Discontinued Turntables - P to Z

Discontinued Turntables - P to Z

This was the biggest competitor to DUAL in Germany and was swallowed up by them in 1972 or so, note that interesignly the last standalone turntables from the company have the deck marked as PE but the plinth as Dual. While their products were never as well known as DUAL or Garrard they managed to make some fine turntables in their day, the St. Georgen phono museum has a great page on the history of the company but it's only available in German.

In between 2000 and early 2004 there was a number of low budget turntable based music systems, portable turntables and so on sold under this brand mainly in the USA, these where actually not products of brand owner Philips but rather they they where the products of Polyconcept USA and are more or less the same products as are currently being sold under the RCA brand, see : Polyconcept USA Turntables.

I have to admit that I have never seen one of their turntables although I was aware of their existence, but the UK distributor that the link here above leads to does still support and supply spares for old models.

The most famous of the Project turntables has to be the Debut, it was introduced in 1999 by a request by the UK importer Henley Designs who wanted a cheap turntable that would be an "introductionary" model (hence the name) and an alternative to the Rega P2 as a "budget audiophile" deck. The Debut is a fairly simple design, it's plinth is made out of MDF and is a simplified version of the Pro-Ject 1, the platter made out of pressed steel, the motor is smaller and cheaper than the one used on all their earlier turntables and is decoupled from the plinth by using a simple spring, the deck features a simple and effective tomearm made out of aluminium that is like a simpler version of the 0.5 tonearm, in fact the Debut as a whole can be seen as a simplified Pro-Ject 0.5 which was the company's cheapest turntable prior to the introduction of the Debut. The table is unsuspended or rather the suspension is provided by 4 simple feet that provide some vertical and horizontal movement but it's remarkably forgiving of placement considering it's simple design, the motor was isolated from the plinth by 1 spring rather than the usual 4 used in the other Project decks that share the same plinth design, another neat touch was to include an Ortofon OMB 5E rather than the rock bottom priced OM 3E that you had became used to seeing shipped with low budget models that made the cartridge 30% of the original RRP of the Debut as a whole which was 99 £ initially, this means that you have a choice of a number of specialist Ortofon stylii including models cut for use with 78's and Mono LP. The Debut was such a spectacular success both with the punters and the hi-fi press that it was soon introduced in the rest of Europe and made available in multiple colours by the time the MkII model had shown up in 6 colours were available although the coloured models were slightly more expensive than the plain black one. The Debut was replaced in 2000/2001 with the improved Debut MkII that got an even more enthusiastic response from the press even though it was by then somewhat dearer that the original model or 115£ or 130£ for a coloured model, the MkII was augmented with the Debut Phono in 2002 but that model integrated the Project Phono Box into the plinth, original RRP of that model was 145£ in the UK. Note that on mainland Europe there often no differentiation made between the MkI and MkII models since the MkI was never sold there, also neither model was ever distributed in the USA (or Canada if I remember it correctly) but the company did make available a 115v motor, pulley and capacitor kit for those that had the model, inquire about it's current availability, there was also a 78'rmp pulley available for the model. The Debut MkII was replaced by the current Pro-Ject Debut MkIII in 2004. Current deflated prices for the Debut on the second hand market make it something of a steal, at the time it was introduced you had to spend at the least twice it's asking price if you wanted to improve on it and in most markets actually more than that, with the typical S/H price running at less than 50£ here in the UK.

The original Project turntable is very rare with only 100 examples having been made and all of them sold in Austria, it was a "hot-rod" variant of a Tesla design with a better mat and tonearm cable the reason for it's scarcity is that the Teslar factory had discontinued the production of the model by the time Project was starting but agreed to make a further 100 since parts were still availeable. The Project/One that replaced it however is much more common having been distributed in Germany, Ireland and eventually the UK as well as Austria, it's basically a minor redesign of the original Project with emphasis on the visual side of things, do not confuse the One with the later 1 model the design is quite a bit different especially when it comes to the platter, note that unlike later models the One and the original Project decks had the name of the company spelled as one word rather than 2 as on modern decks from the company and they still had the original Tesla model number on the plinth (DR-331). Basically after the One you can split most of the Pro-ject models into 2 basic designs, on one hand you have the simpler unsuspended designs that feature a 133x415x325mm plinth made out of a veenerded MDF with the motor isolated from the plinth by a sping or rubber assembly and the plinth isolated from the rest of the world via the use of sprung feet, the complexity of that the motor/plinth isolation arrangement depending on the price of the table and the price also dictating the quality of the tonearm, bearings and platter, all of these designs came with a plastic lid BTW. On the other hand the company had a suspended design that the is almost remenisent of the old Win Labs Tunrtables, in these models the 3 point suspended aluminium alloy subchassis holds the platter and tonearm and while motors and power supply are held in the plinth, the suspension arrangement is susally silicone damped and unlike the unsuspended decks from the company a lid is available as an option but did not come as standard. The Pro-Ject 1 was introduced in the mid 90's and was the bread and butter model from the company until it's demise in 2002, it features the Pro-Ject 9 Tonearm which was a big improvement over the unit supplied with the One, the motor was suspended from the plinth via 4 springs and the platter was an dynamically balanced affair made out of a metal alloy with a felt mat. The 1 was a firm budget audiophile favorite during it's lifetime not the least due to it's low price, but by the time production was stopped the RRP of the 1 was only 200£ in the UK including an Ortofon OMB 10 pickup, that was actually less than the local importer had been charging for just the tonearm used a year earlier. The 2 that was a step up in price from the 1 and was cheapest turntable from the company to feature a high mass platter, the platter was a sandwich of a pressed metal and glass covered with a felt mat, apart from the platter and a record clamp that is screwed onto a threaded spindle the deck is identical to the Pro-Ject 1, in 2002 the UK RRPof the 2 was 275£ including a Ortofon 510 MkII. The Project 0.5 was introduced in mid 90's as a slightly cheaper alternative to the Pro-Ject 1 and shares with it the same base arrangement but has the tonearm from the Project One, it was discontinued when the Pro-Ject Debut MkII was introduced and pricewice it was in between the 1 and the original Debut. Studie
One enthusiastic Project 6.1 owner has put up a page describing tweaks and mods for the deck.

