View Full Version : Are there any American turntables out there?


MyGeneration
02-10-2011, 10:08 PM
I've just been noticing that most turntables are Japanese and what not. I was just wondering if there were any turntables made in the good ol' USA. If there are any, which is the best? :D

dobyman
02-10-2011, 10:15 PM
Empire TT's were made in the USA! After that, I dont know!:thmbsp:

clydeselsor
02-10-2011, 10:17 PM
Rek-o-kut

costerdock
02-10-2011, 10:17 PM
vpi and sota come to mind - there is no best turntable - I'd love to have one of each.

JohnVF
02-10-2011, 10:18 PM
VPI. Still made here, always have been made here, and still one of the best.

osageaudio
02-10-2011, 10:22 PM
Hi,

Along with VPI and SOTA, there are Galibier, Teres, Spiral Groove, Merrill-Scillia, and Merrill-Williams that I can think of right off the bat. I know that there are more.

VPI and SOTA are by far the most popular and produced in the highest volumes of any of the currently available U.S.-made turntables.

Dealer disclaimer.

Jim Pendleton
Osage Audio Products, LLC

sfox52
02-10-2011, 10:24 PM
The last one I ever used was a Cobra-matic in an old Zenith.

targeteye
02-10-2011, 10:32 PM
I think BIC was US made?

MyGeneration
02-10-2011, 10:35 PM
Thanks guys, will be looking out for some these tables. :)

vinyldavid
02-10-2011, 10:37 PM
the AR TT's were US made, at least back in the sixties.

MyGeneration
02-10-2011, 10:46 PM
Favorite models of these anybody?

vinyldavid
02-10-2011, 10:50 PM
the original AR XA and XB are well liked around here, but I have never heard one myself. the Rek O Kut and Empire TT's are superb.

Here's a couple more manufacturers: Gates, Sparta, QRK, Russco.

Balifly
02-10-2011, 11:38 PM
Did Harman Kardon make any of their turntables in United States ?:scratch2:

DENNYDOG
02-10-2011, 11:47 PM
Check out the ROK sticky (http://www.audiokarma.org/forums/showthread.php?t=146608). Lots of good reading and pictures too. :yes:

JohnVF
02-11-2011, 12:15 AM
Of the vintage tables I'm a huge fan of the Empires. I have two 208s but would run any of their line really.

gadget73
02-11-2011, 12:56 AM
Glasier-Steers also was based in the US. Don't know how good they actually were, but they have one of the coolest record drop mechanisms I've ever seen. The platter stops, the record drops, then it starts again. Very cool. Voice of Music were also US made.

OneMalt
02-11-2011, 04:58 AM
I think BIC was US made?

Didn't BIC stand for British Industries Company?

kirk57
02-11-2011, 06:09 AM
Didn't BIC stand for British Industries Company?

Yes, but they ended up being made in Michigan.

I don't know if anybody mentioned Well Tempered or Maple knoll? Somewhat rare birds, but built in the US

Dr Tinear
02-11-2011, 07:38 AM
the AR TT's were US made, at least back in the sixties.

The ARs were built in the States through 1979, when the last model based directly on Edgar Villchur's classic design ended its production run.

Grado, Weathers and Stromberg-Carlson also built turntables in the USA. At this point they're more collectors' items than daily drivers, though.

classic carl
02-11-2011, 08:42 AM
Thanks guys, will be looking out for some these tables. :)

If you do a search on Audiogon, you will need mucho dinero to buy a Sota or VPI. They are not inexpensive, but are great tables. I don't think you'll find any of these on CL or thrift shops. :no:

vinyl1
02-11-2011, 08:51 AM
We seem to have completely forgotten Basis turntables. Made in USA, and priced like it!

mfrench
02-11-2011, 10:08 AM
Presto, Bogen, Bogen-Presto

MyGeneration
02-11-2011, 10:10 AM
I had no idea there were this many.

