was there top tier line (followed by the Skanda, and Kingsway models).
The very early Project/One receivers were made by Pioneer and rebranded by Playback.  Hence, today, some of the better receivers like the "Mark IV" and others are now considered very collectible and are beginning to command high prices.  
As the mid-70's rolled out, Project/One equipment eventually was sourced to other Japanese suppliers because Pioneer decided to quit making gear for them (and others).
Often confused with the other "ProJect" (those turntables are currently made in Czechoslovakia), Project/One is a completely different brand with no connection whatsoever.


ELAC Miracord 760

ELAC Miracord 760 (1975)  $300

This excellent Miracord 760 was an updated but less expensive version of their popular Model 50HII.

Surprisingly, there are few differences, and those are minor. There are strobe rings on the 760 instead of a neon-lit window, no stylus brush was included, and the turntable platter did not have the beveled edge of the 50HII and that's about all.  Everything else, motor, changing mechanism, and arm, are the same or nearly so, and the two models even look alike.

A few features:

~The 760 is a fully automatic unit with gentle action that works consistently with no problems.

~Three speeds (33, 45 & 78) and please note that this one has the single play spindle only.  The turntable is also a changer/stacker with the correct "Magic Wand" long play spindle which, unfortunately, we do not have at this time.

~The included Stanton 780 cartridge and 4DQ stylus are basically new and, by themselves, are considered a high end package that regularly fetch upwards of $200 whenever offered for sale.  The 4DQ is a quad-ready stylus but produces excellent stereo playback.~The silicone-damped mechanism of the tonearm insures that the fragile (and expensive)phono stylus is not damaged as it lands on the record. The motor is a 4-pole asynchronous type which keeps the speed constant. Drive is applied to the inside of the turntable rim by a rubber idler wheel.

~The arm is counterbalanced, and its weight has a milled plastic strip that meshes with the extension of a small control knob. Adjustment is simplicity itself. All you do is turn the knob until the arm (with cartridge attached) is balanced, then turn the control on the pressure dial(to the left of the pivot) to read 2 grams (the recommended weight for the included 4DQ). The anti-skating knob is then set to the same figure. The plug-in head will take most cartridges, and the metal mounting insert is adjustable for quick, easy alignment. In front of the arm pivot is a long cuing lever whose lifting height and lowering time are adjustable. A silicone-filled dashpot provides nice, slow lowering of the arm. The platter is quite heavy, weighing a bit more than 6 1/4 lbs. There are two strobe scales, one for 60 Hz and the other for 50 Hz.

This comes with the original tinted lift-off dust cover.  The plinth is a gorgeous real walnut base that defines the look of the vintage era.

About Elac Miracord...

Founded in 1908, ELECTROACUSTIC GmbH is a German company best known in most parts of the world as ELAC or Miracord. Their turntables from primarily the 1950s through 1970s are very well known. They were distributed in the USA by Benjamin Electronic Sound Corp. who sometimes re-badged them as Benjamin Miracord.  In Canada, they were distributed by White Electronic Development Corp. Ltd.
Of note, in 1957 ELAC patented an electro-magnetic pick-up which established them as a world leader in pickups. They licensed it to companies around the world including Shure. Further development of that technology led to what became known as Moving-Magnet cartridge systems or simply MM. By the late 1960s, ELAC hi-fi magnet pick-ups had tracking forces below 10 mN (approximately 1 gm).



Realistic Lab 500

Realistic Lab 500 (1979)  Not for sale at this time

This very, very rare Realistic Lab 500 was the top of the line at the end of the 70's and was made in *Japan by Mitsubishi for Radio Shack.  

It is, without any doubt, the finest turntable they ever sold...absolutely one of the best of the high quality, superb decks to come out of the Orient during the "Golden Age of HiFi".  

This one is in absolute excellent condition, both cosmetically, mechanically and in every other sense.  No marks, no scratches...perfect.

The Lab 500 is a direct drive, fully automatic, quartz locked, 2-speed turntable with a repeat function.  All the controls are on the front so, even with the tinted (smoked) dust cover lowered, it's very simple to operate.  

