Stereo Turntables

Pro-Ject 2.1 and custom console

Pro~Ject 1.2 (1999) $250

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.



Pioneer PL-55

Pioneer PL-55 (1975)  $265 

The Pioneer PL-55  was one of Pioneer's best looking and best built offerings in the mid 70's. It's a beautiful vintage piece with direct-drive, servo controlled motor, semi-automatic operation which incorporates auto return, two-speeds, pitch controls, speed controls, soft damped cueing and much more. 
Because Pioneer (and every one else that made turntables)felt the need to have a "new" model every year,there are a number of different PL-55 versions including the PL-55, PL-55X, PL-55D, PL-55DX, PL-55DXF, and PL-55XF and others. All are very similar with only very minor differences. The PL-55 has the strobe speed plate that is easily used on those rare occasions you might want to calibrate the speed 
The actual design of the plinth (base) itself is heavy and well constructed with a dark walnut veneer and the original very clean tinted dust cover.  The sub-chassis is spring loaded to help decrease any acoustic feedback.  This is a premium vintage turntable.

About Pioneer...

Not much needs to be said about Pioneer other then the simple fact that the name is known worldwide for above average quality and excellence in high fidelity component design.  They were the unchallenged leader in stereo advertising and marketing in the 70's.  Back in the day, Pioneer made it clear that if you didn't have a Pioneer stereo system in your house (or college dorm) you just didn't have the right stuff.



Sony PS-5520

Sony PS-5520 (1972) $220

A classic definition of a fine vintage, high quality turntable, the Sony model PS-5520 has become one of our personal favorite decks...we've had several in the last few years. 

Fitted with a brand new Ortofon Omega cartridge/stylus, this 5520 is a well engineered and versatile turntable that can be operated as a full automatic or, if you wish, as a manually operated unit.  

Even when operated manually, the tonearm still returns and the unit shuts off.  Operation is accomplished using only one light touch of the operating lever.  

The 5520 has many important features which contribute to the faithful reproduction of your records; a static balance tonearm, and a reliable 4-pole hysteresis synchronous motor.
Designed and fit into a gorgeous real walnut veneer plinth, this "Gold Badge" edition Sony PS-5520 also has the great looking classic split design perplex tinted dust cover with heavy duty hinges.  

Nothing cheap here, tough as nails yet beautiful and simple...a pleasure to own, to admire and easy to operate.



JVC QL-A2 (1978) $200

The JVC QL-A2 direct-drive, quartz-locked, two-speed turntable is a very good, well-built deck.
It plays great and sounds great. 
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 is mounted on a real hardwood base which 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.

Panasonic RD-3600

Panasonic RD-3600 / Technics SL-20 (1976) $200

This is the gorgeous walnut plinth version of *Technics SL-20.

The Panasonic RD-3600 is identical to the Technics SL-20 except the RD-3600 has a luxurious walnut veneer plinth.  It's a high-quality, belt-driven turntable with (at the time) a newly developed FG (frequency generator) servo-controlled DC motor with IC.  This gorgeous turntable features fabulous wow, flutter and rumble rating and has low power consumption for greater efficiency.  The static-balanced, S-shaped tonearm has the benefit of semi-automatic operation (automatic return/shut-off) and has a new Ortofon cartridge/stylus combined mounted on the headshell for high compliance support and good channel separation.

Seeing as how Panasonic and Technics were part of the same parent company (Matsushita of Japan), there were several versions of this table (SL-23, RD-3500, SL-20).  The design of the RD-3600 is far more elegant than the Technics versions that had a basic grey plinth.

Founded in the 1920's, the huge Japanese conglomerate Matsushita had interests in many electronics companies.  The most well known would be Technics and Panasonic. Technics was introduced as a brand name for premium units (turntables, loudspeakers, etc) marketed domestically by Matsushita in 1965.  Many of the earlier Panasonic branded units were simply rebranded as Technics but with some slight design and marketing changes.  Eventually, Technics pulled away from its Panasonic affiliation and became a premium brand bringing classics like the SL-1200mkii turntable and the absolute monster receiver at the top of the list: Technics SA-1000 (330 watts per channel.



Toshiba SR-250

Aurex Toshiba SR-250 (1976)  $175

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 notch higher in quality.  Because of their low key marketing stance, it's doubtful their sales volumes were anywhere near those of Sony, Pioneer, etc.