This producer of radio broadcast equipment like mixers etc., also had a line of small transcription turntables in the 50's and early 60's.

Made the Continuo Junior turntable as a budget/mid price alternative to their Continuo table that featured a Jelco arm instead of their own parallel tracking arm, the company discontinued the model at the turn of 2001/2002 but there is still a picture of it to be found here.

Planar 2 and Planar 3 (or P2/P3) owners in a serch of on upgrade can do worse than take a look at the Orbit series of power supplies from Heed Audio, these have been getting rave reviews and represent a upgrade with a rather good bang for the buck, obviously these supplies will work with any similar turntable/motor combination, furthermore Rega itself has upgrade kits for the above models in the form of . Planar 3 owners looking for an upgrade should note that Zenn makes a heavy duty plinth for the turntable and Expressimo make an arm lifter for Rega arms that does not interfere with the operation of the arm and thus has little effect on the sound quality and Origin Live modifies the arms for a better structural integrity. In order to celebrate 25 years of turntable manufacturing the company introduced a model called P25 wich is a stylisised version (and cheaper) of the older 9 platform made to commemorate their 25th birthday and it comes with the RB 600 arm as standard, the 25 has been reviewed by Stereophile,.

This was one of the new English designs that popped up in the early 80's, there is an old review of it archived here.

The company got it's name from it's first product, a record cutter for personal/semi pro use. Esoteric Sound has a license to use the name today. You can find the manual for the original Rek-O-Kut on this page along with some interesting cutter info.

Introduced the belt diven SR-222 in 1975 or thereabouts, it was a fairly cheap model but with some audiophile pretensions and sold quite well, however the updated SR-222 MkII version that was introduced a couple of years later had a UK RRP of only 70£ when new and was THE budget audiophile deck of the late 70's, consequently sold bucket loads everywhere around the world except perhaps for central and northern Europe were locally manufactured decks from companies such as Dual, Thorens and Philips were more competitive in price than they could be in export markets. The table has an arm with a 11g effective mass so it really only shines with a low or mid compliance carts but is fairly cheap on the second hand market and thus still an interesting buy, oil it up, throw away the cheap spherical stylus equipped MM that invariably comes with it and find a cheap old MC and off you go. The company replaced model with the direct drive FRD-35 in 1980 and that turned out to be something of a mistake, it was actually slightly dearer at an 85£ UK RRP, and is a semiautomatic model with a very lightweight platter (800 gr.), the tonearm is a cheap S shaped design with good bearings (for the time, and price range) if a frightening lack of armtube rigidity, but that was common at the time, however the inclusion of a detachable headshell drags the effective mass up to 16 gr. hence making it really only compatible with low compliance pickups, a bad move for a low priced deck. Fit and finish is exemplary, better than even many modern British & American "audiophile" decks manage to attain but the basic problems is that the turntable itself is, well ..... junk, what little isolation there is was so badly designed to be almost counter effective, the lid resonates and the motor is the worst to have been seen on a direct drive turntable ever, one magazine managed to measure wow at almost 0.3% on a loud passage, unheard of since wind up gramophones exited the marketplace, all this quite odd since earlier Sansui DD decks had very good motors. The more up market FRD-55 was somewhat better but since that model retailed for almost 3 times what the 35 went for it is not really all that common on the second hand market, the rather lacklustre reviews it got did not help either. The company resurrected some of the SR range later on by popular demand but at higher prices.

Stanton Magnetics
make the the Gyropoise 800B and the Stingray DJ turntables, their most successfu line has been the STR8 line of tables and the the STR8-80 has some unusual features such as a line in.

