What is the best 1970s vintage turntable?

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Written By Dominic Howard

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The 1970s was a great decade for hi-fi audio and turntables. With the increasing popularity of LPs, audiophiles demanded better sound quality and record players with higher fidelity. Many of the top turntable manufacturers released iconic models in the 1970s that are still sought after by vinyl enthusiasts today.

In this blog post, we’ll take a look at some of the best vintage turntables from the 1970s and what makes them so special.

Best Vintage Turntables from the 1970s

During the 1970s, turntables and vinyl records reached new heights of popularity. Major hi-fi companies developed some of their most iconic turntable models during this decade. Audiophiles demanded the highest fidelity and engineers pushed the limits of analog playback. Many of these 1970s record players are still prized by vinyl enthusiasts today. Here are some of the top turntable models that defined the 1970s golden era.

The Pioneer PL-71

One of the most popular turntables of the decade was the Pioneer PL-71, released in 1978. Part of Pioneer’s high-end line, the PL-71 featured a suspended sub-chassis design to isolate the platter and tonearm from vibration. It had a powerful DC servo motor for accurate and steady rotation speed. The S-shaped tonearm was statically balanced with an interchangeable headshell. The PL-71 came with a handsome wooden base and dust cover. It could play all record sizes up to 12 inches.

With its high torque motor, precision engineering, and dynamic sound, the Pioneer PL-71 was a top-tier turntable in its day. It’s still sought after by audiophiles today for its warm, detailed sound and reliability. Prices range from $400-600 for a well-maintained PL-71.

The Technics SL-1200 MK2

No list of great 1970s turntables would be complete without the legendary Technics SL-1200 MK2. Released in 1979, the SL-1200 quickly became an iconic turntable thanks to its use by DJs. With its quartz-locked direct drive motor, the SL-1200 had unwavering speed accuracy and instant start/stop capability perfect for beatmatching. The tonearm was detachable, allowing for easy replacement of cartridges. It also had a variable pitch adjustment and reverse play.

Beyond DJ use, the Technics SL-1200 MK2 was simply an excellent hi-fi turntable. It was built like a tank and effectively isolated from vibration and feedback. The sound was always rock solid with deep controlled bass and excellent stereo imaging. The SL-1200 MK2 set the standard for direct-drive turntables and became the world’s best-selling turntable. Prices are normally $400-700 for one in good condition.

The Dual CS-5000

Dual was a renowned German turntable brand through the 1970s. The CS-5000 was one of their top models, released in 1977. It featured a belt-drive design with a heavy, precision-balanced platter and external power supply to isolate the motor. This gave it low noise and rumble. The tonearm had a unique corrugated finger lift and rotating adjustable counterweight. Anti-skate was dial adjustable. The CS-5000 came in a handsome gloss finish with wood side panels.

With its sophisticated engineering and fidelity, the Dual CS-5000 was praised as one of the best-sounding turntables of the late 70s. It’s still regarded as one of Dual’s finest models. Expect to pay $600-900 for one in excellent condition.

The Marantz 6300

Marantz was another prestigious audio brand in the 1970s. The 6300 was their top-of-the-line turntable, released in 1977. It featured a massive, belt-driven 12-inch platter with an outer ring strobe for perfect speed accuracy. The unique gyroscopic gimbal suspension gave excellent vibration dampening and stability. It also had a conveniently placed speed control lever and feather-touch cueing. The 6300 came in a beautiful rosewood base with a hinged dust cover.

With its ultra-low wow and flutter specs, the Marantz 6300 produced clear detailed sound with exquisite stereo imaging. It was expensive in its day but remains one of Marantz’s most prized vintage turntables. Expect to pay $800-1200 for one in collector condition.

The Luxman PD-444

Another overlooked audiophile turntable from the 70s was the Luxman PD-444. Introduced in 1977, the belt-driven PD-444 had a sophisticated tonearm with dynamic balance and ultra-low-mass design. This lets it precisely track warps and modulation in the record grooves. It came with a detachable headshell for easy cartridge swaps. The heavy platter was finished with a beveled edge for smooth record loading. Top-grade components were used throughout for minimal signal loss and neutral sound.

While not as famous as European brands, the Luxman PD-444 represented the pinnacle of Japanese turntable engineering and sound quality in the 1970s. It remains a hidden gem for vintage vinyl lovers, often selling for around $600-900.

The Micro Seiki DD-20

Japanese audio company Micro Seiki made some of the most advanced turntables of the 1970s. The DD-20 was their top direct drive model when released in 1977. It featured coreless brushless motor technology for ultra-smooth rotation and speed stability. The tonearm had a lightweight magnesium alloy gimbal with precision bearings for low friction. The detachable headshell and tube-shaped counterweight allowed easy cartridge changes without affecting balance. The sculpted wooden base had vibration absorbing feet.

Highly regarded in its day, the Micro Seiki DD-20 represented the state-of-the-art in audiophile turntable design. Its attention to detail and musical sound make it still coveted today. Expect to pay around $1000-1400 for one in good shape.

The Kenwood L-07D

Kenwood made beautifully engineered turntables throughout the 1970s prime era. Their L-07D from 1976 exemplified their passion for hi-fi. It had a massive belt-driven platter sitting on a 10kg solid aluminum base for vibration isolation. The professionally calibrated tonearm with Litz wire internal wiring allowed the cartridge to retrieve maximum detail from the grooves. The massive power supply isolated all electrical noise from the platter motor.

With its ultra-stable platform and retrieving abilities, the Kenwood L-07D produced a detailed, dimensional soundstage with pinpoint imaging. It remains one of Kenwood’s most handsome and best-sounding turntables. Prices range around $600-1100 for clean examples.