Most of the LAB-500's functions are electronically controlled which ultimately means fewer mechanical parts to break down or wear out. 

The S-shaped tone arm keeps the stylus of the cartridge perpendicular to the radius of the groove over the full surface of the record, which means low distortion and excellent tracking at less than 1-1/2 grams.  

The superb motor is a 12 pole brushless dc servo type that maintains constant speed under any potential voltage fluctuations.

The platter design visually appears to make the platter look smaller in height than most, yet it's heavier, thicker and wider than most at the same time.  

It's also a great looking turntable.  The design features lots of wood veneer and stunning heavy brushed of the most beautiful we've ever seen! 

A really cool feature on this turntable is the integrated headshell.  The included R9000E LWS stylus (very low hours) is really a rebadged Shure M95 but in an integrated headshell.  Not only this is a great cartridge, but many different stylus choices are widely available and since it's integrated, there's no need for any adjustment, making it a breeze to set up.

*By comparison, the Lab 500 was most certainly built by Mitsubishi for Radio Shack as a rebadged Mitsubishi Diatone DP-86DA which sold for a whopping $460 in 1978.  In most cases, the majority of the other Realistic turntables were manufactured by C.E.C. or Chuo Denki (who still exist today.)  It wasn't just Radio Shack but many other well known names like Hitachi, Marantz, Sanyo, Toshiba, etc... had lots of equipment manufactured by Japanese OEM companies such as Foster/Fostex and NEC, Hitachi and C.E.C..  

About Realistic (Radio Shack, Tandy Corp)...
Realistic branded vintage stereo gear is all over the place.  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. 



Denon CP-35F

Denon DP-35F ('82-'85)  $265

The DP-35F features Denon's dynamic servo tracer, direct-drive system to control low frequency resonance in the low mass straight tonearm.  This beautiful DP-35F deck has outstanding anti-howling characteristics achieved by a cabinet made of satin black HDC (high density compound).

This is a fully automatic with feather touch controls for start/stop, arm up/down, repeat, speed selection (servo by frequency detection and phase servo control) and record size.

The lightweight straight tonearm extracts the maximum performance from the very fine (very rare) Audio Technica AT73Ea dual magnet cartridge/stylus with low hours included with the turntable.  The cartridge is rated at 15-26K frequency response.

Finally, the unit is fitted with Denon's unique magnetic record detection system.

About vintage Denon...

The Denon brand was first established in 1947 when Nippon Columbia merged with Japan Denki Onkyo.  They further went on in May 2002 whenDenon Ltd and Marantz of Japan Inc. merged to become one company.

Many of Denon's audio creations have become highly sought after by true audiophiles as Denon never skimped on quality, they chose to make the best gear with the best parts available at the time.




Acoustic Research AR-XA (mid-to-late 60's) $265

A classic piece of vintage history, this​ restored Acoustic Research ​M​odel XA turntable​ is one of the very early models​. 

This a fully manually operated ​turntable, you must gently place the tone arm on the record to start listening and lift it at the end. There is no cueing device. 

​This one has the​ ​oiled​ walnut veneer plinth. ​It was completely disassembled and all moving parts were cleaned and​ ​lubed. ​It has new gold-plated outputs, new belt, and a new capacitor for the motor. 

The plinth was re-oiled; the deck retains its original textured, vibration-damping finish. A new acrylic hinged dust cover is included.  ​The correct and original headshell is fitted with a Shure M91ED cartridge and stylus, properly aligned. 

The plinth was re-oiled; the deck retains its original textured, vibration-damping finish. This also has a very nice hinged dust cover.​  Included is a copy of the original owner's manual, brochure and related paperwork.​

A​bout AR turntables​...

The first turntables were shipped to dealers in 1961. They were a completely assembled package except for the pickup cartridge: the drive/platter system mounted on a finished wooden base, tonearm, power and amplifier cables, turntable mat, overhang plate, stylus force gauge transparent dust cover. The initial price was $58, on which the company lost money. It was sub-sequentially raised in steps, in 1972 it was still only $90.