mfrench
02-11-2011, 10:16 AM
Saskia - of the finest of American decks made today. Pennsylvania slate.
http://www.oswaldsmillaudio.com/Products/images/productshots/turn1.jpg

voltcontrol
02-11-2011, 10:24 AM
That Saskia table looks a lot like this table which I thought was a (rather extreme) Lenco conversion;

http://www.internetpro.net/~gofigure/Baby/Baby%201.jpg

mfrench
02-11-2011, 10:30 AM
Its made by the same guy, Win. If you have to ask, then you can't afford one (as they say,...).
It a custom build, not a mod'd Lenco like the Backstage Pass.

voltcontrol
02-11-2011, 10:34 AM
Its made by the same guy, Win. If you have to ask, then you can't afford one (as they say,...).
It a custom build, not a mod'd Lenco like the Backstage Pass.
Guess I have to build my own then... :D

Thanks for the info Mike. :thmbsp:

MyGeneration
02-11-2011, 11:20 AM
How much are they?

JohnVF
02-11-2011, 11:36 AM
How much are they?

That's like asking a supermodel's cup size. Does it really matter? :music:

TAGO MAGO
02-11-2011, 11:41 AM
Didn't BIC stand for British Industries Company?

British Industries Company was an American importer for British turntables, most notably Garrard. It was because either Garrard pulled out of the market or BIC lost their importing deal. Anyway BIC turntables were made in Michigan by Voice of Music, although I would have to say performance wise BIC table were much better than some of the V-M units which most of what I have seen looked like lower end Garrard or BSR clones. Their build quality was a completely different story.

mfrench
02-11-2011, 12:37 PM
How much are they?


I've not ever asked, as I'm aware of my financial status (too well).
I've heard suggestions hovering around the $30k mark.

vinyl1
02-11-2011, 12:43 PM
I've not ever asked, as I'm aware of my financial status (too well).
I've heard suggestions hovering around the $30k mark.

Does he fly to your city, and set it up in your listening room?

Apparently, Lloyd Walker actually does that. But I believe his turntable is somewhat pricier.

Rybeam
02-11-2011, 12:49 PM
My 1984 AR ES-1 was made in the USA. The arm is a Jelco, made in Japan.

mfrench
02-11-2011, 01:16 PM
Does he fly to your city, and set it up in your listening room?

Apparently, Lloyd Walker actually does that. But I believe his turntable is somewhat pricier.

This is what most people know about the Saskia deck.
http://www.oswaldsmillaudio.com/Products/turntables.html

The italics quote below are cut&paste from this website, ^^

The first all new idler drive turntable in decades, Saskia was designed from the ground up by Win Tinnon to reach a new level of excellence in vinyl playback. Assembled from solid, specially selected clear Pennsylvania slate, the turntable weighs slightly over 200 pounds. The idler mechanism, bearing, platter and spindle are all new designs, not copies of designs of the past.
For several years there has been a growing resurgence in interest and appreciation for vintage idler wheel turntables. This is not driven by nostalgia, but by the inescapable sonic benefits of the idler drive system.
New lubricant-free materials help insure that mechanisms are reliable beyond a lifetime, and by reducing linkages to a bare minimum, associated resonance problems are relegated to the history books. By avoiding a top plate, mechanical parts are anchored directly onto a slate chassis with no traditional metal infrastructure, and the damping characteristics of the slate guarantees that the table is absolutely silent. Even then, all mechanical action is carefully controlled. For example, the idler wheel mates directly with the motor's shaft and platter rim, while the turn-on linkage is completely disengaged while the record is playing. It is a case of "Less is more" because the dictum "form follows function" was the first rule of Saskia's creation.
Saskia's motor controller was designed by Quiddity Technical Services of Australia. It regenerates power into three synchronized phases resulting in an accuracy of greater than one part per million in real world terms. An added bonus is that the tightly controlled external rotor motor when combined with the turntable's heavy platter results in an effective mass of well over two hundred pounds. It would require a belt driven platter of that actual weight to equal it from a sheer mass standpoint. Such efforts help bring idler turntable design to a new level.
A turntable's job is to spin a record as quietly and perfectly as possible. It should be a pleasure to use, and a delight for the eye. This is the design philosophy that created Saskia.
The Saskia turntable is distributed exclusively by OMA.
Price on request.