The Sony PS-8750

By the late 1970s, Sony had become a leader in hi-fi audio equipment. The PS-8750 was their flagship turntable when launched in 1978. It used a sophisticated direct drive motor with brushless construction and electronic switching for ultra-smooth speed control. This was paired with a dynamically balanced straight tonearm with fluid damper and lightweight magnesium headshell. The massive aluminum die-cast platter weighed over 4kg for inertia and vibration damping. The base had Sony’s proprietary insulator feet to absorb feedback.

Considered one of the best direct-drive turntables ever made, the Sony PS-8750 produced rich, warm detailed sound. It remains sought after by audiophiles but rarely trades hands. Expect to pay $1200-1800 for one in excellent condition.


JVC developed some of the most advanced turntables of the 1970s, including the QL-A7. Released in 1978, it used JVC’s patented Quartz-Locked servo control system for the motor, with a quartz oscillator to ensure perfect speed at 33 or 45 RPM. This gave the belt-driven QL-A7 incredible speed stability. It also had an anti-resonance composite body and floating suspension to eliminate vibrations. The straight low-mass tonearm minimized tracking distortion and cartridge resonances.

Considered JVC’s best-ever turntable, the QL-A7 delivered breathtakingly clear and vivid sound. Around $1000-1500 is the going rate today for this rare Japanese marvel in good condition.

Buying Guide

When shopping for a vintage 1970s turntable, here are some things to keep in mind:

Condition is key – try to inspect or ask for detailed photos to assess wear and tear. Original boxes and manuals are a bonus.

Replace old cartridges and styli for optimal sound quality. Aftermarket replacements are available.

Proper maintenance is important – new belts, lubricated motors, cleaned controls, etc can breathe new life into a classic turntable.

Direct drive models often sound better after capacitors are replaced – this requires soldering skills or a technician.

Look for signs of damage like rust, scratches, dents, or modifications. These can affect performance or warrant repairs.

Try buying from a reputable audio dealer who services and warrants vintage equipment. This gives added peace of mind.

Research models for common issues so you know what to look for. Online forums are helpful for this.

Be prepared to pay premium prices for the most desirable 1970s turntables in great shape. Patience can pay off in finding fair deals.

While newer turntables have surpassed 1970s technology in some respects, the best vintage models from this period can still deliver an amazing listening experience. Their quality engineering and analog sound are appealing to both nostalgic and new cinephiles. If properly maintained, a great 1970s turntable can provide musical enjoyment for many more decades.

Frequently Asked Question

1. What makes 1970s vintage turntables special?

1970s vintage turntables are prized for their unique combination of build quality, design aesthetics, and analog sound characteristics, making them highly sought after by audiophiles and collectors.

2. What are some notable brands from the 1970s known for producing quality turntables?

Some renowned brands from the 1970s known for their quality turntables include Technics, Pioneer, Dual, Thorens, Sony, and Yamaha, among others.

3. Are 1970s vintage turntables better than modern turntables?

1970s vintage turntables are appreciated for their vintage charm and build quality, but whether they are better than modern turntables depends on personal preferences. Modern turntables may offer advanced features and materials, while vintage turntables provide a distinct analog character.

4. Where can I find 1970s vintage turntables for purchase?

You can find 1970s vintage turntables for sale at vintage audio shops, online marketplaces (e.g., eBay, Audiogon), estate sales, and through collectors. Careful research and inspection are essential before making a purchase.

5. What should I look for when buying a 1970s vintage turntable?

When buying a 1970s vintage turntable, consider factors such as the condition of the turntable, the type of tonearm and cartridge it uses, the availability of replacement parts, and whether it has been well-maintained over the years.

6. Can I connect a 1970s vintage turntable to modern audio equipment?

Yes, you can connect a 1970s vintage turntable to modern audio equipment using the appropriate cables and adapters. However, you may need a phono preamp or a receiver with a built-in phono stage to match the turntable’s output.

7. What types of records can I play on a 1970s vintage turntable?

1970s vintage turntables typically play vinyl records, including 33 1/3 RPM LPs and 45 RPM singles. Some models may have a 78 RPM setting for older records.

8. Do 1970s vintage turntables require maintenance?

Yes, like any vintage audio equipment, 1970s vintage turntables may require maintenance. This can include cleaning, lubricating moving parts, and potentially replacing the stylus or cartridge.

9. Are 1970s vintage turntables suitable for beginners in vinyl?

1970s vintage turntables can be suitable for beginners if they are in good working condition. However, beginners should be prepared for potential maintenance needs and ensure they understand how to set up and use the turntable properly.

10. Can I upgrade a 1970s vintage turntable with modern components?

Yes, many 1970s vintage turntables can be upgraded with modern components, such as better cartridges, tonearms, and isolation solutions, to enhance their performance and sound quality.


ثhe world of 1970s vintage turntables offers a captivating journey back in time for audio enthusiasts and collectors. These iconic pieces of audio equipment from that era continue to hold a special place in the hearts of music lovers for their unique blend of craftsmanship, design, and analog audio quality.

As you explore the world of 1970s vintage turntables, it’s important to keep in mind the rich history associated with these timeless devices. Renowned brands like Technics, Pioneer, Dual, and others from that era have left a lasting legacy in the audio industry.

When seeking the best 1970s vintage turntable, remember to research thoroughly, inspect potential purchases carefully, and consider factors like condition, compatibility, and maintenance history. Each turntable carries its own story and character, waiting to be rediscovered and appreciated anew.

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