Idler wheel turntable opinions

Discussion in 'Turntables' started by 2020, Aug 31, 2017.

  1. 2020

    2020 Active Member

    I am thinking of buying an old idler wheel turntable, and cannot afford a Garrard 301 or 401 or a Thorens. What do you think about ELAC, Lenco, Perpetuum Ebmner, Dual 1009, 1019 etc?

    What do you think is the pecking order?

    FWIW, it would be used with a modest Superphon/Adcom system just for grins.

    Thanks in advance for your opinions!


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  2. fiddlefye

    fiddlefye AK Subscriber Subscriber

    My solution was a Rek-O-Kut B-12H and I love it. Plenty of options still, though all of the better ones have been getting pricier.
    2020 likes this.
  3. 2020

    2020 Active Member

    Had not thought of Rek-O-Kut. Seem like a good idea.
  4. jcamero

    jcamero Who are you people anyway? Subscriber

    The Dairy State
    Dual 1219, 1229, 1229Q. Not the prettiest, but properly restored with a great cartridge they will last 20 years. Built like a tank too!
  5. guiller

    guiller Toscaninichus Australis

    Buenos Aires (Argentina)
    I´d look for a Lenco L75.
  6. Kim G

    Kim G Super Member

    Lenco at the top. Check out the lencoheaven website for inspiration. L75 or L78 is what you are looking for. I started idlers on a Dual 1229 and enjoyed it till I read about the Lencos. I bought one and stock it smoked the Dual. There are other good idlers out there, rok would be a good choice. Don't overlook the old broadcast idlers.

    Have fun in your search, the rewards are worth the time and work you will invest.
    guiller and 2020 like this.


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  7. Hitachiht550

    Hitachiht550 AK Subscriber Subscriber

    College Station, TX
    I have an ELAC 45 that I really enjoy but has been relegated to 78 duty. I will also put in a good word for the most complicated turntable I own. Garrard Lab 80. Something about that style I really like and it is not a bad player when all is working as it should..
    2020 likes this.
  8. Alan LaFleur

    Alan LaFleur New Member

    I have a few that are decent. Garrard 4hf that is pretty smooth. And a ROK.
    Ohighway and 2020 like this.
  9. ChristopherP

    ChristopherP AK Subscriber Subscriber

    Northwest WA
    I have a Braun PS600, great TT if you can find one in good condition. Based on Miracord mechanism, with electronic speed control. see my avatar pic. I think is keeps up with the big boys very well. But this isn't a table to hot rod. It is what it is, It sees sunday driver use, and is my stacker. I love it. But my daily driver is an 80' AR.
    Good luck in your search. This is a great place for info.
    Cheers, Chris
    2020 likes this.
  10. malden

    malden Addicted Member

    Of the idler changers, Miracords seem to be the most reliable.
    danj and 2020 like this.
  11. Brianito

    Brianito Active Member

    Nashville area
    I love my ELAC Miracord 50H.


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  12. satellite

    satellite AK Subscriber Subscriber

    Boise Idaho
    I absolutely love my ELAC Miracord 50H. The thing sounds great, has almost no plastic parts, and runs like a Swiss watch! I would very much like to happen across an old Rek-O-Kut or Lenco.
    Catmanboo, darkblue94 and 2020 like this.
  13. 2020

    2020 Active Member

    Great feedback so far.
    Thanks to each and every one for taking the time to respond.
  14. Tim64

    Tim64 Super Member

    Southern Oregon
    I have had first hand experience with Elac and Dual idler drives and liked them all after you refurbish them. The Dual 1229 was there flag ship idler drive and the motor normally needs a relube and it does come apart though it's a pita. For Duals don't forrget the sturmpimple not sure on spelling getting ready to leave for work. Have Fun!
    2020 likes this.
  15. 62vauxhall

    62vauxhall AK Subscriber Subscriber

    There are several turntables at my disposal - idler, belt and direct drives. Lately I've been favouring the idlers - Duals and Garrards but primarily the Duals. Mostly because they're the oldest. An original 1009 circa 1964 (age about 55 years) works just it did when brand new and that appeals to me. Same for a 1009F that is a few years younger.

    I've had some Elac's but no longer because their weakness is where the cartridge sled interfaces with the tonearm head. I found that the plastic holding the set of contact strips on the tone arm's underside is subject to breaking. If one were to install a cartridge and seldom remove it, things would be fine but the design does not lend itself well to frequent cartridge swapping. They are nice looking though and appearances count.

    But I'll qualify that by saying I think Elac's are good looking now. When I saw brand new ones for the first time in the late 1960's, I thought they were crude and clunky compared to Duals. Boxy headshells and that row of push buttons were deal breakers then.

    Since I've been the Elac route already, about the only model I would "seek to own" these days is a Model 10 and only because it's older and funkier looking than those I've had.

    EDIT: Regarding looks again. My Garrards are both Zero 100's. Somewhat complicated and less user friendly to service but about the prettiest turntable out there.
    Last edited: Sep 1, 2017
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  16. Mister Pig

    Mister Pig Pigamus Maximus Subscriber

    Olympia Washington
    If you look carefully, there are some under the radar idlers out there from Japan. There were nice looking tables from Trio(Kenwood), National(Panasonic/Matsushita), Neat(Onkyo), and Nivco(JVC). These tables are very affordable compared to a Thorens TD 124 or Garrard 301/401. However, I am not sure how easy it is to source replacement parts if you need any. There is not the support in the new manufactured parts community that there is for the other tables. I imagine you can still get an idler wheel refurbished, but as far as linkage parts and switches, you would have to source a donor table if those parts were to be replaced.








    Mister Pig


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  17. Poinzy

    Poinzy Super Member

    SE Michigan
    As a class, idler-wheel turntables have rumble characteristics inferior to those of belt-drive and direct-drive turntables. This could be an issue if your speakers or headphones have a lot of low-end reach.
  18. tnsilver

    tnsilver Super Member

    I got this TD-135 baby for peanuts:


    I did overhaul the motor and replaced all the stock rubber mounts but it wasn't too difficult nor expensive.
    It may not be under the radar anymore, and may not sell for peanuts no longer, but this is
    one of the better and still affordable idler drives one can still lay hands on. It's the same drive mechanism
    as the formidable TD-124. The tonearm (BTD 12S) is fixed and the TT doesn't yield to TA swapping that easily,
    but it's a superb tonearm. Other than my TD-124, it's my best turntable and I operate it using a Denon DL-103.
    Ohighway, malden and 2020 like this.
  19. bberkom

    bberkom AK Subscriber Subscriber

    Nashville, TN
    I have the JVC Nivico SRP-471e pictured, and I think it's a great table. Rare, so replacement parts are nonexistent, but it's a good deck, especially after I dampened the platter and chassis a little. I have had several Duals as well, and I love my 1229. Much more info and parts available on those, so may be a better place to start than something exotic. Love me some idlers.
    2020 likes this.
  20. jgscisum

    jgscisum Active Member

    Bowling Green, KY
    ELAC Miracord 50H and Dual 1229. Own both. Rock steady. After you learn their mechanisms....... very easy to maintain. As for looks, The 50H!

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