The turntable quickly gained profitability, and AR sold hundreds of thousands of them. Although it was the least expensive quality turntable on the market, many reviewers and consumer organizations rated it the best-with one exception. Stereophile thought it was good, but said that the spindle was too big. In fact that was an incorrect call; the spindle diameter was precisely what industry standard specified.



Pro-Ject 2.1 and custom console

Pro~Ject 1.2 (1999) $200 

The Pro~Ject 1.2 is a manual operation unit with an power switch located under the plinth.  However, for added convenience, it's now easily powered on/off by the added wireless remote control. The 1.2 was the earlier version of the Pro-Ject Debut III and is basically the same turntable.  

No other analogue hi-fi product was more often honored to be a real "Best Buy" than the this one. It was (and still is) considered a real bargain with outstanding sound quality!  

This Pro~Ject 2.1 was carefully retro-fitted into a beautiful mid-70's vintage real walnut mini-console with thick curved perplex smoked dust cover (with heavy duty hinges).  As mentioned before, the setup is powered on/off very simply using the included wireless remote control key fob.  The turntable audio cables are connected to your receiver as normal.

A truly unique, one-of-a kind high quality setup that would be a central focus in any vintage stereo system.

The Pro~Ject 1.2: 

• Plinth is made out of MDF in matte black 

• 3 lb balanced steel platter with felt mat  

• Bearing Block 3: Low-tolerance chrome-plated stainless-steel axle runs on a polished ball bearing in a brass bearing housing  

• Motor decoupled to reduce vibration  

• Special, resonance damping feet are copied through the base of the console 


The Tonearm 8.6 D  (with Sumiko Oyster cartridge/stylus)

• 8.6" tone-arm with aluminum headshell made out of one piece  

• Inverted tonearm bearing comprises inverted hardened stainless steel points and sapphire thrust-pads  

• Single-screw fixing of arm-tube allows rotation for easy adjustment of needle azimuth despite fixed headshell  

• Silicon damped tone-armlift 

About Pro~Ject...

Pro~Ject Audio Systems is an Austrian company, founded in 1990 in Vienna by Heinz Lichtenegger.  At that time, analog music reproduction was declared as ‘dead’ and CDs were the rising star.  Around this time, the Iron Curtain fell and Heinz discovered a factory in the Czech Republic, which was just in the process of closing down their turntable production plant. Everybody declared him nuts, but he was convinced to restart the production.  The products were redesigned and improved from older existing designs, to achieve the following criteria: great sound, great value, easy to use and built for long-term use. This was, and remains, Pro-Ject’s formula for success. Without exception, all Pro~Ject products are designed according to these objectives. While there have been many different turntable designs from Pro-Ject since the beginning, the original ones (like the Pro~Ject 2.1) are still some of the best...pure analog, no bells and whistles, and very good motor technology.



JVC QL-A2 (1978) $230

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 QL-A2 is one of JVC's late 70's turntables that was included as some of the best turntables to come out of Japan.
It is a semi automatic (automatic return and reject).  The table has excellent sound and vibration isolation. 
The QL-A2 features a quartz lock motor which is easily the table's best quality (-73dB rumble).  Also included is a brand new Ortofon cartridge/stylus.
The satin charcoal finished plinth sitting on a real walnut base really does look stylish and cool...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.

Reference 610-T

Reference 610T (1980) $225

The high quality Reference 610-T is considered rare and has an elegant design by the same company, Pacific Stereo, that was responsible for the success of the Concept and Reference lineup, developed in the USA, built in Japan.
This is a DC direct drive, semi-automatic, very heavy, premium deck with a massive die-cast platter, ultra low-mass S-shape, satin black tonearm and proprietary satin black headshell, beautiful satin-black plinth with walnut side panels.  Like all the Reference series components, this is a very nice, very solid, very good looking hard to find vintage piece.


We had the good fortune to have worked at Pacific Stereo in the late 60's (back when they only had three stores!) Today, it's not commonly known but, at one time, (late 70's) all the house brands like Concept, Reference, Quadraflex, etc (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.