SME acquires legendary Garrard turntable rights, and Loricraft Audio

Everything old is new again?

It sounds like legendary Garrard 301 and 401 turntables could be put back into production after UK tonearm giant SME announced that they had acquired the rights to the Garrard audio brand along with Garrard service icon Loricraft Audio Tuesday. Stuart McNeilis, the CEO of SME said in a press release (see below) that “As an iconic British brand, Garrard deserves to be enjoyed by a new generation of audiophiles.”

The fact that Loricraft Audio was also snapped-up in the deal seems to point to a re-release of ‘tables in my mind, since Loricraft is key to parts, and servicing of the original 301s, and 401s.

What this means to the current value of the sought-after, but ancient Garrard 301s, and 401s currently on the market is anybody’s guess, but if SME is planning to resurrect the Garrard brand, and uses the same quality control, employs highly-skilled craftspeople, and updated tooling to run a fresh batch of 301s, and 401s, I’ll be putting my money on the new models. Check back for more news as it becomes available.

–Rafe Arnott

Press release below:

1st May 2018 – Steyning, England – SME, the British engineering and specialist Hi-Fi company, has acquired the rights to the Garrard audio brand from IGB Gradiente S.A. of Brazil.  A British brand synonymous with the design and manufacture of class-leading Hi-Fi products throughout the 1950’s, 60’s, 70’s and early 80’s, including the iconic 301 and 401 transcription turntables, Garrard is a much-admired audio brand whose products are eagerly sought out and traded worldwide.

 Commenting on the acquisition, Stuart McNeilis, CEO of SME, said, “It is with great pleasure that we can announce the acquisition of the Garrard audio brand.  Responsible for true icons of vinyl reproduction with the 301 and 401 turntables, in many ways, Garrard’s legacy mirrors SME’s, with precision engineering, design and manufacturing, based in the UK. Many of these great turntables were paired with SME tonearms and there has always been a natural synergy between the two company’s products.  As an iconic British brand, Garrard deserves to be enjoyed by a new generation of audiophiles.”

 To support owners of existing Garrard idler drive turntables, SME has also acquired Loricraft Audio, the only authorised Garrard service agent.  Responsible in many ways for keeping the Garrard legacy alive, Terry O’Sullivan, Managing Director of Loricraft, and his team has serviced and re-built Garrard products since 1997, along with manufacturing support products, including its renowned range of vinyl record cleaning machines.  “With years of experience and expert knowledge that will be crucial as SME develops the Garrard audio brand, the acquisition of Loricraft Audio was essential, as it enables the continued ability to service and maintain existing products.” added McNeilis.  “We are delighted that Terry and his team will join the SME family and bring their vast experience with them.”

 There will be further announcements regarding the development of the Garrard audio brand in the near future.  For the time being, Loricraft Audio, now supported by SME, will continue offering its re-build and repair service for Garrard 301’s and 401’s, along with the supply of its accessories and record cleaning machines, from its facility in West Berkshire, England.

About Rafe Arnott 389 Articles
Editor of InnerFidelity and AudioStream

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