KentTeffeteller
02-11-2011, 01:18 PM
And there is QRK, Gates, Russco, and Harris also. Russco made the only American made Direct Drive ever made. And it is a very rare breed.

Urchinn
02-11-2011, 02:19 PM
I love the Rek o Kuts! Zany styles galore. And with a fresh idler wheel you can really get some fine sounds. And don't forget the Metzner Starlights, the Prestos, The Fairchilds, the Collins, et cetera!

Doug G.
02-11-2011, 02:22 PM
BIC decided to make their own tables because Garrard decided to market their tables in the US themselves which proved disastrous for them.

The BIC tables were not actually built by VM. BIC was its own company. They contracted with some of the VM engineers to design their tables and the tables were, indeed, built in Michigan (Livonia?). I'm sure there were some ex-VM employees building the tables as VM was in a downward slide at that time and were probably laying off people.

Doug

TAGO MAGO
02-11-2011, 02:47 PM
BIC decided to make their own tables because Garrard decided to market their tables in the US themselves which proved disastrous for them.

The BIC tables were not actually built by VM. BIC was its own company. They contracted with some of the VM engineers to design their tables and the tables were, indeed, built in Michigan (Livonia?). I'm sure there were some ex-VM employees building the tables as VM was in a downward slide at that time and were probably laying off people.

Doug

BIC tables always reminded me a little of Italian cars from the 70's and 80's. Excellent performance if you can get around the chintzy plastic and less than perfect reliability. I either love the BIC table I own or I want to drop it off my balcony, there is very little middle ground. Of course I own one of the Z series tables with the digital pitch readout and the Sinclair computer type membrane controls. It occasionally likes to wander. It will go for months and years without doing it, although it occasionally decides it's not going to hold pitch then it will start working again and not do it for months or years after that.

gkimeng
02-11-2011, 03:16 PM
At the height of their popularity, AR was turning out about 50,000 tables per year. There may have been as many as a half-million produced between 1961 and 1977 when the last of the classic models was discontinued, all made in the Boston, MA area.

vinyl1
02-11-2011, 03:28 PM
At the height of their popularity, AR was turning out about 50,000 tables per year. There may have been as many as a half-million produced between 1961 and 1977 when the last of the classic models was discontinued, all made in the Boston, MA area.

Now that is most interesting.

It has been alleged that some of the more esoteric modern turntables sell less than 10 a year. I find that hard to believe, though.

Arkay
02-11-2011, 04:17 PM
Presto, Bogen, Bogen-Presto

Many (although NOT all) of the TTs sold under those labels were actually made by Lenco, and imported to the US.

Infinity made a linear-tracking TT in America, but only about a dozen were produced. Even rarer than the proverbial hen's teeth!

If you go back to the 50s and before, there were a lot of manufacturers that are mostly forgotten today, such as Websters of Chicago, or Webcor; I think Philco made a few; Magnavox (some were UK-made); American Gramophone Company; etc... all the way back to Edison.

WCFR Jock
02-11-2011, 05:42 PM
I had to look a ways but someone did mention Weathers. Another obscure one, Peacock, made in southern New Jersey. IIRC, two synchronous clock motors, belt drive. I think the belts were o-rings.

Dr Tinear
02-11-2011, 06:43 PM
BIC decided to make their own tables because Garrard decided to market their tables in the US themselves which proved disastrous for them.

The BIC tables were not actually built by VM. BIC was its own company. They contracted with some of the VM engineers to design their tables and the tables were, indeed, built in Michigan (Livonia?). I'm sure there were some ex-VM employees building the tables as VM was in a downward slide at that time and were probably laying off people.

Doug

I'd be surprised if the BIC 'tables were built in Livonia, given the connection to Voice of Music. VM's plant was in southwestern Michigan in the same town that the Heath Company called home -- Benton Harbor.