The top photo is Reference 620T below is the Reference 610-T

Reference 610T (1980) $170

Rare with an elegant design (by the same guys at Pacific Stereo that were responsible for the success of the Concept lineup) developed in the USA, built in Japan.
This is a DC direct drive, semi-automatic, very heavy premium table with a massive die-cast platter, ultra low-mass S-shape black tonearm, 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 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.



Aiwa D50

Aiwa D50 (1984) $185

By the mid 80's, digital rack systems began taking over the HiFi world and Aiwa, in an attempt to make a splash against the competition, introduced this rather unique D50 turntable. Designed to be placed anywhere in a vertical rack system, it has a cool slide out tray so you can load the record without having to lift the top of the dust cover. Of course this was supposed to be an automatic function but since that rarely works, you can simply slide it out manually anyway.  As far as the rest of the deck goes, it's a smooth, push button, fully automatic, direct drive with strobe, speed controls, cueing and had a very cool built in stylus cleaner that brushes the dust of the tip of the stylus with a touch of a button.  It does not have to be used strictly as a slide-out tray unit, it is also a regularly operated deck by lifting the dust cover as normal.

About Aiwa...

Aiwa. Remember them? The company was founded in June 1951 as AIKO Denki Sangyo Co., Ltd., a maker of microphones.A key development came in February 1964 when Aiwa introduced the first Japanese cassette tape recorder, the TP-707. Cassette recorders, players, and decks became the company's core product area, and remained so as they
established their name manufacturing hi-fi components in the '70s and '80s. In the '90s they went mainstream. Boomboxes, portable CD players, headphones, speakers, mini-systems. In the '00s they faded away, became property of Sony and died.  Aiwa was so close to becoming an American establishment, and a very unique one at that. They may not have focused on the audiophiles, or the high-end gear freaks, but for the average person, their product wasn't garbage either. Think of it as the Honda Accord of stereo systems.



Sanyo TP-1012

Sanyo TP-1012 (1978) $165

This very affordable, direct drive, two-speed deck is rock steady performer with semi-automatic operation.  It also has a built-in strobe and speed controls.  Mounted with a very nice Pioneer PL-C9 cartridge and new stylus for clean, clear sound.  The TP-1012 has excellent damped cueing.  The original dust cover is also in very good condition.

About Sanyo...

Sanyo Electric Co., Ltd. was a Japanese major electronics company and formerly a member of the Fortune Global 500.  They were one of the few electronics companies (like Hitachi) that made most of their own high fidelity components in-house using their own parts.  They also supplied some of the other big names like Pioneer, Sansui, etc. with Sanyo built parts and components. Their late 70's JCX series of receivers were very well known and in high demand by audiophiles.  At one point in their history, they had over 230 subsidiaries and affiliates.  Sanyo was eventually bought by Panasonic in 2009. 



Fisher MT-6225

Fisher "Studio Standard" MT-6225 (1979) $225

This outstanding, very good looking and sophisticated Fisher MT-6225 direct drive turntable employs a very unique linear motor drive system, very different from some of the other direct-drive turntables offered during the late 70's and early 80's.  These are rarely available and quite rare.  It's a semi-automatic with strobe light. speed controls, static balanced S shaped tonearm and soft touch cueing.

If a comparison is made, the most obvious difference is the utmost simplicity of the MT-6225, and since this is an electro-mechanical device, simplicity translates into long-term stability and reliability.

Some of the most outstanding features of this unique drive system are that the turntable platter is the rotor of the motor, that there are no electrical connections to the rotor, that the rotor has no armature windings and that all the complicated electronic circuitry is in a stationary (non moving) position on a single PC board mounted into the turntable base.

The gorgeous walnut veneer plinth is in excellent cosmetic condition as is the original tinted dust cover.

Fisher MT-6420

Fisher "Studio Standard" MT-6420 (1981) $165

Although this turntable was designed well past Fisher's golden era, nevertheless, it's a solid direct drive, semi-automatic that is bulletproof and extremely dependable.  Built in Japan by CEC, the motor is excellent.  The original tinted dust cover is in great shape as well.

About Fisher "Studio Standard" gear...

The Fisher "Studio Standard" series were developed by Sanyo after they took over the flailing Fisher brand in the 70's.  Of course the name "Fisher" is synonymous with high fidelity leadership since the 60's when Avery Fisher turned the audio world on its ear with his early tube units (like the famous Fisher 500C and others).  Alas, all things must end, Avery Fisher sold his company and, over the years, the brand has both flourished (to some) and floundered (to others).  It's generally agreed that most of the Studio Standard gear made by Sanyo (from the mid-70's to early 80's) is well made.