This Japanese company has made some excellent turntables in the past, especially worthwhile are their SP broadcast models, the SP-10 was originally introduced in 1970, and the line continued in production well into the late 80's (SP-10 Mk2 was introduced in 1975 and Mk3 in 1981). The Unofficial Thechnics homepage has more info on their older models and for fans of their DJ decks there are 2 mailing lists dedicated to the 1200 family, the 1200s list and the Backspin List. P.S. The 1200 family is one of the longest running family of turntables in history, the original SL-1200 model was introduced in 1971.

There is a good page dedicated to the TD-124 family here including the 224 record changer variant. Owners of TD 125 & 126 models should note that the Blueamp company modifies those model to bring them into the 21 century (soundwise) and that Rui Borges of Delmax makes high end plinths for the 125 and related models, these are very well known in Iberia and thus there is a waiting list. An informative page on the TD 160 model is located here, it includes manuals for both MkI and MkII models. A German page on the history of the company's turntables is here. Stefano Pasini also has restoration tips for the 124 and 125 models, and finally everyone interested in this brand should take a peek at the Thorens Gallery. If you are looking for a plinth for an old Thorens take a look at Tony Anson. Thorens freaks should also take a look at the Clearlight Audio hompage, the company offers their RDC antiresonance platforms in versions especially cut for TD 126, TD 146, TD 147, TD 160, TD-166, TD-325, TD-2001 and TD-3001, along with a tonearm plate for the 2001 and 3001 models. If you find that your Thorens deck is labelled made in Czhecoslovakia it's actually a Tesla, they made the lowest priced Thorens decks for a very short while in the 90's,, however . The TD 170 was introduced in the latter half of the 90's as Thorens cheapest player, it is actually an OEM unit made by Alfred Fehrenbacher and is a hybrid of 2 DUAL models with the mechanism, platter and arm from the Dual CS 435 1 and the solid wood plinth, 78rpm capable controller and Ortofon OMB 10 pickup from the Dual CS 455 1 with some modifications such as the introduction of a Thorens style lift, in addition the TD 170 had availabable transformers that work in countries with 110/100v 60Hz voltages unlike it's DUAL counterparts, it was replaced in ca 2002 with the updated Thorens TD 170-1. The TD 190 was introduced alongside TD 170 in the mid/late 1990's and discontiued in ca 2002 when the new Thorens TD 190-1 model was introduced, they appear to be electronically and mechanically identical, at the least as far as specifications go, but the older model has a slightly heavyer platter (800 gr versus 600 in the new one) while the TD 190-1 has a improved plinth that is slightly higher and heavyer than the TD 190 plinth, oh .. and the old model was only available in matt black

Spares & service : The following companies offers repair services for Thorens turntables: David Archambault (USA - Exeter, NH).

Made the Rock turntable in the 80's and 90's, and variants called Avalon, the company stopped production of turntables in the late 90's but still supplies some spares and service for their older products.

Transcriptors Limited
Company started out by making the Reference tables in the early 60's, interesting designs but marred by bad build quality and the lousy tonearms that came with them, more interesting is the later Hydraulic Reference these could be bought with or without an arm and were made in the late 60's and early 70's, were in fact the ones that appeared in the Clockwork Orange movie, if you can find a better bearing for them they are quite usable today if fitted with a modern tonearm. An updated version of that design was licensed to the Michell Engineering company and that model was much better built than the ones that came from the original factory and if you are dead set on getting a Transcriptor seek that one out or one of the Michell Engineering derived designs such as the Focus. The later models from the company had enormous problems, especially the parallel tracking Transcriber, that model suffered from a variety of ailments ranging from audible rumble to setup difficulties. Be forewarned though that the prices being asked today for decks from this manufacturer are collectors prices and no one should expect to get a modern sounding table from the money asked. NB. you can still get some spares from the original manufacturers stock.

Early models from the company (ca 70 to 78) are Discontinued Dual turntables in a Wega plinth, the 3420 for instance is a Dual 1219 and there was also a model based on the 1229, the later models are Sony decks with the Wega logo, I am not sure if the company actually had any players designed in house.

Yamamura Churchill

The company announced an interesting minimalist platterless design called the Requiem, a record player actually rather than a turntable since it was to be sold along with a tonearm and pickup of the same name, that deck was something of a surprise since Bé's previous ventures into turntable designs had resulted in massive air bearing turntables technically and aesthetically the opposite of this Spartan offering, notice also the similarities of some of the characteristics of the Requiem tonearm when compared to the RS Labs RS-A1 Tonearm. There is some controversy if whether this design ever entered production, the picture here to the side is of a pre-production model, but at the least 2 American dealers claimed to be able to provide the Requiem on special order minus the pickup. The name was supposed to be laden with meaning this was as the advertising blurb claimed "Despite concentrating most of his research on a new digital circuit ....... Bé Yamamura still wanted to design a turntable, tonearm and cartridge combination that would demonstrate the ultimate that is achievable with analogue" in other words "the last turntable", little did he know ....

Next Page : Tonearms -- Previous Page : Discontinued Turntables - H to O

© 1993 - 2013 Ólafur Gunnlaugsson, all rights reserved.

The site was last compiled on Sun Nov 10 2013 at 9:15:00am