OneMalt
02-11-2011, 06:47 PM
How could we forget the pride of Binghamton? Although I may detect a bit of Clearaudio here...

http://www.mcintoshlabs.com/images/products/mt10-front-source-l.jpg

mfrench
02-11-2011, 06:50 PM
Arkay,... You know your stuff, and this is likely redundant,....
What I'm referring to is vintage Presto, Bogen, B-P. They, Presto Recording Corp., date back to the 20's, as Americas leading producer, and as the worlds leading producer of radio broadcast equp't. They were totally US made until around '59, when they collaborated with Lenco. When they were in that collaboration with Lenco, neither Bogen, nor Presto, were the companies that they were in their vintage presence - both had been gobbled up in corporate mergers of that day. Bogen bought out Presto; but, Bogen had just been consumed by a larger corporation itself (unisonics? dang memory is fading,....). Most of the Bogen-Presto collaboration with Lenco took place under the ownership of mega-corporation the Lear-Sielger corp, of Lear jet fame (this is when the Presto name was dropped).
Prior to the Bogen-Presto merger, Bogen really didn't have much to offer for turntables.
So, yes, by 1960, there was a foreign influence. But vintage Presto is quite significant in American turntablin' and broadcast history, dating as far back as any American manufacturer of electronic gear.

Doug G.
02-11-2011, 09:08 PM
I'd be surprised if the BIC 'tables were built in Livonia, given the connection to Voice of Music. VM's plant was in southwestern Michigan in the same town that the Heath Company called home -- Benton Harbor.

Ya, I didn't really think that was right.

It's just that I don't think it was Benton Harbor but some town near there.

Doug

MyGeneration
02-11-2011, 09:22 PM
I'm going to keep my eye out for an AR table. It'd feel really good to be rocking a New England turntable.

Ohighway
02-28-2011, 03:33 PM
I had to look a ways but someone did mention Weathers. Another obscure one, Peacock, made in southern New Jersey. IIRC, two synchronous clock motors, belt drive. I think the belts were o-rings.

Not sure about that Peacock, but the Weathers tables I have use a clock motor and a small rubber ( or some other rubbery material) wheel that's mounted on the motor shaft, and contacts the inside edge of the platter. They also have a very cool wood tonearm..... Basswood I believe.

http://www.audiokarma.org/forums/attachment.php?attachmentid=259549&d=1298923209

http://www.audiokarma.org/forums/showthread.php?t=354500

sregor
02-28-2011, 03:51 PM
Nobody mentioned Rabco? ST-4 (before being bought out by HK) in the early 70s. Also Sherwood SEL-100 (I think) probably made by V-M). Marantz SLT-12.

vinyl1
02-28-2011, 04:08 PM
And there is QRK, Gates, Russco, and Harris also. Russco made the only American made Direct Drive ever made. And it is a very rare breed.

What about the Rockport Sirius? Wasn't that direct drive, made in the US?

marcmorin
02-28-2011, 04:50 PM
I'm going to keep my eye out for an AR table. It'd feel really good to be rocking a New England turntable.


I'll have a very nice AR The Turntable for sale in a month or so.

where abouts in Vermont are you?

KentTeffeteller
02-28-2011, 06:18 PM
Was the Rockport motor US made? The Russco was USA Made all the way. Rabco if I recall correctly only made tonearms, their linear tracking line. Re: Bogen. They were purchased by Lear Siegler Corporation in 1960. Presto was purchased for their factory in Paramus, NJ. They were the original USA importer for Lenco turntables. Presto was the leader in broadcast recording equipment. They made recording lathes, cutter heads, recording electronics, turntables, and lastly tape machines.

sregor
02-28-2011, 07:57 PM
Rabco ST4 was the design the HK ST-5,6,7,8, were based on. A full table, not just an arm.

KentTeffeteller
02-28-2011, 09:07 PM
Thanks for clarification. So Harman Kardon made US turntables as well. Learned something. HH Scott Company made a gear driven turntable which was one of the costlier turntables in the 1959-1962 period. They were also the importer of Decca cartridges and tonearms then.